The Pokémon of Literature

Eight classic works of literature that could totally be names of Pokémon (and what those Pokémon might look like).

There are over 650 kinds of Pokémon in the Pokéverse. Some are adorable and cuddly, such as the chinchilla-like Pikachu or the fox-ish Eevee, while others are absolutely horrifying, like Duskull, who loves the crying of children, and Cubone, who wears the skull of its mother. And most Pokémon have names that are just as clever as their absurd backstories and powers.

I spent some time flipping through my library the other day, and was surprised to find a number of classic books that could potentially be Pokémon names. I found myself wondering what they would look, and what their powers might be. I teamed up with Philly comic illustrator Dustin Johnson to find out.


pokemon01_herzog

HERZOG by Saul Bellow

When summoned, Herzog plans its attacks in its mind, but never really acts them out. Sadly it’s a troubled Pokémon, who won’t be able to evolve and become useful until it comes to terms with its place in life, usually by reconnecting to Pokémon it has been distant with.

pokemon02_tartouffe

TARTUFFE by Moliere

The Tartuffe is a deceptive Pokémon. It appears sweet and kind, but in reality, is a master of trickery. It evolves into a Tartough, but later you discover it hasn’t evolved at all.

pokemon03_pygmalion

PYGMALION by George Bernard Shaw

When the Pygmalion attacks, it speaks in an impeccable British accent and gives the opposing Pokémon diction lessons.

pokemon04_steppenwolf

STEPPENWOLF by Herman Hesse

A rare Pokémon who suffers from a spiritual crisis, the Steppenwolf can often be found sulking in nature, and wandering without a proper home. If captured, it’s important to nurture your Steppenwolf, as it’s a very depressed, often suicidal Pokémon. The Steppenwolf is actually the evolved state of the Steppenpuppy, which is said to be quite adorable.

pokemon05_babbitt

BABBITT by Sinclair Lewis

Well-dressed and put together, the Babbitt works incredibly hard to advance its own evolution. However, once it gets close to that evolution, the Babbitt tends to slow down, and follow a new path, much to the frustration of the trainer.

pokemon06_scaramouche

SCARAMOUCHE by Rafeal Sabini

The Scaramouche is a jack of all trades Pokémon, capable of many unique abilities outside of the battle field. Occasionally Scaramouches can be found working in politics, fooling humans due to its fantastic acting ability. When summoned, the Scaramouche attacks with a fencing sword, and uses eloquent speech to confuse its opponent.

pokemon07_cranford

CRANFORD by Elizabeth Gaskill

The Cranford is a docile, sweet tempered Pokémon that exhibits all the traits of a spinster. In order to properly goad this Pokémon into battle, trainers have learned to confuse the Pokémon’s name with that of the city Cranford in New Jersey. When this happens, the Cranford becomes enraged. Because, New Jersey.

pokemon08_candide

CANDIDE by Voltaire

The Candide is often found living a sheltered, quiet life in the wild. Due to its naive nature, the Candide tends to be easy to capture, as it thinks the best of people, seldom believing itself to be in any danger. This however, makes it a poor choice in battle against other Pokémon, so trainers have found other uses for Candides. In its most evolved state, Candides can be taught to cultivate a garden.

Eric Smith is the social media manager at Quirk Books, the co-founder of Geekadelphia, and the author of The Geek's Guide to Dating. You can find him posting pictures of his pet chinchilla on Twitter. Dustin Johnson is a cartoonist based in Philadelphia. He continues to be inspired from cartoons, comics, and movies both new and old. He hopes to grow up to be Spider-Man some day.