Dear Dad
May 20, 2010 9:25 PM   Subscribe

Letters to an Absent Father is a wonderful and touching comic strip that "takes place from the perspective of Ash Ketchum as he writes a letter to the father that he never met".

The comic is by Mare Odomo, who has a lot of other interesting illustration, design, and comic work on his website, which is definitely worth a look.

I linked to the 4cr page because they already did such an excellent job of writing up the comic, and because they thoughtfully put all the available comics all on one page. However, I'd also recommend going to Odomo's flickr page, not only to see the comics in larger sizes (and for the delightful numbering system), but also to read the interesting notes he adds to each comic. The notes hint at what the comic is drawing upon from the author's own life, which I think is what's able to give these simple comics so much power.

Bonus unrelated but Pokemon-related story, because while it's not enough for a post by itself, it's a good story definitely worth reading.
posted by wander (21 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
So gorgeously melancholic. Reminds me of Little Batman (especially this one.)

They are letters to his dad who is never around. I haven’t decided whether or not he actually sends them or if he just keeps them in his backpack and carries them with him wherever he goes.
Heart? Broken.
posted by griphus at 9:45 PM on May 20, 2010

Very nice.
posted by aesacus at 9:54 PM on May 20, 2010

Ash Ketchum? Didn't he marry Demi Moore?
posted by grubi at 10:06 PM on May 20, 2010 [2 favorites]

I've been in love with these since I first saw them. They're so awesomely heartbreaking.
posted by azarbayejani at 10:27 PM on May 20, 2010

Oh wow, these are sad and awesome.
posted by Nattie at 10:28 PM on May 20, 2010

Before I clicked the link, I was hoping that Ash Ketchum might be the real-life son of Hank Ketchum, creator of Dennis the Menace.
posted by Ratio at 10:56 PM on May 20, 2010 [1 favorite]

On the subject of fathers I like this track.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:59 PM on May 20, 2010

Are they supposed to be sad? I thought they were hilariously tragic.
posted by clockzero at 11:00 PM on May 20, 2010

These are great! It's refreshing to see a subtle and not-loud take on Pokemon.

I never thought about the fact that you always have one perky mom and no dad in those games. However, Metroid Baby did point out to me that the educational system in the Pokémon nation saves a lot of taxpayer money on school funding by handing Turtwigs (subsidized by vouchers?) to five-year-olds and telling them to go walk the earth looking for fights, so I'm aware that it's a society that is bound to have its troubles.
posted by ignignokt at 5:09 AM on May 21, 2010

FWIW, just fwded to my 23 year old daughter that I didnt know I had. We met once.
posted by timsteil at 5:09 AM on May 21, 2010

These are great! I wish there were more!
posted by Greg Nog at 5:10 AM on May 21, 2010

If you want a "loud" take on Pokemon, though: Busted-up Pokemon.
posted by ignignokt at 5:10 AM on May 21, 2010

A Softer PokeWorld
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 6:15 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Man, that butterfree episode had a 10-year-old me in hysterics.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:16 AM on May 21, 2010

Some of these could also apply to the absent father in EarthBound.
posted by Servo5678 at 9:28 AM on May 21, 2010

These were nice, thanks for sharing! My favorite Pokemon stories are here and here.
posted by xedrik at 10:03 AM on May 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

Brilliant. Did they ever do a episode that referenced Ash's father in any way?
posted by Lokisbane at 3:27 PM on May 21, 2010

Jeez, that made me cry. My kids still have sentimental pokemon love, and the same kind of father Ash is writing to ... I don't know whether to show them this link or not. Sweet & sad for sure =(
posted by headnsouth at 5:56 PM on May 21, 2010

These comics make me think of the story in this recent-ish AskMe. Maybe they're connected, and there's a Blastoise named Ash somewhere, waiting to return home.
posted by Metroid Baby at 6:53 PM on May 21, 2010

timsteil: FWIW, just fwded to my 23 year old daughter that I didnt know I had. We met once.

Wow. I have no idea what the backstory of your situation is, but those two sentences set off a spark of curiosity and a whole world of questions from me... I'm curious about how the situation came about, what meeting her was like, I'm curious as to how she reacted to reading the comics, if she even responded at all... but your relationship with her is about as personal as it gets, so I don't expect you to share the details with the internet.

I don't know if you'll even come back and read this comment, but I do want to say that I sincerely hope everything works out well between you two.

Greg Nog: These are great! I wish there were more!

It doesn't seem like he's completely stopped making these yet (he uploaded the most recent one this week), so there might be more eventually?

clockzero: Are they supposed to be sad? I thought they were hilariously tragic.

Yeah, I liked these comics so much because they manage to poke fun at an admittedly bizarre world, yet they also have real heart to them and manage to say something true. They just work on a lot of levels, and can be read as humorous, heartbreaking, or both at the same time. It's funny because I'm not even sure if the comics would work any other way, without the Pokemon aspect they just wouldn't be the same, or wouldn't work nearly as well.

The Softer World comparisons have been made both here and at the 4cr page, and I agree with those, but I think that's a good way to illustrate the differences, too. I like A Softer World, but every once in a while those comics can feel lacking in depth or overly dramatic, because you don't know enough about the characters that are talking to connect to. With these, there is an entire built-in mythology, and even if you only have a passing knowledge about the characters, it's still enough to really give the comic grounding in something bigger, without having to do it in the comic itself.

It really is one of the most impressive uses I've seen of taking an existing universe to create something new.

ignignokt- I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your comment and if I wasn't so tired would try to add some joke going off of it but right now can't seem to come up with anything mumble mumble...

xedrik- yeah, those are great. I had read that first story before, but never read the great follow-up. Thanks for sharing.

Metroid Baby- That story captures a similar mood to the comics, for sure. Also, I forgot about that Animal Crossing comic! (although it was a downer reading that comment that somewhat negated the story...)
posted by wander at 10:08 PM on May 21, 2010

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