INTERVIEW: Veronica Taylor, Pokemon, And Free Comic Books

Fellow nerds and geeks rejoice; Free Comic Book Day is here! Okay, so it may not be a national holiday but maybe it should be (there is the tiny fact that it also falls on Cinco de Mayo this year). Who doesn’t enjoy free comics? While this might be enough to entice much of the population, Madness Games & Comics in Plano is taking it a step further.

In addition to the free items, they are also allowing you to meet up with some of the talent that shaped your childhood. This year’s celebrity guests include Veronica Taylor, Jim Cummings, Walter Jones, and several others. They will also have a working R2 unit, Assassination City Roller Derby, and a “buy two get one free” sale.

Guest Veronica Taylor has become a familiar face to DFW conventions lately. Veronica is best known for voicing Ash from Pokémon for the first eight years that it aired. She recently took the time to answer a few questions for us ahead of her Free Comic Book Day appearance.

It has been thirteen years since Veronica portrayed Ash yet fans still flock to conventions to see her. However, it is not just the fans that have been impacted by the series and character. You don't have to talk with Veronica long to see that Ash still holds a prominent place in her heart.

When we auditioned, we got to watch a tiny clip of the Japanese version because they wanted the voices to be similar and it really was fantastic. Especially in the early episodes it was just so simple. The colors are so primary and I think that allows for more expression in the animation. I definitely loved it from the first moment I saw it. I was Ash for the first eight years of the show. It was the only show that I’ve really had for an extended period of time. There is something about Ash that is so incredibly universal. I think that when kids watch the show they go on the adventure with Ash; I felt the same when I got to play him. I could just dive into the role and it was great to access all of those emotions even though it is a cartoon. How many cartoons do you know that have such high joys and such low sorrows like letting Butterfree go free or when everyone decides to go on their own way? Those are sad moments. It was a real gift to be able to play him because he is such a well-rounded character and I got to figure out how he would think in a way.

Countless children who grew up in the 90s can remember spending hours at a time playing various Pokémon versions on their Game Boy. The television series quickly followed on the heels of the game’s success. Since then, Pokémon has transcended multiple forms of gaming systems, television media, and generations of fans.

I do think that the series probably started out as just a giant ad for the video games but there is something about Pokémon that they keep it going by coming out with games that people love to play. Pokémon Go has been something for families and people of all ages to get out and play. There are constantly products that bring you back. In regards to the show, basically “the adventure continues”. Kids love learning all of the different types of Pokémon. In the card games you can battle and use your knowledge. People like to relive it as an adult or have their kids watch it with them. I think it is the simplicity of the stories and the fact that there is a depth to it that allows you to engage on different levels.

Throughout the show, Ash has always been portrayed as a 10-year-old boy and to Veronica he will always be that boy. However, in a time of television reboots with aged characters I wanted to get her insight as to what his future may hold. What would this time defying character look like at the age of 31?

Wow, I have never thought about that. All of us have a journey that we are on and it continues regardless of age. There is no way that he would not be on his Pokémon journey. He wouldn’t be traveling the same way he is now with his friends and his backpack. I think by the time he was 31 he would have a house to live in with a gym maybe. I don’t think that his wandering spirit would ever leave him, so I think there would always be some element of travel involved in his life. He certainly learns something every day through the people he meets, Pokémon he catches, and the battles he fights. I could see him in some type of mentoring position where he could help other people just starting off on their journey.

Those who were introduced to the franchise grew up with dreams of catching and owning their own Pokémon. The mythical creatures and their powers have captivated thousands of children throughout the last twenty years. These dreams are no different for the actors who helped bring the show to life.

If I had to choose three [Pokémon] I would take Pikachu because I have to; he is my best friend. I would take Charizard because we could be camping, have a fire, and fly around. I would also probably take Mr. Mime because he could cook for us, clean up, and maybe do the scheduling. Plus he doesn’t talk that much so he would be easy to get along with. I know many well-schooled and talented Pokémon trainers will probably laugh at that and take issue with it. I do have a Pokémon handbook but I don’t have it memorized so I couldn’t tell you which strengths the Pokémon have; I’m not a very good trainer in that sense.

Unfortunately, the franchise is now somewhat bittersweet for Veronica. Pokémon USA took over the shows production back in 2005. With the company’s transition also came a wave of new changes, one that unfortunately left the original voice actors without a job. The show that these actors held so dearly was stripped away without any discussion.

I think the difficult part is that when Pokémon USA took the show they basically fired us all. They just said we don’t need you anymore without giving us a chance to go on with the show. We never were able to say that we were or were not interested; that is the hard part. Certainly, the fact that the show goes on is wonderful and the fact that they continue to develop the characters is also wonderful but the fact that we didn’t have the chance to go on is definitely the most difficult part.

Today, Veronica’s work can be found at almost every turn. She has done voiceovers for video games, audio books, and many animated shows. Veronica is currently working on Nickelodeon’s “Welcome To The Wayne” in addition to voicing Sailor Pluto on “Sailor Moon”. While she has many titles under her name, none have personally resonated more than Pokémon. Regardless of time, she will always be Ash at heart.

If you would like to see Veronica or several other nostalgic actors be sure to take a trip to Madness Games & Comics this Saturday, May 5. The store is located at 3000 Custer Rd #310 in Plano. You can find more information on the event and times at www.madnessgames.com