About Ask (And Tell) Pica!
What is Ask (And Tell) Pica!?
-Ask (And Tell) Pica! is a comic about Pokémon, but there's more to the equation than that. At its core, this is a comic that strived to allow fans to take part in its development by submitting their own content to be featured in the story for a variety of effects and outcomes, some being more influential than others. It was also part "choose your own adventure" for a time where decisions can be made about how Pica could react to certain situations, and were usually only presented at pivotal points in the story's development rather than on every page. Despite being based on an existing property (Pokémon in this case), it's only loosely based on the brand and, for the most part, is a comic that just happens to be about Pokémon. That is to say, it certainly helps to be familiar with the series, but I also want the comic to be just as enjoyable for someone who's had little to no prior experience with it.
This comic was ongoing from 2007, and had changed radically throughout its life. The comic's history and predecessors are preserved on this website for posterity. Check out the Pica's Gallery page and Good Ol' Days story arc for more details!
-The short answer is that the Pokémon universe is vast and constantly expanding, and due to the open nature of its characters and settings, using it as a base can provide a sense of familiarity while still having the freedom of telling your own stories.
Besides the fact that I've been a fan of the series from an early age, Pokémon has a rich and versatile world full of untapped ideas, something not many video game series can easily claim. Since the Pokémon are actually individuals of their species rather than specific characters (excluding "legendaries"), and the fact that in the anime they're portrayed as having at least some level of human emotion and reasoning, that gives me as an author a lot of freedom in how I can portray each one. With that said, Pica was a character I've always had fun working with as a child and even to this day since his personality and design are far cries from the "official" Pikachu, giving him a sense of familiarity whilst providing something you wouldn't expect to see from "the real thing". On the other hand, the Pokémon series as a whole has a lot of oddities and quirks that can be explored and exploited, although a good number of comics already do those kinds of things as their main focus. The focus is mostly on how Pica himself handles doing things in his world, things which make him seem more human-like and relatable in a fantasy world full of fictional creatures with otherworldly abilities.
That was the long answer you just read, by the way.
Is there any reason why this is your only comic?
-It's because I decided to make a clean slate. Aside from a few author comics I was in (I was using a different account name), they were pretty low quality. Some of them did have a small but loyal following, but for the most part they were pretty forgettable. So I decided to delete them all, except for this one. I figured that since this was my most well-known comic on this host, it would be disappointing to just get rid of it in case someone wanted to go back and read it again sometime, so I decided against it. Now it's something I'm working on for practice and for the experience of maintaining a comic on a regular basis.
Currently I'm developing new comics based on original ideas and concepts, and have recently self-published a children's book.
How can I submit questions to be used in the comic?
-Questions are no longer being answered in the comic, but thank you for your interest!
Why are the earlier comics sprite comics? (Or, "why is most of the comic made up of sprite comics and what made you decide to start drawing them instead?")
-Even when I did sprite comics I was an artist, contrary to the stereotype of sprite comic authors not being able to draw to save their lives. Back when I worked on Pica Mystery Thingie as a child I wanted to try using the new-to-me medium of sprite comics to tell a story which would be spoofing a video game, so I thought using its graphics would help it feel more authentic to the game's story it was retelling. Ask (And Tell) Pica was set up as a side project to help that comic gain more publicity by association with its title character, so I didn't want its style to be all that different from that comic's. Little did I expect this comic to become more popular than that one!
As my artwork improved much, much later in the comic's life, I toyed with the idea of drawing some strips instead of doing them as sprite comics (originally to be presented as visiting an "alternate dimension" to explain the art shift), but I kept it sprite-based in the interest of keeping the comics faster to make. Once I decided to add a story to the comic and use more dramatic scenes, I eventually made the decision to replace the sprite comics with drawn comics to add camera angles, panel layouts, character emotions, and original backgrounds which would be really difficult to pull off well with pre-existing low-resolution video game graphics meant to be viewed from the top-down.
What's the deal with Filler Central?
-Just about every ongoing comic I can think of had some kind of filler material at some point. This comic is not an exception, so I thought instead of sprinkling them randomly in the main comic I'd compile them all into their own chapter so they'll stay out of the way of the main comic. Fillers can include pictures, holiday specials, and even advertisements among other things, and I think it's jarring, even in physical copies of comics, when you're reading it about to find out what happens next when suddenly you bump into a picture that says "Merry Christmas" when it's actually the middle of August or something. I thought it would be wise to keep them out of the way, so I decided to give fillers their own special chapter. It's purposely made to only be accessible through a menu bar on the comic pages so you don't have to read them.
There's something I don't like about the comic that I think could be better, but I know how some comic authors are. Will you really listen to my suggestions?
-If there's really something that you notice about the comic you think could be improved, don't hesitate to tell me so I can improve the issue. I'll be more than happy to take suggestions and criticisms to make the comic as enjoyable as possible, because the bottom line is that I want the readers to be entertained.