Friday, September 7, 2012

"Bonk's Adventure", TurboGrafx-16, 1990.

And a glorious return to minicomic video game ads within comic books! This time, TurboGrafix-16 (or rather its Japanese model, the PC Engine -- hence his punny Japanese name, "PC Genjin") mascot (barring Johnny Turbo) B0nk the caveman in his debut console romp, Bonk's Adventure:
B0NK'S ADVENTURE
A LONG, LONG TIME AGO, LATER THAN YOU THINK AND SOONER THAN YOU KNOW, THERE WAS A STRANGE AND TERRIBLE KINGDOM...

"HELP! BONK! SAVE ME!"
TREE: "I WOULDN'T WANT TO BE IN KING DROOL'S SHOES ONCE BONK BONKS HIS WAY TO HIM!"

DROOL: "BONK... HAH! THAT CRUDE CAVEBOY WILL NEVER MAKE HIS WAY HERE... I'VE SEEN TO IT! YOU'RE MINE, PRINCESS!"
PRINCESS ZA: "YOU MUST BE JOKING! NOTHING CAN STOP BONK!"

BONK: "SHE'S NOT TALKING THROUGH HER CROWN, EITHER! BRICKS AND STONES MAY BREAK MY BONES... -- BUT NOT WHEN I BONK 'EM WITH MY HEAD!"

TREES: "WOW! THAT'S... REALLY USING YOUR HEAD!" [B0NK!]

BONK: "WOAH! I WASN'T COUNTING ON YOU SHOWING UP!"
DINO: "I'M COUNTING THE PAY DROOL GAVE ME TO STOP YOU! I'M WORKING FOR HIM NOW!"
FLOWER: "BONK, OVER HERE!"

[ROARRRRR] BONK: I DON'T HAVE ENOUGH POWER YET FOR A HEAD-ON COLLISION WITH YOU... BUT I WILL WHEN I PICK THIS FLOWER..."

BONK: "... AND CHARGE UP WITH MEAT AND OTHER GOOD THINGS AND -- [WHOOSH!] ... GO NUCLEAR!"

BONK: "YIKE! THE TERRIBLE T. RACTORHEAD! IT'S ONE THING AFTER ANOTHER IN THIS PLACE!"

BONK: "TO BONK HIM, I'LL NEED ANOTHER FLOWER FOR TWICE THE POWER!"

BONK: "OOOPS! A VENUS BONKTRAP! I'M STUCK!" [CHOMP!]

PRINCESS: "I'M DOOMED... UNLESS YOU SAVE BONK SO HE CAN RESCUE ME... IN THE ALL-NEW TURBO-GRAFX 16 BONK'S ADVENTURE"

This ad ran, among other places, in Todd McFarlane's crack at Amazing Spider-Man #1 -- at its time the best-selling single comic book issue of all time, before he jumped ship to Image. You've certainly seen the cover artwork of the first issue of his Torment storyline. In any case, I imagine it ensured that this ad got seen by a lot of kids -- but even they weren't enough for the TurboGrafx-16 to be a viable platform on this side of the water.

A caveman protagonist was rarely enough on its own to float a game; by this sophisticated era they also needed to ride skateboards, a la Encino Man (or more to the point, Wonder Boy rebranded as Master Higgins). Eventually we got Caveman Ninjas and, well, then the whole thing started to fall apart. Though NEC never got a better mascot than Bonk together, the shine fell off his tenure when his debut game appeared on the NES -- a mercenary move, Hudson!

A blogger with less restraint than I might not have been able to avoid a joke in that "twice the power" panel. Me, I like how several times over the course of this strip, Bonk appears to be an angry baby.