We Talked To The Artists Who Made A Pokemon Glitch Zine
Illustrators Jordan Rosenberg and Iasmin Omar Ata create the ultimate ode to messed-up Nintendo code.
Illustrator Jordan Rosenberg loves Pokémon. So much so, after his Pokémon fan art illustrations started to pick up internet steam, he gathered a bunch of illustrators who also love Pokémon, and asked them to all contribute fan art around a certain theme. Ghost, the first official "PokéZine" dedicated to Ghost-type Pokémon, made its debut in 2012 after a hyper-successful Kickstarter campaign exceeded its goal by almost four times. Ice, the second PokéZine, soon followed.
This year, alongside so-called "illustrator extraordinaire" Iasmin Omar Ata, Rosenberg is in the thick of funding his newest project, the Glitch PokéZine. Centered not around a particular Pokémon type, but instead around the glitches we know and love from the cheat codes and broken bits of Poké lore, Rosenberg and Ata's project features 68 illustrations from 68 different artists, some of which are viewable above and below.
So while you enjoy this plethora of glitch Poké-goodness, check out our interview with curators and illustrators Jordan Rosenberg and Iasmin Omar Ata about the Glitch PokéZine:
The Creators Project: First off, how did this project come together?
Jordan Rosenberg: Iasmin suggested the idea of doing a Glitch-themed PokéZine. I originally wanted to do another regular type (Steel), but Glitch was infinitely more enticing. There are so many Glitch-typed Pokémon that even fans of the game might not even know about. Glitch Pokémon are all so strange, and the ways to encounter them are even stranger. This allowed for many of the artists to just go wild with their interpretations.
Iasmin Omar Ata: I don't really remember how I came up with the idea, but I do remember it was a Twitter convo that became a reality, which is always fun.
What makes it different from your other zines, Ghost and Ice?
Jordan: [It's] not themed around a regular type, like Ghost and Ice were. Glitch Pokémon are only obtainable in the game through errors in the game's code. Essentially, they can't be found without exploiting an odd, usually in-depth loophole. They are not an officially recognized Pokémon type by Nintendo.
Considering how most of the Glitch Pokémon don't have a tangible appearance aside from a few jumbled pixels, we encouraged the artists to make the craziest work possible.
Iasmin: Glitch Pokémon evoke different memories and were such specific parts of our childhoods. Everybody remembers the playground rumors that got passed around when we were kids -- the Surfing Pikachu glitch, Missingno, using Strength on the truck to get Mew -- I think for a lot of us, those little rumors are always kinda tucked away in the back of our minds. So when people see a Glitch Pokémon now, they're gonna go "OH I remember that weird thing that freaked me out in 2nd grade!" There's a different energy around this zine, and it's pretty cool.
So, why Glitch Pokémon?
Jordan: My attraction to Glitch Pokémon began with Missingno., which I'm sure many other Pokémon fans would agree with. I didn't even know there were other glitches besides Missingno until recently. It turns out that there are over 120 of them!
Encountering Missingno. was actually sort of horrifying because it caused the game to do strange things, such as reverse the appearance of your Pokémon, and make the game run at a sluggish pace. If you viewed your "Hall of Fame" after catching Missingno., it would be all jumbled and the pixels were strewn about. It was frightening stuff as a 9 year old.
Iasmin: There's something about glitches in Nintendo games from the 90's/early 2000's that's really off-putting. Maybe it's because the graphics aren't great, so when stuff glitches out, it looks uncanny valley-core and it kinda makes you prickle up a bit? Or maybe it's because Nintendo games are so tied to childhood, so when the game freaks out, you get a little scared? I remember being so creeped out as a kid by the crazy amount of glitches in The Legend Of Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and ever since then, I've always loved weird glitches in games. When a game bugs out like that, you get a little chill down your spine, you get a little curious, you want to see more weird stuff—I love that feeling.
Do you feel like Nintendo contributed to your overall growing-up experience?
Iasmin: Nintendo was like... indescribably formative for me. Even now they still are! I find myself replaying old Nintendo games pretty often—right now, I'm making my way through The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask again and I'm so completely blown away all over again because it's really a masterpiece. And even with their new products they're killing it—I find myself playing my 3DS more than any other console. Nintendo has always pushed the envelope in both innovation and art direction, and they've always strived to make a safe, friendly environment for everyone to enjoy their games. All those things come together to create such a positive force, and it really sticks with you. Plus, they somehow let killer7 happen on the GameCube, and that's like my favorite game ever, so...
Jordan: Nintendo had a huge impact on me as a kid, and they still continue to. I first got into Nintendo games with Super Mario 64, and later Pokémon Red and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time. These games portray tangible worlds that exist to me despite being on a screen. I have dreams that take place in Hyrule and Termina more than I’d care to admit. Nintendo took hold of my imagination and never let go.
As a zine creator and illustrator, what's one piece of software and/or technology that you can't live without?
Jordan: Definitely my MacBook Pro with Photoshop and InDesign. I've used Photoshop to create the zine covers, index and my illustrations (including some hand drawn stuff). I use InDesign to lay out all the spreads, so that’s essential.
Iasmin: Oh geez, that's a hard one. Obviously I need my laptop and Photoshop for lots of stuff, but I think my best bro is my Monoprice tablet. I ditched Wacom a long time ago thanks to this little guy—it's got amazing pressure sensitivity and helps your digital drawings look much warmer and natural. I love it! If anyone's looking for a new tablet, I definitely recommend a Monoprice.
Alright, who's your favorite Pokémon, and why?
Jordan: My favorite Pokémon is Sylveon. It's one of the new Fairy-typed Pokémon introduced with the newest games, X & Y, and it evolves from Eevee. You get Sylveon by leveling up an Eevee with maximum happiness, which is adorable. I especially love elements of Pokémon games that aren't battle focused.
Iasmin: For sure my favorite is Cofagrigus. I'm pretty sure it only eats human bodies and gold—ultimate lifestyle. And even though it's a creepy one, its animation is so cute—it's just tappin' around in its little sarcophagus, it pops out to say hey, then goes back in.