In the US, Nintendo Power magazine had a monthly comic called Howard & Nester. It was, with one exception, totally kid-friendly. Cotton candy and rainbows. In Germany, however, they had their own comics in the official magazine Club Nintendo.
One comic in particular - called Die Nacht des Grauens (The Night of Horror), from 1996 - is worth a closer look.
It begins with Mario and Peach trying to make out. They’re interrupted by a lightning strike that knocks the power out, which leads to Mario, Kirby and Link heading downstairs to investigate. Only to witness Wario making a deal with Abigor.
You know, Abigor. The Great Duke of Hell.
Jason from Friday The 13th and Chuckie from Child’s Play were also there, just in case the tone hadn’t been clearly established by now.
Wario asks for a horde of demons to fight Mario, Abigor agrees, Mario and friends fight the demons (above, below) and win.
Victorious, Mario heads back to Peach’s apartment to resume getting down to business to find...his love an eyeless, soulless monster.
A follow-up issue, released the next year (1997), should have cheered things up, but instead features Mario travelling to Hell to rescue Peach’s soul, only to be told by the Princess - above -that his “mother scrubs toilets in hell”.
You can download the entire two comics (translated in English) here, if you feel like inviting the complete horror upon yourself.
Which you should. It’s full of insane little details and references, not to mention several amazing images of Mario dressed in an outfit that’s part-Van Helsing, part-sex dungeon veteran.
This story was first published in April 2013.