Down at the 2500 isle of the San Diego Comic Con, Archie Comics had thier biggest booth yet. Stationed next to IDW Comics and Boom Studios. In recent years, Archie comics has been doing well at making their presence known, making headlines with the “Archie Marries” and “Kevin Keller” series. Their biggest acquisition in the past year has been the Mega Man license. Sales of the comic have been doing phenomenally well pushing past sales of their former top seller and still big seller Sonic the Hedgehog. Sega was also at Archie’s booth with two demo stations playing Sonic Generations. Needless to say, as a Sonic fan, I hung out there quite a bit. On Friday, I sat down with Archie Comics editor Paul Kaminki to discuss Mega Man, Cosmo and all things Sonic. Here’s what he had to say.
Last year, you used one word to hint at the events of this year “Genesis”. Ian hinted at the events of #225 with “BLAM!BLAM!BLAM!” What is the one word you would use to hint at #230 and beyond?
Paul – The best. I’ve seen 230 and 231 pencils and it’s the best stuff we’ve ever done. It’s the fallout from 225, the aftermath of Genesis and the road to 250 all in one. Ben Bates worked on those and he outdid himself. He worked on 232 and it’s coming along fantastic as well.
Awesome. Out of the main four Sega characters, Knuckles, Tails and Sonic have all had their backgrounds fleshed out well. But Amy Rose seems to have little known about her. Will we ever see an arc about her backstory?
Paul – Yes. You won’t see too much in the near future, but you will see some more of that next year. Amy will be taking up a larger role as well. I really can’t say to much more than that, but Sonic’s gonna need her help.
Sounds very interesting. With Sally’s life hanging on the line, it seems to have divided some of the fanbase. Some who want her to live and some who’d love to see her dead. Will the outcome of this current story be able to please both sides?
Paul – I think so. It satisfied me anyway. (Laughs) We’re not trying to disrespect the character at all. We just want to make a real interesting story like you’ve never quite seen with her before. It’s easy to say she’s got Jean Grey syndrome in that she’s taken out and brought back again over and over, but I think what we’ve done with her and what we’re about to with her is unique. Whether she’s alive or dead, her story is not over at all.
In Sonic Genesis, it’s kind of a flashback to Sonic 1 and 2 as Eggman reset the world. Will the effects from the Genesis storyline affect the Prime World at all?
Paul – Yea. Definitely. With some characters you might not expect it to have an effect on. It will have an effect on the cast going forward.
I kind of like what was done with Rotor/Boomer in Genesis. Making him smarter and tougher.
Paul – Yea. I saw online that this reviewer’s little kid loved it when Boomer smashed up the Caterkiller. I love him too! Mike (Perrilito) hates him. He keeps telling me. “Why do you keep using the dumb Walrus?” I tell him “Cuz Rotor’s cool man!” (Laughs) Genesis has some great qualities that I think will transition nicely into the main universe.
Will Silver’s search for the traitor come to fruition soon?
Paul – VERY soon.
Moving onto Mega Man which is doing absolutely incredible in sales. Are you surprised at the high sales in the direct market? Even surpassing Sonic by quite a bit?
Paul – Yes. Quite happy with direct market and newstands too. We saw a particular spike in newstands that we’re hoping to stretch ever further with the graphic novel later this year. Because, I became a big fan of Fables through the graphic novels so I’m hoping more people will become fans of Mega Man and Sonic through the trades.
I think the first 3 issues were handled very well. It seems less of a game adaption as it does about a boy being sent off into a war and the effects it has on him. In issue #2, he has to kill other robots for the first time and he hates it. He doesn’t like killing his own kind. In issue #3, he’s become desensitized to it and he starts getting an attitude. Did you and Ian mean to develop his character in this manner?
Paul – His character is the most important thing we’re trying to juggle. It’s very important to us that we develop this character properly in the first arc and beyond.
The only small complaint I had about the first three issues is that the Robot Masters seem to get squashed pretty quickly with no time for their characters to get any personality (outside of Cutman). Will this be addressed in future stories?
Paul – Well, the comic isn’t called “Robot Masters” it’s called Mega Man so he’s the main thing we’re focused on. The Robot Masters are not going away. They’ll be back and back and back as part of the regular cast. I’ve read alot abut the complaints about them being taken out too easily. They are part of Mega Man’s evolution as a character. Wily’s the real bad guy. He won’t be gone for long either. In hindsight, maybe we took them out too fast, but we needed to get through the book to establish the first story. I think in the graphic novel, it won’t seem so fast and it will seem like a very coherent tale.
What will we see from Mega Man in the future?
Paul – An integration of original stuff to a limited degree with faithful adaptions of the other games. Different artists. All stories done in a 4-issue arc Sonic Universe style.
So we can expect to see his robo dog Rush next year?
Paul – Yes. I saw the preliminaries of his design. but we work pretty far in advance. I’m pretty excited myself. I’ve seen the finished pencils from the next arc and it looks great.
Going onto Cosmo the Merry Martian. Can you tell us what this title is all about?
Paul – Cosmo is still something we’re working out. we don’t have a set date for him yet. He’s an old character from the 50’s and 60’s. He’s pretty much Spongebob in space. It’s Ian’s opportunity to run wild.
Speaking of poor Ian, he’s got a lot on his plate now. What with four titles to work on. Is there any chance for a not-so-young up and comer with a popular webcomic that Yardley’s worked on to have a shot at one of the titles to ease his burden? (Nudge, nudge. Wink, wink)
Paul – (Laughter) Is that a pitch? You’ll see some changes in the writing lineup in the future. Tracy will be writing the Babylon arc after Scourge is done. We have two other writers coming in to do backup stories, so you’ll see a little switch up here and there. Ian’s still the brain trust. He and I get together to workout the storylines for years to come.
Well, thank you so much for your time Paul, it’s been a pleasure.
Paul – Thank you.
Stay tuned this week to see how you can win a Comic-Con package that includes an exclusive SDCC copy of #226 signed by Ian Flynn. Along with Sonic Boom buttons and an animation cell from “Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog”!