Comic writer Ian Flynn reveals his pitch for a Super Mario Bros. comic that Nintendo shot down

What could have been

Comic writer Ian Flynn is currently heading up the IDW Publishing Sonic series, and also writes for Mega Man, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more. If Flynn had his way, he would have written for the Mario franchise as well, and he actually pitched a project way back in the day. Unfortunately things didn't pan out, which is why Flynn has taken to Twitter to share what his story plans were. You can read the full details on the never-greenlit project below.

So since I can’t talk about unused Sonic plans (yet), and I’m 99.9% sure it’s dead, let’s talk about the Super Mario Bros. pitch I did for Archie Comics instead.

The springboard was for a 4-part mini that would hopefully turn into an on-going. It had the same approach as Archie!Sonic & Archie!MegaMan at the time: narrative-driven adaptations of the games with stories bridging the canon. It would adapt the original Mario Bros. game

It started off with Mario & Luigi being summoned to Peach’s castle for a plumbing job. Luigi was excited for 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.

With literally no one left to save the princess, Mario jumps at the call to adventure. Luigi less so. 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 axe. 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 begin 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.

From what I heard thru the grapevine it was well received at NoA, but stalled out at NoJ. Looking back on it now it’s not how I’d approach a Mario project today – too much drama, not enough whimsy. Still, I thought some of y’all might get a kick out of it.

Categories: Top Stories
Tags: mario


For something like this to be effective, taking inspiration from the generic Mario story of defeat Bowser and save Peach wouldn't work well. Taking from one of the series' more interesting stories, like Galaxy, could make for a great read.

I agree, too much drama. Right from the getgo I didn’t like the portrail of Mario and Luigi’s personality, I don’t like Mario being bored at work or headstrong and Luigi is too often flanderised as a coward at every opportunity.

Also Mario and Luigi actually starting out plumbing just doesn’t sit well with me, feels too grounded like how he wanted to make sense of things instead of just going with it.

Aww, this sounds like it could've been fun. I do think too dramatic an approach isn't really right for Mario... but man, I would've loved to see this even as a single-issue thing!

This is less likely than ever given Miyamoto's stance on Mario stories.

Miyamoto doesn't have an ounce of storytelling capabilities in him whatsoever. He rehashes the same Star Fox plot over and over, he dares to even suggest that Paper Mario is "fine without a story", and has been content with keeping Peach as a damsel in distress for who knows how long at this point, which might I add is pretty embarassing in this day and age.

Koizumi has the better chops for this given his track record, but until Miyamoto is fully out of the picture we won't be seeing the brand mature anytime soon. I fully expect the Illumination movie to be as every bit as tepid and safe as Miyamoto would want it to be, plus whatever debauchery Illumination manages to sneak in there.

This honestly sounds like a really cool idea, and Ian did great work on the Sonic Comic after the mangled mess it was in before the IDW era. I kinda wish that Nintendo went through with it but maybe something like a Zelda series would have worked better.

Ian Flynn is good, but he's, well, a storyteller. The stance on Super Mario stories is that they are always very light on plot. Super Mario-kun, for instance, is comedy-focused, while the Super Mario Bros. Super Show! and subsequent series are simple adventures.

His pitch was much too complicated. It works for Sonic and for Mega Man, but not Mario.

Fri Aug 30 19 03:46am
Rating: 1 (Updated 1 time)

His pitch was much too complicated. It works for Sonic and for Mega Man, but not Mario.

You could argue that Paper Mario had a different feel to how stories can be told in Mario games. Since many fans like me want that type in a Mario game, I don't see how something like this cannot work for Mario.

Even the Galaxy series had some depth put into the stories.

I feel that maybe Nintendo should adapt the Mario series further if they want the brand to stand out. Right now, the franchise has only the games, cereals and a movie coming along as well as mobile. Sonic has more than that and the comic series is one of them.

Of course there is no doubt that Mario is numbah 1! But no one seems to understand that he is still number 1 without the merchendise!

You got a point there. And I'm a Paper Mario fan, so I like seeing what they do with telling a Mario story. That being said, all of the Paper Mario games (and the Mario & Luigi games) keep one thing consistent: Mario is a flat character. He doesn't grow or evolve, though everyone else is fair game (including Luigi). That might be the sticking point here: Flynn is treating Mario as a normal protagonist.

From what I can remember though, Miyamoto was not happy with how the Paper Mario games were going, and he was quite upset when the staff of Super Mario Galaxy snuck in Rosalina's storybook behind his back, such that he ensured it wouldn't happen again for Super Mario Galaxy 2.

I actually see a great deal of Mario merchandise, but because Mario is such a blank, flat character he may have undergone the same issues as Mickey Mouse in that there's nothing that really stands out about him to people other than the brand name recognition and the quality associated with him. (That being said, Walt considered Mickey as too bland a character to use much.)

This is exactly the plot I came up with for a Super Mario Bros movie! While a comic might not need character drama, a movie certainly should. Our two main characters need to bump heads or else the movie would just be a series of events without any emotion. And by drama I don't mean super serious drama I just mean something like you might see in any kids animated film.


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