Lew Stringer’s Original Sonic the Comic Pitch

I’m a big fan of Fleetways Sonic the Comic, I’m always interested in finding out about it’s creation, the staff who worked on the comic as well as ideas which were changed or just never came to light for whatever reason. As you probably know, writer Lew Stringer had a long run on STC, he held position as a writer for years and became a fan favourite with many readers, his scripts were often unique and very entertaining. Even if you don’t consider them ‘main stories’ they were well contained, entertaining, full of humor and were a welcome break from the main narrative that the comic was doing at the time.

UNUSED_SONIC1

But… did you know that he originally applied to be an artist? And that his original pitch samples still exist? As I said at the start, I’m a big fan of STC, so I’ve heard of other artists being asked or attempting to get onto the team (one artist had an idea to make a ‘noir’ style Sonic, but that story is for another day), but I’ve never seen any real examples of artwork.

What you see here is an example of what Sonic the Comic might have looked like had Lew Stringer joined the artistic team as apposed to his position as scriptwriter. The pages are all photocopies and the coloured sample is an edit to show you how it would have looked originally.

UNUSED_SONIC2

Now before you jump to conclusions about how Sonic is fighting monsters and how it looks so strange, you need to remember a few very important things with these. During the 1990’s, British comic books which were aimed at children had a very specific style to them, if you were a fan of The Beano, just compare a strip of Calamity James or even ‘The Numbskulls’  and you’ll see some influences here (in the first pannel theres what looks a lot like a ‘squish’ from Calamity James, but also, take a look at comics like ‘Buster,’ ‘The Beezer,’ or ‘The Dandy,’ odds are you’ll spot how they all influenced each other and how theres a very specific artstyle and humor that runs through them.

unused villain

Don’t be confused by the enemies you see here, they’re Mr Stringer’s own creations, and whilst you may think ‘they don’t fit in with Sonic’ I would like to direct you to how Sonic nearly turned out.

sonic beta

And before you ask, yes, screenshots showing ‘Mr Monster Guy’ have been found, but thats a tale for another day.

Also if you’re a fan of comic’s, both as a reader or with an interest into the creation process, please give Lew Stringers blog a read as it’s a really good insight into the media.

You can see full sized versions of the above images in the gallery at the end of this update.

Source: Lew Stringer’s blog

10 Comments

  1. Warning: Don’t read if you’re a Lew fan.

    I hate to say it, but I don’t think Lew Stringer is a good writer. I’m a big fan of StC but I could never stand his stories. They’re supposed to be funny but never managed to get even a chuckle out of me, as his humor was never clever or funny; it was cliche, predictable and cop-out-ish. And he wasn’t any better when he tried to be serious; when he took over as the main writer and tried to write epic tales, his stories had pacing issues and (just like his regular stories) terrible dialogue. And he had serious favoritism for Amy and Tekno; I still haven’t forgiven him for trying to replace Tails and Knuckles with them as Sonic’s main partners. I’m glad that Nigel Kitching came back for the final arc and brought back Tails and Knuckles, whose role had been reduced to having two lines per arc (if they’re present at all).

    1. I think a lot of what you’ve said isn’t really fair. Most of your complaints aren’t exactly down to Lew Stringer. or any of the artists/writers. The editorial department would have decided what kind of strips they would have wanted, so if they comission said writers and artists for an Amy/Tekno strip over a Knuckles and Tails one, then thats what they would have had to produce.

      It’s well documented that the later editors wanted Amy to have a big role because they wanted to appeal to girls and try to get a foot hold with the ‘girl power’ movement that was going on at the time. Which is partly the reason for Amy’s design change.

      However the artists and writers wouldn’t have been the ones who made decisions over who got focus. That would have been the editors.

    2. Half agreeing with you. Though Kitching was the stronger writer I think Lew Stringer had some excellant strips including the creation of Brutus and the strips he appeared in were for the large fantastic. The GAME OVER arc (think that’s it) was also great, I believe it was the last strip he wrote for though I could be mistaken.

      The Amy/Tekno think was more of an editor thing. The editor at the time wanted Amy Rose to be written in a different manner to the way Kitching was writing her at the time; the editor wanted a more feminist appealing character. This was literally a flawless, flat Amy Rose. Kitching basically didn’t want any of it and largely wrote Amy out of his strips. Lew had to pick it up.

      True, Lew had some odd and downright cliche humour (though some was editors again) but it was probably stilll higher writing standard than Archie was using at the time. Lew Stringer > Ken Penders. Food for thought really.

  2. The line art for that first panel is lovely and clean. Mmm. That said, love the watercolour style on the second panel.

      1. Well unless you live in or have visited the UK, I doubt any American fan would have a lot of knowledge about Sonic the Comic, since it’s an English comic.

  3. So, is The Fleetway Sonic comic just like the Archie Comics in the sense that the original comics were just nonsensical slapstick kids jokes?

    Or did it start off with an intended story in mind?

    1. Was a lot like Archie tbh, has the exact same sort of lifecycle where it started to develop its own personality seperate from the games after a while, was a very different personality to the Archie ones though.

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