Welcome to the three hundredth and ninety-sixth in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. This week, learn what surprising place had the first comic book appearance of Nintendo’s Mario, discover the bizarre secret of the Bearriers and marvel at Walter Simonson fighting alongside Luke Skywalker!
Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and ninety-five.
COMIC LEGEND: Nintendo’s Mario made his first comic book appearance during Valiant’s early days.
The company that eventually became the Valiant Comics we all knew and loved from the 1990s began doing licensed comics, including Wrestling comics…
and also what was called the “Nintendo Comic System,” a series of licensed comics based on Nintendo’s stable of characters, like Captain N…
Link from Legend of Zelda…
and, of course, Mario…
Most folks believe this to be Mario’s first comic book appearance.
However, did you know that Mario actually debuted in comics YEARS earlier?
You see, in 1983, Marvel (never one to look a gift fad in the mouth) did a video game magazine called Blip (similar to their equally oddball magazine effort, Pizzazz, which I’ve featured here in the past)
Here are some sample pages…
And sure enough, there is a comic inside the issue with Mario’s FIRST comic book appearance…
Thanks to gaastra for the information!
Check out some Entertainment Urban Legends Revealed!
What Lengths Did Petula Clark Go to to Keep a Scene With Harry Belafonte From Being Cut From Her TV Special?
COMIC LEGEND: Ryan Dunlavey and ToyFare magazine invented a fake 1980s cartoon series and a toy line that went with it.
Yesterday was Fred Van Lente Day, and it occurred to me that today would be a fun day to do a piece on Van Lente’s longtime collaborator Ryan Dunlavey.
Awhile back, there was this toy craze where all of the popular toy lines from the 1980s were returning (it is a craze that continues to this day) and the good folks at ToyFare thought it would be funny if they then invented a fake 1980s toyline and talked about THAT line of toys returning.
Here is the ToyFare article (from 2003’s #74) talking about the return of…the Bearriors…
Dunlavey provided the art for the fake former cartoon series…
Years later, Dunlavey did a piece for ToyFare about 1980s characters and he put a Bearrior in the piece (click here to see the piece).
Finally, in ToyFare #122, four years later, they came clean about the hoax.
Pretty impressive stuff! Check out Dunlavey’s site here for the full details about how the hoax was perpetrated.
Former ToyFare editor Justin Aclin stopped by to give some more information, including who designed the toys:
As one of the ToyFare editors at the time and Bearriors co-creators (along with editors Zach Oat and Jon Gutierrez and article writer Tom Root), I want to mention one more key player in the hoax as well. Joe Amaro (http://www.joeamaro.net/) made the custom figures seen in the article. I believe they actually predated Ryan’s illustrations of the characters, although Ryan originated all but those three Bearriors (and his inclusion of Kodiak in his 80s jam piece is the main reason anyone still talks about Bearriors at all today).
My main regret is that we never had Ryan illustrate the Bearriors’ main enemy, cybernetic lumberjack DeForrest Kutter.
Thanks to Zack Smith for the suggestion and the article scan! Thanks to Ryan Dunlavey for the info and thanks to ToyFare for the hilarity!
Check out some classic Comic Book Legends Revealed!
Did DC Comics have a customer survey in 1970 that inquired how interested its readers were in reading about black people?
COMIC LEGEND: Walter Simonson wrote/drew himself into an issue of Star Wars.
Artists somewhat frequently sneak themselves into comics, but rarely do they ever do so as prominently as Walter Simonson did in 1982’s Star Wars #60.
The issue was co-plotted and penciled by Simonson (co-plotted and scripted by David Michelinie and Tom Palmer did finishes over Simonson’s breakdowns)….
There is a character named “Wald” who is part of Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Squadron…
When they land, though, it becomes clear that “Wald” is just Walt Simonson!
Here are all of his appearances in the issue…
You have to love the sight of Walt Simonson intensely blasting away at bad guys alongside Luke Skywalker!
Thanks to Ethan Shuster for the suggestion!
Check out the first edition of my weekly Movie/TV Legends Revealed Column at Spinoff Online: Did They Really Make an Alternate Ending to Raiders of the Lost Ark That They Couldn’t Show in the United States?
Okay, that’s it for this week!
Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!
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Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).
The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…
If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…
See you all next week!