Re(?)Considered: Sonic the Comic

A look at the UK's fantastic porcupine periodical

Sonic the Hedgehog and comics have a chequered history. Look, I'll just come out and say; they are mental. The long-running Archie comic is effectively a series of terrible creative disasters, like Spider-Man's Clone Saga having its own far more confusing Clone Saga within itself. It didn't help that the storyline was essentially driven for many years by the extremely odd Ken Penders, a man inordinately concerned with his squirrel characters' virginity or lack thereof. Yeah, things eventually improved, but you poor American lot have been largely stuck with a bit of a stinky legacy there. Over here in jolly old England, saying "Sonic comic" to someone roughly my age conjurs up fond memories of something a bit special.

See, unlike you lot, we British know how to keep things brief. Yes, sure, we did some atrocious acts of historical cruelty, up to and including myriad war crimes. But we understand brevity in our print-based anime hedgehog licensed comics! And so, in a big sloppy wet splodge, was birthed Sonic the Comic, beloved mainstay of The Cool Kids. With its 7-page lead Sonic stories and numerous 5-page backups featuring characters from an esoteric selection of Sega games such as Ecco, Sparkster and even Marko's Magic bloody pissing arsehole Football.

The real draw in these Sonic stories was their serialisation, and an approach to storytelling that avoided talking down to children. They don't like it, children. Being talked down to. They don't like getting kicked halfway to the moon, either, but they shouldn't have been playing with those loud toys in my vicinity. I digress. It's the commitment to an ongoing, growing, changing world within the medium of bite-sized and action-packed stories that makes Sonic the Comic remain so convincing, so entertaining. Quite a lot of people on the internet don't like it, mostly because series grand poo-bah Nigel Kitching (2000AD) leaned into Sonic's more obnoxious personality traits, often making him abrasive, rude and downright mean to his friends. Crucially, though, he didn't neglect to ladle on the humanity - this is a Sonic who can screw up, make mistakes, fail. More than just a chubby rodent jumping on a bald man. It didn't hurt that the absolutely banging artwork of mssrs. Richard Elson (Amazing Spider-Man) and the sadly missed Nigel Dobbyn (Digimon, Strontium Dog) among a team of many talented others (British comic god-king Lew Stringer contributed tons of strips) infused the pages of the comic with real quality work.

Anyroad, with a ridiculously prestigious 1993-2002 run of 223 issues (throughout the entire Saturn dry period!), Sonic the Comic ended its non-reprint era with a spectacular adaptation of Sonic Adventure, before disappearing into the ether until it was resurrected by fans the very next year as Sonic the Comic Online, which has just released issue 278 - remarkable legs. Much like Sonic.

Unfortunately, the comic has now been ruined by a new writer who, on top of being incredibly untalented, is also fat, stupid and thin on top. It would be difficult to conceive of a more cretinous waste of look, it's me. I can't keep this up. I work on this now. I want to help keep this alive. So many talented people are involved, and it has the blessing of much of the original comic's staff. You can read it here. None of us make any money from it. As for the original comics, they have never been meaningfully reprinted so it's eBay or piracy. Nobody would blame you, and it's very worth your while. Sonic the Comic is the high bar for video game adaptations to clear, as far as I'm concerned.

(Those interested in learning more about STC could do worse than pick up the exhaustive history Sharper Than a Cyber-Razor Cut by committed fan and researcher Luke Fletcher)