I've never been too fond of "realistic" Mario fan art. I do appreciate the artists' interpretation of the source material, don't get me wrong. It's just that such artwork tends to bring out silly commenters who think Mario's next game ought to adopt such "edgy" and "hardcore" sensibilities, which we all know deep down would end in disaster.
But this number entitled "Hero"? I could totally get behind a character redesign that added thick, luxurious mutton chops that would make Ambrose Burnside shave his face out of shame! I'm not even sure how one would go about growing hair that extends from beneath the ear! Yet as incredibly badass as Mario's new look is, he still retains that classic charm. He's like a friendly little dwarf!
"Hero" is the work of the Lando brothers, Mange and Viggo. We actually featured this Swedish duo way back in 2007, when they finished this ridiculous, five-meter-long Nintendo scroll. They've also dabbled in other mediums, as with these custom sculpts of Meat Boy, FFIX's Vivi, and Mega Man and Roll. Go sift through their deviantART gallery and see what you can find!
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