The 'Shroom:Issue 189/Palette Swap
Happy holidays, everyone, I hope you are safe and happy! It's the December Special Issue of the 'Shroom!
Last month feels like it was ten years away. In that span of time, I've not only finished Pokemon Scarlet, but I've also started Sonic Frontiers as well. I had a LOT of fun with Scarlet, but I have to agree with others who say the games needed a little more bug testing and graphical cleanup. Despite the bugs I had, my journey was a lot of fun. I love the new characters, the story is excellent, and the new Pokemon are great- there are so many amazing ones to choose from! I hope Gamefreak learns from the missteps here and makes the next games just as good and fun as these ones were.
Section of the Month
November's Section of the Month is here, and it looks shockingly similar to last month's results! Waluigi Time (talk) is in first with Shmaluigi, Private Investigator, and then in second is his Waluigi Time Comic. Bringing up third this time, though, is Lakituthequick (talk) with Site Seeing. Great work to all of our amazing writers who submitted a section last month, and thank you to everyone who voted!
|PALETTE SWAP SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||Shmaluigi, Private Investigator||11||40.74%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|2nd||Waluigi Time Comic||7||25.93%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|3rd||Site Seeing||5||18.52%||Lakituthequick (talk)|
Drawn and Pressed
Ben is created by Daniel Shelton, and started back in 7th October, 1996. It depicts a man who is enjoying life as a retiree, and the life of a retired person. To expound further, it's about a retired couple who have offered to babysit their grandchildren (children of their working daughter). Life as a retiree is depicted as appropriately low-stakes and peaceful, which makes it a generally wholesome comic strip, obviously with humour that is trademark for comic strips. The comic strip artist is from Quebec, which, due to how that state within Canada practises both English and French (especially the latter), the comic strip has an English version and a French version, unlike most comic strips that are also from Canada like Herman and Pooch Café.
When the comic strip started, we are greeted with the titular character Ben, who is recently retired from his unrevealed line of work as a desk job, but it was revealed that it takes some getting used to his new relaxed lifestyle. Despite this, he's certainly not exactly on his own, as by the time the strip started, he's already a grandfather. While he typically lives with his wife Olivia, his daughter Patty would occasionally drop by with her husband and children. During the beginning of this comic strip, he only has one grandson, Nicholas, who was a toddler when it started. The comic strip operates in a slow progress of time in terms of character ages, so as of the current strip, Nicholas is 8 years old. Indeed, as the comic strip progressed, Patty's family ended up with four children (including Nicholas), and the other grandchildren has their own arc from their gestation to their birth. From what I understand, this is one of those cases where real life reflects the comic strip reality, because under the author's bio, the grandchildren are all named after the author's children, so it's probably his way in immortalising the children into his work.
The characters include the titular character, Ben, who is a retiree who agrees with the perks that come with being retired, and his wife Olivia, who despite her age, is active in community and is ready to take up new activities. From what I have seen, Ben is depicted as a typical man who loves food and watching TV, and living the good life and have a good sense of humour, which probably makes him very relatable. Notably, Ben and Olivia are not only based on the author's parents, but also himself and his wife, because having two inspirations provide a bigger fountain of ideas as opposed to one. They have one daughter, Patty, who is married to Nathan, a graphic artist who works from home. Their children are Nicholas, Michael, Alec, and Mia, from oldest to youngest and the youngest is the only girl while the rest are boys. Given Nathan's background, it wouldn't surprise me if he too, is based on his real self, since his career background is based on himself, and their children are all named after his real children. Interestingly, Nathan's parents are of mixed marriage, in which his father is a Japanese-Canadian, which is why the entire family has a Japanese surname (Tokoname), in contrast to Ben's surname of Hatley. Finally, there's Max, who is a dog that is adopted from an animal shelter after a series of events involving a pet shop and a lost dog.
As a whole, the comic strip is very gentle and nice in how the family life is portrayed. I would describe it as wholesome, because the themes touched on are not exactly heavy topics most of the time. Most of the time being the keyword here, because on the creator's website, one of the highlighted arcs is about the Japanese internment camp that the Nathan's father attended when he was younger, told to Nicholas. Personally, I really like comic strips that are very idealistic because they are a breath of fresh air in a world that may not see it that way, since it's typical that cynicism gets more attention. A few comic strips like Pickles and Speed Bump felt similarly idealistic but they don't sacrifice the humour for it, which I think is something that may not be easy to nail and thus, is why I view as an ideal to meet. The artwork is also similarly gentle and pleasing to the eye, adding to the comic strip's lovely nature.
A couple of months ago, the author broke the news that the comic strip may be in jeopardy because of how the local newspaper company opted for a package deal for comic strips from a US syndicate instead, as a cost-cutting measure. Essentially, this means that lower profile comic strips would be pushed out in favour of more famous comic strips that have already gotten a large readership (probably including the long-running ones). It's probably difficult to imagine it, but Ben is basically akin to an indie comic strip supported by a local newspaper, from what I read of the situation, and because such a move is detrimental to the livelihood of the creator, it's little wonder he's uncertain about the future of the comic strip. Certainly, he's acknowledged the messages and well-wishes of those who enjoyed the comic strip, even if it's not a big strip comparatively. He's not against the idea of retiring the comic strip eventually because, after all, it all has to end some time; if it did though, he would prefer it to end the way he would want it to. Due to this, he's recently turned to Patreon to gauge support by showing off comic strips from there. In other words, it wouldn't be surprising if the comic strip is on its final years.
Comic strips about old people aren't exactly rare, with Pickles being one of the more popular of its kind, but it's always good to have variety on that field. It's also good to see comic strips that are from a different place other than the US, mainly to get a different outlook in the life at different countries, even if this one hardly emphasise typical Canadian stereotypes. Overall, this is a fantastic comic strip for its humour, art, and the characters.
Ben strips can be read at: GoComics. Based on what I am able to find for the French versions, they are mainly found in book collections so I can't post a link here.
Thank you for reading.
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
Mr. White Christmas
Ah, Christmas. Kids jingle belling, everyone telling you be of good cheer... Stuff like that. Unfortunately, it's not any less of a busy time for me. Fielding calls from little kids who want me to prove that Santa exists - and from their older siblings who want me to prove that he doesn't - was amusing at first, I had to admit, but after the twentieth time or so, it gets really old. And that's not even getting into the things that are actually worth my time. Maybe it's about time I look into hiring a secretary.
Just then, my thoughts were interrupted by the arrival of my brother Shmwario barging through the front door.
"Alright bro, clear your schedule and pack your bags, I got the two of us a Christmas vacation!" he said.
"I'm not sure I care much for vacations anymore..."
"Oh c'mon, it'll be fine! I already paid for the cabin rental, so we gotta do it. Besides, it can't possibly be worse than your last vacation!"
He was probably right...
"...Well, okay. But if we see a jackalope, I'm out."
The trip up to the mountains was pretty uneventful, not that that was a bad thing by any means. We finally arrived at our cabin, which was fairly spacious and nicely furnished. Everything seemed well in order - whoever maintained these must do a good job.
"It's nice to get away from the city for a bit, I suppose," I said, "and what's better, no sign of the Joja Corporation's slimy hands up here."
"See, what did I tell you? Shmwario knows best!" Shmwario said with a big grin on his face.
"Oh, you do, do you? What about the time when we were kids and you tried to flush an entire roll of toilet paper down the toilet at once because you were so sure that I was wrong when I said you couldn't do that?"
"That doesn't count! Besides, it was a long time ago!"
"Hey bro, look! They got a Baron von Hooks!"
Shmwario walked up to the fish mounted on the wall and pushed the button on its plaque. The fish began to sing a fishy tune.
"I never liked those... They kind of freak me out."
"Aw, c'mon! There's nothing wrong with Baron von Hooks! Think of what a dark place the world would be without any funny singing fish."
"Okay, well, you have fun with that."
"Anyway, I figured today we'd kick back and then tomorrow we hit the slopes!"
"Sounds good to me, I'm going to go unpack."
As I took my suitcase into my room, I could hear Shmwario pushing the button on Baron von Hooks again. He's my big brother, and, well, a grown adult, but sometimes he still acts like a little kid.
MEANWHILE, DEEP WITHIN THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS, THAT ICY HEARTED MADMAN PHINEAS J. SHOE AND HIS EXASPERATED ASSISTANT ROSE HAVE BEEN RECRUITED FOR WHAT COULD BE THEIR MOST DIABOLICAL SCHEME YET!
"Mush, Rose, mush! We must make it to the cavern before the sun sets," Phineas says, sipping hot cocoa as Rose pulls a sled.
"B-B-Boss, why did you accept this job all the way out in the middle of snow country? My flowers are starting to wilt," Rose says, shivering and exhausted.
"Did you not see the letter? Rose, you fool, a great treasure was promised in exchange for my genius," Phineas boasts.
"Boss, I'm just saying it seems to me that we could make more money-" before Rose can finish, he's cut off.
"Silence Rose, we have arrived," Phineas says, pointing at a small cave located within the mountain.
The two villains enter the icy cavern, which seems to invoke the imagery of a theater in its furnishings. Spotlights sitting on the floor illuminate posters of a Mr. Blizzard known as "The Blizzman" hanging from the walls, as if advertising a show. A blue carpet, clearly marked by velvet ropes, leads deeper inside.
Arriving at the carpet's end, they find a large area of the cave housing an entire stage. Right on cue, lights begin to flash and music begins playing as Blizzman himself slides into view... Until the power gives out, leaving all of them in total darkness.
"Oh, these horrid generators! I simply cannot work in these conditions!" cries Blizzman. "Freezies! Take care of this! Now!"
The sounds of ice clinking around emanate from within the dark as Blizzman's Freezie entourage works to restore the power. After a bit of time, the lights flicker back on.
"Ah, it's about time. It's so hard to find good help these days, you see."
"I understand, I've been thinking of using my genius to build a proper assistant," Phineas says as Rose stares daggers at him.
"Now then, Shoe, I'm afraid I'll have to spare you my lavish musical introduction - these pathetic generators my entourage scrounged up can't seem to handle a bit of spectacle - so allow me to cut to the chase. I need your expertise to create for me a beautiful machine that will allow me to usher in a glorious age of worldwide global cooling! Ooh, I get chills just thinking about it! And for your payment, I would be willing to part with the Crown Jewel of the Mr. Blizzards! I know, I know, I'm so generous. What say you, Shoe?"
Phineas, focusing only on the thought of treasure replies, "A weather machine, eh? Should be easy enough!"
Rose, actually understanding the long term consequences of such a machine, grabs Phineas' arm and whispers, "Boss, I don't think this is such a good idea..."
"Are you questioning my decision making Rose?" Phineas asks indignantly.
"Boss, don't you see what he's trying to do? He's trying to make it permanently winter," Rose says pleadingly.
"So what if it becomes permanently winter? With the value of their crown jewel we'll be able to buy all the sweatshirts and fuzzy blankets we need," Phineas snaps.
"Boss, please-" Rose starts to say before being cut off.
"DO NOT QUESTION ME ROSE OR NEXT TIME YOU'LL BE STUCK TAKING CARE OF THE BLOUPER. Now then Rose, we'll need a weather vein, a sprinkler, ten quadruple A batteries, and a cherry slushie," Phineas says, commanding rose.
Rose, facepalming, decides this isn't an argument worth having and agrees to fetch what Phineas needs as Phineas laughs.
The next day, we went out for a bit of skiing action.
"Alright, don't run into a tree or tumble down the mountain and turn into a snowball again," I said.
"It was one time, get off my back!" Shmwario snapped back.
As we skiied down the hill, I noticed something peculiar and stopped abruptly. Shmwario quickly stopped as well.
"What? Why'd we stop?"
"These tracks," I said, looking at the tracks left behind in the snow. It looked like someone had been pulling a sled through here.
"Yeah, yeah, there's other people up here. You never turn the detective stuff off, do ya?"
"But what about that?"
I pointed to a spot up ahead where it looked like someone had briefly gotten off the sled. A single, giant footprint... Maybe I was just being paranoid, but it reminded me of a certain mad doctor.
"Talk about Bigfoot," Shmwario commented.
"I don't know if I'm overthinking things, but I have a bad feeling about this... Let's just follow the tracks for a while and see where they lead."
Following the tracks up the hill led us toward a secluded cave entrance. This was getting weird...
MEANWHILE, THE NEFARIOUS DUO OF PHINEAS J. SHOE AND ROSE DELIVER THE FINISHED INVENTION TO BLIZZMAN'S CAVERN HIDEAWAY!
"Ah, Shoe, how lovely to see you again!" Blizzman says, greeting the mad doctor and his assistant. "I trust your creative process went well?"
"Of course, my lord of snow. The process was a complete success and once our fee is paid you shall be able to return this world to its original form," Phineas boasts arrogantly.
"Excellent, excellent! Here is your reward, as promised," Blizzman says as he hands the mad doctor a glass case with a "jewel" in the shape of a snowflake inside.
Phineas gazes into the "jewel", his mind spinning as he imagines the value of the "jewel".
"Look into it Rose, think about how rich this jewel shall make us!" Phineas says still staring at the "jewel".
Rose looks at the "jewel" confused. "Uh, boss, I think that's just a snowflake," he says skeptically.
Hearing this, Phineas begins to laugh. "Oh Rose, you low class fool, you just can't see the clear value of such a priceless object," he scoffs as Rose rolls his eyes.
"Now then, what say we give it a whirl?" Blizzman says.
Before he can activate the machine, Blizzman gets distracted by commotion coming from the entrance of the cave.
"What's this? I didn't plan for an audience..."
The next thing I knew, the two of us woke up tied to chairs. That never bodes well... In front of us, there was a stage with a strange contraption of sorts on it.
"Hey! What's the big idea, you frosted freaks?" growled Shmwario.
"Now, now, no need to be so rude!" came a voice from the dark, "I wasn't planning on having spectators, but I can't resist a captive audience, ahaha!"
A Mr. Blizzard proceeded to slide into view across the stage. "Now prepare yourselves, for the world premiere of my latest grand production, in collaboration with the brilliant Phineas J. Shoe, The Blizzman's Winter Wonderland!"
"You won't get away with... whatever this is!" I said, realizing mid-sentence that it probably would've had more impact if I actually knew what was going on. My dramatic timing isn't always the greatest.
"Oh, that's adorable. I'm a star! I can do whatever I want!" The Blizzman retorted. ""Now Shoe, activate the weather machine, and make my destiny come true!"
"With pleasure," Phineas said as he spun the weather vain, causing the contraption to power on and draining what looked like a cherry slushie attached to it, turning it into snow.
"DO YOU SEE, SHAMUIGI? DO YOU SEE MY BRILLIANCE? NOW WATCH AS MY GENIUS BRINGS THE WORLD TO ITS NEW ICE AGE!" Phineas yelled while cackling.
The lights in the cave began to dim, as if the machine was stealing most of the available power. As it did whatever it was doing, I heard the sound of a distant rumbling up above that left a pit in my stomach.
"Ooh, ah, haha, looks like your device is more powerful than I expected, Shoe!" The Blizzman said, turning to Phineas. "On that note, I think it's about time I exit stage left! I suggest you two do the same, unless becoming a snowcone is your idea of a good time."
"HEY! What about us?!" Shmwario yelled.
"Fate can be rather cold sometimes, can't it? No hard feelings, of course! Toodles!"
With that, The Blizzman fled from the cavern, closely followed by a gaggle of Freezies. Phineas and Rose escaped as well, leaving us to deal with the avalanche by ourselves.
"Grr... I'm not goin' out like this!" Shmwario said.
"Well, we better hurry," I replied, "once that avalanche hits, no one's finding this cave until spring, I bet..."
"No problem! Watch out, it's Shmwario time!"
Shmwario flexed his muscles and struggled a bit before tearing the ropes to shreds.
"Bwahaha! How do ya like that?"
After getting himself freed, Shmwario got up and untied me. Well, it was more like pulling the ropes apart with his fists, but beggars can't be choosers. By that point, I was already eyeing our skis which had been left sitting against a wall.
"Should we bust up Shoe's whatchamacallit?" Shmwario asked.
"I'm not going to chance it, besides, it's just going to end up buried in the avalanche anyway. Come on, let's get out of here before the same thing happens to us."
I grabbed the skis and we high-tailed it out of there. I looked up the mountain and could see the snow coming down from the peak - it wouldn't be long before it reached us.
"Well, here goes nothing," I said, quickly preparing for the most intense ski run of my life.
"GERONIMO!" Shmwario yelled as he flung down the mountain. I didn't care to be left behind and quickly followed suit.
As we raced down the mountain, we ended up catching up with The Blizzman, sliding on his entourage of Freezies.
"Ahaha, and here I thought I gave the two of you the slip!"
"How would you like a mouthful of fist?" Shmwario yelled back.
I looked behind us to see what was going on back there, and I could tell that the avalanche was gaining on us. There was no way we'd be able to outrun it... Or outski it, I suppose. We needed a plan B, and fast.
"Look, over there!" I said to Shmwario, pointing to a slope in the terrain that seemed like it could make a good makeshift ramp.
"What? You gotta be crazy!"
"It's the only chance we've got!"
We veered over to the right, and just as I expected, the two of us catapulted into the air...
Okay, that was a lot more altitude than I thought it was going to be!
"THIS IS THE WORST THING EVER!" Shmwario yelled.
After careening through the air for what seemed like the most absurd length of time possible, we finally landed. Not a graceful landing, mind you, but we were still alive, at least.
I pulled myself out of the newly created Shmaluigi-shaped hole in the snow and looked around. It seemed like that jump was enough to get us all the way down to the base of the mountain.
"Hey, we did it Shmwario! ...Shmwario?"
I looked around and didn't see any sign of my brother - just then, a fist burst out of a nearby mound of snow, followed by Shmwario's snow-covered face.
"Grr... Now we BOTH got a rotten vacation under our belts!" he grumbled.
As we brushed ourselves off and got our bearings straight, a large chunk of ice came tumbling down the mountain and embedded itself into the snow. It would seem that The Blizzman and his Freezie minions got themselves into a little mishap and froze themselves together.
"Oh, how awful!!! Every last one of you is fired! I demand to talk to my agent! NOW!" The Blizzman cried, with only his head and arm having managed to escape being encased in ice.
After radioing the authorities to let them know about the avalanche - and to pick up our Mr. Blizzardsicle - we returned to see what was left of our cabin. The answer? Not much. The avalanche had pretty much obliterated it, leaving pieces of scattered materials all over the place.
"Why would they build cabins right in the path of an avalanche? How stupid!" Shmwario complained.
"Well, in their defense, I don't think they normally happen here unless a crazed Goomba with a weather machine is nearby," I replied. "I wonder if they'll charge us for the rest of the rental..."
"Hey, look," Shmwario said, reaching into the snow, "it's Baron von Hooks!"
Shmwario pushed the button on the fish's plaque, causing it to sing one of its tunes.
"Still works! Bwahaha!"
MEANWHILE, DEEP WITHIN HIS SECRET UNDERGROUND LABORATORY, THAT FIEND OF FIENDS PHINEAS J. SHOE AND HIS EVER FRUSTRATED ASSISTANT ROSE CELEBRATE THEIR VICTORY!
"And you doubted me Rose. But look at us now Rose, we have the crown jewel of the Blizzards. Gaze into it Rose, gaze into our prize," Phineas boasts as he shows Rose the frame where the jewel once was.
"Uh, boss, it looks like it melted," Rose says, showing Phineas that the so called jewel has indeed melted.
"WHAT?!?! NOOOOOOOO! CURSE YOU SHAMAUIGI!" Phineas screams as he rages.
Thanks for reading this year's Shmaluigi, Private Investigator Christmas special! I hope you enjoyed it. Special thanks to Shoey for writing the dialogue of Phineas J. Shoe and Rose once again, it's always good to work with him. We've been in a string of one-offs for a bit, but that ends very soon! Next month we'll be kicking off a story arc that I've been looking forward to writing for quite a while now. It may or may not involve the aftermath of a certain cruise that may or may not have happened. Hopefully I'll see you then!
|The 'Shroom: Issue 189|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight • End-of-the-Year Awards • Director Election • The 'Shroom Holiday Scavenger|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|
|Specials||Thank You, Ninja Squid! • PC Election Proposal|