A Sonic the Comic fan community has recently called to question the honesty of an online trader, offering back issues of the Fleetway publication for various sums of money.
The Sonic the Comic Archive forum was approached on March 2nd by Pete Wilcock, owner of the Comical Games store. While his offer appeared otherwise genuine, an issue over front cover images led to a community-wide inquiry to Wilcock’s honesty.
The images used on the website were in fact scans from the Sonic the Comic Archive (StCA). ‘Hogfather’, co-webmaster of the website, expressed his initial concern: “I was at first impressed, he had all the cover scans of every issue… I had thought he was a long time subscriber to the comic, but then I discarded that when I noticed that he had issues that were “out of stock”… The images of the comics he had on his site were in fact my comics that I own. I could tell this because of the damage on the covers where the free gifts had been removed.“
The argument surrounding the issue was that if Wilcock really had issues for sale, why would he steal scans from another website? ‘Hogfather’ asserts that “the image [of an item for sale] should be an accurate representation of the item in question depending on what it is and if it has damage“.
Although it could be said that the store is misleading for not using the exact image of the comic, various pages have more than one of the same issue in stock – all with descriptions as to the quality of each copy.
The event certainly appears to have confused Wilcock, who talked to SONIC NEWS yesterday. “I was quite surprised at this suspicion, as I had rather expected myself to be taken at face value. I later learned [Sonic the Comic Online’s Forum] had previously had some security issues relating to a previous user which had caused much of the caution over newcomers like myself.”
Pete also told us of his attempts to diffuse any concern over his honesty. “I also spoke on the telephone with a young fellow from the forum who explained to me the reasons for the concern, and I in turn described to him my genuine intentions and the amount of work and effort I’d made in putting the site together. Ultimately it was agreed that both myself and the forum came in a little unprepared which resulted in all the misunderstanding.”
It is important to point out that claims as to Wilcock’s legitimacy was not based on anyone’s experience of buying from the Comical Games website. “I have taken a number of orders now, many from STC forum members and so far I have had nothing but reassuringly positive feedback.” he explains.
SONIC NEWS simply suggests that, in an online world where there are many faceless crooks lurking waiting to phish or con you out of your cash, Sonic fans use their common sense and judgement whenever they are approached with an offer from anyone in exchange for money or valuable goods.
Look to see if online stores have security measures within its checkout options (seen by way of a padlock on IE or Firefox, or a URL beginning with https://), ask the seller about their last sales, chat to people who may have bought from the store before.
The incident appears to have been resolved, with a thread on fellow Fleetway fansite Sonic the Comic Online outlining details on how to order back issues. Wilcock summises the incident with a “I have spent a great deal of time, money and effort creating a single source for the majority of highly sought-after copies of STC… if this was all one big con, it would be a great deal of effort for very little reward – the total value of my STC stock is worth less than £2,000. Slim pickings indeed!”
SONIC NEWS will continue to report on community issues and news as it breaks. Feel free to contact us with any news you may have.