Tipped By Fire
Charmander, Charmeleon, and Charizard
Game Boy Games: Red/Blue/Yellow
At the beginning of Pokémon Red/Blue, you encounter the first listed Fire Pokémon--Charmander. Charmander is one of the three starters that you can chose from Professor Oak. (Whichever one you choose, you rival will take the stronger one. So you'll need to train them well.) Charmanders are the hardest ones to start the game with--Fire is not very strong against Rock and weak against Water. However, with some leveling up and good backup to get out of a pinch, you won't regret using the little guy. Charmanders evolve into Charmeleons at level 16, and then to their final stage--the almighty Charizard--at level 36.
They learn many of the strong Fire moves, starting at first with Ember, then lagging with a lot of normal moves until they learn the best Fire move, Flamethrower (as well as Fire Spin). They are also very adorable. Charmeleons and Charizards are not nearly as cute, but they make up for this with sheer power. Many trainers use Charizards, so they might be considered cheap by many players, but Charizards are worth the raising.
In Yellow, Charmander is not a starter--that's left to Pikachu. He's available after the Nugget Bridge north of Cerulean City. A trainer laments that he's not a good trainer and them offers you his level 10 Charmander. Say yes and he's yours. And you don't even have to trade for it! (If you say no, then you can go back and say yes. It's not a one-shot thing.) And once he evolves, you have a Fire/Flying. Sweet!
Game Boy Games: Gold/Silver/Crystal
Guess what? They aren't in there! Nope, you'll have to trade your Char-lutions onto Gold, Silver, and Crystal to have one. After all, why do we need two starters in the game? =P There's Trainers with Charmanders, Charmeleons, and Charizards all over the game though, so you will see the whole evolution. ^^ Lance has one, I know cause I used my Suicune to whoop his ass. The best bet would be to trade one over, use it for breeding, and raise from the egg so that you train it from the beginning. This way, he or she will learn a new set of moves, such as Scary Face, Smokescreen, Rage, and even the new Dragon move Dragon Rage.
Game Boy Advance: Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald/Colosseum/FireRed/LeafGreen
In Ruby/Sapphire/Emerald, there is no Charmander. They aren't even seen in the possession of other trainers (unless you're Sharking, you horrible person you!)
But in FireRed/LeafGreen, Charmander returns as our beloved starter. And of course your rival (the illustrious Gary) takes whatever will whoop your butt, so in my case I always face Squirtles. Charmander's Ability is Blaze, which means that when HP gets to about 1/3rd of max, their Fire moves go up 50%. Not like I'm gonna let that happen, but whatever. They evolve the same that they always have--16 makes Charmeleon, 36 makes Charizard. And if you're worried about getting past Brock, worry not. Lo, Charmanders learn Metal Claw at level 13, which rips apart Rock. No having to catch dirty little Mankey and raise them anymore. Wiigii! Charizards can also learn an nifty move called Blast Burn, which is only taught by the Move Tutor in FireRed. It's like Hyper Beam for Charizards. And if you think I started with anything else but Charizard, you don't know me very well.
I like Charmander. He's a very adorable starter, and while he's a challenge, he's worth the fight. I don't keep one on my main team, but he is one of my backups and I love the Char-lutions all to death. Charmeleons aren't my favorite, but it's a necessary stage in order to get a Charizard. As for Charizards--they most mightily whoop the proverbial ass. I love them.