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Botched Pokemon tattoo becomes newest beloved internet meme

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'My friend was drunk and on Xanax when he decided to tattoo a black face Charmander'

If there's one thing my grandfather fought for in World War II, it was the right to monetize memes. Of course, he was in the Italian army, the side that rightfully lost the war, because all your grandfathers were fighting against meme monetization. Oh how far America has fallen.

Let's rewind. This thread hit reddit recently. "My friend was drunk and on Xanax when he decided to tattoo a black face Charmander with no experience or artistic ability. The flame saves it." It has Pokémon, failed tattoos, illicit substances, and is written in reddit's subdermal codified style. It was a sure thing.

Like Twitch Plays Pokémon or a million other forgotten memes festering in the world's collective "funny pics" computer folders, waiting to come back and end us like an Akira-esque abomination, reddit had fun with it.

And, hey, fun? Big fan. Love to have it.


[Vaughn Pinpin, 2012]

But that out-there "blackface Charmander" design wasn't the result of a handful of pills and a Smirnoff Ice. It was a crudely drawn recreation of work done in artist Vaughn Pinpin's Tim Burton x PKMN Project collection, in which Pinpin drew Charmander, all its evolutions, and about 70 other pocket monsters in this style. We covered them almost three years ago. They're all on Pinpin's Tumblr.

And while reddit was busy making fanart of this assumed addled original creation as fast as it designs amiibo mock ups, credit to the original artist fell by the wayside. Even the reddit top comment, "Looks like a Tim Burton Pokémon," links to an Imgur upload of the original Charmander drawing that points to the URL of a site that seems to aggregate and talk about art. The reply to that reply, the "full list" is a low quality, not-full collage featuring 25 of Pinpin's drawings. Finally, the third nested reply, after being edited, includes a link to Pinpin's Tumblr. One website actually posted Pinpin's original work under the impression that it was fan art of the tattoo, which is a bit like saying The Beatles sounds like Oasis.

Lack of credit on an internet where it can feel as if things just materialize is a big issue today for people who create things. Artwork is passed around (sometimes watermarks maliciously removed, or added by outside parties), jokes are stolen, and people expect (and get) an endless influx of free stimuli. In this case, it went beyond fans giggling over a meme, as some folks started making and selling products -- necklackes, t-shirts -- with the tattoo's likeness. Pinpin responded to the situation on Twitter: "I'm cool with you guys getting tats of my dang Burton PKMNs, but try not to profit over it please. That's not entrepreneurship, that's theft."

That was about as close to positive as Pinpin got about the situation, saying, "This just in: dumb kids did a dumb thing and everyone's laughing about it in the cesspool that is reddit. This is news!" before following up with, "I think I feel better about the whole situation now. But I don't think I can laugh with reddit. It's sort of like laughing with the school bully when the joke was punching me in the face."

We all carry varying degrees of guilt for this sort of thing. I take shiba pictures and animal gifs for a public good. I tweeted out a still from A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night last week without naming the film, director, actor, or cinematographer. While you enjoy the fun times with friends you have on the net, it's good to remember that some of the things you enjoy -- web comics that end up as images in comment threads, photo galleries that get linked to on Facebook -- come from people who worked hard to make them. Sometimes someone just took a picture of their dog at the right time. Still, crediting the source is always a good move.

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Steven Hansen
Steven HansenContributor   gamer profile

Steven watches anime & sports, buys meat out of trucks, dates a Muppet, and is only good at cooking. He stands before you bereft of solace and well on the road to perdition. ('^ω^) more + disclosures


 


 



Filed under... #Destructoid Originals #fan art #Opinion Editorial #Pokemon #Reddit #Things gamers do #top stories

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