Friday, December 16, 2011
Christmas Comics: SONIC THE COMIC (1996)
When Egmont Fleetway acquired the license to publish a Sonic the Hedgehog comic in 1993 I don't think they expected it have quite the longevity it had. As it turned out Sonic the Comic ran from 1993 to 2002 and has since spawned an online fan version.
I was invited to join the writing team in the early issues and gradually became one of the regular scriptwriters. By the Christmas 1996 issue of Sonic the Comic, (No.96, cover by Carl Flint, above) it had settled into the format of four long strips. Two of the stories were written by Nigel Kitching which contained no Christmas references as they were episodes of longer serials, so I was asked to provide two complete Christmas stories.
The first story I wrote for this particular issue featured Sonic in A Christmas Wish; a tale about a youngster who learns that you don't have to be a superhero to do something heroic. Roberto Corona was the artist (with Steve White on colouring) and they both did a fantastic job...
One thing that shocked me a little when I saw the published story was the addition of a huge caption warning readers not to imitate the kid who jumps out of a window thinking he has super-powers. This wasn't in my script and I didn't feel it necessary at the time. My worry upon seeing the caption was that it draws even more attention to the leap than if the reader had just read the scene and turned the page. My feeling was that the visual of the kid falling would act as enough prevention. However I appreciated that the editor Debbie Tate had to consider that STC had some very young readers and that we had to take responsibility for the stories we presented to them in case they thought Charmy Bee would be there to save them. In retrospect I should have made the same point with a less controversial scene.
Further on in the comic was the Sonic's World story, Season of Goodwill. I was very pleased with how this strip turned out, so I'm presenting it here in full for you to read. As well as Sega characters it also includes Tekno the Canary and Shortfuse the Cybernik, two characters I created for the Sonic universe. The great thing about Sonic the Comic was that we were able to weave sub-plots and character development into the stories, and this was one of the reasons for its longevity I think. In this story, although self-contained, you'll notice references to past episodes, plus Robotnik receiving a warning of things to come. Andy Pritchett and Steve White did a wonderful job on the artwork for this. Note the design of Father Christmas, harking back to the older version of the character before the jolly red-suited Santa we're familiar with today. I'd suggested this in the script and Andy got it spot on...
Another classic Christmas comic is scheduled to come down your cyber chimney soon!