In 2019, I did a big exploration of massive quantities of Krystal fanart, mostly categorizing data from DeviantArt. In the process, for fun, I decided to find the oldest Krystal fanart in the data. The post I made on the subject, "The Oldest Krystal Fanart," chronicled the search. My conclusion was that the piece SD Fox and Krystal by nokitty was the oldest one, dating to November 7th, 2002, a mere one month and 11 days after Star Fox Adventures was released.
However, I was more recently reminded that there was a much older one. One that did not appear in the DeviantArt archives. In fact, it predated DeviantArt itself. If you couldn't already tell from the photo, it appeared inside an issue of Nintendo Power.
Let's set the stage.
It was the turn of the new millennium. E3 2000 had taken place from May 11th to the 14th. For the first time, Dinosaur Planet, along with its two heroes, Sabre and Krystal, were shown and made playable. OK, that's not entirely true. I recently learned that Krystal and other aspects of Dinosaur Planet were revealed almost a month earlier, but that's a story for another time.
Leah, an avid Nintendo fan from Las Vegas, Nevada, happened to catch this coverage, or perhaps she followed Rare's press releases closely. Either way, she must have seen the early sketch promotional art for Krystal, like this one. A reader of Nintendo Power, she composed a letter and submitted it with hand-drawn Dinosaur Planet Krystal fanart on the envelope. A few months later, the November 2000 edition of Nintendo Power (#138) was released and her piece was the first featured letter artwork of the issue.
It's hard to make out, but the postmark date on the envelope is July 26th, 2000. Leah could have drawn it earlier than that, but even with this date, the fanart's creation was no later than 2 months after Krystal's very first possible appearance. It predated the release of Star Fox Adventures by at least 789 days, and the previous Oldest Krystal Fanart by at least 834 days!
Rare was a much more popular company then, and they had a large web presence at the time. It wouldn't surprise me at all to find that there is more Krystal fanart from this period. Does anyone else know of any?
And since I'm asking questions, Leah of Las Vegas, Nevada. Are you out there? Nintendo Power doesn't appear to have ever published what was in your actual letter, only the envelope. What inspired you to draw this fanart? Were you captivated by the world and character of Krystal, even before she became what she is today? Are you still a fan? Did you ever do any other Krystal fanart? Anybody else have more information about this artist? I'd love to know some behind-the-scenes!
You can read this issue of Nintendo Power yourself in these Nintendo Power archives.
Thanks to Sunnyside, Kaddyshacks, and Kaddyshacks' friend for bringing this to my attention. (I should have found this myself. I own that issue. Time do some gaming archaeology!)