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Comic Book / Nintendo Comics System

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The Nintendo Comics System, first published in 1990, was an early and short-lived imprint of the comic book company Valiant Comics. As the name suggests, it was a series of comic books based on the popular Nintendo video game franchises and their cartoon spin-offs. The titles published within this imprint included stories based on:

  • Super Mario Bros. (of course) - In the only truly comedic comic in the series, Mario and Luigi defend the Mushroom Kingdom against the evil forces of Bowser Koopa.
  • Game Boy - In what may or may not be a Spin-Off from the Super Mario Bros. comic, a disgruntled man named Herman Smirch is turned into a slave for Super Mario Land villain Tatanga and is forced to release through "the gateway" (a.k.a. a Game Boy) when the alien demands it. Luckily, other Game Boy players are always around to release Mario (who has a strangely different personality here than in his other comic) through the gateway so he can drive Tatanga's forces away.
  • The Legend of Zelda - Link and Zelda have to protect the Triforce of Wisdom from Ganon, the Prince of Darkness. These comics take place following the events of Zelda II: The Adventure of Link and have many details in common with the cartoon series based on the games which debuted around the same time.
  • Captain N: The Game Master - Based on the cartoon of the same name, except it takes itself more seriously. Also, Samus Aran, having been oddly absent from the cartoon, is here, while third party characters Simon Belmont and Mega Man are absent.
  • Metroid - Documents further adventures of Samus Aran and is possibly set in the same continuity as the Captain N comics (it uses the same design for Mother Brain). Unfortunately, only one story was written for this one.
  • Punch-Out!! - Stories are made based off of Little Mac's matches with his opponents in the games. OK, only two (Piston Honda and Super Macho Man).

Unfortunately, despite Nintendo's prominence in the video game market at the time, the comics apparently did not sell very well; arguably, the Zelda comics were the most popular and had the longest run. They were all discontinued right around the time the Super NES was launched (though as Nintendo Power showed the following year, it was not the end of Nintendo comics in general).

These comic books contain examples of:

Super Mario Bros. and Game Boy

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Big Bertha to just about everyone, since Stanley, who is her usual object of affection, is always dumping her on the lap of the nearest sap. Although him trying to get away from her is excusable considering she's extremely needy and violently jealous (as seen in "Fins and Roses", where she beat seven shades of tar out of Wendy just because Stanley was trying to woo her, while Wendy just wanted to get rid of him because he was ruining her plan to ambush Mario), it doesn't help that Stanley's such a tool.
  • Apook Corporation Products: The fact that nobody catches on to the fact that this is just "Koopa" spelled backwards is part of the joke.
    • In "Magic Carpet Madness", a fast-growing beanstalk is what stops the brainwashed Princess Toadstool and snaps her awake. It grew like that because Mario sat on a fertilizer sack right over the seeds. Funnily enough, the sack reads (upside down): "Super Fert(alizer) - NOT a product of the Apook Corporation".
  • Adaptational Badass: Compare Tatanga's appearance here to how he looks in the official game artwork.
  • Anti Poop-Socking: A downright ridiculous inversion in Game Boy # 1 where the hero chastises his older, not-as-competent brother of spending too much time with girls and not enough time playing Nintendo.
  • Beach Episode: Mario, the Princess, and Toad end up on a tropical island of surfer Toads in "Beauty and the Beach."
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Princess Toadstool in "Magic Carpet Madness"; When the princess' Magic Carpet floats past the ozone, the oh-no zone and into the Koopa Zone, a pair of Pidgets use hypnosis to turn her into a delinquent who harasses people with her rug. She snaps out of it when she collides with a giant beanstalk.
  • Catchphrase: Bowser likes to declare that his current plan is "gonna be excellent!"
  • Chained Heat: In "The Buddy System", Mario and Bowser are chained together by Mousers, and are forced to work together to save the underground world from flooding and themselves from drowning. Their teamwork is short-lived.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: In "Beauty and the Beach," Bowser is trying to cause a volcanic eruption by tricking a bunch of surfer Toads into throwing bombs into the volcano to scare away the Cheep Cheeps that are making it impossible to surf. Mario, the Princess, and Toad have to work to stop the volcano from erupting.
  • The Ditz: King Toadstool (who apparently did not even know what cacti were) and Lemmy Koopa.
  • Dream Within a Dream: "You Again?", with a rather Mind Screwy Twist Ending: all those dreams of Mario getting beaten up by Shy Guys were Toad's, and when he wakes up, he himself starts to go through Mario's torment.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Subverted because King Toadstool's assumption that Wooster was betraying them was wrong, while for a moment Mario and Toad thought he was right because they caught him feeding Koopa (turns out he was stuffing him full on purpose, so he would fall asleep and Wooster could slip away).
  • Exact Words: Lemmy passes his ambush test by attacking his own father, because it was indeed an ambush.
  • Flippant Forgiveness: Bowser gets really mad at the Koopalings when Princess Peach tricks them into letting her go — except for Lemmy, because Bowser already knew he was an idiot.
  • Fourth-Wall Mail Slot: "Dear Princess Toadstool" was treated as such, despite the fact that she was really just answering mail from other characters.
  • I'm Thinking It Over!: Mario is obsessed with "Dirk Drain-Head" comic books. When he drops the latest issue in a dangerous area filled with Koopa's minions, he has trouble deciding if the comic book is worth going back for.
    Luigi: What's more important, that comic book or your life?''
    Mario: I'm thinking it over.''
  • Ironic Echo:
    Tatanga: But not this time. Mario dies today. You see, in this world, you only live once.
    (later, after Mario has gotten a Starman and is now invincible)
    Daisy: Mario won't stop until you're finished. He is invincible, now. And what was it you said? In this world...
    Tatanga: only live once.
  • The Jeeves: Wooster, whose name is almost certainly a Shout-Out to... well, Jeeves and Wooster.
  • Jerkass: Mario tends to act like this in the Super Mario Bros. stories
    • Stanley the Talking Fish in his three Mario appearances.
    • Herman Smirch in the Game Boy comics.
  • LARP: The story The Revenge of Pipe Ooze! has Mario and the others attending a Dirk Drain-Head LARP. Mario, of course, goes as Dirk Drain-Head, even though Luigi is the spitting image of Dirk when he wears the costume.
  • Literal-Minded: The King of Mushroom Land.
    Peach: My fellow Mushroomites, we are facing dark days ahead.
    King: Oh no! Higher lighting bills!
  • Minion with an F in Evil: Lemmy. At one point, Mario even asks Bowser if he's sure the kid is on his side.
    Bowser: You wondered that too, huh?
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal: Truffle Toes, one of the Toads working for Bowser in "Mutiny of the Fungi", turns against Bowser after the latter continuously abuses the former over his odd obsession with caring for one particular coin and is subsequently rescued by Mario.
  • Not So Above It All: While Mario's nerding over the In-Universe Comic Book Dirk Drain-Head often causes trouble for the others, Princess Toadstool is revealed to be just as big a fan of another In-Universe comic book, Baroness Blueblood, even being capable of reciting entire issues.
  • Papa Wolf: Bowser calls Lemmy an idiot often, but the second someone else does...
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Toad, when infiltrating Bowser's castle, disguises himself as a Shyguy... by wearing badly-fitting robes and a Shyguy mask behind which his mushroom cap and face are easily visible. Bowser is still fooled, though.
  • Parent Service: A rather cheeky Funny Background Event cersion in the story Bowser Knows Best, when the Princess is running from the Koopalings. She's seen jumping over a green pipe, from which a very happy-looking Piranha Plant is peeking up her skirt.
  • Parody Commercial: The comic would occasionally feature Bowser in one-page fake ads for Koopa brand products, such as the soft drink "Koopa Kola."
  • Pet the Dog: In the 2nd Game Boy comic "It's a Small World After All" both Herman and to a lesser extent Tatanga did this. After Herman is convinced by his mother to get rid of that Game Boy he was using he gave it to a couple of little girls who were nearby. Also when Tatanga's crew hijacked the Space Shuttle he was somewhat abrasive to Tannis at first until she started to cry in which then he then tried to calm her down and give her his jacket to help warm her up. Oh sure he did display some Dirty Coward tendencies as he was quick to point fingers at Tannis when Mario got his way into the Shuttle by the Game Boy. But he was also horrified when Tatanga fully intended to let him and Tannis die on the shuttle as his crew escapes as Herman pointed out that Tatanga at one point liked Tannis first. As for Tatanga while it wasn't his intention the fact that he did get Tannis on board in the Shuttle was something that Tannis greatly appreciated as it was her dream to go to space in which even Princess Daisy lampshaded this.
  • Phlebotinum-Induced Stupidity: The "Stupid Bomb" is a literal Idiot Ball that, when it's triggered by throwing or dropping, causes everyone around it to become stupid. (Incidentally, the King of Mushroomland, who is already an idiot, is completely unaffected.)
    • Inverted with the "Smart Bomb" from the same story, which makes people smarter when they explode on them.
  • Precision F-Strike: From Princess Toadstool, in the form of Symbol Swearing in "Magic Carpet Madness".
  • Refugee from TV Land: The Game Boy comics are all about Tatanga and Mario leaving the game and entering the real life.
  • Royal Brat: While she is level-headed most of the time, Princess Toadstool has her moments, most notably in "Love Flounders" when she sends Mario out to pick chuckberries for her, ignoring that he probably had already committed himself to go bowling with Luigi and Toad that day and outright acknowledging he would be "risk[ing his] life for a handful of berries".
    Mario: Sometimes I think she takes this Princess stuff a little too seriously.
  • Sanity Slippage: From the 2nd story onward in the Game Boy comic series Herman Smirch became this as after the events of the initial story Herman is trying to hide from Tatanga in a New Jersey appartment with a Beard of Sorrow and a increasingly unhinged behavior as he tries to explain to his mother on the phone about the "Little men in the Game Boy" who are after him. The fact that the comics did not fully shy away from the Darker and Edgier undertones here doesn't help as Herman spends a good portion of the series trying to evade Tatanga and the Cops (considering all the crimes the Tatanga & his army forced Herman to commit).
  • Servile Snarker: Wooster, the Mushroom Kingdom royal family's head steward, is as snarky as they come.
  • Sleepwalking: After spending too long reading Dirk Drain-Head comic books, Mario has a bad habit of sleepwalking and thinking he's Dirk Drain-Head. In the story Bedtime for Drain-Head, Mario proceeds to sleepwalk his way to and through Bowser's castle, defeat all his minions, capture Bowser singlehandedly, and rescue Toad, who was kidnapped by Bowser. Bowser is not pleased when he finds out Mario was sleepwalking the whole time.
  • Space Whale Aesop: It can be interpreted as "Don't shoplift Game Boys or you'll be hypnotised into releasing Tatanga into the real world".
  • Stock Animal Diet: Subverted in "A Mouser in the Houser": the Mousers actually hate cheese despite being given it constantly.
  • Strawman Political: Herman from the Game Boy series is a straw conservative.
  • The Unintelligible: Larry Koopa, in his one appearance. Only Lemmy appears to understand him, and frequently acts as Translator Buddy.
  • Villain Ball: The Mousers carry one in "The Buddy System."
  • Welcome to the Real World: Pretty much the plot of all the Game Boy stories.
  • You and What Army?:
    Pionpi: This army! Tatanga's!
    Mario: Oh.

The Legend of Zelda

Captain N: The Game Master and Metroid

  • Adapted Out: Prince Lyle, Game Boy and all third-party characters.
  • Bad Future: The future Videoland from "A King of Shreds and Patches" is not a pretty place.
  • Betty and Veronica: Samus Aran and Princess Lana are rivals for Kevin's affections in the comics.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "Breakout" is mainly a Lana and Samus story; Kevin only appears in the final page for two panels.
  • "Fantastic Voyage" Plot: "Nervous Meltdown".
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Happens to Kevin and Duke in "A Dog's Life." No one else even realizes that thanks to Kevin's subtle directing of his body - not even as "Kevin" barks at Kid Icarus.
  • He is Not My Boyfriend: Lana's response to Samus' inquiry about her relationship with Kevin. It doesn't stop her from being jealous, though.
  • Impersonation-Exclusive Character: "Breakout" has the character Judge Racklas. He briefly appears in one panel while completely bound with rope and does not have any dialogue, while the rest of the comic features Ridley impersonating him. Therefore, most of what we know about Racklas comes from the Galactic Federation, Princess Lana, and Mother Brain discussing the disguised Ridley.
  • Informed Attribute: For all of Kevin Keene's alleged game mastery, it's quite a shock to discover that he never finished the original Metroid fast enough to learn that Samus Is a Girl.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Samus Aran almost goes ahead with some pretty questionable stuff to win Captain N's affections:
    • In "Breakout", where she and Princess Lana are in jail, she almost leaves Lana there when escaping.
    • In "A King of Shreds and Patches", she ends up in the Bad Future, rejoices that Lana is gone and she can have Kevin all to herself, despite the fact that, you know, the bad guys have taken over every world, except the garbage planet where Kevin now lives, and by not going back in time, and changing one thing, she's screwing over everyone in Videoland (though she did have plans to help liberate Videoland in that future). She does go back in the end, although it takes a What the Hell, Hero? from Kid Icarus for her to have such a realization.
    • And in "The Happy Zone", Mother Brain traps Princess Lana in a Lotus-Eater Machine while her armies are posted at the Palace of Power's doorstep, thus giving Kevin a Sadistic Choice: save Lana and let the armies of evil overrun the Palace, or defend the Palace and leave Videoland without a ruler. Samus pushes hard for Kevin not to go and save her, arguing he would be running away from the fight ahead of them. He ends up taking a third option.
  • Samus Is a Girl: Literally. When the N Team first meet Samus Aran, none of them are aware of her gender until she removes her helmet. This is a bit of Fridge Logic for Princess Lana, who has already been shown, to monitor the various realms of Videoland, using magical television screens; one would think that Samus would have removed her helmet, at some point while Lana was watching. Quoted at the trope page. It's worth noting Kevin's reaction might actually be being blown away by her looks seeing her in person.
  • We Can Rule Together: Samus makes an offer of this sort to Kevin.


  • The Cameo: Mario makes a brief appearance as the referee, reflecting his role in the NES game.