The 'Shroom:Issue 178/Palette Swap
Welcome to the new year, everyone! You made it through 2021 and 2022 lies brightly before you! It's the January 'Shroom!
First things first, welcome to our new Director team, Ninja Squid and Waluigi Time! Neither of you two are new to The 'Shroom, but welcome either way. Looking forward to what this year will hold for all of us!
Since our last issue, I have finished Shin Megami Tensei V and started Pokemon Shining Pearl. While it's not the perfect remake we had all been hoping for, I am enjoying the nostalgia trip. I have some really personal memories associated with Sinnoh, and I'm looking forward to dutifully grinding my way up to curb-stomp the champion (as I did in SMTV). Here's hoping that Gamefreak puts their effort and love into Legends: Arceus, and that Kirby and the Forgotten Land is great, too!
We have a short story submission from RubberLuigi for you this month, as well as a handful of our regular sections, so definitely give that a read and give him some feedback about what you think! I've been told there will be more stories, too, so help a writer out and leave some comments on the forum!
Section of the Month
A stacked lineup this month, for sure! In first, we have the Waluigi Time Comic, by Waluigi Time (talk). Next up is Magolor04726 (talk)'s World of Plight, followed by Shmaluigi, Private Investigator by Waluigi Time (talk). We then move to our three way tie between Lakituthequick (talk)'s Site Seeing, winstein (talk)'s Drawn and Pressed, and Booguette's Koopamon. A big thank you to everyone who voted, and please keep it up for this issue as well!
|Palette Swap SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||Waluigi Time Comic||6||28.57%||Waluigi Time|
|2nd||World of Plight||5||23.81%||Magolor04726|
|3rd||Shmaluigi, Private Investigator||4||19.05%||Waluigi Time|
|4th||Drawn and Pressed||2||9.52%||winstein|
Drawn and Pressed
It's a brand new year, and that means a fresh start for everyone! On this occasion, something completely different will be covered, and that something is not about a specific comic strip like I had been doing for the past twenty entries. Speaking of, can you believe that we have already gotten twenty different Drawn and Pressed articles? How time flies. Anyway, what we'll be covering today is the topic of legacy strips, which is an appropriate topic relating to new beginnings. So then, what are legacy comic strips, you ask? These type of comic strips are handled by artists or writers beyond the original creative workers. So unlike a comic strip like Peanuts where Charles Schulz famously worked on the comic strip alone through writing and drawing it, there are comic strips that changed hands during the course of its life, such as Popeye and B.C., hence the term "legacy". Despite this, comic strips of this nature are more well-known for a more pejorative term "zombie strips", indicating that they tend to be more prone to criticism in quality compared to comic strips that started and ended on their creators' own terms. For the sake of this article, I will be using the more diplomatic term because, much like a good deal of things, there are advantages and disadvantages, meaning that it's not necessarily all that bad.
One such advantage of a comic strip in the hands of a successor is how, because a work is generally enjoyed, it would make sense to keep the train going. Some concepts have a timeless feel even as the time are changing, so as an example, Popeye is generally enjoyed by many people, and because of its longevity, the comic strip amassed quite a deep history that makes for a fascinating read. In fact, artists and writers are human, which is to say that their lifespan is limited, so they cannot keep up with the demands of cartooning. The decision to continue their work varies, but suffice to say, one reason to continue is to continue the cash flow that generally benefits family members. It can either be the descendants taking the mantle to continue, or merely just to collect royalties. Having fresh blood can also be a way to revitalise a comic strip, since an older cartoonist might have diminished efficacy for their work, allowing a younger cartoonist to keep up the momentum.
It is not necessarily the family members that would continue the strip, since the successors could also be industry greenhorns, which opens up the opportunity to get acclimated to the industry. An example for that sort is Jerry Scott, who initially had a short stint for Nancy before becoming a writer for Baby Blues and Zits. The successors might even be seasoned cartoonists, such as Jonathan Lemon (creator of Rabbits Against Magic) succeeding Alley Oop, though in his case, he did both strips concurrently. The differing approaches to the work between the old and new cartoonist may also be to the benefit of the comic strip, as it could even prove to be generally more enjoyable as a result. Perhaps one beneficial example would be Heathcliff, which becomes more memorable under the pen of the original artist's nephew, because he added absurd running gags like the Garbage Ape to draw attention to an otherwise unremarkable comic strip. Despite this, a new approach could be a double-edged sword.
Handling a comic strip with an established history is a tricky thing, so it's risky if the cartoonist made the decision to change the dynamic of the comic strip. If the art style of a comic strip didn't change much, then the change won't be noticeable, but if the new artist draws up a new style, then it would be more easily noticeable. After all, art is what many people will observe in a comic strip. Alley Oop is one such comic strip where the new artist has a more cartoonish style compared to the relatively realistic artwork of his predecessor, which some readers were not pleased with. In fact, a change in style and tone can throw off readers who are accustomed to a long-running comic strip that they are familiar with, and might turn them off from giving a new cartoonist a chance. Another risk of a new artist is that, they may not have the same capacity of creativity or passion as the old artists, nor might they be the best fit to continue the work since they may even be family, who may not necessarily have the talent to continue. Any nuances or peculiarities that the older cartoonist innately understood might not be easily understood by a newer cartoonist, similar to how a message might be lost in translation in a game of telephone. Nonetheless, this is also an issue with how effective of a mentorship and training happened to keep a newer cartoonist up to speed, which goes both ways.
One of the most common criticisms with keeping a comic strip as long as possible is how it stifles and limits new works from entering into the market. Some of the younger artists like Stephen Pastis (Pearls Before Swine) expressed the frustration that there are a lot of older works that felt unnecessary to keep running. After all, the comic strip industry is still a business, and many cartoons are vying for space on newspapers to be paid. Older cartoons tend to have the inertia that makes them less likely to be budged, and their historical status makes them seem more tempting to keep, sort of like tradition, which is where the complaint comes from. There's also the issue that, if the syndicate wants a strip to continue, the decision falls in their hands and not necessarily the author, although from what I noticed, the original artist's wishes are generally respected, either on who would succeed or if they want the strip to keep running. Moreover, the older works might not be as appealing compared to when they were first introduced, so one can say that they are past their prime. While itself not a legacy comic strip, Cathy was introduced at a time when weren't much comics on relatable women, and as the comic strip continued, certain people wondered what purpose it is to stick around when more and more works relating to the frustrations of women were available, some might even be better than what came before.
This is not to say that a comic strip that haven't reached legacy status are immune to the very same problems of a legacy comic strip, such as my Cathy example earlier. In fact, seasoned cartoonists can even experience dwindling productivity and passion. Another way seasoned cartoonists may not be as good as they once were would be when they start to express ideas that aren't satisfactory to the audience, or perhaps change the status quo drastically. For the former, this may be seen in Zits, which is being worked by men whose children outgrew the teen-age and because they don't have the same source of inspiration, portrayed the characters as not being realistic of the teenagers of today as opposed to the yesteryears. The latter is best viewed in Cathy, where the main character finally got engaged with Irving (a long-time character), whom many viewed as not being the perfect man for Cathy, even though Cathy spent a very long time being single. On that note, I respect Cathy a lot even though it's not the most respectable comic strip, because at the very least the author not only work on the strip on her own (more or less), she ended on her own terms and contains a very fitting ending for a long-running strip.
There are other ways a comic strip receives the legacy treatment. The most prominent example is Peanuts. It's true that the comic strip itself started and ended in the hands of Charles Schulz, but Peanuts content is still being produced to this very day, where they are not merely adaptions of the source material. In fact, since Schulz's passing, we have several television specials, a comic book series, and even a CGI-animated film under its name, and it shows no signs of stopping. This is not a very common occurrence, however, because for that to happen, a work has to reach a level of popularity if more content were to be produced in this manner, and a lucky few managed to reach the level of cultural touchstone that makes it feasible to have new content created. In another case, there are also comic strips where the creator is not the sole worker, and I don't mean like a duo or trio that are all credited within the strip. What I mean is something like Garfield, which is still being worked on by Jim Davis, but he has a team that helps to finish the comic strip. While it's still a valid way to get a comic strip done, I get the vibe that it is viewed as "cheating" because when assistants are employed to finish the strip, it loses that sort or purity of the individual's fingerprints, similar to being soulless, so to speak.
I listened to a podcast called "Unjustly Maligned", which aims to accentuate the positives of a chosen topic with a bad reputation. One such topic is about Garfield, which is a very appropriate topic for something like this, and one of the things I draw a conclusion from is on how much of a negative bias there is to Jim Davis' work ethic. Basically, I feel that there is an inherent bias against comic strips as a medium when it comes to the work ethic, because it seems to me that there is an air of snobbishness in various factors. One such factor, related to the topic in hand, is about how having many hands involved in a comic strip is considered deplorable. I have a theory that this perception is coloured by the fact that many of the great comic strips are each done by a single individual, including the influential Peanuts, the cult-classic The Far Side, and that comic strip with a boy and tiger drawn by Bill Watterson. Now, I am not saying that it's impossible for a team effort to be worthy of praise, nor is a solo effort inherently inferior, but it felt like the former happened far more rarely in the realm of comic strips. This practice is also done for not only Garfield, but several comic strips are also worked on by others. For example, Jim Davis was once an assistant himself for Tom K. Ryan to work on Tumbleweeds, George Gately hired a couple of assistants for Heathcliff, and Jim Keefe (artist of Sally Forth) helped with the colouring on Sunday comic strips he didn't author, like Beetle Bailey and Blondie. As a matter of fact, colouring is a common reason for cartoonists to employ assistants, especially when modern daily comic strips tend to be in colour. Going beyond this, comic books and even manga are also team efforts, but the perception of either didn't get as much scorn for being a team effort compared to the treatment that comic strips received.
Even though the medium of the comic strip is not as grand as it once was, and the fact that there exists a pejorative term for comic strips that involve multiple authors, I think the idea of a comic strip continuing past the life of the original author is not inherently inferior to one that was worked that reached its end. There are certain concepts that are timeless, able to be enjoyed by audience of the past, present, and future. For example, Popeye may not be as famous as he used to be, but the idea of a super-strong sailor going on various adventures worked in its favour, and there are quite a lot that could be done with it with the amount of characters that exist in its history. This is best accentuated by the temporary running of Popeye's Cartoon Club, where several younger cartoonists took turns for a comic strip about the titular character to celebrate the revered Popeye, and to show that an old cartoon isn't just for the old folks. In terms of comic strips that are still running: I know this is a very unpopular opinion, but Garfield reached the cultural phenomenon status to deserve being a legacy comic strip in the future, due to not only the fame he's attained, but also the fact that Jim Davis is very open to the differing interpretations of the character meant that one day, an inspired cartoonist could invigorate Garfield into something that is enjoyable for others who might not have enjoyed it before.
In terms of comic strips that are currently in the legacy comic status, I concede that there are a few that would be better off retired at this point, since I think they truly outlived what made them great. One such comic strip is Beetle Bailey, as wars are not a very fashionable subject compared to the past when it seemed to be a good idea to transfer the main character from the college to military. Hi and Lois is another comic strip I think didn't need to continue because I felt that there are some other family comic strips that are better and so I can do with its retirement. A similar reason could be given to Family Circus, as while it's a sentimental comic strip by the original author, didn't quite have the same type of creativity as the original artist, and that's not mentioning how it's another family comic strip that is long in the tooth. Despite what I said, I hope that you don't take it as an affront, because I won't judge you for enjoying the aforementioned comic strips.
On the other side of the coin, there are certain legacy comic strips that worked because a new cartoonist rendered an old work enjoyable. One example of a comic strip that managed to be revitalised in a grand manner is Nancy as worked on by Olivia James, as the familiar characters from the past are being utilised in a creative manner, with some even breaking the fourth wall to facilitate its humour, as she is easily the best successor of the original artist Ernie Bushmiller. Mark Trail is a legacy comic strip that seems to show promise when a new cartoonist took over last year, especially in regards to how the art is less traditional and has some modern touches. Perhaps my favourite legacy comic strip is Sally Forth, which started as a comic mainly focusing on the main character who is characterise by dry wit, but when a new writer took over back in 1997, the quality of the comic strip has improved, as the husband of the main character, Ted Forth has more development that made him enjoyable, between his eccentric tendencies and observations that veer into breaking the fourth wall. After all, good writing can elevate a comic strip, even if the art is not necessarily the best (though it helps). While I am not a dissenter of legacy comic strips, given how I am neutral on this, I have to say that the fact that Sally Forth did it right makes me believe that there's promise in the idea of a legacy comic strip.
All in all, there is a time and place for legacy comic strips, and the subject is best not treated as a black and white matter. While the cartoonist might not necessarily be able to control the outcome of their life's work, a comic strip continuing is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of the world if it ended. There might have been a point that old comic strips might overstay their welcome, but given the cutthroat nature of the business, old comics being history does not necessarily guarantee that new ones may become long runners, though it may help that a niche is waiting to be filled. When reviewing several articles about comic strip departures and arrivals by year, the balance between them are not overwhelming in favour of either, therefore I don't think it will ever get too saturated anytime soon. In summary, legacy comics should be treated as an individual case rather than painting an opinion on it in broad strokes.
Thank you for reading.
Waluigi Time Comic
Drawn by: Waluigi Time (talk)
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
Written by: Waluigi Time (talk) and Magolor04726 (talk)
Diamond in the Rough: Part 3
Finally, I had made a break in the case of Mr. Montgomery's stolen diamond necklace - or so I thought, at least. Wasting no time, I dashed through the streets of New Wikisburg to question my chief suspect. In hindsight, I definitely should've taken the time to stop at the parking garage and pick up my car. Practically running a marathon down several city blocks really takes a lot out of you.
After what seemed like far too long, I finally stopped in front of Jonathan's House of Weights, and took a second to catch my breath. My timing couldn't have been more perfect. Jonathan was unlocking the doors and waved to me. "Hey, Shmaluigi! What can I do for you?"
"How?" I asked.
"Excuse me?" he said, with an arched eyebrow and a grin.
"How did you know that the necklace was diamond?"
His face faltered slightly. "I'm sorry?"
"Shmaluigi didn't say that the necklace was diamond, but you said that it was. You also said, and Shmaluigi quotes," I flipped open my notebook. "'All I know is that he got it in an auction and that it was pricey.'"
His face dropped. He closed his eyes and sighed. "Alright, come inside and I'll explain."
As we stepped inside, he started a lengthy explanation. "Several years ago, Montgomery and I got wind of a jewelry auction near Rogueport. I used to be in that business before I made some bad investments and wound up here," he said, gesturing around the gym. "We decided we each might be able to find some good stuff there that we could sell. So, after about half an hour, that diamond necklace went up. I needed more products and that thing looked like the perfect window display piece. On top of that, it was prized as probably the most durable diamond necklace in existence. Naturally, I started bidding on it. Unfortunately, Montgomery also wanted it. After a minute, it was just us going back and forth with our bidding, the price continuing to escalate. He eventually outbid me, but I honestly haven't thought about the thing since you told me it was stolen."
I frowned. "You do realize that this casts you in a bad light, correct? You have a motive, means, and no alibi."
He nodded. "But it wasn't me. Quite frankly, I don't need it. My business is beginning to pick up and Montgomery is the one who needs to make sure he sells it soon. I hear he's been having trouble with sales."
"Yeah, if the sales don't pick up, he might wind up as my new business partner," he chuckled.
"Hm... Alright then, thank you. Shmaluigi will be in touch."
I stepped out into a light drizzle of rain. This whole thing was starting to give me a headache. I honestly didn't think that Jonathan could have done it. He seemed to be telling the truth, but I still couldn't deny he was the most likely suspect. But no one else seemed to have been able to do it, either. In fact, the only person who seemed capable besides him was...
My head snapped up. The pieces had fallen into place. Shmaluigi had solved the case!
I walked into Mr. Montgomery's mansion later that day. I had brought along my briefcase of equipment and was doing some last-minute investigations to make my theory concrete when Chief Palmer walked in.
"Shmaluigi!" he exclaimed. "Someone called and said I was needed about the diamond necklace case. What's all this about?"
"Shmaluigi will reveal all in due course, chief."
"Hm. Mysterious as ever, eh?"
Just then, Mr. Montgomery came down the stairs in the main hall to where the chief and I were talking. "You've solved it?" he asked. "Already?"
"You really are a good detective," he commented.
"Shmaluigi is conducting some final investigations before Jonathan arrives."
"Jonathan? My brother?"
I nodded again. Just then, the doorbell rang and Mr. Kyle went to answer it.
"Can you gather up your employees Shmaluigi interviewed?" I asked. "They should see this."
Mr. Montgomery nodded hesitantly before walking off to find Ms. Belle and Mr. Barker. Mr. Kyle and Mr. Jonathan walked down the hall a moment later, talking about one of the jewelry pieces on display in the hall. Within a few moments, Mr. Montgomery walked back with Ms. Belle and Mr. Barker in tow. Since everyone was here, I cleared my throat to get their attention.
"Two nights ago, Montgomery Morris was robbed of his most precious item, a diamond necklace. Someone in this house has taken it, and all of you are suspects. Well, except the chief. Er, and Shmaluigi, of course. Anyway, after carefully analyzing this from every angle, and with the help of some outside information, Shmaluigi has finally deduced who took the necklace."
I paused for effect and everyone seemed to grow tense. I raised a finger and pointed it in the air. "The culprit is... YOU!" I spun and pointed at Mr. Montgomery.
"What?!" he exclaimed. "M-me?! You must be joking!"
"You staged the whole thing!"
"So you are joking!"
"Shmaluigi," Chief Palmer sighed, "you understand that this is a heavy charge, yes? What sort of evidence do you have?"
"This," I said, pointing between my feet at the dent in the floor, "was the first clue. In the security footage, you were walking down the stairs and the bandits grabbed the necklace from you. After a quick glance, they cast it aside. You said that, and Shmaluigi quotes..." I flipped open my notebook. "'I never keep the real necklace on display, I keep a glass replica out. It's very hard to tell the difference between the two. I was taking it downstairs to put on display when...'" I looked up. "The burglars showed up. If that necklace was glass, it would have shattered when they threw it to the floor." I pointed upwards at the staircase. "A fall from that height would easily break a glass replica. But it didn't. Instead," I pointed back to the dent, "it made a dent in the floor! Only a diamond could do that. But there's more!" I shouted as the chief opened his mouth to say something. "Shmaluigi found out that you are having money troubles. You were getting desperate. And, in a wild scheme you conjured up, you decided to fake a robbery so you could get the insurance money and get back on your feet, so to speak. And the plan gave you the perfect alibi. You were present for everything as the victim. No one else has a means, motive, or alibi greater than you."
"Thi- this is absurd! Outrageous!" Mr. Montgomery exclaimed, his voice quivering.
"Especially since you hoped everything would point to your own brother as the culprit!"
"What?!" Mr. Jonathan exclaimed. "Dude! That is NOT cool."
"You both attempted to buy the same necklace years ago. Everything fit perfectly, but you made two mistakes. You used the wrong necklace... and you hired Shmaluigi, Private Investigator."
"I... ah..." Mr. Montgomery stammered.
"Alright, Montgomery," Chief Palmer said, "You're coming down to the police station right now."
"I... oh dear..." he mumbled.
"Astounding work, detective," Mr. Kyle said.
"All in a day's work," I replied. Then a thought crossed my mind that made my heart sink. "Heh, Shmaluigi doubts he'll be getting paid though..."
"I'll take care of that," Mr. Jonathan said, stepping forward. "You've helped immensely and it's only fair that you get what was promised. I'll take over the family business and move in here, provided I can get arrangements settled with my gym and my apartment. Someone has to look after our mansion and all this jewelry. I'll send your pay within a week."
"Thank you, Mr. Morris," I said. Never thought I'd ever say that again in my life. I shook his hand, tipped my hat, and walked out of the mansion.
True to his word, an envelope made its way to my desk with a check inside for enough money to pay my rent for a month. Kicking back in my chair, I flipped open a newspaper and read the headline: "Morris Jewelry is rising back to the top."
So it seems Mr. Jonathan already got the family business reigned in. I promptly closed the paper and pulled my hat over my eyes to continue my studies from the beginning of this whole escapade. All was well in New Wikisburg for the time being, and Shmaluigi had done it again. Case closed.
Just then, a thought popped into my head...
What is it with people named Morris causing trouble?!
Out of New Wikisburg, at a mansion on a cliff, a black limo pulled into the driveway and a Beanish stepped out. Holding a single suitcase, he inhaled and sighed.
A Koopa Troopa greeted him from the porch. "Welcome back, sir," he said, a shining smile on his face. "I have eagerly awaited your arrival."
Jonathan smiled and looked at the house once more. "It's good to be home."
That's a wrap! Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed it. I'd like to thank Magolor04726 once again for coming up with the original story and his work writing for this. Next time on Shmaluigi, Private Investigator, well, it's been a little while since we've had any guest characters, hasn't it? I think it's about time we fixed that. See you then.
Interested in an audio version of this story? Check out Magolor04726's Shmaluigi, Private Investigator YouTube channel! New videos are uploaded shortly after the release of each issue of The 'Shroom, and you can also catch up on all the other stories so far.
Written by: RubberLuigi (talk)
Luigi drowsily opened his eyes to a view of his bedroom wall. The plumber-turned-hero had never liked waking up, even with his happy-go-lucky outlook on life and new days. He saw the dawn of a new day as a new opportunity to have fun and be happy, but even he had to admit that he liked his sleep. He sleepily turned himself over to see his nightstand, which held a lamp, a diary, and a picture of Mario, his big brother. His signature green hat was still on his head; a rarity, considering it had a tendency to fall off overnight.
“Ah, mamma mia,” Luigi yawned, rubbing his eye with his white gloved hand. He picked himself up out of bed, uncovering the green pajama shirt and flannel pants that kept him warm at night. As he trudged himself into the living room, he expected to see his brother Mario sitting there like he typically did.
“Morning, bro,” he slurred. He took a couple more steps toward his kitchen to make himself some breakfast; or, more accurately, brunch, considering he liked to sleep in. However, he stopped himself as he realized he had gotten no response.
“Mario?” Still nothing. “Big bro?” No response. At that point, Luigi decided Mario had probably just run out to get some things done. Mario was usually good about telling Luigi when he was planning to be out in the morning, but it seems like he had forgotten that day. Luigi decided it would be best to go on with his day, since Mario was always home by dinner.
By the time they would normally be eating dinner, Mario had yet to be seen. Luigi, already being an anxious person as it was, was terrified. If there was anyone he needed right now, it was his big bro. Maybe he had just gotten held up somewhere and he was getting home late. Yeah, that had to be all it was. As soon as the thought hit him, Luigi changed into his overalls and boots and set off. “I’m coming, bro,” he said to himself as he ran off from his home, looking a lot more confident than he was feeling.
“Luigi! Luigiii!” The voice of a Toad yelled from a distance. “Luigi, it’s horrible! You have to help us!”
“Whuh…what’s wrong?” Luigi started to panic a little.
“Bowser! He - his ships - he attacked us in Toad Town!” Luigi may have been panicking but the Toad wasn’t even trying to keep his composure. “They destroyed the whole place and- and-” The Toad stuttered, knowing Luigi was in for bad news. “And they got Mario!”
There it was.
“They what?” Luigi’s panic was starting to turn to rage.
“They got Mario, you have to save him!” The little Toad was lucky he wasn’t dealing with someone more violent like Donkey Kong.
“Grr…” Luigi growled, the anger starting to unleash. “That does it!” The Toad cowered a little as he watched bolts of electricity forming around Luigi’s gloves. “No one touches my bro!” Bowser had long been a nuisance when it came to stealing princesses, but this was too far for Luigi. “I’m gonna show that Bowser what I think!” Luigi’s typically reserved nature kept him from saying more.
“But how are you - ack!” the Toad exclaimed as he felt a small shock followed by a rush of air in his face.
“We’re gonna drive there!” Luigi ran faster than he ever had before, all the way back to his house. Luigi’s cheerful mentality was out the window, replaced with pure, unbridled fury. If he had been more godlike, his eyes would have been glowing pure red. His teeth clenched behind his mustache as he made a mad dash back home, Toad in one arm and ball of electricity in the other.
The poor Toad, on the other hand, was having quite the day. From surviving an attack by Bowser’s army to suddenly being swept up by a rage-filled Luigi to getting to see Luigi unleash his electricity powers, which he normally kept to himself. The emotions rushed through his head as Luigi rushed home. “I’ve never seen Luigi like this,” he thought to himself. He stayed quiet in order to keep Luigi from being even angrier than he already was; little did he know, he hadn’t seen much yet.
“I’ll save you, bro,” Luigi muttered under his breath. “I’ll save you from that evil turtle…” When he finally got back home, his trusty but somewhat underused ATV was sitting there waiting for him. Toad still in hand, he jumped directly on it and turned it on. The time it took for it to rev up, while not much, was still too much for Luigi, who let out a loud yell and several electricity beams.
“Luigi?” The Toad asked shyly, having just uncovered his ears from the shock - both the literal shock from Luigi’s electricity and the shock of a sudden yell.
“Not now!” Luigi had a big bro to rescue. He steered his ATV in the direction of Bowser’s castle and sped as fast as he could. He sped right through Toad Town, seeing the wreckage from the attack along the way. A few keen-eyed citizens were quick enough to notice the classic green outfit that had just sped by at the speed of a Bullet Bill. The ones who did cheered him on, knowing he would save the day for everyone.
“This is a day I’ll remember for a long time,” Toad thought to himself. He wasn’t sure if he was stuck to Luigi from holding him tight, some kind of g-force, or the static electricity Luigi was producing, but whatever it was, he was staying on top of that ATV. Luigi’s grimace never left his face for the entire ride. They sped through Kalimari Desert to DK Jungle, then to Sparkling Waters by way of Koopa Beach. Luigi and Toad approached a large ramp just before the ocean, which Luigi ran into at full speed. The ATV launched into the air as a glider appeared automatically in the back.
“Whoa…” was all that Toad could get out as he looked around him. The ATV flew gracefully through the air, Luigi steering occasionally to make sure he was on track for Bowser’s castle. He was about as familiar with the location of Bowser’s castle as anyone, and he was making sure he got there as fast as possible. Slowly, the ATV fell to the ground, losing no speed as the drive continued. The surroundings of the two started turning to a distinctive gray and red, signaling that their destination was coming soon.
“B-Bowser’s castle!” Toad seemed to be scared of the foreboding castle, and for good reason. Inside lived the world’s most infamous villain, capable of crushing everyday people like they were nothing. However, for Luigi, it was nothing more than a challenge. The anger continued to boil as they got closer. The ATV eventually screeched to a halt as Luigi jumped off and grabbed Toad with him.
“I’m coming, bro!” he shouted at the castle. The building itself may not have heard, but its occupants did.
“King, there seems to be an intruder outside,” a Koopa reported.
“I’ll deal with him myself,” the king replied confidently. A familiar figure sat in the throne once occupied by the former king of Koopas. While he may have had the same body, there was something different about him…
Luigi sprinted through the massive halls of the castle. Stone statues of Bowser lined the hallways, but to Luigi’s surprise, he wasn’t running into any minions like he normally did inside the castle. He ran past lava baths, dining halls, and several bedrooms until he reached a massive door at the end of the hall. This was the door to the throne room, where surely Bowser would be waiting, ready to taunt Luigi as soon as he entered.
“Let me in, Bowser! I know you’re in there!” Luigi banged on the door. Toad couldn’t help but cling to Luigi in fear. “You can’t stop me!” The electrification only increased as his patience decreased. Slowly but surely the grand door opened, revealing…what looked to be an empty throne room. “Come out, Bowser! You can’t hide from me anymore!”
“Oh, no need to worry about that loser Bowser anymore,” a calm voice said from behind. The Toad stuck even closer to Luigi.
“What? Who said that?” Luigi yelled startled, instinctively throwing a ball of electricity toward the giant throne ahead of him.
“Luigi, behind you!” Toad yelled. Luigi turned around to see someone who looked just like Mario, but different. Rather than the red and blue outfit Mario typically wore, he was wearing black with red overalls and black boots. There was also a black mask covering the skin around his eyes.
“Who are you? Where’s my bro?” Luigi growled.
“Allow me to introduce myself,” the lookalike Mario said. “I’m Mr. M, and I’m the king now. That good-for-nothing Bowser got what we all knew was coming to him.”
“Give me back my big bro, you…you freak!” Luigi threw a ball of his electricity directly at Mr. M, who seemed to be unphased.
“Hehehe…I’ve been looking for my little brother, as a matter of fact.” Mr. M started to pace around. “You see, I was split up from Mr. L several years ago when he got turned into one of the good guys.”
“M-Mr. L? Wh-What about him?” The mention of Mr. L, Luigi’s alter ego that he had been hypnotized into, brought back several memories and made him scared for what had happened to Mario.
“You couldn’t have Mr. M without Mr. L, could you?” It was then that Luigi noticed something. The swirls in Mr. M’s eyes. Was this Bowser’s work? What happened to Bowser? Was he truly gone? How was Luigi supposed to undo this black magic?
“I’ll get you back, big bro!” Luigi was fuming with anger and his electrification showed it.
“His game is over, Luigi,” Mr. M responded menacingly. Luigi was unphased, however. “Just join me. I know you want to.” The offer made Luigi even angrier. “Just look at all the power we would have together.”
“I’ll never join you!” That was when Luigi decided it was time to end the life Mr. M was on. It might cost him a life, but it would get his brother back. With a blood curdling scream, Luigi shot a stream of electricity directly into Mr. M’s torso. While it did not hurt him, it was enough to knock him out.
“Luigi, are you really gonna…?” The terrified Toad asked from behind.
“We’re gonna bring back Mario!” With Mr. M’s limp body on the ground, Luigi looked down at him. A wave of guilt rushed over him. Was he really about to throw his brother’s body straight into a pool of lava?
“L-Luigi, I’m scared…” Toad started to shake. He was looking at Mario’s unconscious body as Luigi pondered killing him. The anger Luigi felt turned into confidence.
“It’s what we have to do, Toad.” Luigi gently picked up Mr. M and slung his body over his shoulder. Luigi and Toad walked to the nearest lava bath, with Mr. M in tow. The two could feel themselves starting to sweat from the amounts of steam being produced. Luigi looked down into the pool, a tear welling up in his eye. Toad, emotions still not entirely in check, reached over to comfort Luigi. The two had started out as strangers at the beginning of the day, but had gone through such an emotional roller coaster that they may as well have been lifelong pals.
Luigi looked one last time at Mr. M. It felt like Mr. M looked right back at Luigi. Finally, the unconscious body of Mr. M fell several feet before splashing into the lava. The splash was nothing special, but it still caused Luigi to collapse on the ground in tears. He had just thrown his own brother, the Mario he loved so much, into a pool of lava. He could barely handle the guilt as it crushed him harder than a Thwomp.
“Huh? Bro? What happened? Are you okay?” The sweet, loving voice was all too familiar to Luigi.
“Mario!” Luigi jumped up, tears still in his eyes, and gave his brother the biggest hug of his life.
“Hehe, I’m here.” The two shared a hug as Luigi’s tears of joy streamed onto Mario’s shoulder. Luigi didn’t want to bother explaining; he just wanted to get out and get home. His brother was back, and he couldn’t be happier.
Later that night, the two brothers sat together, Luigi clinging to Mario as hard as he could. After the ordeal of that day, it was only fair that Luigi got to spend time with his favorite brother. “I love you, big bro,” Luigi gushed. The two had grown even closer that day. Luigi had often been seen by many as weaker and more cowardly than his older brother, but Mario always knew that wasn’t true.
“I love you too,” Mario said with a small nuzzle. “And I’m proud of you, bro.” Hearing those words from his brother made Luigi beam with happiness. He threw his arms open again, nearly tackling Mario to give him another hug. The two didn’t even bother to go to sleep that night; Luigi deserved the time with Mario after what he had been through that day. They spent the night playing games, watching movies, and pigging out on as much spaghetti as Luigi could possibly eat.
World of Plight
Written by: Magolor04726 (talk)
That’s what I can do to prepare for the journey ahead.
Absolutely nothing. I can’t even pack some of Doc’s chocolate bars because I don’t have pockets!
The worst part is that I have no idea what to expect. I’m so used to fighting in a controlled environment it could be hard to fight. And if there’s a tower to climb, I hope there are stairs because I’m really not built for climbing, especially not with these massive boxing gloves.
I’ve been training all day with Doc Louis, not really sure what to expect. It’s hard, because well… this could potentially be the last time I see him. We don’t know if any of us will survive, but if we don’t try, this Azcron maniac could ravage the world, including my home. That’s not something I’m willing to let happen. I’m gonna give Azcron a punch-out he’ll never forget!!
“So how do we get there?”
The remaining Fighters had gathered in the Main Menu Mess Hall, geared up and ready to go. I was sitting nearby, processing everything that was going to happen while Falon talked on the phone with someone on the StarStream.
“We’ve cobbled together a… mixture of things,” Sakurai responded, “we’ve taken a Warp Star and substituted it with the power source of Fox’s ship. Plus, Purah and Robbie have managed to install a Sheikah Slate sensor in the ship so that it can teleport at light speed. All of this combined will help you reach Karkaton without a problem.”
“That sounds dangerous,” I interjected, “have they, I don’t know, tested this to see what could go wrong?”
Sakurai hesitated. “Some brief testing was done and it seems unlikely that anything could explode, but there is always that chance.”
“Very encouraging,” Samus said.
“In addition, we’ve installed a sort of drone based on Beat and a Rotom, which Magolor and I will control from here to keep an eye on things.”
“We’ve got a second ship in the makings right now,” I added, “In case something goes wrong and you need backup. We were gonna use the Halberd but Meta Knight had the keys with him when the Magic Master attacked. We’ll do what we can from here, but we can barely fit all of you onto this ship. We’ll also try and send some others along if we can, but we can’t really round up support this quickly.”
“And the I.P.P. is helping how?” Link asked.
“We’re sending the StarStream to Miitopia as soon as possible, but it will take quite a while to get there. It’s an enormous ship and even using some combination of teleportation techniques, we could only ever move part of it at a time. But don’t worry, we’ll have Karkaton swarming with agents soon.”
There was a moment of silence before Sora spoke up. “Is this going to work? I mean, we don’t even know what we’re going to do once we get there other than storm the castle.”
Sakurai sighed. “It’s frankly the best chance we have. Almost 70 of the universe’s most powerful people have been captured by the one maniac who hopes to take their power for himself. The nineteen of you will have to defeat him in order to save them and the universe from destruction. I know you’ve all-,” he glanced at Villager, “Er, most of you have faced threats of great magnitude before, but this is currently unparalleled. You’ll need every bit of strength you have, every last ounce of might you can muster, and you must rely on each other as the brothers and sisters of Smash.”
Silence fell once more as everyone soaked in what was said.
“We better get going,” Mario said, “Let’s-a-go!”
A chorus of cries went up as the group headed outside where Fox’s ship was waiting.
“Fortune favors the bold!” I called after them. “You can do it!” I stood up and headed for my room, where the monitor connected to the drone was set up.
Hey guys! Thanks for reading this month’s issue of World of Plight! I hope you enjoyed it and are looking forward to the beginning of the conclusion! (Buckle up, it’s going to be quite the ride!) If you have questions, comments, or conspiracy theories regarding the story, throw them at me on the Mario Boards!
From Smash HQ,
On a planet out in space, near the hottest volcano in the most desolate land, there stood a massive, winding, tall tower. In the top-most floor, a room with a wraparound window overlooked the glowing red land. Tattered banners emblazoned with “AZ” were hung around and a throne sat towards the edge of the circle. A hooded figure stood gazing out the window as a robot in a tuxedo approached.
“Sir,” the robot said, bowing to his back, “The heroes are approaching.”
The figure continued to look out the window. Slowly, he turned, his armor creaking slightly as his sword sheath tapped his leg lightly. His face was practically invisible, hidden behind a veil of a purple mist that was flowing gently around, in and out of his body.
“Let them come,” he said, his voice backed with authority, “It is my time now. They cannot stop me. Azcron’s reign has come.”
|The 'Shroom: Issue 178|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight • 'Shroomfest Highlights • Directorial Address|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|