White Knuckle Scorin' comic / CD
I honestly don't know what this CD is all about. I found this in a secondhand CD shop years ago, mixed in the soundtracks section. This is a double-feature: part Mario comic book and part music CD - and the cover artwork has nothing to do with either. If anyone knows the origins of this odd CD, please let me know.
Interestingly, the comic was done by Voyager Communications, the parent comany of Valiant, who were the same folks who did the Nintendo Comics System. The story is based loosely on Super Mario World. Mario, Luigi, and the Princess are vacationing on Dinosaur Island, and the Princess is taken by Bowser. The Bros. meet with Yoshi who joins their quest to rescue her. Except that this storyline gets a bit more involved than "stomp a Goomba, eat a berry, hit a block" - we learn that Bowser's plans for world domination (or whatever it is he's always up to) involve turning all of Dinosaur Land into fossil fuels, then joining OPEC as an oil tycoon. The entire premise of this comic, by the way, is to promote literacy. Surely there are better ways to foster education than with a Mario mini-comic book.
Long story short, Mario teaches Yoshi how to read, the Princess is saved because the illiterate Bowser left the instructions to a mechanical trap inside the trap itself, one of Bowser's kids turns against him, and everyone decides to be friends forever. Really.
One last thing: the comic is peppered with "song cues", where I'm guessing you're supposed to load up the CD and listen to the appropriate song to follow along with the story. Just one problem - only one song (Ignorance is Bliss) actually has anything to do with the story. The rest of the songs are barely connected to the plot. There are some recognizable names among the artists on the album, but I'm not sure who they were trying to appeal to with this set.
If I can be honest here, there aren't many redeeming features to this CD. The comic is mildly entertaining. "Ignorance is Bliss" is amusing in that it's sung by Bowser to "Princess Toadstool" (before she was known worldwide as "Peach"). As a whole package thought, I've only listened to the whole disc a few times. A note in the back of the comic explains that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the album would go toward a children's literacy foundation. I don't know if these were sold at fundraisers or what, but the CD and comic combo seems pretty obscure. As far as I know, this is the only American Super Mario World comic ever released.
I still don't get the cover artwork for the disc. There's no indication on the front or back covers that there's a comic inside, so it was definitely a nice surprise once I bought the disc. Is this worth looking for? Unless you're a Mario collector, probably not (unless you really want to hear Bowser's singing).
Comic Scans (click to open full-sized image in a new window)
Ignorance is Bliss - Lyrics
Wake up! Ms. Toadstool
Oh well, I hate to be a bummer
With my magic book I'll shower
Haven't you heard, a picture's worth a thousand words
You call yourself a princess, but you're a brainiac in a dress
I'd like to get my hands
For the last time...
On second thought, I think I've made my point