Review: Mario 69

Mario 69
Artzine, Jon Clark, 36 pgs,

Everything’s a bit more ‘cursed’ these days. Cursed images, cursed objects, cursed tweets, cursed vibes. The evilness of ‘things’ is at an all time high. If I were a 90s stand up comic, I’d bemoan how nobody consumes pasta anymore. They’re all too busy consuming CREEPY pasta!

Mario 69 is part of multidisciplinary artist Jon Clark’s “Night School Collection of Haunted Media,” a series of faux home media covers that each express ‘cursed’ feelings in their own way. Here, Clark presents the story of a ‘lost’ Super Mario game through lay-outs of the various enemies, characters, girlfriends and items that Mario is meant to have encountered.

The “Cursed Motorcade” sees such figures as Crime Wave Clyde (a more evil Emmett Kelly), the PSI Witch, and Mesquite Madman. “Minus World” plays host to Witch 2. The “3rd Coast” includes Ghoul Lover and Torpedo Ted (who also looks like eviller Emmett Kelly), and no Mario game is complete without False Wario (a male blow-up doll.) I feel it worth noting that images on these pages are ‘stock’ enough to be used for their intended repurposing, however the “Mario’s Girlfriends” page, which consists of real photos of women in “sexy” Mario and Luigi costumes, does give me pause. With the absurdity of the other pages, I don’t think it necessary to use real unedited photos of these people.

The photos Clark uses throughout Mario 69 are funny enough, but the premise wears thin faster than you can say ‘wah-hoo.’ At its best, the piece is a strong example of re-appropriating found art. At its weakest, it begins to feel like one of those “I asked my mom to name Super Smash Bros. characters” threads you see on Twitter.


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