Game Boy (comic)

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This article is about the comic book series by Valiant Comics. For the video game system, see Game Boy.
In the Palm of Your Hand...
Cover art for the first issue, used for the reprint in Nintendo Comics System Featuring... #1.

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.


“Look around you! This is the real world, where Super Mario Land is only an exciting video game, where Mario, Princess Daisy, and the mysterious spaceman Tatanga are just images on a screen. But today, that will change, thanks the power of... GAME BOY
Opening narration, variants of which are featured at the start of all but the second issue

Herman Smirch, a bitter and self-centered clerk at an electronics store, is surprised when he sees tiny versions of 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 Super 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.

Synopsis (from "In the Palm of Your Hand...")[edit]

"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 flecks 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."

Creative team[edit]

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.


Issue Description Date of release Image
In the Palm of Your Hand... Having had a bad trip to work, Herman Smirch services himself by stealing a Game Boy from his workplace and inadvertently summons the characters of Super Mario Land while playing the game. Tatanga and his minions attempt to remodel the World Trade Center into World 1-3 of Super Mario Land, but they are foiled when teenagers Rick and Josh summon Mario with their own copy of the game. USA February 1990
In the Palm of Your Hand...
It's a Small World After All Herman is convinced by his mother to give up gaming and go back home, but it is not long before he is hypnotized into summoning the villains again. When he suggests Tatanga takes Princess Daisy to Disney World, they hijack a 747 airliner, but Tatanga soon think up a more ambitious plan after he speaks with space shuttle-loving Tannis Rhodes. USA July 1990
Cover of the Nintendo Comics System issue "It's a Small World After All.
Team Play A fugitive after the events of the previous issue, Herman is probed by Pionpi on the best location to set up a fortress and enslave a lot of humans. Answering China, Herman flies Pionpi and his soldiers to an unhabited island in the Pacific. An ensign on the nearby USS Nimitz summons Mario while casually playing Super Mario Land off-duty and helps Mario destroy the weel-defended fortress by giving him access to the carrier's military weapons. USA ? 1990
Cover of the Game Boy comic issue Team Play.
Pipes is Pipes For Daisy's birthday, Tatanga warps in Seaside Heights, New Jersey and hatch a plan to get rid of Mario by triggering a meltdown at the nearby nuclear power plant. While Mario flies off to avert nuclear disaster, Michael Hallis tries to rescue Daisy himself. USA ? 1990
Cover of the Game Boy comic issue Pipes is Pipes.

Names in other languages[edit]

Language Name Meaning
French La BD de Game Boy
The Game Boy Comic Book