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Archie’s Sonic The Hedgehog Comic Is Officially Cancelled

by on July 19, 2017
 

This is the way the hedgehog goes…not with a Sonic Boom but a whimper. Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic book, one of the longest-running comics featuring a licensed character in history, has met its anticlimactic end six months after an abrupt hiatus.

Both Sonic and its spinoff title Sonic Universe were stalled in January of 2017, leaving the last chapter of a three-part storyline hanging. It appears the last chapter will now never be published. Archie has said nothing regarding the split, but Sega has released a public statement:

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 at a later date. SEGA would like to thank Sonic’s amazing fans for their loyalty and passion over all the years. SEGA looks forward to providing more information soon.

Just a few short years ago Sonic was Archie’s best-selling title and the company was looking into expanding its video game-related library. A Mega Man comic lasted fifty issues and there were efforts to coax Nintendo into allowing an Archie-published Mario or Samus Aran adventure (neither came to pass).

Today, instead of pursuing licenses, Archie has taken a more aggressive effort as of late to build up its namesake brand, relaunching the entire Archie series and publishing spinoffs aimed at adult audiences. We can only theorize the exact reason for the split between Archie and Sega, but the relaunch has been successful for the former company and with the introduction of the TV series “Riverdale,” it would seem Archie Incorporated no longer needs outside help. Sucks to be Sonic.

However, this does not mean there will never be another Sonic comic again, or even that the original can’t be continued from where it left off. Sega’s statement clearly states they’re looking into other options, so perhaps the Blue Blur will find a new home soon.

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  • July 19, 2017 at 5:35 pm

    It sucks to see it end, especially since Overdrive had 1 issue left (which I hope gets published somehow). Hopefully IDW is getting the license since Ian Flynn works with them and could be back on board.

    Oh, and obligatory screw you to Ken Penders.


  • July 19, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Oy. The last remnants of SatAM go down the drain. If Archie hadn't been having financial issues from their attempted retooling of their namesake comic, we might not be in this situation. And **** Penders.


  • July 19, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    I think I only read a couple of issues of the Sonic comics back in the day and I have clearer memories of some of the issues from the Knuckles spin-off series. I think i got three issues of the Knuckles series and a few more from the Sonic series since I liked to rent the Sonic SatAM series from Blockbusters. I don't have much attachment to the comic series. Even so, it's too bad that it's cancelled without even an attempt to wrap up their current storyline. It is possible that they'll be able to start up the series under a different company at some point, but it's hard to say for sure. They could easily go for a complete reboot and it could take awhile for new Sonic comics to come out either way.

    I've heard about Ken Penders and his Knuckles OCs. Based on what I've heard, he sounds like a complete creep and I'm not surprised that he's happy over this decision.


    • O-chan
      July 19, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      The thing about the comic is that sometime around the Sonic Adventure adaptation (Issue 70s-ish) the comic books art and writing took this HUGE drop in quality. It wasn’t until Ian Flynn came on with Issue 160 and brought a new “Golden Era” to the comic that lasted until after the first Mega Man/Sonic crossover event. There was an energy to the writing that breathed new life into the characters and the comic’s world. Flynn was great at expanding the characters personalities from the SEGA games and giving them depth and integrity, he also restructure the world into something more tangible and engaging for both new readers and old. While Flynn stayed on after the reboot everything with the comic started to stagnate a bit. While there were some good arcs (The re-introduction arc and Fighters arc being the standouts) the comic still felt hollow. Ironically Flynn’s work on the Sonic Boom comic and the Mega Drive specials seemed to come off way better.

      In the end a lot of what went on with the comic seemed to stem from Archie ultimately not knowing how to properly treat their staff and stuff coming back to bite them in the butt which sullied their relationship with SEGA. Through good and bad the comic was still it’s own milestone in comics history being the longest running comic based off a licensed property. It’s just sad that all this came to pass right before Sonic the Hedgehog hit Issue 30, it’s sister comic Sonic Universe would have hit 100, and they finished the MegaDrive Series. At least the comic finished off it’s longest running story arc with some sense of closure before all this nonsense started to happen.


  • July 19, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Why didn't IDW pick up the Sonic rights if it was OK with Sega at this time?


    • Peter Paltridge
      July 20, 2017 at 1:07 am

      We don’t know the exact terms of Sega’s contract with Archie. it may not have officially expired until now. I get the sense the shop-around is just beginning, given the wording of Sega’s statement.


  • July 19, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    Jeez and Archie was around with Sonic for nearly most of the franchise's existence. It sounds like the replacement publisher is going to be the real deal hopefully.


  • July 20, 2017 at 7:54 am

    You know I'll admit that ever since Archie revived their own series they did kind of downplay and give less attention to the Sonic comics which before the relaunch were their biggest selling titles. And yeah the Mega Man and Sonic Boom comics ending were the direct result of Archie wanting more money to make Jughead and Betty and Veronica book launches but… let's not act like Sega is totally blameless here and that moving the comics to another studio or licensing is them totally saving the series. Yes Ken Penders's selfish bitterness in taking back rights to his characters and forcing a reboot did hurt the comics but they were bouncing back and honestly a lot of the later recent arcs (like Eggman's Dozen for instance) showed a lot of promise and once finished with the Unleashed and then "ever half decade have to remind people of the original games pointless nostaglia trip period" (that Sega has kind of forced on Archie in some form or another since 2006 with Sonic X comics referencing the original games for the 15th anniversary and then the Genesis arc for the 20th anniversary and this last arc for the 25th) was over seemed prosed to tell new good and interesting stories. The comic could of still rebounded but it's pretty clear Sega's never been entirely happy with the comics not being under their direct control or following their own game series entirely and I'm fairly sure they wanted a total relaunch from Archie about that which is why the period of renogigation happened and when they couldn't get that they decided to move on to another company. This whole think honestly reeks of Sega's own ego with Sonic which honestly… the comics have usually done a wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better job of telling stories and exploring the characters much more then the games. But Sega has that "we made it originally so we're the best" vibe to them and obviously now that they know how successful the comic brand is (which yeah was certainly not the case back in the day when it was first launched just as an extra to promote two TV series whose run ended DECADES ago) are just going to push their agenda entirely on the new run of comics.

    I want to be proven wrong and when we find out what the plans are for the comic I'll at least pick them up and see what the deal is but… this is literally one of the worst reasons I've heard of to end a comic book run. Like ever and really again just reeks of Sega's own issues even more then Archie's honestly.


  • July 20, 2017 at 9:17 pm

    I've had a few Sonic comics in the past, but it was sparodic at best. Throughout the years I checked a comic and so, and got easily confused of what's going on since they're always referencing something that happened in a previous issue, so I never bothered to continue following it.

    It'll be interesting to see what a new comic series would be like. Will they try to go epic in scope the Archie series or will they keep it simple standalone comics, that are basically adaptations of the games? Will they even try to use the characters from Satam and the others created from the Archie comics?

    I gotta say, I do kind of feel sorry for the fans who read this. This is a long running series, that a lot of people stuck with for decades.


  • July 21, 2017 at 5:08 pm

    I was lucky enough to get the last sonic universe comics
    starring the choatix which did have a good ending


  • July 21, 2017 at 7:04 pm
    Neo Ultra Mike

    The comic could of still rebounded but it's pretty clear Sega's never been entirely happy with the comics not being under their direct control or following their own game series entirely and I'm fairly sure they wanted a total relaunch from Archie about that which is why the period of renogigation happened and when they couldn't get that they decided to move on to another company. This whole think honestly reeks of Sega's own ego with Sonic which honestly… the comics have usually done a wayyyyyyyyyyyyyy better job of telling stories and exploring the characters much more then the games. But Sega has that "we made it originally so we're the best" vibe to them and obviously now that they know how successful the comic brand is (which yeah was certainly not the case back in the day when it was first launched just as an extra to promote two TV series whose run ended DECADES ago) are just going to push their agenda entirely on the new run of comics.

    I want to be proven wrong and when we find out what the plans are for the comic I'll at least pick them up and see what the deal is but… this is literally one of the worst reasons I've heard of to end a comic book run. Like ever and really again just reeks of Sega's own issues even more then Archie's honestly.

    While it is true SEGA's ideas for Sonic in general have been divisive and that they don't have the same foundation of his image like the Mario franchise does this was not their problem. Anybody directly involved with the Archie Sonic community knew of the "Ken Penders" incident which led to the comics Cosmic Reboot. Short version: Archie didn't do Ken and solid and keep all the paperwork in regards to the "rights" to his characters and concepts. Ken sued Archie. Archie tried to push back but since they couldn't provide needed paperwork they had to involve SEGA. As a result several of the characters and concepts reverted back to Ken and Archie had to abort several arcs (and pretty much almost ALL of Knuckles expanded history and backstory) right before the SEGA/Capcom mandated Sonic/MegaMan crossover. Flynn was smart enough to use the springboard of the crossover to do a cosmic reboot on Sonic's world to:
    1. Be in line with SEGA's tighter leash on the comic
    (not parents for game characters, Mobius is now "Sonic's World", limited backstory for game characters)
    2. Avoid the mess of all the Ken characters disappearing from the book
    Unfortunately Archie opened a can of worms and soon other writers/artists from the pre-Flynn era started to go after the book. Of course this continued to tick off SEGA to no end. On top of that since everybody on the book was contract only regardless of how long they were with the book Archie saw fit to fire certain people at will (I'm not going to name names but one of them revealed this on twitter long after their removal when I assumed they were still on the book). Also look at the nature the book was cancelled. Archie didn't announce any hiatus and left many of their subscribers in limbo for 6+ months. If things were good between Archie and SEGA given the history of the book I'm sure they could've negotiated a "breaking off" point but it sounds like SEGA just flatly pulled the plug.

    Also people just Google this stuff and you'll get that a lot of this stuff has been happening for almost 5 years now. So in the end what killed Archie Sonic was basically Archie being a cruddy employer to everyone who worked on the book. Now thankfully most of the current staff went out with class and on Twitter they've been giving their regards but to think of all the BS and damage control they had to put up with…Geez.


  • July 21, 2017 at 7:33 pm
    Zeether

    Good news from SDCC:

    If there's anyone I trust to make good use of a licensed property, it's IDW. So Sonic's in relatively good hands on that front :).

    And, as you mentioned, with Ian Flynn's working relationship with IDW it would be great if he was still involved in this :anime:.

    Though I'm really curious to see what comes of this partnership, especially since in all likelihood the comics will be starting completely from scratch now, even compared to the reboot of the Archie universe :ack:.


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