Monday, 28 June 2010

My Big Fat Sonic Comic Book Collection

Over the past week I had been on vacation in my home state of Minnesota. Whilst there I did a lot of things that are unrelated to this blog, however I did make it a point to find as many of my Sonic and SEGA collectibles that I could. I found a lot of goodies, and will be featuring them here at SEGA Memories over the next week. The first of these many posts will be of my Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Adventure Series) comic book collection. Let's have a look at these suckers!

While the UK had Sonic the Comic, the US had Sonic the Hedgehog published by Archie Publications. The US comic series began with a 4 issue mini-series, with issue 0 kicking the seires off and issues 1-3. Following the success of the mini-series, a continuing series began with another number 1.

The mini-series and issues 1 to 36.
I got into the series at the very beginning, picking up the premiere issue while on vacation. When I reutrned home I searched out the next issue and found issue number 1 of the continuing series, completely missing the mini-series issues 1-3. Thankfully, I was able to order the issues through Archie and I also started a subscription for the series. I had that subscription all the way up to issue 110. I'll explain why I stopped collecting, but first lets look at the rest of the Sonic series.
Issues 37 to 76, you can find my name printed in issue 76. 
Issues 77 to 110
I began to lose interest at issue 99 and stopped collecting at issue 110. It wasn't so much that I was growing out of the comics, it was more that I didn't like the direction that the series was taking. When the series began things were lighthearted, with a dash of drama, and the comic's universe was a blend of the AoStH cartoon series, the SatAM cartoon series and the Genesis games. While the blend wasn't perfect, I wasn't much of a SatAM fan, I liked the occasional video game adaptation as well as original plots featuring characters such as the badniks, Metal Sonic, Mecha Sonic and Nack/Fang. The Sonic Adventure adaptation was a real fun read. Not the perfect adaptation, but they did a good job fitting it into the comic storyline.

I was especially looking forward to the now deeper video game universe to impact the comic universe. When Sonic Adventure 2 was announced, I eagerly awaited another epic adaptation. Issue 98 was to be, I had thought, to be a multi-part epic concluding with issue 100. Instead, Archie gave SA2 a F.U. and featured an odd adaptation of the City Escape level followed by a "Hey kids, buy the game for the rest of the story!" Cheap. The next issue returned to the ho-hum SatAM plots and Archie had lost me as a reader. SatAM had been off the air for 5 years, and yet Archie was still putting the characters of the show at the forefront of their comics. Meanwhile, Sonic Team had introduced a far deeper Sonic universe with the Dreamcast games and Archie was basically ignoring it. After issue 100, I let my subscription run out and I was done with the comics. But that doesn't mean we're done looking at my collection!
Knuckles appeared in a rather successful series of his own:
The mini-series and the main series, issues 1-32.
Outside of the main Sonic series, there was a slew of spin-off mini-series and special issues. Most cover adaptations of Genesis games while others feature bizarre crossovers (Sabrina the Teenage Witch meets Sonic!?). The best of these special issues have to be the Death Egg Saga trilogy, Sonic & Knuckles, Sonic Vs. Knuckles and Mecha Madness. After so many special issues labeled #1, they decided to simply number the specials and title them "Sonic Super Specials".

The Sally and Tails mini-series, the Death Egg Saga trilogy, many stand alone specials, the numbered Super Specials and a promo version of issue 0 numbered issue 1/4 (one fourth).
Of all my Sonic comics, my favorite would have to be the issue 50 that I had series inkers Rich Koslowski and Andrew Pepoy autograph. Nice guys! They even sold me some original art from issues 48 and 50 of Sonic and issue 25 of Knuckles. I have yet to find those pages, but when I do I'll share them here.
Aside from Sonic, Archie Comics tried to kick off a NiGHTS series. It only lasted 6 issues, but it's a good read. Artist Patrick "Spaz" Spaziante, who also did many of the awesome Sonic covers, did the pencils for NiGHTS. I also found a Shinobi comic published by Dark Horse.
And there you have it, my Sonic comic book collection! Hope you enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed seeing them again. :)

Notes: Following my leaving the comics, the Sonic series has continued to publish issues, with issue 213 being the most recent. The specials and Knuckles series had ceased to be published while I had still been collecting. So despite having been out of it for ten years, I still have a complete collection in that regard. The only issues I have yet to own are the now canceled Sonic X series, the recently debuted Sonic Universe series and Sonic issues 111 onwards. Conveniently, back issues of nearly all the issues I missed are only a click away, should I feel the need.


ZikZak said...

So nice !

The GagaMan(n) said...

Wow, that's quite the collection! I discovered the Archie Sonic comics when i went on Holiday to Florida in 2000, the first issues I picked up were #66, that weird crossover with a bunch of Image Comic characters, and the Firsts special with a bunch of the first stories. I found a comic shop in the UK that could order them for me and collected it until about issue 98, I think.

I personally found myself getting a bit lost as the comics were so wrapped up in far too many new characters and stuff that required reading the entire series to understand, and the art could be at times really iffy. Call me biased as I grew up with it but I think I preferred S.T.C, but at least this one is still going..

Barry the Nomad said...

From what I've seen of S.T.C., it looks much more solid than the Archie series. The Archie series was far too wrapped up in the history of the Acorn Kingdom (which felt too Mario-like) and Knuckles relatives (which conflicted with the game plots). The need to adapt the games often made quick rewrites to the comic's history which felt sloppy.

The best years of the series were issues 1-50. Nice solid story that balances all three universes (the two cartoons and the games) and ends on a high note (or low note if you're a Robotnik fan).

The new issues actually look to have improved, as they are doing a decent adaptation of the Game Gear 'Tails Adventures' game.

Arun said...

Nice, Barry!

A lot of my older comics are completely worn from having been read so much back when I was a kid! I did manage to salvage a good set of them though, and I'm starting to seek out back issues and buying the Archives as they're released.

I agree that the comic lost a lot of steam somewhere around in the 90s (that's issue numbers) and was mostly hit and miss for several years (I lost interest because I had no idea who half the cast was anymore). The main problem is that this series relies heavily on referring to past events almost constantly; missing an issue means you could be missing a major part of the story sometimes. I can't comment much on StC, which appears to be a different beast altogether, but I'd love to read it and get a feel for it.

I am liking the direction under current writer Ian Flynn though. He seems more concerned with bringing the game and comics universes closer together and actually fleshing out the current cast of characters, making the series an enjoyable read for fans of the gamers AND the comics.