Super Mario Adventures is both a series of comics appearing in Nintendo Power in 1992 and a graphic novel of all of those comics in book form. The story was created by Kentaru Takekuma and copy written by Leslie Swan. The comics were illustrated by Charlie Nozawa. VIZ Media published a new reprint of the graphic novel in October 2016.
Super Mario Adventures premiered in Nintendo Power V32 in January 1992, ran for one full year, and ended in December 1992. Each installment or “episode” (as the graphic novel put it) was eight pages long. Each one began with an introductory paragraph that often explained what happened last month. The episode would then end with a cliffhanger that would be resolved in the next issue.
The basic plot of the story feature the Mario Brothers facing off against Bowser yet again after he captures Princess Toadstool and threatens the peace within the Mushroom Kingdom. While the graphic novel states that the comic does not “follow the story line of any particular game”, it would appear that Super Mario World is a heavy influence on what was included in the story. Outside of its influences though, the storyline was an original product and trades straight forward action for slapstick humor and zany situations suitable for a comic.
Most of the characters in the Mario universe appear in the story: Mario, Luigi, Princess Toadstool, Yoshi, Bowser, and all seven Koopalings showed up, along with a varied assortment of Toad people who acted as Princess Toadstool’s advisers.
Character portrayals in the comic are similar to how they are portrayed in the games, with some minor differences. Where, in video games, Mario is often be shown to be brave while Luigi is shown to be goofy, the comic would instead show both Mario and Luigi with a mix of both personalities. Princess Toadstool’s characterizations were the most unique. In the Mario series, Princess Toadstool is almost always shown as kind, peaceful and sweet. In the comic series, however, she was much more aggressive and even a versatile combatant.
One additional comic was printed in the January 1993 issue of Nintendo Power called Mario vs. Wario. It was completely separate from the previous twelve episodes and feature Wario and his attempts at thwarting Mario once and for all after suffering so many bad memories during their friendship. In 1993, Super Mario Adventures was published as a graphic novel containing all twelve episodes and the final episode featuring Wario and Mario. The graphic novel is no longer sold on Nintendo's online store, but was eventually reprinted by VIZ Media in October 2016.
The Mario Brothers head over to the Princess's castle to fix a plumbing problem. They are greeted by a Toad person who informs them that the problem has to be fixed before a party that night. They happily oblige, until they see the mess before them. Inside an underground room is an assortment of dripping, unconnected pipes all tangled together. Still, Mario gives his assurance that the job will be done by nighttime. Luigi complains that he's hungry and he needs to something to eat (this will be a common behavior for Luigi throughout the comic). Mario tries to tell Luigi that the plumbing problem will be fixed in no time if they just work at it (Mario's persistence will also be a common occurrence in the comic). As they connect pipes they discover a huge green pipe that seemingly came out of nowhere. Mario inspects the pipe and gets his nose bitten by a Piranha Plant. Soon after, more green pipes erupt from the ground. Mario and Luigi escape the underground room but find tons of green pipes all over the courtyard.
Meanwhile in the castle, Princess plays a Super Mario game while two Toad people look on. At this time a third Toad person storms in and informs all of them about the pipe invasion. The Princess and her group look on as Koopa Troopas, Galoombas (the standard Goombas oddly don't show up a lot in this story), and other foes exit the pipes and begin attacking Toads in the castle. The Mario Brothers are attacked as well, but they formulate a plan and work together to defeat most, if not all, of the bad guys. For a moment it seems that everything will turn out well. That's when a another pipe explodes from the ground, this one so enormous everyone stares at it in awe. From out that pipe pops the Koopa Clown Car and from out the clown car, Bowser.
With everyone watching, Bowser gives the Princess a choice. Either marry him or he will turn the entire population of the Mushroom Kingdom into stone. Bowser simultaneously turns some of the Toad people into stone as a mean spirited example. The Princess' advisers believe the best option to take care of Bowser's mischief is to send the Mario Brothers at him. Unfortunately, when Bowser zapped the Toads into stone he zapped Mario as well. Bowser gives the princess her choices again before flying down the pipe he came from. Infuriated, the Princess leaps out of the window, calls a small army in a flash, and leaps down the pipe after Bowser.
Luigi and the advisers panic over Mario's current state as a statue. Oddly enough, someone asks for the Minister of Massage. The minister himself believes his massages work miracles. After one week the massages surprisingly work and Mario is back to his normal self. Mario is a bit dazed at first, but after a while he demands to know where Bowser. Once he finds out what happened Mario jumps into the huge green pipe, pulling Luigi behind him. Falling down the pipe seems to take forever and when they reach the end of the pipe they continue to fall through the wide open sky and finally crash into the ground. They are fine for the most part, but they discover a giant egg in their landing spot. Luigi immediately wants to eat the egg. Mario's stomach concurs. Just as they are warming up the egg for eating, though, it begins to crack. The egg hatches and reveals Yoshi inside of it.
Mario and Luigi are both shocked and frightened when Yoshi the dinosaur hatches from the egg, they've never seen a creature like him before. It appears that the meal they were almost going to eat is going to eat them. The Princess and her army have their own problems. Lost in a vast wasteland, the thirsty army realize they have no more water. When clouds start to appear they are extremely hopeful for some rain. Lakitus pop out of the clouds and rain Spinies on their heads, instead. The Mario Brothers, meanwhile, were still afraid of Yoshi and were trying to get away from him. In the midst of their escape they collided with a Wiggler, who then chased them right back to Yoshi. The Mario brothers brace themselves for whatever may happen. After a moment they realize Yoshi and the wiggler are fighting each other. Yoshi defeats the wiggler and then shows the brothers that he is a friendly creature. Mario and Luigi take a cue from Yoshi to hop on his back, and once they do he dashes off to Yoshi Village.
At Yoshi Village, the Mario brothers find the village to be filled with more Yoshis who speak a Yoshi language (it consists entirely of saying the word Yoshi). There is one person there though who isn't a dinosaur. His name is Friendly Floyd and he's a salesman who happens to speak Yoshi. He informs the brothers that Yoshi and several of his friends have been put into eggs because of Bowser. To help them out with the Yoshi language, Floyd sells them a translation book and quickly leaves. The book turns out to be completely worthless. The Mario Brothers are furious, but not for too long. One of the guards from princess’ army enters the village in really bad shape. Bowser has gotten Princess.
There is a tall fortress, surrounded by a giant moat, that houses Bowser, his Koopalings, and the princess as a prisoner. Six of the seven Koopalings, Iggy, Morton Jr., Lemmy, Ludwig, Roy, and Larry Koopa play a video game similar to a Mario-style platformer, except that Bowser is the hero. The real Bowser interrupts their game to tell them that he is proposing to the Princess. He tells them to makes sure she doesn’t escape before the wedding. When they check on the Princess' cell they find she’s nowhere in sight. The Princess has never left the cell, she has just attached herself to corner of the ceiling. She drops down and pummels the Koopalings, but just as she is making her getaway she runs into Wendy O. Koopa and an army of Koopas. Way outside the fortress, Mario, Luigi, Yoshi and Princess' guard think of a way to cross the moat. Mario decides to just swim his way across and gets attacked by an assortment of fish and aquatic creatures. Back with the Princess, she runs to the very top of the fortress and into Wendy's room. Inside the room she stops the advances of the Koopas and the Koopalings. She even deftly evades Roy with a cape she found when he charges at her. With the cape around her she moves to make her exit, but the only exit is from a top floor window from a sky-high fortress. The Koopalings attempt to snatch her from the window she's standing at. Out of shock the Princess loses her footing and falls out the window.
As the Princess falls the cape she has suddenly acts as a sort of parachute allowing her to fly. The Mario Brothers, unbeknown to the Princess' escape, still try to find a way into the fortress and try to go around the moat. They see Friendly Floyd again but Mario does not want to be a victim of another scam and heads in a different direction. Luigi is so tired, though, that he decides to rest and accidentally sits on a cannon. Mario realizes what Luigi has done but just as he knocks Luigi of the cannon a bullet is shot from it, launching Mario into the sky. As a matter of chance Mario shoots by the Princess as she was flying from her captors. Mario ends up at the top of the fortress, right where Wendy’s room is. The Princess, after being thrown off her course by Mario and the bullet, falls in the forest nearby Luigi and company. They saw the Princess’ crash landing and rush to find her. They discover her to be unconscious. At the fortress, The Koopalings tell their father that the Princess has escaped. To appease their angry father they reveal Mario gagged and bound in a prison cell.
Luigi, Yoshi and the guard discover the Princess to be unconscious. Just as they are trying to wake her up, a boat carrying Mechakoopas floats to the shore. The Mechakoopas relay a message telling them that they have to put the Princess in the boat or else something terrible will happen to Mario. Luigi is caught in a serious bind. Just then Floyd greets Luigi again and tries to sell more of his wares. Luigi is completely averse to what Floyd has to say, but when the salesman promotes a makeup kit Luigi gets an idea. Luigi, the unconscious Princess, Yoshi, Floyd and the guard go behind some bushes. Moments later Luigi steps out disguised as the Princess. He travels across the moat and enters the fortress incognito.
The Princess finally wakes up from her formerly unconscious state, but when she sees Yoshi and Floyd for the first time she freaks out and runs away. It is only when she finds the guard from her army that she begins to calm down. After the guard tells her what happened to Mario, the princess runs off to save Mario but stops when she realizes she's in Luigi's clothing. At the fortress the Koopalings rejoice that they have the princess back, when in reality it is Luigi wearing the princess' dress and a cloth to conceal his face. To further infiltrate the fortress Luigi seduces Bowser into untying the ropes around his body. Bowser is so smitten that he does whatever Luigi says.
Luigi goes to Mario's prison cell and reveals himself to his brother. Luigi then begins the next part of his plan, ordering pizza. The Koopalings are overjoyed. What they don't know that is that Yoshi and princess' guard have dressed themselves as pizza delivery men and are carrying Floyd and the Princess inside the pizza boxes. When the "pizza" arrives the Koopalings open the boxes to find, to their complete shock, an angry princess and a stack of bombs.
The Koopalings do a double take when they see the real Princess and Luigi in Princess' clothing. Once they figure out what is going on they immediately make a grab for the real Princess. She tells them to stay back and threatens to blow up the fortress if they don't. While the princess has the Koopalings attention, Luigi takes the prison cell key from Roy. This begins a madcap chase scene, in which the good guys pass the key to each other in attempts to keep it away from the bad guys. When Yoshi makes a proper distraction, Luigi sneaks off with the prison cell key and begins to free Mario from his cell.
Meanwhile, Wendy ups the ante by dropping Thwomps on the rest of the good guys and following that up with a stampede of Chargin' Chucks. The princess, to counter the onslaught, gets into mental warfare against Wendy with continued threats of blowing up the fortress. The Mario and Luigi arrive just in time to stomp the Chargin' Chucks. They are also in time to fall down a trap door with the rest of the good guys. Everyone ends up in a room where they face a pack of fire-breathing Reznors. While running away the Princess sees that the bomb she's holding has been lighted. The bomb ignites and the fortress explodes.
After the fortress blows up, Mario, Luigi, the Princess, her guard, Yoshi and Floyd are torpedoed across the moat and safely onto land. Everyone is relieved when it looks like Bowser has been defeated. After Luigi and the Princess switch clothes, and Floyd says his goodbyes, the adventurers begin to return to the Mushroom Kingdom. The Only problem is that the pipe everyone came through to get to Bowser is way up in the sky. The guard decides to take the cape the Princess used earlier to fly through the pipe and send a rescue team. Mario and his friends spend the day eagerly waiting for the return of the guard.
Sometime later, a ladder descends from the pipe with a rescue party members climbing down the ladder and parachuting towards the ground. The Princess and the Mario Brothers climb the ladder, but once the Princess reaches a certain point a section of the ladder is cut off, allowing the plumbers to plummet downwards. Koopas had seemingly disguised themselves as Toad people in a rescue team in a plot to recapture the Princess. Bowser pops out of the pipe to grab the Princess and orders Koopa Paratroopas attack Mario and Luigi. Mario counterattacks by punching and stomping them, but when Luigi discovers that Yoshi can fly by swallowing a blue shell, the Mario Brothers take advantage of the situation and chase after Bowser. In the midst of trying to figure out where Bowser went, Yoshi accidentally spits out the blue shell and loses his ability to fly. All three of them fall to the ground and when they pick themselves up they find a creaky old house in front of them.
Looking at the house, the Mario Brothers consider entering the creaky old house before them. Somewhere in a distant area, Bowser watches the brothers on a television screen, betting that they will stay and fall into his trap. All of his Koopalings watch the Mario Brothers with him and doubt that their father's plan will work, but Bowser assures that Mario and Luigi will venture on in the house. Meanwhile, Mario and Luigi have a major difference of opinion. Mario is extremely hesitant to enter the old house while Luigi thinks he's just paranoid. Concerned that Mario Brothers won't go in, Bowser turned on a fan that sat in front giant hunk of cheese. Luigi chased after the sharp aroma and Mario tried to stop him. This locks the Mario Brothers in the old house, while locking Yoshi outside. Though Mario and Luigi are in separate roms, they both encounter ghosts that though they appear shy when face to face will become aggressive when one turns their backs on them. The Mario Brothers run into each other and force themselves on a wall facing the ghosts. By doing this it causes all the ghosts in front of them from attacking. Unfortunately, as the Mario brothers begin to slide away they did bot take into account the giant menace lurking in the hallway behind them.
The Mario Brothers are confident that they can get away from the ghosts by facing them, but Luigi quickly discovers the huge ghost that is behind them. To prevent any of the ghosts from attacking, the Mario Brothers stand back to back, getting a full view of all the ghosts in the vicinity. Elsewhere, Bowser and a Magikoopa look on as an army of hypnotized Yoshis pull a gigantic cake for Bowser's wedding to the Princess. The Yoshis are hypnotized by a second Magikoopa, though Bowser is a bit reluctant to believe that the hypnotism will be foolproof in their cooperation. Still, he is happy enough that all his plans are falling into place.
Back at the old house, the Mario Brothers are still facing down the ghosts. Suddenly, Mario gets an idea. He grabs Luigi and runs into a nearby room. The ghosts chase after them and stop at the door. They slowly creep through the doorway and begin to launch their attack. Instead, they are stunned to find Mario and Luigi dresses as medical professionals. Mario approaches the big ghosts tells him the ghost's shyness comes from a fear of humans. After some time Mario finds out that the big ghost was bullied in school (Luigi bawls and admitted that this happened to him too). Mario tells the ghost that he can't let those problems run his life and to put everything into perspective. This makes the big ghost feel much better. As the Mario Brothers leave the house, Mario asks the big ghost where Bowser's castle is. Once the Mario and Luigi get far away enough from the house, they jump on Yoshi and race for Bowser's castle.
This episode opens on what appears to be Bowser's castle. The wedding between Bowser and the princess is set to take place and attendants swarm in for the procession. Hypnotized Yoshis march in between the crowds as they drag in a humongous wedding cake. When they are finished the hypnotist Magikoopa sends them underground to be placed in eggs (similar to the one Yoshi was trapped in earlier). Mario, Luigi and Yoshi watch everything from afar but realize things could get tricky if they get to close. They decide they take a detour through a nearby pipe. The pipe exits, surprisingly, to a bed of hot lava. Mario, Luigi, and Yoshi try their best to traverse the lava lake but when they encounter some foes Mario makes a dash through another pipe.
The Princess, meanwhile, refuses to go along with Bowser's wedding plans and causes a ruckus in the bride's chamber. In order to quiet her down, Bowser calls on the Magikoopa hypnotist. The Princess becomes obedient and love-struck immediately once hypnotized. Her supposed declarations of love allow for the wedding to commence. Just as the wedding begins, Mario nears the end of his trip through the pipe. He gets to the end of the pipe in time to see Bowser and the princess walk down the aisle. Mario leaps into action before Bowser carries out his plan.
Mario comes to the rescue to the shock of everyone in attendance. He tells the princess to escape with him, but she is in a different state of mind and and with a barrage of Koopa Troopas charging his way Mario finds himself with no way out of this predicament. Luigi and Yoshi are still somewhere in the castle. While trying to find Mario they stumble on a vast stockpile of eggs with Yoshis trapped inside. Luigi and Yoshi get to cracking the eggs and freeing the now conscious Dinos. At the wedding, Mario gets tied up and Bowser gets back to marrying the hypnotized princess. Before the wedding could fully resume, a mob of Yoshis race towards to Bowser and the fiends. Luigi rides Yoshi and leads the Yoshi army right over the hypnotist and foe thrown at them. With the hypnotist stomped flat, the princess regains consciousness and quickly unties Mario. Bowser attempts to make a getaway in his clown car but he doesn't get very far before Mario lasso's the propeller, causing the Koopa to crash into his own wedding cake. Yoshis devour the cake in an attempt to find their captor. Bowser tunnels through the cake to get away from them and ends up appearing in front of Mario. In one last attempt to get his way, he charges at Mario but misses him when the plumber takes a step to the side. This last act causes the cake to come crashing down. Mario leaps off in time to save himself from the collapse.
The dust settles and all of the good guys are safe. With Bowser submerged in wedding cake, the Koopa army crushed, and the Yoshis freed, Mario and his friends can finally declare that their adventure is over.
Mario vs. Wario
The so-called final episode to this series featured the strained relationship between Mario and Wario, loosely adapting the plot of Super Mario Land 2: 6 Golden Coins. Mario is actually quite different from how he was portrayed in the previous episodes. He appears as a happy-go-lucky person who appears to occasionally lack good judgment.
The episode begins with Mario receiving a letter from Wario inviting him to a party. Mario gets fond memories of him and Wario playing games when they were younger. He still believes him and Wario are close friends. Wario believes otherwise. The invitation turns out to actually be a plan for vengeance. Wario has a different perception of the games they played when they were younger, with each memory resulting in something bad happening to Wario including: getting bitten by Piranha Flowers, getting stomped by Thwomps, and playing the bad guy in nearly every game of cowboys. Just the thought of everything that happened gives Wario explosive anger.
The plan for revenge on Mario include setting up the bosses from Super Mario Land 2 (with the strange exception of Tatanga) to attack him. Mario is so naive that every time he faces a new fiend he sees them as nonthreatening and thwarts them without even knowing it. Finally, Mario reaches Wario's keep. He tries to find his friend but when he bumps into Wario he discovers his pal is now a giant. Wario attempts to destroy Mario, in response Mario deflates Wario to his normal size. Wario cries and admits that he suffered from Mario's bullying. Mario finds it hard to believe that he could be a bully, though he is able to cheer Wario up and even suggests a game. The game is cowboys with Wario as the bad guy. The episode ends with an infuriated Wario swearing he'll exact vengeance some day.
This final episode, beside having a different story, different characters, and a less serious, more comical Mario, also was ten pages long, unlike the usual eight. One thing that was similar to the past episodes was the cliffhanger. The last panel stated questions like "Will Wario ever get over the inequities of his childhood? Will he ever get even with Mario?" as if there would be a follow-up episode, even though there wasn't.
That wasn't the end of the Mario vs. Wario saga, though. About a year later, in Volume 56 of Nintendo Power, a second comic had Mario and Wario competing against each other over Princess Toadstool. Mario seemed more serious this time around, even a little grumpier than usual. The story involves Mario and Wario trying to give the Princess the perfect gift - a Samus Aran doll - and what ends up happening is a nice, unique twist. Unfortunately, this installment has never been reprinted, even being absent from the 2016 reprint of the graphic novel.