Joe Merrick is the founder and webmaster of, one of the largest repositories of Pokemon knowledge on the web. The "magical permission slip" he refers to in this strip is a reference to the forums, a place of little consequence that hasn't really contributed much to Internet society at large (unless you count this comic and the various influences cited in early annotations, in which case it has contributed a great deal.)

Additionally, Joe Merrick is a descendant of the Elephant Man, and appeared in a documentary about him at some point.

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