Archie Comics' Super Mario (partially found production material from cancelled comic book mini-series based on video game; 2009)
The Super Mario series is one of Nintendo's flagship franchises and one of the most important and influential video game series of all time. Hence, Archie Comics was interested in adapting it into comic book form with the series was pitched to Nintendo but was ultimately shot down.
Archie Comics was interested in creating another licensed video game comic similar to their Sonic the Hedgehog series, so sometime in 2009 Archie pitched a 4-issue comic mini-series to Nintendo. The mini-series would have grown into a complete series if successful. Written Ian Flynn with concept art by Tracy Yardley and Ben Bates, the comic's story would have adapted the original Super Mario Bros. game and featured "narrative-driven adaptations of the games with stories bridging the canon" similar to Flynn's approach when writing Archie's other video game adaptions. According to Flynn, it was well-received at Nintendo of America but failed to impress Nintendo of Japan. Archie tried pitching a Metroid and Kirby comic book but those also failed to impress. Archie's second video video game comic ended up being based on Capcom's Mega Man series, which released in 2011. One year later some of Yardley's concept art for the Super Mario pitch was posted to comicartfans.com by a user going by Jeff Carson alongside concept art for the failed Metroid and Kirby pitches. The post didn't start to gain attention till 2015 where Flynn would soon confirm that the art and pitch were real.
In 2019 Flynn gave a plot synopsis on his Twitter. In his words it goes as follows.
"It started off with Mario & Luigi being summoned to Peach's castle for a plumbing job. Luigi was excited about the career-defining contract, Mario less enthused - a job's a job & he's bored of their career. They arrive just after Bowser has ransacked the Mushroom Kingdom. They stock up on what power-ups are left after the invasion and embark on a journey through Worlds 1-8, burning through their provisions since they're novice heroes. They reach Bowser's Castle in W8-4 and Luigi calls it quits. This is suicide. They're PLUMBERS, not heroes. Mario refuses to give up - too many are counting on them. They part ways, Mario storming the castle. Mario makes his way past the traps and firebars to his first showdown with Bowser. The King of Koopas wants to know who's been causing so much trouble for his troops and it's...this pudgy guy? Oh well. Anyone who challenges him meets the same fate. It's a knock-down, drag-out fight on the bridge over a magma moat. Mario is too nimble for Bowser to land a solid hit, but Bowser is too tough for Mario to actually hurt. They're at a stalemate when a scream is heard, building from deep in the hall... It's Luigi, screaming in blind terror, running thru the castle as fast as he can. Over the bridge. Past the baffled combatants. Into a wall. Which knocks loose the decorative ax. Which cuts the bridge. Mario bounces off the falling Bowser to safety. Mario and Luigi reconcile - yeah, Mario may have gotten in over his head, but Luigi could never abandon his brother. Together they rescue Peach who shares a bashful love-at-first-sight moment with Mario. The trio returns to the Mushroom Kingdom and begins to rebuild. Peach names Mario & Luigi royal plumbers. Luigi is overjoyed - they're set for life now! No more adventures! Cut to the stinger ending of Bowser crawling out of the magma moat."
He would go on to say that "it's not how I'd approach a Mario project today - too much drama, not enough whimsy."
Known Production Materials
Even though the plot of the mini-series is known, it's unclear if Flynn ever penned a proper script. In addition to the pieces posted on comicartfans.com Ben Bates posted three pieces of concept he created for the pitch to his now-deleted DeviantArt page in February 2016. It's unknown if more concept art exists.
- Archie Comics' Metroid (partially found production material from cancelled comic book one-shot and mini-series based on video game; 2009)
- BS Super Mario Collection (partially lost Satellaview broadcast versions of compilation platformer; 1997-1998)
- Mario Artist (lost builds of unreleased Nintendo 64DD games; 1999-2000)
- Mario's Castle (lost build of cancelled game on Nintendo's "Project Atlantis" handheld console; existence unconfirmed; 1995-1998)
- Mario Demo (lost Virtual Boy tech demo; 1994)
- Mario's Face (lost Nintendo DS tech demo; 2004)
- Mario Motors (lost build of unreleased Nintendo DS racer; early 2000s)
- Mario Kart XXL (lost Game Boy Advance tech demo; 2004)
- New Super Mario Bros. (lost early builds of Nintendo DS 2D platformer; 2004-2006)
- New Super Mario Bros. Mii (lost Wii U tech demo; 2011)
- Super Mario 128 (lost build of cancelled GameCube/Wii game; 2000-2006)
- Super Mario 64 (partially found Spaceworld '95 demo of Nintendo 64 3D platformer; 1995)
- Super Mario Bros. 3 (lost Japanese prototype of NES platformer; 1987-1988)
- Super Mario Bros. (lost Commodore 64 port of NES platformer; existence unconfirmed; 1986)
- Super Mario Disk Version aka "Super Mario 64DD" (found unreleased Nintendo 64DD port of 3D platformer; 1999)
- Super Mario's Wacky Worlds (found prototype of cancelled CD-i game; 1993)
- Super Mario Kart R (partially found pre-release version of "Mario Kart 64"; 1995)
- Super Mario RPG 2 (lost pre-release version of "Paper Mario" Nintendo 64 role-playing game; late 1990s)
- Super Mario Spikers (lost build of cancelled Wii volleyball-wrestling sports game; 2007)
- Super Mario World: Mario Attack (lost Japanese arcade game; 1996)
- Super Mario World (partially found early build of Super Nintendo platformer; 1989)
- Super Paper Mario (lost build of unreleased original GameCube version of Wii side-scrolling platformer; 2006)
- ↑ Ian Flynn's tweet on the Nintendo Archie comics pitches (2/13). Retrieved 14 Jan '22
- ↑ Comic Book Resources article on the Archie Comics Super Mario pitch. Retrieved 14 Jan '22
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Ian Flynn's tweet on the Archie Comics Super Mario pitch (2/11). Retrieved 14 Jan '22
- ↑ Nintendo Enthusiast article on the Archie Comics Super Mario pitch. Retrieved 14 Jan '22
- ↑ Ian Flynn's tweet on the Archie Comics Super Mario pitch (1/11). Retrieved 14 Jan '22