Mark Haynes (born July 29, 1984), also known by his online persona Alvin-Earthworm, is a freelance digital artist and sprite animator. He is mostly known for being the creator of the Flash series Super Mario Bros. Z. He currently lives in Northampton, UK.
Before Super Mario Bros Z., Haynes got his start in 2005 as a freelance digital artist on DeviantArt. It was there his online persona, Alvin Earthworm, first made his debut. Though some sources state that the character's creation existed several years prior to then. He maintained a modest following at the time. Mostly from the furry fandom, of which much of his early artwork catered towards.
He also maintained a Newgrounds account where he took inspiration from notable sprite animators such as Randy-Solem (Rise of the Mushroom Kingdom) and LgdVegetto (Sonic's Quest for Power). This led to him eventually taking up Sprite animation as a hobby for himself. Early reveals of his new project on DeviantArt showed that he originally intended to animate the series using sprites from Super Mario World (SNES) and the Sonic the Hedgehog games (Genesis). But advances in sprite ripping in late 2005 allowed him to get higher quality sprites of the characters. Notably from Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga and the Sonic Advance games.
On April 22nd 2006. Super Mario Bros. Z Episode 1 was uploaded onto Newgrounds. It quickly became a favorite among those in the spriting community and was praised for it's animation and story. Despite being a clear parody and homage to the Dragonball Z anime, the characters in the series remained mostly faithful to their source material in both personality and abilities. It was also one of the first notable series to feature Mario and Sonic as allies instead of rivals, since most animations at the time had the two mascots fighting each other.
Throughout 2006, three more episodes would be released. The 5th and 6th episodes were released in 2007. But by 2008, only one episode a year was being released with the time in between new releases growing steadily longer. Fans began questioning Haynes on whether the series was still being developed. From 2009, Haynes began delaying the series, citing stress from fans constantly asking him about when the next episode would be released and offline mental health issues. In 2012, Haynes finally cancelled the original series, saying in a statement, "I have no doubt that it will be a very unpopular decision, but I think it’s time I finally lay Super Mario Bros Z to rest.". In the same statement, he also said, "What was once a fun hobby of mine has now turned into a chore from the constant demand" and "I have been keeping the series on life-support this long, hoping that some day my creative spark would return to me. Unfortunately it never did.". Many fan-made continuations had spawned in this time, although they never got the same attention as the original series and most were discontinued.
In 2013, Haynes published a new flash animation. It was a remake of the very first scene of Episode 1. He stated that he had some interest in possibly rebooting the series. This caught the attention of many long-time fans who gave their support. Throughout 2015, Haynes worked on the first episode of the reboot with the help of other flash animators, and it was fully released in January 2016. Not long after this, Haynes began announcing delays again, citing depression and lack of motivation from Nintendo shutting down his Patreon account in February 2016. Around this time, his social media activity became noticeably more erratic and based around ranting, and less about SMBZ. Fans started to become concerned about Haynes's state of mind and the development of the reboot. After this, Haynes began to largely ignore questions about progress updates and used his social media outlets for ranting or posting vitriolic tweets.
In late August 2019, Haynes deactivated his Twitter account and fully removed his social media presence for unknown reasons. No one had managed to get in contact with him until he made his new Twitter account.
On Christmas Day of 2019, Haynes made a new Twitter account with the @AlvinSmbz and made a Newgrounds post to confirm it was him. On January 30th, 2020, he confirmed that he would renew development on Episode 2 of the reboot. He would go on to show previews of the episode on February 1st and later on February 6th, 2020 to commemorate reaching over 9,000 followers on Twitter.
- Bolded projects are that year's most popular submission.
- C is for Cereal
- Super Mario Bros. Z Episode 1
- Super Mario Bros. Z Episode 2
- Super Mario Bros. Z Episode 3
- Super Mario Bros. Z Episode 4
- Beat Up Sandbag (Collaborative Effort, contributed to the Mecha Sonic segment and the Wario and Waluigi segment)
- Smash Kingdom Melee (Collaborative Effort, contributed to the Mario vs. Sonic segment)
- Super Mario Bros. Z Episode 7
- The name "Alvin" in Alvin-Earthworm's username comes from an old Earthworm Jim fan character that he created in his late teens. He has since retired the character.
- Alvin-Earthworm-SMBZ on DeviantArt (No Longer Active)
- Alvin-Earthworm on Newgrounds
- Mark Haynes on YouTube - Hosts the Reboot Series (Episode Returned)
- AlvinArtwork on YouTube - Hosts the Original Series (Deactivated)
- Mark Haynes on Twitter (New account)
- MarkHaynes on Patreon (Inactive)
- Mark Haynes on Ko-fi