Click image for 960x480 version. 1920x960 version on DA (download for full size).
I couldn't resist doing a followup image as it would give me an excuse to draw Bowser, and I love how Bowser looks and have wanted to draw him for years. I'm not sure why I hadn't. Come to think of it, I've barely drawn any of the Mario characters in spite of wanting to. Why was I depriving myself?
As a kid, the idea of transforming into various things interested me (shocking, I know). Thanks to the media I was interested in, a bizarre amount of time was spent imagining myself as a turtle-like being. Seriously, between the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Koopalings, it's surprising that turtle-like beings are so underrepresented in my current drawings and comics.
I'd also say it's odd that I choose Charmander over Squirtle in Pokemon, but dragons win over turtles. That's why Koopas are so cool; they're BOTH. That, and the Koopalings had magic wands in Mario 3, and I think I was simply born thinking magic wands are cool.
Which isn't to say I approve of princess-napping. As a kid, I had this annoying tendency of liking a lot of bad guys and imagining them being friends with the good guys, which would often include the Koopalings (this is how bad fan fictions are born, people). My action figures got along much better than they should have, though there was always some bigger threat they had to work together to beat so at least I had some excuse. It wouldn't hold up now, but dude, I was in elementary school. Cut past me some slack.
Of course, I didn't have Mario toys. There weren't any action figures of them to buy, at least as far as I knew. After learning how to make home-made clay in school, however, I tried to make my own Koopa figures. I made an acceptable Larry Koopa figure, a less acceptable Ludwig, and Bowser... let's not talk about my attempt at making Bowser. It... it did not end well.
Speaking of which, they have Mario figures now. I own some myself, but the only Bowsers I've seen have been stuffed animals. Are his spikes that hazardous? I'll wear mittens, whatever, just let me buy Bowser!
...Okay, wow. I thought I was gonna post the image, maybe have a paragraph and be done, but I guess I'm a Mario Bros fanboy. Who knew. I'm going to go save me some princesses.