The 'Shroom:Issue 184/Palette Swap
Welcome back to The 'Shroom! It's the July issue!
Feels like it's been only two weeks since the last issue came out!! I got to go out of state on vacation last month, which was a fun adventure- I love seeing new places (even though I've been to Chicago a few times before.) Now though, it's back to work and getting back into my regular routine. I burned out on Rune Factory 5 pretty bad last month, understandable, which left me open to swing right into Fire Emblem Warriors: Three Hopes, which I am really enjoying. I'm working through my Azure Gleam file right now, trying not to screw things up (although I've already failed to recruit a couple students in time, oops.)
This month we've got our regular sections ready to go for you, so please read on and enjoy!
Section of the Month
Another month, another Section of the Month finishes! Taking first place once again is Waluigi Time (talk), with Waluigi Time Comic! In second, we have Long John Spaghetti (talk)'s wedding installment of Luigi and Associates Detective Agency. Next up, we have a three-way tie for third, between Waluigi Time (talk)'s Shmaluigi, Private Investigator, Magolor04726 (talk)'s World of Plight, and winstein (talk)'s Drawn and Pressed. Thanks so much to everyone who voted, and keep on casting those votes this month as well!
|PALETTE SWAP SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||Waluigi Time Comic||10||40.00%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|2nd||Luigi and Associates Detective Agency||4||16.00%||Long John Spaghetti (talk)|
|3rd||Shmaluigi, Private Investigator||3||12.00%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|3rd||World of Plight||3||12.00%||Magolor04726 (talk)|
|3rd||Drawn and Pressed||3||12.00%||winstein (talk)|
Drawn and Pressed
In the past century, adventure comic strips such as the likes of Brenda Starr and Terry and the Pirates, and Mandrake the Magician were pretty common. As the years go by, there aren't many new entries, and currently longform adventure comic strips are something of a rarity, where there are quite a few of them. Some of them survive until today such as Dick Tracy, Prince Valiant and The Phantom, and among them some got a change in artist and overall direction like Alley Oop and Mark Trail. Contrary to Popeye's surviving status, the weekdays are in reruns and thus does not count as having continued its run. Perhaps the most notable newcomer in this genre of comic strips is the one we'll be looking at this time, which is the January 2009-debut Rip Haywire, created by Dan Thompson.
The main star of the comic strip is the titular Rip Haywire, who is a macho, courageous, and righteous hero who is also a soldier of fortune. Even his childhood is portrayed as being over-the-top with him being taught to perform stunts and taking up marksmanship despite being a boy, almost as if he's born for the job. He is, according the cartoonist, modeled after "classic action heroes such as James Bond, Indiana Jones and Jason Bourne". The cartoonist has a fondness for adventure-themed stories, as he reportedly grew up with old Hanna-Barbara cartoons like The Adventures of Jonny Quest and G.I. Joe. In a sense, the comic strip evokes the sometimes unintentionally campiness of adventure stories like Indiana Jones and its ilk. Rip is practically named after Alex Raymond's Rip Kirby while Haywire is from a thesaurus when looking for a surname synonymous to something indicating danger. He is typically accompanied by a dog called TNT that can talk and is a bit of a cowardly lion in personality and usually the comic relief, an ex-girlfriend Cobra Carson who is a femme fatale who is according to author, "always out for herself". Early on, there is a sort of on-and-off relationship between Rip and Cobra, and they would occasionally make out or have conflicting interests. The dog was originally a Pomeranian but was changed to be a collie (like Lassie), similar to Lassie.
A couple of characters were added down the line, one of them being R.J. (Rip Jr., which is coined by Rip himself) a boy that is adopted by Rip during the first Christmas arc and joins him on his many adventures, and despite the name, is an orphan and not the biological son of the main character. He easily adapts to Rip's lifestyle of danger, and is able to hold his own even as the younger man. The other is Breezy, a redhead introduced in May 2013, who was introduced as a helicopter pilot who assisted Rip in his mission to save Cobra, and is one of the women who falls head over heels over Rip at first sight. In fact, in the arc that she was introduced she is the one that pursued Rip out of love when he was searching for Cobra. In the end, after some "consultation" from a wish-granting tiki statue, it is shown that the relationship with Cobra was not meant to be. While the competition of affection from Cobra plays out briefly, Rip did eventually marry her and later on they have a daughter named Fireball (because of the red hair, you see). Despite the recurring status of the most recurring characters I mentioned, the comic strip is mainly about Rip himself, so the others might take a backseat for even weeks at a time. Although the idea of characters having static ages is common among comics, here there are some points where time notably passed, such as one where there is a two-year skip at September 2012 where RJ notably gets older and the daughter growing up (hopefully not written out unceremoniously like Starr Twinkle, Brenda Starr and Basil St. John's daughter, who was gone in a plane crash), though I should note that there is a timeline retcon around May 2015, although some things would remain like the marriage with Breezy and RJ being adopted.
Much like any adventure-based comic strip, stories tend to be run for weeks that form an arc, meaning that the full picture can only be grasped if you read multiple days of cartoons in a row. The first arc for this comic dealt with the introduction of the first three characters told in dream sequence, but it won't take long before actual adventures starts. Although the heroes are usually able to handle danger head-on, they would sometimes get easily knocked out by the villains in a very simple fashion, like being knocked on the head from behind, which I find to be funny like how in The Amazing Spider-Man, Spider-Man gets knocked out by falling objects on occasion. I suppose it's not an adventure comic without the twists in the plots, so there is the element of danger to the main characters even if they display the professional skills or hidden depths. The artstyle of this comic strip is one of my favourite aspects of it. The characters are drawn quite stylishly, and so are the backgrounds. The use of colours and the black ink to create a striking picture is also great and creates a cartoon that easily catches the eye. It's as if the cartoonist is able to develop his art skills quite naturally, and indeed he is more or less self-taught in the art of, well, drawing. The way he draws women as bombshells is another thing that is easily noticeable because a lot of them, even the main character's mother, are drawn with shapely bodies.
One distinction from the older adventure-themed comics is the focus on humor, so one can expect a punchline after every strip in addition to some form of story progression. Moreover, the characters are over-the-top in their mannerisms, like how the main character has a penchant for doing things to the extreme or the frequent use of sound-like effects that is accompanied with "Ka-", such as "Ka-scream" and "Ka-knuckles". While adventure-based comic strips tend to be serious and thus do not typically have cameos of other comic strip characters, this one does it occasionally, at least early in its life. There were cameos of, for example, Arlo and Janis, Zits, Andy Capp, and Peanuts (I have reviewed the first two strips in previous articles), though those got less appearances overtime. Still, other pop culture mentions such as Chuck Norris, where in the spirit of parody, are mentioned liberally by the characters. The mix of action and humour already makes the comic stands out from its contemporaries, and together with the striking artwork that evokes the art style of the classical comic strips, provides something new that makes it worth a look.
One of the fun parts of the series is how the villains tend to have punny names befitting of their nature or gimmick, so for example, there is a villain named "Dr. McLuvyah" who has a death ray called the "Cupid's Arrow of Doom", and there is "Max Sting" who uses paralysing needles to temporarily incapacitate his enemies. The setup invites the reader not to take them seriously, especially when the main character will usually beat them by the end of it. Whenever the villains met their demise, I have never seen a villain that is gone forever even though they seem to be dead due to not seeing their bodies, so I presume that any bad guy can come back whenever they are necessary. Of course, their actual bodies were not seen so no dead bodies were actually drawn. A notable recurring villain is a group called Skull, who appropriately have skull emblems to signify their allegiance.
Overall, I find the comic strip to be quite enjoyable, and it has a nice balance of words and action, not to mention how great the artwork for the comic strip is. One thing I do have to commend the cartoonist is how he is not only able to work on this comic strip, but also has the time and energy to contribute to other comic strips. Some of them may be hit or miss, but I nonetheless admire a hardworking individual.
Most cartoonists could only focus on one comic strip, but there is the rare ones that support two, and even rarer ones that support more. Indeed, Dan Thompson is rather prolific that he worked on three comic strips recently. One of the comic strips that he still continued to do to this day is Brevity, which is a single-panel comic strip that started out on Comics Sherpa, a (now-defunct) website where artists could publish their work to gauge interest, which was where certain comic strips got their start and even got to branch off into their own thing. Brevity started out as a comic strip called "Cow Tools", named after an infamous The Far Side line where that's pretty much the punchline, though it was renamed due to the lawyers. The comic strip was eventually syndicated back in 2005 by Guy Endore-Kaiser and Rodd Perry (pen named "guy & rOdd" respectively, and yes, Rodd's signature emphasised the "Odd" part). Dan Thompson joined the team back in 2012, and gradually he took over the comic strip while the other two were phased. The earlier Brevity comic strips when done by Guy & Rodd emphasise a traditional gag found in single panel strips with an emphasis on the visual of the unusual scenarios, but when Dan Thompson took over, the comic strip leans very heavily on puns even if it still have the unusual scenarios, though personally speaking, Dan's artwork is much more striking even though I would've love more variety like the older cartoons done by Guy & Rodd. Another comic strip that Dan Thompson still continues to do to this day is KidSpot, which is another strip that he took over from a previous cartoonist Dick Rogers, and it's basically not much about cartooning but about bite-sized puzzles. As such, I can't imagine the comic strip being remarkable to any reader here, but it's still interesting to note nonetheless, mainly because of the striking artwork.
There are an additional couple of comic strips that Dan Thompson did, but the comic strips practically ended their run as he's no longer doing new cartoons for them. One of them is Harley, which started in 2017 and ended on 17th December 2018, and is now pretty much on reruns. It is about the life of the titular biker and his sarcastic cat (just named "Cat") who can talk, unlike Garfield. The cartoonist came up with the premise on a whim and it developed, and contrary to how motorcycles were involved, the author had a bad experience with a motorcycle as a teenager. The comic strip is basically a gag-a-day one where the characters face several humorous situations. This is facilitated by Harley's character. While Harley is modeled after the stereotypical rider gangster and thus looks tough at first glance, he is kind of childish like how he dislikes vegetables and have unusual preferences like needing to sleep with his teddy bear. Certain characters were also established to facilitate this, like how there is a bar named Mom's Roadside Diner looked after by an owner that behaves like a tough mother. Of course, there are the physical gags where Harley himself got into accidents with humorous injuries. The short-lived life of Harley is kind of tragic because it is a brilliant comic strip but it's likely that balancing between two comic strips at that time was already a lot of work, not to mention how Harley was not properly syndicated. Thus it was the easiest to stop doing, though it still shows promise as a fantastic cartoon.
The other comic strip previously done by Dan Thompson is Lost Sheep that started in 2003 and thus is probably his earliest comic strip and ended at around 2007 before he started Rip Haywire. This one is about a inquisitive sheep named George that decides to leave his flock and be independent and wearing clothes in the first comic, and he eventually lives in with the friendly Joe, after the sheep found an ad for a roommate. Not much later, they are joined by a parrot Frank who is obnoxious and thus lends himself to an interesting group because of his ability to speak his mind. Personally speaking, the comic strip is rather interesting in its humour and premise, and the art is kind of cute to boot, though it probably has some trouble standing out. The archives for any 2007 or later strips might very well be gone since the website that hosted them is not defunct, so the actual final strip might be lost in time. One aspect from this comic strip that notably gets carried over to Rip Haywire and Harley is a talking animal sidekick that comes up with the witty lines, and I have a feeling that because of how much the parrot contributes to the comedy of the comic, those comics have them because the author likes the idea of a talking animal that make wisecracks. Even then, the fact that it was the first comic strip meant that the cartoonist got some learning experience from working with it.
It's very fascinating to see how a cartoonist's work compares to what could be considered their original work, or how they are able to stretch or develop their creative skills from it. What I have more or less taken from the strips is how well they are drawn, even if I thought that they could be better.
Thank you for reading.
Links to the Dan Thompson comic strips:
- Comic strip's creator mixes adventure and humor - The Times News (archived)
- United Media launches Rip Haywire by Dan Thompson - The Daily Cartoonist
- Thompson talks about his new Rip Haywire strip - The Daily Cartoonist
- Dan Thompson joins Guy and Rodd’s Brevity - The Daily Cartoonist
- Meet Your Creator: 'Harley' Artist Dan Thompson - GoComics
World of Plight
(Listen for effect!) https://youtu.be/l0zw7swwq7A
The hooded figure on the throne stood up. "Hmph. I have been waiting. I had no doubt you would all make it here. For I sense great power within each of you. And it is power I want. And I will have it… or you will die. For I. Am. Azcron."
I swallowed hard. Even though I wasn’t in Karkaton with the fighters, I was sweating as though I were. The final battle had begun.
Mario spun his hand behind him. “Let’s-a-go!” As the Fighters circled Azcron, he swept his hand in an arc and points of fire shot out towards the group, exploding on contact with the ground and the ceiling. Link deflected a bolt and hurled a boomerang towards Azcron, who was holding up a hand. A blue ring of energy was drawing close to his palm quite slowly. The boomerang slammed into his shoulder but he shrugged off the attack like a child had hit him with a stone from a slingshot. The ring grew closer and closer to Azcron’s hand as Ryu and Little Mac rushed in for a punch. Suddenly, the ring connected with his palm and a magnificent shine of light shot forth, electrocuting the pair fiercely. They were launched back and toppled into Samus and Pac-Man as Mario leaped forward with Sora on his heels. Mario produced a fireball and lit the end of the Keyblade as Sora swung it fiercely at Azcron.
“Bring on the chaos!” Azcron proclaimed, holding his hand up. He clenched his fist and flashing black and white squares flew from nowhere and gathered around his fist. After a short pause, they shot forth, blasting card suits in every direction. Pit and Link held up their shields as everyone dove for cover.
“What do we do?” Fox called.
“I have never faced an enemy like this!” Marth shouted.
As the barrage of hearts and diamonds stopped, Azcron held up his other hand and a hammer materialized into his palm. He brought it back over his shoulder and held it back, ready to swing, suddenly, Kirby jumped in front of him and kicked towards him. Azcron reacted oddly slowly and swung the hammer several times at Kirby. Each time, however, Kirby managed to dodge out of the way and land an additional blow.
Snake, who was crouching behind a piece of rubble with Captain Falcon and Pikachu, looked carefully from Kirby to Azcron. “There’s always a tell…” he murmured. He leaned over and whispered something to the captain, who looked back with a puzzled expression. “Trust me,” Snake hissed, ducking beneath a bolt of fire.
Falcon nodded and picked up Pikachu.
“Ready, annnnd…” Snake watched as Azcron held up his palm and a blue ring appeared. “NOW!”
Captain Falcon reared back and threw Pikachu across the room.
“Pikachu!” Snake yelled, “Skull Bash, then fall back!”
Pikachu spiraled in midair and charged his body. “PiiiiiiiKA!” With a mighty rush, he flew towards Azcron and caught him square in the chest before using Quick Attack to dash away.
Azcron flinched but clenched his fist and shot a blast of electricity around himself again.
Snake snapped his fingers and pointed at Azcron, who had turned to the other side of the room. “There’s always a tell before his attacks! So get in and use the timing to get back out!”
From behind another piece of nearby rubble, Marth nodded as Azcron raised his hand.
“GO!” Snake yelled as Marth surged forward. He quickly swung his sword four times, the blade singing as it swung. Fox spun his gun and began blasting at Azcron as Mewtwo charged an orb of energy and Simon swung his whip at close range. Azcron flinched on occasion but continued summoning more black squares as the purple mist surrounding him danced wildly. Just as the squares reached their peak, Mewtwo blasted the purple orb forward, sending it slamming into Azcron’s fist. The squares scattered harmlessly and the mist slowed down as he grunted and fell to his knee for a moment. Mario grabbed Sora’s hands, spun quickly and hurled him towards Azcron, spinning the Keyblade with extra force.
“So everything that happened, the missing Fighters, the secret base, all of that and everything else was you!” Samus shouted. “Even Waluigi was your plan!”
“That IMPUDENT oaf!” Azcron yelled, throwing Sora off his back. “I dangled the potential of his acceptance into your little circle like bait on a stick! I had always planned to get rid of him once the time was right!”
“HEY!” A few people turned to see the Mii in the Sans costume standing by the entrance.
“Oh yeah!” Sonic exclaimed. “Reinforcements! Prepare for a bad time, Azcron!”
“Wrong!” Mii Sans shouted in a voice that sounded nothing like Sans. He pointed his Gaster Blaster Gun in the air and fired something black out. “You’re gonna have a TOO BAD TIME!” he shouted, smacking the black thing at Azcron with a tennis racket.
The Fighters leaped back as the black orb hurtled across the room and exploded at Azcron’s feet. Then something purple flew by the camera. I stared at the Sans costume on the floor in shock. I listed my eyes as Sakurai and I stared in complete bewilderment as a purple clad man was beating on Azcron with a tennis racket. “WAAAAAAAAAHH!!”
“You dare turn on me?!” Azcron bellowed. He grabbed Waluigi by the collar, brought his other hand around and punched Waluigi across the face.
Waluigi’s nose started to bleed and his eye was already a color that matched his shirt. “You… you…”
Azcron smirked. “What? What are your final words, Waluigi? SPEAK!”
“Go to wah.”
Suddenly, there was a deafening BOOOM!! and a brilliant flash.
“He had another Bob-omb!” I cried.
“EVERYONE! AS ONE! NOW!” Mario yelled, and the group rushed forward, pummeling Azcron with everything they had. Fireballs flew as blasters blared and swords sang through the air. Suddenly, there was a mighty yell and a flash of light as the group was blasted back.
When the dust settled, a figure was doubled over, breathing hard. I looked closely and gasped as the figure looked up. In all appearances he was human – a face as old as time itself and long, flowing black hair. He had one working eye, black, while the other had a slash across it; he had a couple scratches that implied mortality – but once you looked into his eyes, you knew that there was nothing human about him. This face housed malice, evil, even death itself. For once you looked into his eyes, you knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that this was the face of wickedness. Of power. Of death. For this was the face of Azcron.
He was breathing hard after the impact from the last attack and his body seemed to be smoking. “You will pay for that… dearly.” he seethed. Suddenly, he leaped backwards and CRRRAAAASHED! through what was left of the wrap-around window. With a yell of surprise, everyone rushed to the edge to see what had happened. Then, there came a loud, deep, pulsing power-up sound.
A massive face grew in front of us. Azcron’s face. I piloted the drone out the window and flew it up to get a look at what had just happened. First and foremost, Azcron was now enormous. The size of the tower, almost. Giant mechanical wings colored pink, yellow and purple grew from his back, flashing and pulsing colors. Green wires trailed from the tips, seemingly severed halfway to whatever they used to be connected to. A massive helmet that resembled Bowser’s head was on his own and a golden crown – one I was very familiar with – stretched down and connected to the wings, fusing halfway up. A long, black, blocky tail swished behind him. In his right hand he held a large wand of sorts and in his left was a sword that looked like it had belonged to Ganon.
I stared in horror at what he had become. The true final battle had begun.
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
Sticky Situation: Part 2
Several days had passed since the... let's say, unfortunate incident, at the harbor. No unusual activity since, no leads, and no closer to busting this new mafia that had moved into the city. The more time that passed, the more anxious I got. If you can stamp out a mafia before it gets well-established, good for you. If not, well, it's going to take a lot more work getting rid of an organization that's had plenty of time to entangle its filthy arms everywhere. It doesn't take a genius to see why I wanted to eliminate this problem, and fast.
Hopefully the Sticky Warrior was having a better time with his case...
I continued to get lost deeper in my own head, running through various less-than-optimal scenarios, before I was brought back to reality, as typically happened, by the ringing of my phone. If caller ID was to be believed, it was a call from the chief. Finally!
"What's up, chief?"
"Hey, Shmaluigi. One of our patrols picked up a Boom Boom matching the description of the one you mentioned running into at the harbor. Figured you'd want to come over the station for the interrogation."
"Ah, finally some good news! Thanks for calling, Shmaluigi will be right over."
I made my way over to the station, and followed Chief Palmer to the interrogation room, where I peered through the window. Inside sat a Boom Boom with a tattoo over his eye. There was no mistaking it, this was the same guy who almost pounded my face in at the harbor.
"Yep, that's him alright."
"The name's Claude Boomer, currently a resident of Neo Bowser City," Chief Palmer explained, "He's got a pretty colorful rap sheet, including destroying a car with his bare fists because it was parked in a spot he wanted. Seems to have some temper issues, if you couldn't tell."
Yikes. Good thing the Sticky Warrior intervened when he did, if not, well...
"Shmaluigi supposes we should interrogate him now..."
We entered the interrogation room, and were met by a smug expression on Boomer's face.
"Save ya's breath, detective. I ain't gonna talk."
"So we're gonna have to do this the hard way, eh?" I said.
"Oh, spare me the 'good cop, bad cop' gahbage! Whateva ya's plannin' on doin' the Terrakingpin would do to me ten times worse if he found out I squealed. So why don't ya go do somethin' useful with ya's time and go clean the squad cars or somethin'."
Well, that was an interesting development. Regardless of his intentions, his insistence on running his mouth had given us valuable information. So whoever this thug was working for was the same person responsible for the case Sticky Warrior was investigating...
"The Terrakingpin?" I asked. The smug expression on his face practically disintegrated the moment I said it.
"I, uh, tolds ya somethin' I wasn't supposed to, didn't I."
I said nothing, and simply nodded in response.
"Shoot. ...But seriously, that's all ya's gettin' out of me! I ain't sayin' no more! Ya can find the rest out on ya's own!"
Unfortunately, Boomer made good on his statement. All of our attempts at interrogating him didn't produce any more useful information. Now we knew who we were dealing with to some extent, at least in theory, since we didn't know anything else about this guy or where to find him. I wouldn't say we were all the way back to square one, but maybe a couple steps onto square two.
But, if I was trying to track down the same fiend that the Sticky Warrior was, I figured that it would probably be a good idea to touch base with him. Maybe he had something that could help us...
I walked out of the station, not exactly sure where to begin looking for the Sticky Warrior. It wasn't going to be a problem very long though, as suddenly, the Sticky Warrior landed right in front of me! I jumped back in shock, though couldn't help but think it would be nice if the people I was looking for fell from the sky more often.
"GAH! You gotta give a guy more warning, yeesh... Wait, what are you doing here?"
"You're a nervous one, eh? In any case, I've been wandering here ever since you brought that big goof I fought at the harbor here. I was wondering what's up with that? However, the Police Station is a bit harder to monitor than I thought, and I could not get much clues about what's happening in there. This is frustrating!"
"Well, you have good timing, Shmaluigi was actually looking for you. It turns out that we may actually be working on the same case. The Boom Boom you knocked out back at the harbor accidentally revealed that he's working for the Terrakingpin too. He didn't realize we didn't already know, but he's being very stubborn about not giving us any more information. Shmaluigi was hoping maybe you had something, as long as we're both working toward the same goal?"
"Nah, unfortunately. Looks like I draw a blank on my investiga- Wait! Did you say you were interrogating the suspect?
Hmm... I have an idea. Let me take care of it... personally! Going easy with that vexing chap is just wasting precious time for all of us. My interrogation methods are quick and effective actually."
I hesitated for a bit. Yeah, the Sticky Warrior's been a good ally of mine, but this is the kind of thing I could very easily lose my job over - or worse - and on top of that I was a bit... uneasy thinking of what his interrogation methods might be. But if it could help find out where this guy is located...
"Look... If anyone asks, we never talked about it."
"Cool! Mmmmmm.... This is going to be a fascinating experience..."
I've got a bad feeling about this.
After meeting up with the Sticky Warrior, I returned to my apartment. It wasn't like I had anything better to do, after all.
I shuffled around the place for a while, taking care of various mundane tasks. That's one thing How To Be A Detective For Dummies never tells you, you're probably going to spend a lot of time doing absolutely nothing. It's not a profession I'd recommend to the impatient, that's for sure.
Eventually, it got to be around lunchtime, so I opened up the fridge and pulled out some ingredients to make myself a sandwich. When I shut the door, I was suddenly face to face with the Sticky Warrior!
"GAH! You wanna give me a heart attack?" I quickly regained my composure and got back on track. "*ahem* So, how did your 'interrogation' go? And, ah, spare the exact details, Shmaluigi's probably better off not knowing."
"Well, I've got what we were searching for! More time necessary than I thought, but it was worth it. I should really do more training with my interrogation methods.
Anyway, yeah, the location of Terrakingpin's base is located in a haunted house; well I mean an abandoned house on the opposite side of the town. There is a bizarrely shaped steeple on it. You can't really miss it apparently. So cliché for a bad guy… How predictable."
"Impressive, but not all that surprising. Well, we can head there tonight, that gives us time to get organized and-"
"Oh come on, we're already late on our schedule! Ugh! Whatever, if you wish to stick to some boring protocols Detective, here is a piece of paper with the information. Do not be late if you want to share the fun of engaging with some good ol' thugs!"
The next thing I knew, the Sticky Warrior turned into his squid form and launched himself out the window. Looks like I was getting ready for a raid on a mafia hideout in the middle of the day...
Maybe they'd all be out to lunch?
I got in my car, put the address Sticky Warrior gave me into the GPS, and followed the directions. I was a bit nervous just rushing into things headfirst, and I really didn't care for the part of the city that these directions were leading me into, but at least I was coming here in broad daylight. Could be worse, I suppose.
As I neared the destination, suddenly the Sticky Warrior came out of nowhere and landed on the hood of my car! In shock, I swerved off the road and just barely managed to slam on the brakes before obliterating a fire hydrant. After checking to make sure I still had a pulse, I got out and walked up to him. He didn't look very rattled for someone who just took a ride on the hood of a car, but then again, he wasn't the one whose insurance premiums nearly skyrocketed.
"You were taking your time Detective. It was becoming boring here! At least, my little ride on the hood of your car was enough to hold my interest at the very least."
"Hey, in case you forgot there's a little thing called speed limits? Shmaluigi would rather not end up in a traffic accident, thank you very much. Or get pulled over... That would be embarrassing..." I shuddered at the thought of what ridicule I'd get from Shmue Toad in a situation like that.
"Speed limits? Never heard of them. Anyway, no time to chitchat Detective! The house is just over there. Oooh! This will be delightful!"
We walked the rest of the way, a couple blocks until we got there. It certainly looked abandoned, but countless experiences have taught me that appearances can be very deceiving.
"So, how are we going to get-"
Before I could finish talking, the Sticky Warrior jumped up and kicked the front door right off its hinges. I wasn't sure if it was a testament to his ability, the state of the place, or a little bit of both, but either way I was impressed.
"Let's not beat around the bush here. We have a Snifit dude to find here and the 'almighty' Terrakingpin to crush into oblivion, and I think oblivion would be a tad too pleasant to tell the truth."
We went inside, being as stealthy as we could - the Sticky Warrior was a lot better than I was, to be fair - though it didn't seem to be too necessary, since no one was around. Contrary to the outside of the building, you could tell that people were active around this place, but wherever they were, it wasn't here. Maybe they really were out to lunch.
"So what do we do now, just... check doors?"
"I... uh... guess? Not much opening for us here sadly. What a badly designed mansion! Who even built this, seriously!?"
We went up and down the halls, carefully opening doors and peeking inside the rooms, not finding much of interest. If this really was their main base, then I figured that these guys must have just been getting into the mafia game, they certainly didn't have a lot to show for it.
I couldn't help but be a bit nervous as we looked around. If we didn't find a bunch of goons behind one of these doors, then there was a good chance that they could come back at any moment and find us snooping around. And let me tell you something, criminals usually don't like private investigators messing with their business.
Suddenly, I heard a loud slamming noise, and being on edge as I was, pretty much instantly spun around to see where it came from, finding Sticky Warrior in front of a now-doorless doorway.
"That door was locked, so... yeah," he said.
I followed him inside, where we found an unfortunate Snifit tied to a chair. The Sticky Warrior pulled out a small dagger and sliced through the ropes like butter.
"Finally," said the Snifit, "I was starting to think no one was coming for me. I don't know what this guy wants with me, I've told him a bunch of times I only make and sell novelty socks on the internet!"
"Wait, really?" I asked.
"Yeah, really! Wait, did I not mention you that when I first met you on the harbor?"
"No, no you did not. Wonder what the deal with trying to ransom this guy was, then. Either way, we better get out of here before anyone shows up."
As we turned to leave, we were stopped by the arrival of a mustachioed Koopa, dressed to kill, pardon the expression. Hopefully that wasn't about to be taken literally.
"Ah, looks like some interlopers came to spoil my chance at riches. I knew something was wrong when I came back from lunch to find doors off their hinges," he said, gesturing with his cane. I could only assume that this was the Terrakingpin himself.
"What do you mean 'riches'? The guy sells socks online," I grumbled.
"Tried that bit on you too, did he? A clever ruse, but I know a multimillionaire when I see one," he continued. I had a feeling he wasn't the brightest bulb around. "But I'm not about to let you two ruin this for me. It's only a matter of time before my syndicate rules this city, and anyone within a hundred miles will fear the name Terra-"
Before he could finish his sentence, he was interrupted by the Sticky Warrior firing his gun and covering him in a splash of red ink.
"Apologies, but I am sick of obvious villain monologues. I suggest some improvement to that next time!"
"You little- do you realize how expensive my dry cleaning bill is going to be?"
He stomped forward, only to step in a puddle of ink that had splattered back onto the floor in front of him, causing him to slip and fall right on his back. He didn't look like he was going to be getting up anytime soon.
"An overturned Koopa, classic," mused the Snifit.
With the Terrakingpin safely behind bars, the remaining members of his organization quickly scattered and disappeared back into the woodwork. Looks like that was going to be the last we heard of those guys for a while. I wouldn't be surprised if most of them found a place elsewhere, but at least the Terrakingpin's mafia wouldn't be taking hold here in New Wikisburg anytime soon. And the Sticky Warrior got his compensation for the whole thing, and that Snifit was back to selling socks on the internet.
All was well with the world.
...Man, I need a vacation.
Thanks for reading what is actually a milestone for Shmaluigi, Private Investigator! Yep, it's somehow already been a full year of me writing this section! Time flies. It's been a fun ride, and I've got to work with some great people and their characters (as of this issue, nine other users have written content for this section). Be sure to keep reading because I've got plenty more ideas that I hope you'll all enjoy. Special thanks, of course, to Ninja Squid, for once again writing dialogue for the Sticky Warrior. It actually feels fitting that he's contributing to this milestone section, since he's a big part of why Shmaluigi even exists at all. Anyway, that's enough from me for now. See you next time, and enjoy the rest of Palette Swap!
Luigi and Associates Detective Agency
Issue #2: Chaos Control (Part 1)
“H-Hey! Who turned out the lights?! Where the heck am I?! Arle? Somebody? Helllooooo?”
Sonic looked around him, the sky now a purple color and becoming increasingly distorted. Just last night, he had been investigating rumors of a mafia in Chaos Town with a young woman named Arle, who had become somewhat of his assistant throughout the investigation. But now, she was nowhere to be seen.
“You've finally awoken, Sonic. Good. As you can see, this is no longer Chaos Town.”
Sonic would know that voice anywhere.
“SHADOW!! Where's Arle?!”
“Answer me, Shadow! Where is she?!”
“I’m afraid she’s already succumbed.”
Sonic took a step back to process what had just happened. The investigation wasn’t going so well, sure, and they hadn’t been making a lot of progress, but Arle ‘succumbing’ to what was most likely the mafia? Just overnight?
“Look around, Sonic,” Shadow continued, “This town has already succumbed to the Chaos energy. If I do not extract you soon, you will too.”
“Since when did you care about me?”
“Even I have standards, Sonic. I wasn’t about to leave one of my…my acquaintances to be doomed by a fate worse than death!”
Sonic opened his mouth to say something else, but before he could make a sound, Shadow grabbed Sonic with one hand, and in the other, he raised up a Chaos Emerald.
Meanwhile and several months later, newlyweds Luigi and Yuri Idraulico were savoring the last day of their honeymoon, holding hands on beach chairs facing the open ocean.
Luigi sighed, “You know…I can’t remember the last time I had a proper vacation…heck, now that I think about it, I don’t think I’ve ever had a proper vacation…”
“You have never had a vacation?” Yuri giggled, “There is a first time for everything, I suppose.”
“Well, I’m not saying I’ve never been on a vacation, sweetie, it’s just that every time either me or Mario decide to pack up our bags and take a break, we end up going on an adventure anyway.”
“Well, you haven’t had a call to action for the entirety of this honeymoon, right?”
“Aha, yeah, that’s good…”
Luigi closed his eyes in hopes of taking a nap…only for those plans to be dashed by a blinding white light suddenly forming in front of him and Yuri. At least they were wearing sunglasses, so they didn’t need to shield their eyes.
“Augh, we just had to jinx it, didn’t we?” Luigi groaned.
Almost as soon it appeared, the light vanished, and in its place stood two hedgehogs, one black and one blue. Luigi sat at attention in his chair with a surprised grunt.
Yuri looked over at her husband, “Luigi, do you know them?”
“Yeah, actually!” Luigi said, “It’s Sonic and Shadow! We went to the Olympics together!”
“Hey, yeah!” Sonic confirmed, “Long time no see, Luigi! How’s it goin’?”
“Where’ve you been?” Luigi asked, “I sent you an invitation to my wedding, but you never replied.”
Sonic scratched behind his ear, “Yeah, sorry about that, but Edgy the Hedgy over here- wait, you got married?”
Luigi tilted his head like a confused puppy, “Yeah, the wedding was just last month.”
“Wait, hold on, so when Shadow and I used Chaos Control, it not only teleported us, but it moved us through time, too! What gives?”
“Hmm,” Shadow said, “If what you are saying is true, then I may have a theory. Chaos Town was engulfed by an energy not too dissimilar to energy emitted by the Chaos Emeralds. My theory is that energy interfered with Chaos Control.”
“I am…very confused…” Yuri stuttered out.
“I’ll explain on the way back!” Sonic shouted.
Luigi gulped, “The way back to where, Chaos Town?! No way! Why would you willingly go somewhere named Chaos Town?!”
“Because my friend didn’t get out,” Sonic responded, “And I’m gonna go back for her. But I can’t do it alone. Luigi, and, uhm, Mrs. Luigi. I’m gonna need your help. Please.”
Luigi looked to Yuri, who nodded in approval.
“Alright, Sonic,” Luigi sighed, “We’ll help you.”
“Alright! Shadow what about-” Sonic looked over to where Shadow used to stand, only to find that Shadow had seemingly vanished, “Hmph. Typical.”
A plane flight and several days later, the trio had piled into Luigi’s old beat-up sedan and were driving down the highway.
“Are we there yet? My legs are cramping like crazy!” Sonic groaned.
“WE GET THERE WHEN WE GET THERE!!” Luigi yelled back in response.
Sonic huffed and looked back out the window, only to perk back up again.
“Hey-hey! This is our exit! 126! Right up ahead!” He beamed.
Luigi and Yuri looked up at the highway sign that read ‘Order Town, Next Exit’.
Yuri frowned, “Sonic, didn’t you say that we were going to Chaos Town?”
“Well, I did…” Sonic started to trail off before snapping back, “...I guess some people got lucky, escaped, and made a new town. It wouldn’t hurt to check, right?”
Luigi and Yuri both murmured in agreement as Luigi turned onto the exit ramp into Order Town. Suddenly, but not surprisingly, the ‘Check Engine’ light flashed on the car’s speedometer. Groaning, Luigi pulled over to the side of the road and turned the car off.
“Aw, great!” Luigi gripped, “Now what’s wrong with this darn thing?!”
“At least we won’t have to go far to call a tow truck,” Yuri said, pointing to a restaurant named ‘Kellonald's’.
“Crappy wi-fi is better than no wi-fi,” Luigi agreed, “C’mon, let’s go.”
The trio unceremoniously left Luigi’s junk car behind and walked the 50 feet into Kellonald’s.
“Yo, I’m gonna get a bite,” Sonic said, “I’m starvin’.”
“Go ahead,” Luigi replied.
Sonic strutted up to the cash register to order.
“Can I take your order~?” The girl behind the counter asked.
Sonic’s eyes widened as his jaw dropped. He knew that voice. “N-no way…”
Slowly looking up, his suspicion was confirmed as he laid eyes upon a familiar brunette young lady with a ponytail, only she was...different. She was surrounded by a purple aura with blood red eyes and black-and-purple attire to match.
It was Arle.
Thanks for reading yet another issue of Luigi and Associates: Detective Agency!
I’d like to thank Reverse Input for his help while developing this section!
What happened to Arle?! How can Sonic help her?! Will Luigi’s car ever get fixed?! Tune in next time for the answers (maybe)!
|The 'Shroom: Issue 184|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight • 'Shroomfest Highlights • Poll Chairperson Address|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|