The GeeksverseSonic Panel at Herocon- First look at Sonic Cover

Sonic Panel at Herocon- First look at Sonic Cover
Published on Saturday, June 4, 2011 by

On Friday, at the Herocon, Sonic the Hedgehog panelists spoke about upcoming events from Archie comics, including previewing covers, variant covers, and other surprises. The panelists, billed as an Archie comics panel, featured Jimmy Aquino, Paul Kaminski, Jon Gray, Ian Flynn, and Jim Amash all of which have worked throughout the Archie comic community but also share in the duties of delivering quality Sonic the Hedgehog month after month.

Aquino did most of the breaking news revealing tidbits about Archie happenings.

  • One of the bragging points is how Archie Comics is handling digital delivery. Archie Comics is the first company to offer same day comic releases in print and digitally. Although this is not yet company wide, they offer several titles same day. In the company mind the readers of print copies and digital are two different readerships. The sales numbers are reflecting that same day digital release can be profitable and helpful to the fans.  Archie Comics is also releasing digital exclusive comics, a trend they will expand in the future.
  • Kevin Keller is one of the most controversial recent Riverdale residents. Kevin is the first openly gay teen in the town.  Sales and resales on the issue were surprisingly strong due in part to the media attention.  Kevin is returning in 2011 for a 4 issue miniseries. One of the topics addressed in the Kevin Keller miniseries is gays in the military.  Aquino described the handling as non-political in the Archie Comics manner.
  • Tom DelFalco will be doing a two part Land of Lost style Riverdale plus dinosaurs issues in 2011. DelFalco’s story has the familiar teens going on a school field trip, archeology class, that results in a time bending adventure and fun.
  • Archie Babies is the first full length original graphic novel. This is penned by Ian Flynn and others. The novel is made up of Archie Baby shorts that were described as similar to RugRats or Muppet Babies. This proves to be cute, fun, and accessible. Pages were previewed from the project revealing cute round redesigns of the classic characters in safari gear being chased by tiki headed “booga, booga, booga” manner. My favorite quote, “booga, booga, booga” had fun lettering.
  • Sonice #200 shook up the status quo of the long running title. Eggman’s melt down changed the relationship between the robot tinkerer and hedgehog.  Eggman faded into the shadows in the aftermath of #200 building something in secret. In #225 it was revealed that Eggman was building the Death Egg, a return of a Genesis icon.  In the upcoming Genesis Sonic and Sally find themselves going in still yet another direction for four issues.
  • Knuckles Archives vol 1 reprints classic Knuckles tales in the vein of the Sonics Archives.
  • Sonic Select vol 4 will focus on the Zone Wars
  • Sonic Universe Vol 1 collecting four part story arcs
  • Upcoming comics will sport variant Genesis homage covers. Sega approached the Archie crew to do something to tie into the character anniversary. The homage covers will feature updating of the cartridge art, including the iconic checkerboard background.
  • The upcoming Sonic Universe Scourge arc picks up with the evil hedgehog in prison. He is at the bottom of the prison hierarchy and trying to work his way up the ladder to running a gang of misfits so that he can try to escape a prison that is supposed to be unbreakable. The team building four part story arc will be a prison story reminiscent of 70s women in prison stories told for children? If you haven’t checked out Sonic’s world recently this is a good jumping on point.
  • Sonic Legacy reprints will be similar to the phone book editions from the other publishers collecting 20-25 issues in black and white on coarse paper. However,they are opening the filing cabinets to include character designs in black and white. Some of the bonus material comes straight from the video game designers for used and unused characters that were provided to help kickstart the Sonic comics 15 years ago. Despite the size and lack of color these will have more bonus features than the other Sonic trades.
  • Archie Comics, and the Sonic crew, were recently looking to diversify their video game tie-in offerings. Capcom approached the crew about Megaman!  Ian Flynn, avid game player and Sonic writer, was excited by the possibility. He has breakdowns, plans, and future stories for nearly 100-200 issues of Megaman comics. These comics will follow the original release story line, mostly. The first four issue arc will follow the 1st game story. The second arc will be original tales setting up the move to the 3rd arc telling the story of the 2nd game. Flynn says that the pattern will follow telling the game stories alternating with original tales to weave it all together. Flynn explained that the narrative style of Megaman games changes how he approaches telling stories with those characters versus the non-narrative Sonic game characters.
  • The Archie crew, mostly Sonic alumni, were excited to work on the Megaman project. Sells are reflecting that the American audience is excited about the comic as well. The first issues were the highest selling titles this spring at Archie.  #1 outsold expectations in sells and reslls.  #2 sold even more copies instead of the expected slump. Flynn commented that telling the classic game stories in the new way seemed to be exciting nostalgia resulting in increased sales.
  • Megaman issues will feature Greg Horn (#5), Ben Bates (#3), and Chad Thomas variant and variant sketch (#1) covers.

Exciting things are happening at Sonic and the rest of the Archie comics universe. Archie, Sonic, Megaman, and even Sabrina the Teenage Witch are all having big years.

One of the images that were revealed was a special first showing of this Sonic cover:
World premire first look at the Genesis homage covers

Fun trivia, Jim Amash is one of the longest serving Archie employees and is the veteran of the group. He has worked on Sonic since nearly the beginning of the book. Jon Grey is a penciller that has worked on Sonic and other Archie books. After a part-timer stint, he is now working full time as hedgehog penciller and production in house. Among his in house production duties he checks for nostrils, hedgehog ears, and other bits that can be left off in creating a full comic. Jimmy Aquino, editor, did most of the revelation of news and controlled the screen revealing interior sneak peeks and covers. Ian Flynn has been writing Sonic and other properties for Archie since 2005. He is a gamer from the generation of Sonice and MegaMan so this is a dream job for the author.

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