Curtain call

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“The Runes and the Queen” by Brave Tomato

There are going to be points in life where you must make a very hard decision. And I don’t mean decisions like what to eat at a restaurant or, I don’t know, what to wear. Those are things that you simply do and forget about in a month or two.

And then there are the tougher decisions that will affect the rest of your life. Where to go, what to do, what do you want to do with your life—those are the hardest decisions that people will come across, and there must be a time where you’re ready to face it head-on.

So with that said, I’ve decided that, after six years, it’s my time to resign from the Poptropica Help Blog.

It wasn’t easy, but I do have a motivation as to why I’m resigning. Well, you probably noticed that I haven’t posted on here since Greek Sea Odyssey was announced (ironic, huh?). Over time, I realized that I wasn’t the same girl as I was six years ago. My interest in blogging started to fade away. When I first joined the PHB, I’d just started high school, and now here I am, approaching my third year of community college. I have a lot of other projects ahead of me now, and it feels time to step aside for another person, a person like the one I was six years ago, to enjoy what I had.

But don’t get me wrong—I’m not leaving the fandom. I’ll still make videos for my YouTube channel; I’ll still create things for people to enjoy. Poptropica as a game is still dear to me, and I will continue to follow its progress with Poptropica Worlds. Also, I’ve made several close friendships that I cherish deep in my heart. I’ll still be around; I won’t let myself fade away that easily 😊.  However, I really do feel like this is the perfect time for me to leave the PHB.

I could never be more grateful for the opportunity to be here in the first place. So, I want to say thank you. Thank you, past and present PHB authors, for working alongside me and being supportive on the journey. Thank you, Slanted Fish, for seeing something in that 14-year-old me; for bringing her over to the PHB.

Thank you to the Creators, old and new, for all the things you do for the game, with a special personal thank you to Jessica Devine (for being such an amazing community manager in the past), Mitch Krpata (for going out of his way to give me a shout-out in one of his Poptropica video walkthroughs), and Ashley Lange (for that drawing of the PHB crew she made a few years ago).

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PHB team drawn by (Dr.) Ashley Lange, Poptropica Creator (2014)

Thank you to all my friends I’ve made through this fandom over the years, for being listening ears and sharers of happy memories. And thank you, the audience, for being a part of the show. Winning the Poppie award for “Best PHB Author” really meant a lot to me, and I’m so glad that you saw something in my contributions over the years. So thank you ever so much for that.

And now the show, for me, has to end. The curtain call must be made; I’ll stand and take a bow one last time. Remember the good times we experienced during the performance. The decision to end it was inevitable, and the time has finally come. Here’s to the show going on for the PHB, here’s to everything that brought us together, and here’s to the next chapter of what’s to come.

With love,

Brave Tomato ⭐️

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New Pop Worlds Adventure Trailer! — A storm is coming…

Hey guys, my name is Brave Tomato, and I have arisen from the dead yet again to bring you some very exciting news: for the first time in 4 months (7 months if you’re counting solely full islands), a new adventure on Poptropica Worlds is ahead of us.

Guess what, everyone? As the title says: a storm is coming. The trailer for this new adventure had just dropped, so Poptropicans all around the world, brace yourselves, for Greek Sea Odyssey.

Now, from all two of the preview images that we had gotten so far, we knew that a form of Mythology Island was coming, but it was up in the air as to what form it would be in. The trailer, and its YouTube description, seems to imply that this is an entirely new storyline to possibly conclude Zeus’s now three-island arc. Then again, I could be wrong on that assumption. Speaking of the description, here it is!

Set sail on the newest adventure in Poptropica Worlds: Greek Sea Odyssey! Travel through Ancient Greece and beyond in search of the items that will allow you to topple Zeus once and for all!

If I have to guess how this island is going to go beyond “oh no, Zeus is wreaking havoc“, this island seems to be focusing more on a traveling direction, on dare I say, an odyssey. I have a feeling that there will be a series of lands with challenges, each relating to an item that will help in your battle against Zeus. This would likely therefore have somewhat of a Skullduggery Island kind of feel to it, and since one of the most famous stories from Greek Mythology is Homer’s The Odyssey, it would make perfect sense.

Then again, this could also be simply a fresh coat of paint on the story we already know from Mythology Island. Only time will tell on which direction this will go.

As a side note, Zeus has gotten a bit of a design revamp. Alongside his new wardrobe, he’s also looking more disheveled than before:

Whether this is a simple redesigning choice or this appearance was a consequence of being locked up in a sleep chamber for 5 years, this… will take some getting used to for me.

There’s no release date yet, so the most we can do is sit back and see what happens! I know that I’m excited—after all, Mythology Island was my favorite Island.

Where do you think this will go? Are you excited to finally get something out of the Creators? What about dealing with Zeus… yet again? Make sure to keep posted to the Poptropica Help Blog for more updates, and don’t be afraid to comment!

BT out!

Book Review: Poptropica’s “The Lost Expedition”

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Hey guys, my name is Brave Tomato, and I’m here with a very special post. So in mid-August of last year, the second Poptropica graphic novel, The Lost Expedition, was released out to the world. You can pick up the book on Amazon.

Although a review has been a long time in coming, now that book 3 is out, it seems a good a time as any to share thoughts on book 2 – so here we go!

Warning: This post contains spoilers.

The Story

The Lost Expedition starts off where Mystery of the Map left off with our trio of Mya, Oliver, and Jorge trying to find their way home. After discovering that the map can’t take them straight home, they end up hopping from island to island, trying to find hints that could get them somewhere as well as stock up on food supplies to survive the journey. Among the islands that they visit at first was one populated by the Greek Amazons, and one revolving around William Shakespeare in London. Each island is set to a specific location and time period, it seems.

Meanwhile, Octavian had escaped the clutches of Viking imprisonment and is after the kids once again for the map. However, this time around, Octavian is not the only person the kids have to worry about – on each island, there is one inhabitant that has a sun tattoo on their wrist. These inhabitants are actually spies for a secret society, and they are bent on getting the kids out of the islands by any means necessary.

The main plot kicks in when the kids end up on a barren glacial wasteland as they end up coming across the failed voyage of the HMS Terror (which was an actual failed voyage that occurred in 1813, a thanks to Tall Cactus for telling me). Stuck on this island with nowhere to go – and with no idea who to trust, will the kids pull through it all?

Now, let me tell you, this is a very different type of book than Mystery of the Map was, and I’ll say that it was really well-crafted. This tone here is a tad more serious with heart-warming moments mixed in with plenty of jokes along the way. There is also a tad bit of suspense, considering you never know what the kids are going to run into next. I enjoyed the story of this book more than the first installment, since we’re not stuck in one island the whole time.

Although the main plot on the HMS Terror island doesn’t kick in until page 30, the opening does a good job establishing what the world of Poptropica in this context is like. It’s clear that each island revolves around a specific era and location, whether it would be Anatolia at 479 BC or the Globe Theatre at AD 1602. This becomes a major point for what Octavian is up to, which I’ll touch on later on. There were also aspects introduced during this part, such as the connection with the tattoos being discovered and establishing how the kids got food and winter clothes that will be put to future use.

As for the rest of the story that does feature the HMS Terror, it does a good job in establishing the topic of the novel: the value of leadership. I’ll go into more detail on that once I reach the Characters portion of the review since it is a very character-centric topic. The journey and developments within the story are very engaging, and you’re anticipating what’s coming next. Although there might be points where the plot may be predictable, the story acts as a stepping stone to what we can expect for what’s coming next.

The Presentation

Kory Merritt is back at it again with the illustrations, and there are plenty of highlights within the presentation of the novel. The best illustrations come out of the large structures that were featured in the story. From the Globe Theatre to the abandoned ship itself and the Parthenon at Anatolia, these were spectacles to look at.

The character designs were also visually interesting – I really liked how over the progress of both series, Octavian’s hair and outfit grew to be more disheveled as he met with failure after failure.  The new character designs were also cool to look at, from the Amazonian women of Anatolia, to the inhabitants at the Globe Theatre, to the crew of the HMS Terror.

Now for the action scenes – the best one has to be a scene at the Globe Theatre island when the kids are being pursued by both Octavian and that island’s Secret Society member on the rooftops. The leaps, the views from the chase, were all very cool to see, and it’s a nice change from the standard running on the ground moments. There were also appearances by this polar bear that also did a good job showing the suspense of the situation the characters.

The rest of the scenery is decent (there was not much to say about the glacial island since it’s just plain white snowy flatlands) with the exception of the mountain and the ship. All in all, the art style had more of a chance to shine here, since we get to see more than one place.

The Characters

The characters in The Lost Expedition reflect the topic of the novel, the value of leadership. And there is no character that emulates this topic more than Mya.

Mya is establishing herself to be the most primary out of the three protagonist kids of the series and she’s one of the strongest out of the cast. Over the course of the story, it is clear that she is the one that will develop the most out of the protagonists. After all, remember that she did have to step up as a leader since she’s not only one of the smarter out of the group, but she’s also the oldest – based on the knowledge that she is Oliver’s older sister and that Jorge is the same grade as Oliver. Overall, I felt that Krpata did a really good job with her.

Now let’s talk about the boys, Oliver and Jorge. Starting with Oliver, he’s still showing his establishment as an ego with a heart of gold and great brainpower. His interactions with Mya are really sibling-like, and of course with them being siblings, this works very well for them. They have their arguments, but they show that they do care for each other – in particular, one of the most impacting scenes for me was when the trio get caught in a snow storm and Mya is trying to reassure a scared Oliver.

As for Jorge, he’s had both his stronger and his weaker moments within the book. Sometimes, he talks without a filter and tended to be concerned only for himself – especially when it came to food. Other times, he’s just there for comic relief purposes – while comedy is subjective,  I felt that his comic relief moments were hit-or-miss. However, I won’t deny saying that Jorge’s weak moments are the weakest part of the graphic novel. There were parts where he became quite a lazy pain-in-the-butt.

Then there’s the Secret Society. Throughout their travels, the kids run into a variety of characters, one per island, who each have distinctive sun tattoos on their wrist. When one of them turns to capture the kids, we get an inkling of who they are and what their mission is – but not much. After all, the kids still don’t know what Poptropica is (and honestly, at this point in the tale, neither do we really – it certainly isn’t quite the Poptropica we know).

As for Octavian… hoo boy, howdy, we learn quite a bit more about Octavian in here than in the previous book. Not only is he still on constant pursuit of the kids. Not only is he getting more disheveled as the book goes along. Not only is he still clever and active as all heck. We also learn about his connection to the secret society, and the fact that he was a former member of it. Upon retrieving the map, he looks down upon it and grins that he’s coming home… to Pompeii at the year of Mount Vesuvius’s eruption.

I had a feeling that Octavian was in the same society as “Embed” (whose actual name is Nils), but his name foreshadowed that he was originally the Secret Society member for AD 79 Pompeii. He’s certainly up to something… and it may get personal!

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Conclusion: 4/5 brave tomatoes

Overall, The Lost Expedition makes its mark as a continuation of the adventure that began with Mystery of the Map (not only the first Poptropica graphic novel in the series, but also an island you can play!). We’re taken through several interesting locations, meet lots of distinctive (and some mysterious) characters, all while being able to stay amused by the antics of our three protagonists – some more obnoxious than others!

While we continue to delve into what the world of Poptropica really is all about, The Lost Expedition certainly leaves some questions unanswered – but after all, that’s what a good book does. You’ll definitely want to pick up book 3, The Secret Society, after this read, and let the journey continue…

–Brave Tomato

EDIT: The author, Mitch Krpata, has left a comment on this review regarding the analysis of Mya! Here’s what he had to say:

This means a lot, BT! Mya was closest to my heart in writing this book. At its core I really wanted the story to be about Mya accepting the responsibility of leading the group, and it’s gratifying to see that it came through.

The Secret Society focuses a little more on Oliver, and his conflict about what leadership to follow. I hope you like that one, too.

How awesome is that??? 😀

Super sketches, snowy spring, and bingo games

Hey guys, my name is Brave Tomato, and I’m here with good Poptropica stuff for you all today!

To start, as we know, Super Power is one of the two Islands of the Month for the month of March. And since that is the case, we get to see behind the scenes sketches from the production of that Island! Although we have seen some of these sketches before, there are some new ones in the mix. Check them out below (click to enlarge images):

Interestingly enough, according to the Creator’s Blog post, these are sketches are from a Poptropica artist named Lance. Well, there’s one Creator that we know of that has that name: Lance Fry! Even though it’s kinda hard not to stop chuckling at Crusher’s over-sized arms and chest, these sketches do give quite the insight on Poptropica’s development in 2008.

In other news, over here in the East Coast of the US, nature decided that the definition of “almost spring” weather is not sunshine and decent temperatures – instead we’re getting snow! Skinny Moon lamented this over on Snapchat, yet at the same time, has hyped up the new Movie Theater on Home Island. What will come of it? We’ll just have to wait and see…

Finally, just for fun, Skinny Moon also posted a bingo game on Poptropica’s various social media channels! Check it out below:

Bingo

Within the bingo cards are not only in-game/multitasking parts, but also community-related activities, like “hang out in a Poptropica Discord chat”!

Does anybody have a bingo? Or two? Did anybody black out the board? Let us know! Plus, share your bingo board with Poptropica and they’ll feature it on social media!

BT out! 

The End of Dye-me

Hey guys, my name is Brave Tomato, and I have some interesting stuff to share with you all today! Be warned: Spoilers for an upcoming book ahead.

The fourth Poptropica graphic novel, The End of Time, now has a cover and synopsis, as seen on its Amazon page! Check out this whirlwind of a cover:

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And behold the synopsis (there does seem to be a spoiler-y tidbit for the end of the third graphic novel, however, so tread carefully):

Following the epic penultimate conclusion of The Secret Society, Oliver, Mya, and Jorge find themselves at an impasse: The Protectors’ headquarters lie in ruins; the nefarious Octavian is nowhere to be found; and they have no idea how their tampering with the timeline of Poptropica might affect history. As our heroes band together to save the mysterious, uncharted island world and find a way home, they are reminded of crucial events from their pasts—including how they were transported to Poptropica in the first place. The trio suddenly finds itself in the heart of Poptropica, where the Protectors discover the nexus of all time and are offered the opportunity to see what their lives would be like if they could change just one thing from their pasts. But will they choose to go down these alternate paths? Filled with heart and humor, this is the breathtaking finale Poptropica fans have been waiting for.

There’s a lot to take away from this synopsis. Yes, it does seem that the fourth graphic novel, as mentioned in Mitch Krpata’s interview from way back when, will be the finale of the Poptropica graphic novel series. (At least for the foreseeable future.)

Secondly… well, it seems like there’s going to be some intriguing stuff in the finale: changing fates, a ruined society, impasses… seems like everything’s all coming to a head here, ye who are fans of the graphic novel series! Don’t forget, the fourth (and final) book will come out September 12!

As for Book 3, that’s coming up sooner: it will be out in bookstores and will start shipping (if you pre-ordered) on April 11, a little under a month away.

Book 3 spoilers ahead: The Amazon listing for Book 3, The Secret Society, now contains a couple of spreads from inside the book: pages 50-51 and 74-75 respectively (oddly enough right smack in the middle of the story). You can check them out below if you’re interested, or shield your eyes away if you don’t want to see it just yet!

Anyway, what’s your first impression on The End of Time? How are you feeling about The Secret Society? If you’re a fan of the graphic novel series, are you excited? Share your thoughts in the comments!

In other (less exciting) news, a new how-to video was recently posted on the Poptropica Creators’ YouTube channel, demonstrating how to change your Poptropican’s hair color on 24 Carrot Island. Although you may already know how to do so, here’s the video in case you either don’t know or just want to see it!

Nice Bruno Mars reference to start off the video, by the way. 😉 🥕 It was pretty inevitable.

BT out!