Sonic the Hedgehog made his first appearance 30 years ago and has been an influential pop culture icon ever since. In that time, he’s spun out from video games to other mediums including animated series, film and comic books. At this year’s WonderCon@Home, IDW held a panel to discuss their comics work with the character. In attendance were creators, Gail Galligan, Ian Flynn, Bracardi Curry and Evan Stanley along with Michael Cisneros who is involved in licensing for Sega.
The panelists discussed how they were first introduced to Sonic. No surprise, most of them played the video games growing up but for Cisneros, it was via the handheld system, the Game Gear, rather than the Sega Genesis. Later in Stanley’s life, she shared how Sonic functioned as a creative outlet since she made fan art.
Throughout the 30 years, comics have helped the character stay relevant. The panel talked about how a monthly series ensures regular new content. Compared to TV shows, there can be a significant wait in between seasons and even longer for games. The comics also allows the creators to fill in the gaps for fans that aren’t covered in other mediums.
With regards to IDW’s Sonic line, there will be a new 80-page special comic arriving in June for the birthday celebration. The lead story is from Flynn, Aaron Hammerstrom and Reggie Graham and is entitled, ‘Seasons of Chaos.’ Flynn described it as a quintessential fun and is a spiritual successor to the Sonic Mania Adventures cartoon. He wanted to see how many of the cast he could fit into the tale including Sonic, Knuckles, Tails, Amy, Metal Sonic, and Mighty. The concept is framed in the idea that each zone of the classic game is themed around a different season of the year.
One of the zones in particular will feature in the second story, ‘Dr. Eggman’s Birthday’, which is from Galligan, Thomas Roethlisberger, and Nathalie Fourdraine. Galligan was so fond of this goofy villain and respected his persistence. She related as a human to his frustration with things and how every birthday he’s reminded of another year of unsuccessfully capturing Sonic. It’s a silly goofy story on Dr. Eggman’s special day. The third story in the special issue is ‘Sonic Learns to Drive’ by Justin, Travis and Griffin McElroy and Mauro Fonseca.
Galligan will also be writing the Free Comic Book Day 30th Anniversary Special this year. It will focus on Amy Rose. Galligan thinks of the character as the absolute sweetest and wanted to give her space to be herself and explore new hobbies. Rose will be drawing comics and making autobiographical stories about her life so readers can see things from her point of view.
Arriving in October will be a special deluxe edition of the 30th anniversary special. It will be a hard cover with bonus content including the FCBD issue, a cover gallery and a “from script to comic” feature.
This June, the Sonic the Hedgehog: The IDW Collection #1 will be released. It will be the first in a new line of oversized hardcovers in suggested reading order. Issues #1-12 will be included that covers the arcs ‘Fallout’, ‘The Fate of Dr. Eggman’ and ‘Battle for Angel Island.’
In the main line, after the current arc entitled ‘Test Run’, will be “Zeti Hunt”. At the end of the ‘Metal Virus Saga’, the Deadly Six are defeated but not dealt with. Zavok is still on the move and hunt and the next arc will address the fall out. It will also put the narrative on the path for the big push to issue #50 and readers will see how Flynn and Stanley’s arcs will come together building to something big.
2021 will be a huge year for Sonic the Hedgehog and if the comics are any indication, fans will not be disappointed.