Creators' Blog Guest Posts

Interview with Smart Bubbles from the Poptropica Creators 🎤🧼

Hello! Welcome to the next part of our series with the Pop Creators interviewing members of the PHB team. This time, get to know MaryannTheConqueror, aka Smart Bubbles!

1. How were you first introduced to Poptropica?

Like most older players, Funbrain is where it started for me. It was the main website Pop was advertised on, and I remember seeing it all the time there. I used to spend a lot of time on Funbrain as well!

2. Who do you think is the most underrated character? Overrated?

Underrated – Probably Fiona from Ghost Story. Ghost Story had by far one of the best storylines in Poptropica and I miss it dearly, and she’s one I don’t see much of except for some fanart every blue moon.

I’m also going to quickly mention Binary Bard because — wait, wait, hear me out — the guy has a lot of fans, I’m aware. However, I’ll consider him underrated until his island is back and he has his own book series.

Overrated – Poor Dr. Hare’s getting a lot of flack this time, isn’t he? Ah well. He’s a pretty easy answer and to be fair, I do feel that for the main mascot of Pop, he’s definitely one of the simpler characters (but don’t take this too seriously as you will soon find how VERY biased I am).

3. What are your favorite scenes, aesthetically and to play through?

I remember I used to go to the background of Poptropica Realms — when you exited out of a specific realm and just stared at all the mini worlds in bubbles — and listen to the ambience. The music and calm there was very sweet, and it was one of those rare times when you open a game but don’t really play it, instead just stopping to enjoy the scene.

4. From your perspective, how have you seen the Poptropica Help Blog (PHB) and community change over time?

I’m one of the newest authors on the PHB, and while I had only posted a little bit before joining, I’ve actually lurked in this community since 2015! I read so many blogs, discovering any fan theories or creations that I could. At the time, I was pretty anxious about joining in the fandom, but I think I still got a decent view of what it was like.

I do feel the community is far less active recently. It’s sad to see the fan blogs slow down, but things have been a little slow. I remember enjoying many series from the PHB as well, including their seasonal magazine that has since retired, The POPCORN!

“The Boy Nobody Wanted” by MaryannTheConqueror (Smart Bubbles)

5. How has your PHB career surprised you?

I think people can have different reasons for any creative arts, including storytelling. For some, they just want to do something they enjoy and express themselves. While I feel that too, I’m also passionate about bringing emotions and inspiration to others.

I’ve been writing a concept script for a Poptropica TV series called “The Villain Saga” for a while now, which you can read on the PHB. It’s very much just for fun, but it brought me so much joy when I saw other Pop fans writing their own stories in a similar format!

6. What inspires you?

Nature is a massive thing for me. I love being in green forests, which is kind of hard as someone who lives in a desert! Music is also a huge source of inspiration for me — I tend to create things based more on emotions than general ideas, hence why I can have a futuristic comic inspired by a horror musical.

I’ve also been developing an interest in studying cultures around the world. I’m especially passionate about Japan and hope to travel there someday! Who knows, maybe I can even make some Poptropica stuff while I’m there… ;>

Arch Enemies: Bridge over troubled water.

7. What does the Pop community mean to you?

It’s a lot of fun to just be able to geek out about characters and nostalgia that just aren’t known or discussed outside of this community. I can create things and get feedback or practice ideas through fan creations, which in turn helps me improve my personal work.

8. How have your experiences with the community and Poptropica influenced you IRL? 

I have to say my work outside of Pop hasn’t changed much before and after. I was an artist and writer before, and I still am. I was involved in the Pop community a bit before being invited to work on the PHB as well. That all being said, I find myself becoming more interested in writing articles on subjects I’m steeped in, such as gaming and fandom, and blogging with the PHB has absolutely given me more practice in those departments. And of course, collaborating on and creating projects inspires me even further!

9. Outside of Poptropica and your PHB involvement, what are you passionate about? 

I love all kinds of music (listening, not writing, still haven’t got the hang of that). I hope to learn as many mediums of storytelling as possible, be they comics, animation, or novels. I have a deep love for bittersweet or just downright tragic stories. Astronomy also interests me, and while I don’t think I have the brainpower to study it as a profession, I love learning as many facts as possible!

“Planets of the Past” by MaryannTheConqueror

Favorites

Island: Astro-Knights. Astro-Knights Astro-Knights Astro-Knights. Ghost Story comes in second place though!

Backstory/Lore:

This is going to come as a surprise to absolutely no one who’s read my posts or interacted with me — Mordred’s. I can joke till the end of time about how much of a Bard stan I am, but it’s actually not quite that. The guy’s pretty evil. He’d easily be one of the hardest to redeem.

But I love tragic characters, and I feel like he has quite the foundation to become one. There’s a lot to look into. Why did he start performing cruel experiments and rebelling against the kingdom? Will he continue to replace himself with cybernetic parts over time, and if so, at what point will he truly lose himself? Hehe. Yeah it’s a bit much. But he’s just got such a good base to construct ideas from!

“The Knowledge of the Stars” by MaryannTheConqueror
  • Character: Mordred.
  • Villain: I imagine you’ll never be able to guess.
  • Costume: The Acidic Dinosaur. Nothing will ever beat it.

Funding for this post is provided by Harold Mews’ bank account. If you’d like, you can check out more of my writing and art on the PHB. You can also read this interview on the Pop Creators’ Blog. Pop on!

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles

Monthly Costume Contests, Sneak Peeks, Uncategorized

Halloween Habiliments and Homepage 🎃

(Hey, I used a big word!)

Hello Poptropicans! Following up on the earlier Halloween costume peeks, we’re now bringing you the final four of the six September costume contest winners. Plus, stick around for more October chaos!

For our winners we have: Candle Cat by White Moon, Flowy Man by Happy Chicken, Jellyfish by the PHB’s own Purple Paw, and Zombie Redcoat by Magic Poptropican. Purple Paw tells us their design was submitted many months ago and Poptropica must be digging into their archives — but hey, as long as we’re getting some good ones!

Anyway, congratulations to the winners! Soon others will be wearing your designs across the game.

Perhaps these costumes will give you inspiration or even parts for yours! There’s still plenty of time to enter the PHB’s Halloween costume contest, open till Oct 29. Alas, I wish I could take part, but Smart Bubbles is currently in the middle of a fight with Dr. Hare. 😛

“Zombie Redcoat” seems to share similarities with this revolutionary from PoptropiCon… great minds think alike?

Poptropica is entering fully into spooky season now, and we even have a new background for the login screen! I have to admit, I’m digging those reds… reminds me of Vampire’s Curse Island.

If you’re an artist looking for ideas for your own work, check out Poptober, our daily drawing prompts for the month of October! Even if you’re starting late, it’s okay to go at your own pace, or picking whatever prompts inspire you.

Happy creating!

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles

Fanfiction, PHB Series, The Villain Saga, Uncategorized

“The Villain Saga” – Episode 5, Part 1

(Table of contents) (See previous)

FADE IN.

We open on a wide shot displaying Erewhon Prison. It’s a rare non-stormy day, where bits of sunlight can actually be seen through the fog. The island is in perpetual shadow, but you can just barely tell it’s afternoon.

CUT TO inside the prison, on the first floor near the doors. Only a couple guards are stationed there, one sleeping and the other playing a game of solitaire on a work computer.

The camera heads to the elevator, then speeds up the building. We at last arrive at Floor 13, where a guard is leading DR. HARE into the medical and testing side. The doors to JUPITER’S strange machinery remain closed and locked.

Continue reading ““The Villain Saga” – Episode 5, Part 1″
Social Media, Uncategorized

Poptober 2022: An abundance of art! 🍂🖌

Happy October! It’s finally that time again… doesn’t feel the slightest bit close to fall in my desert, but still the spooky season is near!

Autumn is a major source of inspiration for many creatives, thanks to its beautiful foliage and harvest seasons. Some of you may remember my Poptober drawing challenge from 2020. I’m here to announce an updated one for 2022, still with daily prompts to inspire your art.

Since I’m a little late on this one, we’ll go easy with the first prompt.

There are zero rules to this challenge. Any medium is totally fine, and you can interpret the prompts however you wish. If you’re swamped with projects or short on time, feel free to just do whichever days you’d like, or do a prompt for each week!

Speaking of drawings, maybe you can find some inspiration for your creative endeavors from the latest fan art features from Poptropica’s Instagram stories, at least for fall decorating… 🍁

Also, here’s a throwback to LJ’s Poptober 2020 gallery to inspire everyone in this month of drawing challenges!

“Medusa and her stone victims” by LJ

Castori honorem ~ Maryann/Smart Bubbles

Fanfiction, The Villain Saga, Uncategorized

“The Villain Saga” – Episode 4, Part 3

(Table of contents) (See previous)

CUT TO BARD standing alone in an elevator. A quick look at a camera shows he somehow bent it away from the corner he’s in.

As the elevator descends, time appears to slow a bit. BARD’S face turns more serious and contemplative, as he flexes his robotic hand a couple of times, studying how the joints move and react to his nerve signals. He’s gotten used to seeing it constantly for years, but sometimes he still has to notice the difference from what used to be there.

A plastic cup is spilled on the floor next to him, with soda and ice cubes leaking out. He picks up an ice cube in his left hand, his human hand, and holds it for a moment, feeling the cold. He switches it to his right, and keeps it pinched between his fingers with no discomfort.

BARD

(under his breath)

There are some things I’ve yet to learn to replicate.

Continue reading ““The Villain Saga” – Episode 4, Part 3″