Graphic Novels, Web Development

Interview with MotM illustrator & bite-sized blogging

Hey Poptropicans! Unless you’ve been living under the proverbial rock for quite some time now, you may have noticed that a Mystery of the Map Island (based on the Poptropica graphic novel) is in the works. Check out Slippery’s post below (and our Daily Pop archive) for more details!

Anyway, the Creators finally decided to post something other than Mystery of the Map pages on their blog: an interview with its illustrator, Kory Merritt! (Btw, you can read the entire volume – even unreleased pages – on our Comics page!) Here it is:

Captain Crawfish: How did you get involved in illustrating Mystery of the Map? 

Kory Merritt: The Poptropica Creators originally hired me to illustrate the Poptropica comic strip. After a little while they asked me to try some graphic novel page samples, which led to me working on “Mystery of the Map” with author Max “Galactic Hot Dogs” Brallier.

CC: What are the challenges of adapting Poptropica’s art style from an online game to a graphic novel? What are the joys? 

KM: Poptropica has a very distinct style. I’m actually an art teacher by day and didn’t have much freelance experience, so working for Poptropica was the first time I had to draw someone else’s characters. It took a little while to get the hang of it – the Poptropica design might seem simple at times, but there are little details that can make or break the characters. Fortunately, the Poptropica Creators were very patient and helped guide me along. I’m pretty happy with the results, for I think the illustrations resemble the standard Poptropican model, but at the same time have a hand-drawn, comic-type feel.

CC: What’s your process for illustrating the book?

KM: I’m old-fashioned enough to still use pen and paper for the most part, but for “Mystery of the Map” I also used digital color and made corrections in Photoshop.

CC: Who’s your favorite MotM character to draw?

KM: The Vikings! It’s fun to draw angry faces.

CC: What other projects have you worked on that Poptropicans might like to know about?

KM: I draw some of my own stories, mostly just for fun. One of them is on FunBrain, and some are on It seems I will also have my own illustrated book coming out later this year, published by Andrews McMeel.

CC: So as you know, I’m a Crawfish. Anyway, I know it can be difficult to resist my succulent flavor, but thank you so much for not nomming on me during this interview. It’s been great talking with you––

KM: Who said anything about not nomming you?? I was just waiting for the right moment to sink my teeth! (leans closer and pulls out a fork and knife) Mmmm….

Okay, that last part may or may not have actually happened… hehehe. >:D


We also have some other news regarding the future of the PHB…

Twitter timeline: bite-sized blogging

You may have noticed the Twitter timeline we recently added to the sidebar. For a while now, Poptropica has been using Twitter as a means to get out a lot of bite-sized extras: Popstorms, unreliable release dates, Remarkable Realms, and so on.

It’s difficult for us blog authors to keep up with all of this on this site, so if it is something trivial, we will simply retweet it instead of blogging about it. If you don’t use Twitter, you’ll still be able to see the retweets on the timeline in the sidebar, and if you do use Twitter, give us a follow! 🙂

This gives us more time and energy to focus on creating other posts: bigger news (like island releases), theories, reviews, etc. We may not always post about every ad (unless it’s a big one) on the blog, but we’ll still keep you posted on smaller updates via the Twitter timeline.

Poptropica Help Network changes

With our recent merge with the Poptropica Wiki, we are excited to bring you an ongoing community project where we would like to document all the items, characters, scenes, etc. on Poptropica. If you’ve ever wanted to be a PHB author, well, this is the next best thing, as you’d be working on a project of ours alongside other Poptropicans. Anyone is able to edit, and we welcome you to join us in reading and maintaining this large database: there’s lots to be done!

key ingredient wikiWe’re also considering changing our web url/name for a few reasons to unify all the sites in our network (blog, wiki, chat, twitter, forum, etc). The name we want to go with is Poptropedia, and here’s the reasoning behind it:

  • It combines “Poptropica” and “encyclopedia”: the wiki is like an encyclopedia, and plus, the title of “Help Blog” doesn’t fully define what’s on the PHB – it has much more than a blog, and all those extras (guides and whatnot) are like pages of an encyclopedia. A knowledgebase.
  • “Poptropica Help Network” fits the PHB’s url –, but the name is long, and a .com tends to be more memorable. At this time, we own the alternative domain as well.
  • Possible con: It has no abbreviation. However, this will probably be less confusing in the long run. Poptropica Help Network can be shortened to PHN, but when we tried using the PHN in the past, it never really caught on as the focus was always on the blog (“PHB”). But if we’re combining blog and wiki (and more) under a name that fits all, it’ll be easier to remember this way. When people say Poptropedia, they’ll mean what is now the PHB, and the wiki is an extension of it where we allow people to edit/maintain an ongoing database of info.
  • Link changes: If the blog (well, WordPress site) changes its url (unfortunately Wikia doesn’t usually allow custom domains), will still redirect to (what is currently) the PHB to minimize confusion. Wiki will hold trivia, which anyone can edit, while guides and trivia can still be found here.
  • Wiki editors (or will-be-editors: as mentioned above, everyone is welcome to help!) – this means more emphasis on a project you can be a part of. We also have a forum on the wiki, so if you’d like to join a Poptropica forum, that’s all the more reason to sign up for an account on the wiki.

To summarize: less confusion, more unity, looks cleaner. 🙂

It’s understandably a big change, and will take some getting used to. There’s a poll on the sidebar where you can cast your vote, so let us know what you think! Thanks for reading. 😉

10 thoughts on “Interview with MotM illustrator & bite-sized blogging”

  1. (In my opinion) Please don’t change the URL name. 😦 I really like it ”PHB”,alteast for me, is really something unique yet cool at the same time. Yeah,it true ,it’s hard getting used to a big new change. But I really like the URL as it is. 😦 But still might be others have different opinions. But for me the current one is still the best. Better than ”PCB” (Sorry captain crawfish and other creators. XD )

    1. I respect your opinion, but I feel like “PHB (Poptropica Help Blog)” doesn’t fully capture what we are – we have much more than just a blog. Another idea could be to keep calling the blog aspect of it the PHB, but recognize it as part of a wider site/network (Poptropedia). Anyway, thanks for sharing. 😉


      well, until next time,alphaon out, omegon in!

  2. Why would you change it? I mean, I respect your ideas, but think about this:
    You are POPTROPICA HELP. Whether it’s a blog, twitter account, videos, etc.
    I like the name, Poptropica Help, personally. Would you have to change your email, Twitter, and YouTube channel as well?

    1. Because of the reasons listed above – I don’t mind “Poptropica Help” (we could even be pH, like chemistry 😉 ), but it’s kind of long, especially when you add another word (blog, network). Yes, we might adjust the names of those features as well, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find us.

      1. Sorry i didnt fully understood it… Now i understand nevermind my comment.

    1. The wiki is an ongoing project, so there’s always something to do on it (and you’re more than welcome to help!). You can call it the Poptropica Wiki, or (possibly) Poptropedia’s [item/character/etc] database. 🙂

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