Hey there fellow media geeks, CrazyGamerHistorian1999 here and we will be taking another look at a piece of Sonic The Hedgehog history, the famous comic book published by Archie comics, Archie Sonic the Hedgehog and its many spin offs...
By the time 1993 rolled along, Sonic was at the height of his popularity, his first video game was a success and his second game had just come out. Given his growing popularity and the fact that he would soon be getting his own cartoons and tons of other merch, it was only a matter of time until he got his own comic book series, right?
Well, to be honest, Sonic was already getting the comic book treatment. In 1991, the same year his first game dropped, SEGA of America produced a Sonic comic to promote the game. Despite its nowadays canon-gray status, this comic laid the groundwork for many elements that would later be featured in Fleetway's Sonic the Comic such as Eggman/Robotnik once being a kindly scientist named Kintobor and Sonic once being brown until he turned blue due to an accident. But we are not here to discuss those, we're talking about Archie Sonic.
SEGA reached out to anybody interested in picking up the Sonic licence and writing a Sonic comic, well guess what, Archie answered.
In February 1993, Archie published and released its very first Sonic comic issue, which was actually the first issue in a four part miniseries that would later lead into the long running Sonic comic. After issue three of the miniseries, the comic officially started with issue one in April of 1993. Over time, the comic became a big success, gaining popularity among the fans, even becoming distinguishable from the games and cartoons in terms of the setting and characters. However, like all successful comics in the eyes of some, the comic eventually entered a dork age which lasted for a few years until a new head writer by the name of Ian Flynn took over and the comic was great once again, things were fine for quite a while...
-The beginning of the end-
-The beginning of the end-
In 2008, SEGA released Sonic Chronicles The Dark Brotherhood, an RPG Sonic game for the Nintendo DS, which borrowed and used elements from Archie Sonic, involving a story line that revolved around Sonic and friends dealing with the Nocturnus Clan: An advanced technological group of Echidnas who'd been rivals to Knuckles ancestors. The game was very good, I played it and beat it once but have yet to beat it again.
But anyways, given its borrowed Archie elements and the characters similarities to Archie, things eventually went south. Within a few short years after the game's release, from 2009 all the way up to 2012 and 2013, a former head writer filed a lawsuit against Archie and SEGA for "unauthorized use" of his characters and creations. While the lawsuit had no effect on Archie for a while, things definately went south in late 2012 and early 2013 when the former writer got the upper hand and copyrighted his own creations, the results: The writer's creations could not be used for Archie Sonic.
This eventually led to a cosmic retcon/reboot at the end of the very popular Sonic & Mega Man Worlds Collide, erasing all old reality elements and paving the way for a new continuity in the Sonic comic, one that was similar to that of the games. In the aftermath of the lawsuit, SEGA became more involved and things got a bit complicated as the higher-ups enforced mandates and restrictions on the comic. Those happened to be...
1. SEGA characters cannot have relatives (with some exceptions)*
*Note: Sonic was allowed to have parents and an uncle, even siblings, in Underground and other media at one point
2. Sonic cannot be defeated
3. There can be only one Metal Sonic, no multiples*
*Side note: Archie Metal Sonic was originally a series of robots, that has since changed...
4. Classic versions of SEGA characters cannot be seen, used or implied to be younger versions of said characters. (This mandate was later lifted)
5. Archie is forbidden from referencing Sonic Underground, Sonic OVA or Sonic X
6. Sonic's home-world cannot be referred to as Mobius as that name has been banned.
7. Except Eggman, male characters cannot wear pants
8. None of the cast members can change their wardrobe
9. SEGA characters cannot show emotion
10. With the exception of Bunnie and Antoine, SEGA characters are forbidden from having romantic relationships. (Sonic must be single + Sonic and Amy can't date or they'll lose their dynamic)*
*Side Note (again): Before things changed when it came to Sonic media outside the games, Sonic was allowed to be a romantic guy and Sonally (Sonic x Sally) was a thing. Sonic romance can still happen, but mostly in fan-fiction
11. Characters like Black Doom are off-limits
12. The pre-reboot timeline memories are to fade and be rendered irreverent
13. (Possibly) Sonic is forbidden from meeting alternate versions of himself
14. SEGA characters cannot be killed-off
15. Characters from the old reality, such as those made by "anonymous writer", cannot be used unless special permission is granted from Sega
-The End Of An Era-
While the Archie Sonic comic continued to chug along, the fun still there, things eventually went downhill (again) when Scott Fulop, another former writer for Archie Sonic, filed a lawsuit against Archie Sonic for "unauthorized" use of Mammoth Mogul and his characters in reprints. To make things worse, the licencing fees were getting expensive and Archie Sonic (after the end of the Shattered World Saga) ended up going on hiatus for a loooooooong time.
Finally, in summer of 2017, fans received shocking news from SEGA and Archie...
After 24 years of memorable storytelling, SEGA of America will conclude their Sonic the Hedgehog publishing partnership program with Archie Comics. This does not mark the end of Sonic in comics, but signifies SEGA of America's decision to take a different direction for the series that will be announced later. SEGA would like to thank Sonic's amazing fans for their loyalty over all years. SEGA looks forward to providing more information soon.
But you know what they say, "All good things must come to an end", that includes Archie Sonic, the book had a good run and we must honor its legacy in both the old pre-reboot continuity, that lasted from issue 1 all the way up to 247 and the first crossover with Mega Man, and the post-reboot continuity that went on from issue 252 all the way to 290 when it was cancelled.
During its lifetime, Archie Sonic was more than just the main book, we had Sonic Universe (which was canon to the main series) and the Knuckles comic, which covered Knuckles' adventures on The Floating Island and stopped at 32 issues, the Sonic X comic and the 11-issue long Sonic Boom. Over nearly 25 years of its life, Archie Sonic left a lasting legacy and told great stories beyond the games, introducing characters from beyond the games, it even used unused ideas from the Sonic games and the Sonic cartoons. Enough rambling, lets discuss the main timeline and story of the comic...
-To be continued-