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Ask (And Tell) Pica!

Ask (And Tell) Pica!

by BaruAizu
**Messages are no longer being accepted in favor of a greater focus on art and storytelling. I'd like to give a big thanks to everyone who submitted messages for this comic in the past!

The former leader of a small, disbanded rescue team, Pica the Pikachu devotes his efforts into making his world a better place, and he's looking for help from an important ally who's worlds apart: YOU! Simply push him in the right direction, and he'll do his best to follow. You can also message him directly and he'll provide real responses in the midst of what's happening in the comic.
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While this comic started life as an interactive sprite comic, it has more recently become a traditional comic with its own art style starting with Lost - Page 10. There were large gaps of time between Lost Pages 10, 11, and 12, with 11 and 12 being three whole years apart. The new style has been cemented since page 12, and the comic now updates more consistently.

Also check out Wild ZUBAT Appeared, a bonus gag-based series (featuring ZUBAT) placed after the sprite comics but before Lost, which updates alongside the main comic!
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Pages
78
Updates
On Hiatus
Last Update
7 Months Ago
Fans
70
Readers
108

Ask (And Tell) Pica!

**Messages are no longer being accepted in favor of a greater focus on art and storytelling. I'd like to give a big thanks to everyone who submitted messages for this comic in the past!

The former leader of a small, disbanded rescue team, Pica the Pikachu devotes his efforts into making his world a better place, and he's looking for help from an important ally who's worlds apart: YOU! Simply push him in the right direction, and he'll do his best to follow. You can also message him directly and he'll provide real responses in the midst of what's happening in the comic.
-----------------------------------
While this comic started life as an interactive sprite comic, it has more recently become a traditional comic with its own art style starting with Lost - Page 10. There were large gaps of time between Lost Pages 10, 11, and 12, with 11 and 12 being three whole years apart. The new style has been cemented since page 12, and the comic now updates more consistently.

Also check out Wild ZUBAT Appeared, a bonus gag-based series (featuring ZUBAT) placed after the sprite comics but before Lost, which updates alongside the main comic!

Authors

Recent Comments

BaruAizu
April 23rd, 2017
@buscuit: Thank you so much for the kind words! You can do it, too, if you keep at it!
buscuit
April 22nd, 2017
Love the page, very inspirational. If a heart-shaped fish can make a difference, you can too!
Also, that's great that your working professionally on a book. I myself have always wanted to storyboard and write. I wish you the best in pursuit of your career.
Has It Really Been That Long?!
It's hard to believe, but at this exact time of posting the comic is now ten years old. It never set the world on fire, but I think the comic's had decent success as a sprite comic, and I'm really happy that it's finding a new audience thanks to Lost.

The comic's changed drastically over the years, but for a 10th anniversary comic I wanted to pay homage to its roots, more specifically to the very first strip I made. The goal was to combine that idea with the comic's more recent change in art direction, which is why I decided to go the pixel art route. Drawing it certainly brought back some memories! No joke: it took more time to do this homage than it did to actually make the original strip, but that was the beauty of making sprite comics (or would that be the downfall? Oh well).

There's also a few more subtle callbacks to the comic's early days. See if you can spot them!
BaruAizu
April 17th, 2017
My latest semester at school is almost over, and I kinda don't want to be in college anymore, so I think this semester really is going to be my last. After I'm all done I think I'll be looking to do something professionally, though I'm still in the middle of making storyboards for that adaptation of a children's book I mentioned on a previous page, so hopefully that will go somewhere (I can't really say much else about it because of NDAs (Non Disclosure Agreements, for those who don't know!)).

Wait, I did mention it before, didn't I?

I went from being an intern to an Art Director, which is a pretty massive jump, so I really hope this project turns out to be something great!

Another amazing thing is that it's been an entire ten years since this comic started (well, almost, there's still about a day until the comic's birthday)! It's vastly different compared to when it first started, and goodness knows a ton's changed since then, but to think it's been a whole decade?! Time really does fly...
What do you mean it's too early for a comic about eggs and that Easter's actually next month?

I'm all moved in to my new apartment, and I finally have time to draw again, so draw I shall. I used to have to work in my bedroom so I always dreamed of having a room set aside just for working, and now I finally have a dedicated office! I still have my classes, though, and for those I'm drawing a new still life every week in addition to working on that 2D animation. I couldn't even work on those assignments last week due to the move, but I think it'll all work out okay.

Also, the Nintendo Switch just came out, but I wasn't able to buy one yet, again due to just moving into a new apartment. I already got the new Zelda for the Wii U (which is absolutely amazing and you should get it), so I'm not in any rush to get a Switch right now, but I love the idea of a console/handheld hybrid and from what I've heard I think they pulled it off superbly. Knowing that it's already selling much better than the Wii U did makes me very happy, so I think it has a great life ahead of it! Since it's also technically a handheld console, I wonder if the 8th generation of Pokémon will be made for it, and what could possibly be in store for it. The Switch is in a league of its own compared to the 3DS in terms of processing power, so I think it has a ton of potential as a platform for the next pair of Pokémon games! Even if it's just expanding on Sun and Moon's ideas, I'm all for it since I feel that the 3DS platform was holding those games back from their fullest potential.

Oh yeah, I hope the second comic didn't end up getting too dark. Maybe I'll just go back to using the shower gag next time...
I'm not so great at this, am I?

Yet again I apologize for the schedule slipping! My drawing class is a lot more time-consuming than I thought it would be, so all I've been drawing lately have been human figures. It felt nice to draw something as simple and off-the-wall as a Zubat comic for a change. I also have to do another 2D animation, and... oh yeah, I'm running an internship at my old university starting tomorrow! I'll be teaching students how to draw storyboards so they can have input for a television pitch we're going to work on together.

I've also had to look at a lot of apartments since I'm gonna have to move out of the one I'm in now, and that's taken up a lot of time, too. I don't want to get too into it here, but that's been kind of an emotional experience.

But don't worry, ZUBAT's filling in for today!
BaruAizu
January 22nd, 2017
EDIT: A few minor details have been added to this page, including particle effects and more details in Pica's mouth in a few panels.
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It's the return of the Luvdisc war veteran, Ryan! In astral projection form, ready to give Pica a little pep talk!

I had a bit more fun with formatting the text in this one, to try and emphasize certain parts of the sentences. Hopefully it helps make the pages feel more alive.

In other news my latest semester in school is about to start. I'll be taking a second 2D animation course and a life drawing course, so there's going to be much drawing in the coming months!
Koal
January 20th, 2017
Loving the heck out of this comic! ^^
I haven't uploaded any comics since last year!

...
I don't really have much else to say right now, except Happy New Year!
BaruAizu
January 1st, 2017
Here's a QR code for you to scan!

<img src="http://www.smackjeeves.com/images/pb/3/3OmStNxJ1LuhLwYwY1Ww8S.png" border="0" alt=" photo lost 14 qr.png"/>

You can scan it with a mobile device for a surprise, and also scan it to add a page to your Pokédex in Pokémon Sun and Moon.
BaruAizu
January 1st, 2017
I'm retroactively adding new content to older pages through QR Codes!

<img src="http://www.smackjeeves.com/images/pb/6/6a0dMHZFvLbFwehrOe4zfQ.png" border="0"/>

You can scan it on a mobile device for a surprise, and also add a page to your Pokédex in Pokémon Sun and Moon's QR Scanner.
BaruAizu
December 29th, 2016
I hope everyone had a happy Holiday season! Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Yeshmiyek, or whatever you celebrate... I hope everyone had a happy one!

Sorry I didn't really do much over the past few weeks; I had to shift all my attention towards school projects and drawing unrelated artwork for the holidays, including pictures I gave to people as gifts as well as what I called the Advent Art series, which I posted on my social media (and DeviantArt) pages.

I also finished the storyline for Pokémon Moon and it's surprisingly gripping. The series is no stranger to good stories, especially in the Mystery Dungeon series; but it really took me by surprise after how disappointing X and Y's story was. I don't want to spoil it here (actually, the last Zubat comic I posted kinda spoils it), but it kept me surprised and invested all the way to the end.
Sorry about the inactivity lately! It's the final stretch in my classes, so right now I'm focusing on finishing my assignments for those classes.

If you haven't noticed already, I've put up a few QR codes on a couple of comic pages as a fun little addition. These can be scanned on mobile devices for little backstories for the comic pages, and also scanned with Pokémon Sun and Moon's QR scanner so you can add more pages to your Pokédex in those games. You won't know what you'll get until you scan it, unless some Jerky McJerk-Face mentions what you'll get in a comment or something.

The reason I'm uploading this at a weird time is because I managed to get another scholarship for next semester so I can take even more classes. The scholarship meeting is pretty early in the morning, so I had to wake up extremely early to be able to make it there! I made sure I'd have enough time to make a Zubat comic and explain my situation before I left.
BaruAizu
December 3rd, 2016
I'm retroactively adding new content to older pages through QR Codes!

<img src="http://www.smackjeeves.com/images/pb/6/6aRN3ZuvSTzPEejSJ4IBFm.png" border="0" alt="Veterans QR photo veterans qr_zpsq6pqkqgp.png"/>

You can scan it on a mobile device for a surprise, and also add a page to your Pokédex in Pokémon Sun and Moon's QR Scanner.
BaruAizu
December 3rd, 2016
QR Code
Here's a QR Code you can scan!

<img src="http://www.smackjeeves.com/images/pb/3/3sIo4bvhFVl2RIMYC75V6x.png" border="5"/>

You can scan it on a mobile device for a surprise, and also add a page to your Pokédex in Pokémon Sun and Moon's QR Scanner.
BaruAizu
December 2nd, 2016
To celebrate Pokémon Sun and Moon's ability to read QR Codes, I'm retroactively adding new content to older pages.

Here's a new QR Code for you!

<img src="http://www.smackjeeves.com/images/pb/6/6DrKkN0oyhZNhTBLY9BHa7.png" border="0" alt="ddr question qr code photo ddr question qr code_zpsptlckcmz.png"/>

You can scan it in Pokémon Sun and Moon to add a new Pokémon's data to your Pokédex. If you scan it on a mobile device, well... find out for yourself!
BaruAizu
December 2nd, 2016
QR Code
To celebrate Pokémon Sun and Moon's ability to read QR Codes, I'm retroactively adding new content to older pages.

Here's a new QR Code for you!

<img src="http://www.smackjeeves.com/images/pb/4/4WnpntlpQYJTvpXLda8Wzu.png" border="0" alt="Lost 1 QR Code photo lost 1 qr_zpsii7peatn.png"/>

You can scan it in Pokémon Sun and Moon to add a new Pokémon's data to your Pokédex. If you scan it on a mobile device, well... find out for yourself!
Comic Script
I should probably explain why this comic page is broken.

Back when I was working on the original sprite comics, the most popular image hosting service for uploading them was called Imageshack, which supported free, high quality image uploads. However, more recently, Imageshack became a paid-only service and deleted all of the images which were using its "free" service, causing the images to become broken.

Fortunately I had the foresight to replace most of the old Imageshack pages by uploading them directly to SmackJeeves. All but two of them were replaced; Lost 7... and Lost 3. Since I no longer have the original pages saved, they were effectively lost (no pun intended). I got lucky with Lost 7 since I happened to upload that page to another website called Top Web Comics, albeit in lower quality, but the only relic of Lost 3 is this tiny image:

<img src="http://www.smackjeeves.com/images/pb/3/3aPGMfSwcyBKozE7OexZXX.jpg" border="3" alt="Clicking to expand the image won't work; it's really this small.">

Maybe I'll be lucky and have all of the old Ask (And Tell) Pica sprite comics still saved on my family's old external hard drive, but I don't know what point in time it's from so the files could be from before I even thought about making Lost.

Since the comic is missing and I haven't gotten around to remaking it (I've been way more focused on making new pages), I'll instead write what this page had in script form as a temporary solution. This is all from memory and this particular page is from before the comic was scripted (because I wanted to keep it open for user suggestions, hence the "And Tell" part of the comic's name), so it's not a 1:1 reproduction, but it's the best I can do for now.
_____________________

LOST - PAGE 3 [Script]

[It's still pitch black in the cave.]

Pica: What do I do now?

HiPod: USE FLASH.

Pica: Oh, duh.

[Pica tugs on his tail as if it's a light switch, which causes him to start glowing and illuminates the room around him. The cave is predominantly green-colored, has a high ceiling with large stalactites hanging from it, and two tunnels leading deeper into the cave. There is also a large yellow crystal in the center of the room, which appears to have some mystical aura surrounding it, but is not activated.]

[Suddenly, and without warning, two Zubat descend from the ceiling. One bites Pica's head]

Pica: OUCH!

[The two Zubat fly off just as suddenly as they came.]

Pica: I think I'm going to be Leech Lifed alive in here... But wow, it's surprisingly roomy!

[Pica approaches the crystal and examines it.]

Pica: And this crystal looks pretty suspicious...

[Pica sits down near the crystal.]

Pica: I don't know what this means for me, though. Maybe something Ryan said will help...

[Pica starts thinking about a few words of advice Ryan, the war veteran Luvdisc he looks up to, gave him in the past. Ryan himself also appears in the thought bubble.]

Ryan: Remember; using Water Sport is a terrible way to attract mates.

Pica: (Visibly disgusted) No, not that one!

Ryan: (Entirely different memory) Never forget that you aren't alone. Your next greatest ally could be just around the corner!

[The thought bubble containing Ryan disappears. Pica appears to be somewhat unnerved by the thought of someone else being in the cave with him at first, but then quickly takes the advice to heart.]

Pica: I guess looking for friendly faces would be my best bet right about now... But where could I start looking?
_____________________
BaruAizu
November 26th, 2016
My apologies for this page taking so long! Helping to prepare Thanksgiving dinner is no small task, I didn't want to oversaturate the comic with Zubat strips, and Pokémon Sun and Moon are still begging to be played. It actually took a fair bit of willpower to avoid playing it too much since I have work I need to get done (like this comic page)! Now that this page is done, I can finally have some peace of mind and play Moon some more! The game's world feels much more alive than it did in past games, which is exactly the shot in the arm I thought the series needed.

Anyway, about this page, I'm taking a lot of liberties with the lighting for dramatic effect. I know it's not realistic, but I want to try and capture the... the thing in Disney films where everything turns red when something intense happens. Whatever that's called.

Oh yeah, and instead of uploading the next page of Lost next week, I want to focus on finally making that cover page. It's going to be all-new artwork with a brand new logo for the comic; Lost will also get its own cover, but that one will be easy since there's already a picture that'd make a good cover page for it.

To recap, the comic itself will get a brand new cover, and Lost will get a cover of existing artwork that's modified to be a cover.
BaruAizu
November 15th, 2016
This Is Important So You Should Probably Read It
In case you missed the News post that I made earlier this week, I've been dealing with some major computer problems lately, the issue being that I've been stuck in a loop of BSoDs which rendered the computer unusable. Not only that, but I've also been sick with an upper respiratory infection and can't really do much of anything without coughing like crazy. I'm happy to say that both situations are slowly but surely improving.

I've been taking a prescribed medication for the infection this past week in order to treat it, and I think it's finally starting to work. The coughing is at its worst at night when I'm trying to sleep, and drawing doesn't involve much moving around so I don't see it as a major hindrance. It was the computer problems that were affecting the comic more, but I've also been looking into solutions for that.

Turns out the source of every problem I've had with my computer up to this point was a faulty WD hard drive, which was where I'd keep all of my programs and work saved due to my main hard drive being too small to hold it all (don't worry, I have backups of all of the recent comic pages).

By simply removing the WD hard drive, my computer's back up and running, but now I have very limited memory to work with so it's far from ideal. Even with this page, Photoshop had to use an Ultrabook external hard drive as a scratch disk, but unlike the WD hard drive, it's only meant for storage so it got pretty laggy. I decided to buy a new hard drive for my C drive so it will have much more storage space, which will bump up my computer's main storage from 250 GB to 1 TB. Translation: memory won't be an issue for a while.

In the meantime, I'll also be looking for a replacement WD drive since I want to have as much storage and power in my computer's system as possible, but for right now I'm just looking to increase the capabilities of its most important hard drive. It's supposed to arrive on Friday, so I'll be looking for it then.