Look closely — or as closely as you can on this smallish image — and you can see that whoever drew the Super Mario Bros. art posed all the characters almost exactly as they appeared in the Doki Doki Panic art, just with a thicker line style. Mario, for example, is about to throw a turnip in the same way that Imajin, the turbaned fellow who starred in the Japanese game, is about to throw a mask — an African tribal mask, no less. You know, like you throw at people. Same with the rest of the cast.
What strikes me as even odder about these pieces is that the artist could have easily traced everything on the right side of the river for the Super Mario Bros. 2 art, as those characters did not change. Or if not trace, than they could easily have just pieced in the new art using whatever people in the 80s used before Photoshop. They didn’t. They re-drew it all, sometimes in poses that are almost imperceptibly different. Look at Birdo, for example. She’s just slightly in a different pose, her snout is shaped differently and her bow is a different color.
Another note: For whatever reason, the American art doesn’t change the sound effect of the bomb exploding from the Japanese “BOM” to how it appears in the American game, “BOMB.” Even the hills in the background appear similarly, just with different swirls on them.
Odd. To me, anyway.
EDIT: Long after this went up, I stumbled across an easier-to-see version of the Doki Doki Panic art.
Or at least a hint that Nintendo hasn’t completely forgotten these characters.