Back in 1989, animated shows based on the Nintendo franchises were a huge part of what first got me interested in the original NES console and the classic games for it. A year later the Nintendo franchises came to comic books. As a result, there were two rare graphic novels. Let’s start with The Best of the Super Mario Bros.
At the time it was easier to reference this graphic novel to The Super Mario Bros. Super Show and The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3. Both of which are still classic favorites of mine. The comics are much different though. For instance, quite a few adventures feature Princess Toadstool’s father the Mushroom King. He was never in any of the Super Mario Bros. cartoons or any of the video games, but the king is an interesting character because he’s quite a buffoon.
Other unusual differences include currency labeled as Koopabits (whatever those are), the number one soda in the Mushroom Kingdom is Koopa Kola Classic, the worlds are actually labeled by numbers like in the video games, and Mario’s favorite comic book hero is Dirk Drain-Head the superhero plumber. Since when did the Mushroom Kingdom ever have a comic book store?
There are also quickie one-page sections with reoccurring segments. One of my favorites is Dear Princess Toadstool, which features other characters writing in questions for her. Questions about, Luigi wanting equal time in the “name game”, King Bowser Koopa earning the nickname “Muffin”, and Bob-omb wanting acceptance for what he is, a bomb. Even Tryclyde asks about whether or not he should have cosmetic surgery as part of a scheme to ask the princess on a date. That is some funny stuff.
Wart actually makes appearances in the comics as well. I always wondered what became of him after his defeat in the Super Mario Bros. 2 game, since he never appeared in any of the later Mario titles.
Speaking of Super Mario Bros. 2, one adventure I really liked was about Mario on a mission to save the princess from Bowser. She was being tortured in silly ways like being made to watch a shy guy fashion show and then forced to listen to a debate by two Fry Guys about the names for the little things on the ends of shoelaces. If that wasn’t funny enough, the shy guys keep kicking Mario’s butt as he repeats the first area over and over. They even have donuts and coffee while doing it. Now that’s hilarious.
Of course there’s plenty of Super Mario Bros. action like leaping on and off platforms, throwing mushroom blocks at enemies, and entering doorways that look like giant bird heads. Oddly, the power-ups are hardly featured at all. What is a Mario adventure without power-ups?
Whenever Mario goes on a solo mission in a water world, he meets up with Stanley the talking fish. This character is also only in the comics. Stanley follows Mario everywhere talking about his love life, which makes him a nuisance. Stanley isn’t evil, just annoying.
That should cover the highlights in this great graphic novel. Don’t forget there’s a second one. So check my blog for part 2 to read about it.