In the shadow of the Jigglypuff artist
Written by Áine Cain|
November 22, 2013
A pink, cuddly menace has infested the College of William and Mary. It lurks in your bedroom, lulling you to sleep. It is disguised as a friend, greeting you before peeling away its false flesh. It is the empire. It is watching.
It is Jigglypuff, as depicted by a new anonymous artist on campus.
A series of humorously disturbing cartoons, known collectively as “Jigglypuff is an Asshole,” debuted on the Overheard at William and Mary Facebook group Oct. 24. Students began discovering and submitting the drawings, which feature an ill-mannered Jigglypuff Pokemon committing all sorts of atrocities.
In a late-night email correspondence, the secretive artist addressed speculation about the choice of Pokemon.
“Jigglypuff embodies all that is sweet and joyous, so there really was no better choice to use for a clan of cold-blooded killers,” the artist said in an email. “I’d have to say Jigglypuff is quickly becoming my favorite Pokemon as well, though my blood curdles when I see it.”
Many of these comic strips include a bewildered human character named Phil, who is apparently being stalked by the homicidal pink puffs. Scenarios range from Jigglypuffs attacking the General Assembly of the United Nations to the creatures undergoing uncontrollable mitosis and overrunning the College.
The artwork is the fruition of the artist’s long-buried imaginings.
“For many a long year, the image of warriors clad in pink has been lingering in my subconscious,” the artist said in an email. “It was not until recently, however, that I found the willpower to attempt to put these ferocious fluffs onto the page for all to see. Their conception was beautiful to me, and many tears were shed … much to the dismay of my concerned peers.”
The artwork has acquired a sizable following — with numerous students liking and commenting on the work on Overheard. Additionally, one cartoon was uploaded to the site 9gag, labeled as “Someone at my school taped this to the wall of my dorm.” The post achieved 2,850 shares and attracted many commenters expressing their bewilderment, fear and amusement.
Overheard poster Sarah Grady ’17 was instantly charmed by the comic’s sense of humor. Her opinion of the Jigglypuff character hasn’t been altered too much — canonically, the Pokemon was known to lull people to sleep in order to draw goatees on their faces.
“I think the appeal of ‘Jigglypuff is an Asshole’ is the juxtaposition of a cute and cuddly Pokemon with mean and rude behaviors,” Grady said in an email. “This comic also appeals to the vulgar, and violent humor that our generation enjoys so much. It kind of reminds me of the Sour Patch Kids commercials … except there’s no reconciliation for the bad deed.”
This may change soon enough. A cartoon challenger has apparently arisen — a drawing of a civilized Pikachu chastising Jigglypuff for its violent tendencies appeared on the “Jigglypuff is an Asshole” Tumblr blog by Jake Wilson ’16. This one-time Overheard onlooker has found himself drawn into the shadowy grasp of the Jigglypuff artist.
“Somebody started drawing these and people took pictures and put them on Overheard,” Wilson said. “Eventually, I thought it’d be fun to collect them all. Somebody messaged me through Facebook saying, ‘I know the artist. They don’t want their identity revealed, but I can send you some of their stuff.’”
Wilson has even received a personalized sticky note drawing from the artist informing him that he is being monitored by the Jigglypuffs. He dismisses the accusation that he is the Jigglypuff artist and thanks the anonymous illustrator for his humorous work. So far, despite his close correspondence with the artist, he is not afraid for his life.
“If I were to actually see a Jigglypuff, I would barricade myself in my dorm room,” Wilson said. “I would assume someone had it out for me. I would assume there was a secret Jigglypuff society assassinating people. I don’t know if the intermediary is the artist. I don’t know what’s even going on. Beware, there are Jigglypuffs walking around in people suits.”
Overheard commenter Kristen Ekstrom ’17 believes that the artwork arose out of sheer boredom and a secret wish for world domination. She didn’t know what a Jigglypuff was until encountering one of the drawings.
“Honestly I think people are just so bewildered by the idea of cute little musical creatures murdering people and taking over the world that they find it funny and interesting,” Ekstrom said in an email. “The empire will rise.”
Carlyn Hoffman ’15 defends the often graphic content of the artwork and applauds the artist’s sense of humor. A self-described Pokemon fan, she finds the concept of an evil Jigglypuff particularly hilarious.
“The posts have 500 likes, so clearly 500 people have the same sense of humor as he does,” Hoffman said. “He’s no more disturbed than any of his followers.”
Alarming content aside, artistry is a crucial component of the artist’s method. The artist claims to have emerged “out of the womb clutching a pencil and a sketchbook,” and his artistic development was furthered by childhood drawing competitions with friends. He draws in order to express bizarre ideas without judgment.
“In the time it took me to draw all those Jigglypuffs in the last panel, I could’ve watched the sun rise in the east and set in the west,” the artist said.
He believes that students enjoy the art because it connects with their “hidden inner madness.” He says that he will keep drawing until he runs out of ideas, as it warms his heart to bring reluctant smiles to people’s days.
“What could be more entertaining than the concept that my most recognized accomplishment thus far at this college involves deranged little animated creampuffs?”
A few companions know of his secret activities, but he is wary of sharing too much information. He has been accosted to draw Jigglypuffs on sticky notes and hands.
Nov. 14, the artist left the above cartoon in a secret location for the Flat Hat staff to find, following a cryptic email exchange. Students can look forward to more cartoons being published in the pages of the newspaper in the future.
“Dear Campus: There is more coming,” the artist said in an email. “You will be lulled into a false sense of security, and then they will return.”