Game Boy (comic)
Game Boy is a 1990 four-issue series within Valiant Comics' Nintendo Comics System brand, acting as a spin-off to the main Super Mario Bros. title. Though the titular video game system features prominently, the comic is moreso a tie-in to Super Mario Land, featuring the premise of the game's characters invading the Real World.
Herman Smirch, a bitter and self-centered clerk at an electronics store, is surprised when he sees Tatanga, Princess Daisy, and the various enemies from Super Mario Land materialize out of his Game Boy. Explaining that Herman's misanthropy and weak will makes him a perfect vessel to activate a conduit betweeen reality and the world of the Game Boy, Tatanga's loyal minion Pionpi and his forces proceed to cause chaos in a bid to conquer the "giants". A teenager manages to summon Mario from his own copy of Super Mario Land, who beats back Tatanga's assault and causes them to warp back to the Game Boy, Mario in tow.
The next issues follow a similar formula: Herman Smirch, despite his attempts to stay out of the conflict, is hypnotized into playing the Game Boy and summon Tatanga into our reality. With Herman's assistance, Tatanga's troops attempts to weaponize or fortify a location or vehicle while Tatanga unsuccessfully courts Daisy's affection. A person witness to the commotion and with the knowledge of how to summon Mario grabs a Game Boy to play Super Mario Land and gets Mario to materialize. Mario, with some help from his human allies and Daisy, uses his skills to foil Tatanga's plot and the villains retreat back to the Game Boy. Mario exchanges some parting words with his ally-of-the-week before doing likewise.
To convey the "clash of the worlds" theme, the backgrounds and human character were illustrated in a realistic style while the Super Mario Land characters were drawn with a more cartonish appearance, faithful to their game artwork. An exception to this is Tatanga, who is redesigned to look taller and more muscular. Mario, though similar in his appearance to his game self, is portrayed as a quippy smart-aleck eager for a fight, quite unlike his personality in the main Super Mario Bros. comics.
The book was slightly more serious and action-focused than the main Mario comics, featuring such plot developments as Herman Smirch being on the run from the authorities due to his role in hijacking an airliner, and Mario narrowly averting a nuclear reactor meltdown and becoming ill from the resulting radiation exposure. Like the other Nintendo Comics System titles, Game Boy featured one-off gag pages, framed as tabloid headlines from the International Enquisitor.
Sypnosis (from "In the Palm Of Your Hand...")
"You're just little bytes of data from a chip!"
So says a confused and frightened Herman Smirch to Pionpi, who is standing on Smirch's chest at the time. It's true enough. Pionpi, Tatanga, Princess Daisy and even good old Mario himself are merely tiny fleck of energy organized in precise patterns.
But, on some level, aren't we all? Aren't our thoughts and feelings mere flickering of electricity along the circuitry of our brain? Isn't all this real, ultimately and fundamentally, an organization of energy?
We draw a line between the real and the imaginary. We, the imaginers, who are patterns of energy, declare that our imaginings, which are patterns of energy, are not real.
But, what if one of them stood on your chest one day and said 'Hmmph! You seem rather improbable to me, giant! Now, then.. what is this place?
This place is whatever we imagine. It's as real as we believe. It's GAME BOY. Power in the palm of your hand. Believe it."
The first and third issue were written by George Caragonne, while fellow Playhouse Comix creative and regular contributor on other Nintendo Comics System titles Mark McClellan wrote the second and fourth. The comic had a rotating stable of artists, though Art Nichols worked on the first three issues.
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