Big spoiler here: At the end of the Cocoon Acedemy series, we find that seriously, this is a big one. Spoiler! Pinky was actually Meta Knight before Dark Matter turned him blue... and he told his story to Adeleine during a game of Truth or Dare.
This cardboard 1UP was originally a promotional standee at Game Stop. It was attached to a cardboard display for Super Mario 3D Land, but it got tired of kids' grimy hands continuously touching it and replicating iconic Mario sound effects with their mouths. So one night, desperate to change its stationary life, it slid through a crack in the foundation and made its escape. Craving fresh air and bluer skies, the cardboard 1UP tumbled along the wind until it reached the edge of a dusty old road. From there, it hitchhiked with a number of interesting characters—many of whom could fill books with their incredible, sordid pasts—and eventually reached the spot where it rests in this comic. After Bowser was unfairly blamed for the 1UP's relocation, Mario went on to defeat the Koopa King once again, while the cardboard 1UP shed a guilty tear for Bowser's unjust punishment. As it turns out, Paper Mario nabbed the 1UP, thinking it was an Ultra Shroom, and like most RPG full-heal items, it sat in the hero's bag, never to be used. I mean, c'mon, what if you need it for later? So that's where the cardboard 1UP spent a great deal of time, crammed next to a Sleepy Sheep and something called a Couple's Cake. For years, the 1UP was content with its current situation, happy to play solitaire and the occasional game of backgammon with the Sleepy Sheep. But everything changed on that day. Amidst a stirring, fateful battle, Paper Mario was at the end of his rope. Bruised and battered, he remembered that fabled Ultra Shroom from so long ago. This was it. This was the time. This was the moment he'd been waiting for for so long! He reached down into his satchel, past a crusty Dried Shroom and a number of marginally-useful badges, and felt a warm, familiar presence. At this moment, the cardboard 1UP awoke with a glimmer of hope. This was it. This was the time. This was the moment it'd been waiting for—a chance to finally make its mark in history! It would save Paper Mario in the eleventh hour, and as a result, the world! The 1UP swelled with pride and readied itself for its true purpose. Paper Mario lifted it high and—ready to recieve his second wind—crammed it into his mouth! Nothing happened since it was made of cardboard. Cardboard is useless.
Okay, fine, you still want a Valentine's Day theme with this one? "As Ganondorf and Bowser shook mighty hands, their eyes met for the first time. Initially thinking he got the better end of the deal, Bowser could suddenly only focus on one thing: the impressive fullness of Ganondorf's eyebrows, poetically mirroring his own. Ganondorf, meanwhile, had never felt the ironclad grip of a spiny turtle monster before, and was instantly impressed. As his thoughts wavered from his plan to defeat Link, he slowly began to wonder what his new friend's scaly arms would feel like gently wrapped around his shoulders…"
The next strip in the arc gives us Ganondorf vs Mario.
Ganondorf: I don't know why Bowser never just stood here. Alt Text: Ganondorf, that bridge was the only way out of the castle.
A Simple Request The idea of Ganondorf singing "All I Want For Christmas is You" is funny enough. Then it turns out he's singing it to the Triforce. Then there's a Re-Dead barbershop quartet. Not to mention some of the lyrics.
My non-hate for you is real... ... Folks would be shocked to discover ashes where their homes once stood! ... Onox: All the lights are shining so brightly everywhere... Veran: And the sound of children screaming fills the air! (Wilhelm Scream) Vaati: And everyone is seeing... Skull Kid: Their friends and family fleeing! Ganondorf: Santa, won't you bring me the one I need to prove I'm a much better villain than these four dudes!
Then it's revealed at the end Link and Navi saw the whole thing. Ganondorf's face just says it.
"Don't forget me!" "Oh, of course!" It's Link's face that sells it.
"LISTEN UP!!" Well, pretty much every transformation here could qualify, but Meta Knight's face turning into a hilariously embarrassed expression as he accidentally exposes his adorable face takes the cake.