Check out Mario’s first comic book appearance
Comic Book Resources’ long running expose feature “Comic Book Legends Revealed” has scans of what they are calling Mario’s first comic book appearance.
The year was 1983, and Marvel Comics jumped on to the arcade fad with a new magazine focused on the video game scene, “Blip.” “Blip” ran for seven issues, from February to August of that year. CBR has some hilarious pages of early-80s arcade stars in a text-and-photo piece, followed by two pages of a comic featuring “Mario the Carpenter” being interviewed about his celebrity status due to Donkey Kong.
The original Donkey Kong showed up in arcades in 1981, referring to Mario merely as “Jumpman.” However, by 1983, his appearance in Donkey Kong Jr cemented his name as Mario. CBR’s scan comes from the first issue of “Blip,” which I’m guessing would have hit stands before the Mario Bros two-player arcade game gave our former Jumpman title billing. So this is a relatively embryonic period of Mario’s life, well ahead of the video game superstar he would become.
Seems a bit of a cheat to classify a parody strip as Mario’s first appearance, but please check it out! Officially licensed Mario comics did not appear until 1990 (in the United States) and 1991 (in Japan).