In the world of comics, licensed properties are usually very nomadic. A video game or TV show can move from company to company over the course of several years. It shouldn’t be shocking when one of these agreements end, but there are some relationships that go on for so long that the property and publisher and synonymous with each other. For instance, it was a big deal when Dark Horse lost the rights to Star Wars comics, even if it was an understandable change due to Disney’s role.
Now it’s the end of the long-running partnership between Archie Comics and SEGA’s Sonic the Hedgehog. Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic Universe, and Sonic Mega Drive have all been cancelled out of nowhere. Well, almost nowhere. It’s been months since the last release of any Sonic-related comics. A real shame, since Sonic the Hedgehog was only a few issues away from hitting #300.
Here’s the word from Sonic’s Twitter:
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.
That’s pretty harsh. Archie has been releasing Sonic comics so far back that the early issues were based on the Jaleel White-voiced cartoons to the point that Sonic even fought a robot Steve Urkel in one issue. Over the years, fans had to endure the dark period where Ken Penders was in charge of the creative process, followed by Ian Flynn taking over and turning the series into something truly enjoyable. In the end, there were roughly 500 Sonic-related comic issues released until the sudden end and that’s nothing to laugh at.
Fittingly, they didn’t waste any time. SEGA have announced a partnership with IDW Publishing, known for doing comics based on such properties as Transformers, Ghostbusters, My Little Pony, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Considering the Turtles made a cameo during the earliest Sonic comic days, it amuses me that they’d end up under the same umbrella so many years later. While there was initially no word on the creative team(s), IDW had mentioned speaking to fan-favorites in order to make plans.
Now we know that Ian Flynn will indeed be returning, as it should be. This is excellent news, as not only is he a fantastic writer, but he won’t have to deal with cleaning up Ken Penders’ mess. Seriously, he deserves an award for that alone.
The new series will begin in April 2018 with a four-part, weekly event kicking it off. Flynn will be writing, but the artists haven’t been announced yet.
Gavin Jasper is pouring out a chili dog in remembrance. Follow him on Twitter!