Is It Time For The Sonic Franchise To Let Go Of Archie Comics?

We’ve been down this road last year. Delays, rumors of cancellations, ACTUAL cancellations (Mega Man, Sonic Boom) and a publisher that seems to be doing everything it possibly can to stay relevant while rumors of fighting and inner turmoil are going on within it’s offices. With a ton of characters that can no longer be used, a world that was reset but not fully rebooted and with Archie no longer allowing subscriptions to either Sonic books, we may be seeing the end of an era. But the question is….could this be a good thing? Is it time for the Sonic franchise to leave Archie and be refreshed with a new publisher?

Reason #1: Archie is focusing on Archie

Archie’s primary focus right now is on the Archie brand itself. The reboot of the Archie series using a more modern comic art style and shifting away from the classic look (outside of digests) has actually been fairly successful for them. Archie, Jughead and other books are now outselling Sonic rather than the other way around and their profits are up. Not only that, but they’re heavily focused on promoting the new CW show “Riverdale” based on the Archie characters which had a soft, but decent debut in the ratings, but has been slowly dropping since. Because of this, it seems like Sonic is taking a back seat to their top brand.

Reason #2: Past creators and lawsuits

Without naming very obvious names, Archie comics can’t use a large amount of past Sonic characters because of legal issues. This is main reason for the soft reboot of the series three years ago. In some cases, I believe those creators to be in the wrong. While in other cases, I feel them to be very much in the right. Let’s be honest, Archie hasn’t  exactly done right by a lot of former creators, including the one they took their classic art style from. And just when you think everything’s been all settled and done, another creator comes in, staking a claim. Then there’s Archie offering reprints of old issues featuring creator-owned characters online which has caused even more controversy. At this point, it may be better for Archie to let Sonic go and avoid the hassle.

Reason #3: It’s gotten a bit stale

Now, this is just my personal opinion (and I know I’m gonna get a ton of comments on this one). When the first Mega Man/Sonic crossover was done, Archie did a soft reboot of Sonic with a long, long, too friggin’ long story known as “The World Adventure”, based off of the game “Sonic Unleashed”. For three full years, from September of 2013 up to October of 2016, we have been going through one very long story line with branching arcs along the way to build up a new world with new lands and new characters.

And at times, it was starting to bore me.

Here’s the thing: when I first heard about the soft reboot, I was elated! Finally, a chance to get rid of all the excess baggage and back story that has dragged down the book over time. We could focus on the main SegaSonic cast and build up their own back stories while slowly showing some new lands in this new world. While we were introduced to new worlds, we were also introduced to a lot of new characters with their own back stories. Suddenly, the world was cluttered again. SegaSonic already has a ton of characters, did we really need to have a bunch of new ones? I love some of the new arcs (“Champions” was fantastic) and some of the new characters like Thunderbolt and Relic, but after twenty years of Sonic traveling the globe to keep the Acorn kingdom safe, this was the opportunity to take the series in a bold new direction and instead, it does its best to fill the void of old characters as quickly as possible while telling an over-arching story that takes three…..years to finish. It may be new, but it doesn’t feel very fresh. This is no fault of writer Ian Flynn or the very talented artists, it  just feels to me like it’s been going in circles for a long, long time.

So if rumors hold up and Archie lets go of the Sonic license, where should Sonic go? There only two real choices Sega should take IMO.

Boom Studios

Boom has not only done some of their own kid-friendly indie titles like the Lumberjanes, but Cartoon Network’s biggest properties like Adventure Time, Steven Universe, Over the Garden Wall, Regular Show and classic Sunday funnies franchises like Garfield and Peanuts. While I don’t know how well Sonic would do here, I could see Sega splitting the franchises and adding Sonic Boom with the Cartoon Network lineup. That said, I think there’s only one true place for Sonic after Archie and that’s…

IDW

Home of: Godzilla (okay, not kid-friendly but I love Godzilla), Skylanders, My Little Pony, Star Trek, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Disney Comics, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more, IDW has some of the biggest franchises under the sun with some of the best talent working in comics today! This right here is where I’d like to see the Sonic franchise head with a new take and a fresh perspective, Both Boom and IDW tend to sell better in direct markets than Archie nowadays and think of the possible crossovers! Just surfing the forums alone, I know there’s probably a ton of people out there that would love to see a Sonic/My Little Pony Crossover. Heck, how about Sonic and crew visiting Spyro and the world of Skylanders?

The Sonic comic franchise had been around for over twenty years and deserves better than to be constantly delayed, have subscriptions halted and be tied up in lawsuits. In my opinion, it’s time for Sonic to break free of Archie and run a blazing trail on fresh, new ground.

37 Comments

  1. If the cancellation of these comics means getting a new Sonic comic by a new publisher that is far more competent than Archie, then yes, these are awesome news.

      1. I would rather it followed the Fleetway continuity. Though frankly, I’d prefer even more a new continuity. It wouldn’t be held back by Archie Sonic’s messy continuity, or Sonic the Comic’s obscurity. But more than anything, there would be no need to keep legacy characters like the Freedom Fighters, who are still there just because their fans would complain if they removed them, even though they don’t fit the current comic continuity which is modeled after the game universe.

        A new comic that has only game characters (and maybe a few original character when the story calls for it, as long as they don’t abuse this like Archie did) would be the best way of moving forward. No DiC characters please.

  2. Honestly if they cancel the comic the first order of business from SEGA is to get Ian Flynn a contract for the Sonic series. I don’t care if they realize he’s a great choice or not, that’s a talent that can’t be wasted on non Sonic material when he knows it so well.

    1. No, Ian isn’t a great choice for Sonic at all. I’ll grant you he’s the best writer the comic has had, but that’s not saying much. He’s still an overrated and mediocre writer who doesn’t get Sonic’s character. Fans get so excited over Ian’s Sega-ification of the comic and all the game nods he shoehorns in that they overlook the fact that most of his stories are pretty dull and uninspired, and he writes Sonic the way a sizable portion of the fanbase sees him, rather than the way he’s actually supposed to be written (something the latest games suffer from as well). He’s basically the writer that Sonic nerds on the Internet adore because he caters to them and their memes, rather than because he’s any good.

  3. Yeah, except I’d rather not loose the creative talent we currently have working on it, and if Flynn is working on Jughead, chances are pretty good that he’s not going to work on Sonic at IDW. I’d much rather see this thing endure as long as it can, and I feel there’s still plenty of life left in it, it’s not that stale. Also I happened to love the Sonic Unleashed arc, so yeah, I disagree with you on this one. That’s just how it is for me, I’m not ready to say goodbye just yet.

  4. Even though Archie’s cast of characters were fairly good, I wish they had just decided to go by the game canon for the reboot. In all honesty, the Freedom Fighters as a whole are outdated, and it’s been public knowledge for a while that the various western Sonic casts were regional fanfiction as far as the overall brand is concerned. If it seems I’m a bit harsh against the pre-Adventure continuities, I was first introduced to the series in the Dreamcast era (and an entire generation was) and I’m used to the unified Japanese continuity. If Mega Man can retire Monsteropolis and Super Mario can retire Brooklyn and black koopa magic, we should be able to shed the Freedom Fighters and Snively. I have nothing personal against the characters as characters, but the franchise should be more unified.

    Despite my views on grandfathered characters, they could stay for a new book as long as the writing is good. A Modern Sonic series with the writing as paper-thin as Lost World or as convoluted as ’06 would be worse than Archie continuing its patchwork. I haven’t read much of the Unleashed arc, but I’ve been a committed Archie Mega Man reader, so I’ll assume that Ian Flynn is as good here as he is there.

    So I’m open to a new book in general. It’ll be sad to have Archie Sonic end, seeing how long it’s been running, but a complete fresh start without the weight of over 20 years of characters, meeting deadlines, publicity stunts, and retcons.

  5. That comment about more characters is ridiculous. There’s only 20 characters in the core cast but most of them are situational. What you should be focusing on is not the amount of characters but how the characters feel. And as it stands right now the characters introduced in The World Adventure feel like characters with conflicts even Sonic Team would write durring the 2000s, when you can argue that Sonic stories were generally good. No politics or superhero mumbo-jumbo. Just people being people with their own flaws and dilemmas, even if they are just fleshed out and well written japanese character archetypes. (Thunderbolt the Yandere. Lol.)

    1. This. Reading over this a second time that bit about the Characters is completely asinine. Especially considering that even if they start fresh at a different company they still will create new characters.

      Literally every example he gives have comic-Exclusive Characters. That’s how Comics work.

  6. The only condition I’d make if they wanted to cancel Archie Sonic, would be to allow the Freedom Fighters (Sally, Rotor, Antoine, Bunnie and Nicole) to appear in the games.

  7. Ok so I skimmed through this article and its piratically the same shit that I’ve been hearing ever since the reboot of Archie Sonic. “Archie/Sega don’t care about the comics”, “Someone gonna sue again and Sega is going to drop the comics” and the classic, “The Freedumb Farters are useless/ make the game characters useless/ have too much drama” and other fine opinions that people write long unnecessary paragraphs about.

    I’ll say that this is rather rude for an opinionated piece; but what the fuck do I know, I’m not a journalist. But maybe, if this was written with a more open mind to this kind of stuff, I wouldn’t feel so inclined to feel like this is slightly threatening. Like instead of saying why they should drop the comics, maybe go for a more broader look at both sides of the argument. Why and why not should the sonic franchise let go of the comics.

    1. It is truly annoying.
      “Get rid of the freedom fighters”
      *Sonic reboots at IDW*
      Then they start introducing their own comic exclusive characters.

      1. And on top of that, if they wanted to do another edition of Deviations, we could have a Sonic The Hedgehog: Deviations, where it shows what would happen to the world if Maria were CURED of her disease, and she lived. Shadow would live with her and Prof. Gerald, Eggman would turn into the good guy, making things better for humanity, and Sonic would turn into an eco-centric bad guy!

  8. A lot of the characters from the old community I hated unless they were villains. In fact, it fascinated me how much I didn’t give a shit about Geoffery St. John until it was revealed he was a villain. All of a sudden I cared more then I ever could have imagined I would. After the reboot though, I’ve found I not only love the villains but have some of the original character heroes to like as well… with a good number of the other ones being bland as dish water to the point where I can’t summon an emotion for them. And it might be reaching a point where that’s a bit worse than hating them.

    I’ve personally immensely enjoyed the state of the Archie comics after the reboot far more than I did before it but the longer it goes on, I do start to understand that most of that is probably due to the change in aesthetic and structure that I admire more so than the merit behind a lot of the stories. Although it’s still been a lot more positive for me on that front too.

    Before the reboot I would often struggle to find a full and complete story arc I absolutely loved. Some I liked. But most I was either disappointed or angered by but the interest behind following a comic focusing on my favorite video game franchise and the positive aspects I did like about it (that I wasn’t getting from the game’s narrative at the time) kept me going.

    While it’s true I now have arcs I absolutely love after the reboot like Champions, Eggman’s Dozen, the Great Chaos Caper, and the Panic in the Sky conclusion to the Unleashed arc (give or take a few problems I had with the very-very end) a lot of the other ones blur the line with me. A lot of arcs kind of just happened without much to go for when it comes to an actual resolution for some things. The Silver Arc was a bunch of running around and talking with a non-resolution that just kind of petered off. The Dark Gaia Pheonix thing was almost insultingly bland, leading me to wonder how the added narrative benefit of a comic book could churn out something far less interesting then something written across the span of 3 to 4 cutscenes in a video game like Sonic Unleashed.

    And I don’t even want to be gotten started on that god awful Shattered SU arc where it had a mildly captivating set-up and an interesting fight sequence for Omega that was surrounded by a bunch of nothing and slap-shot conclusion that turned Naugus into something that was somehow less threatening and credible that fuckin’ Team Rocket.

    A lot of it feels like it’s still in the beginning stages of something. Or rather it’s trying to pretend it’s got legs and going somewhere when in actuality, the stories its setting up are designed to trick the audience into believing it’s going somewhere but it’s expertly being woven from one story arc to the next in a manner that the author can assuredly say to himself “I’ve got a routine going now that’ll keep these comics going forever while at the same time making it seem like stuff is happening to develop their situation.” Only this time it’s a lot more noticable because it’s happening within the set-up of this new continuity rather than being something that dawns on your overtime.

    Like that instant when I realized that Detective Conan is going to continue on forever and that the amount of days that have passed in Shinichi’s world has been enough for him to grow up all over again by now. The Black Organization is never going down. They keep introducing new members of it only for it to not go anywhere. It’s just going to continue until Conan shows up at the household of everyone in Japan until everyone’s dead. And then it’ll be revealed that he was the one true murderer all along. And then they’ll play Swan Lake to sing his shattered mind to rest once he collapses in agony at the destruction he doth wrought.

    You know, like the Archie Comics.

  9. Unlike many of you I enjoyed the comics before the reboot. The drama and romance along with the huge cast made it really enjoyable for me.

    1. Same here! I started reading the comics at #118 and stuck around until #185-or-so.

      I really liked how different it was compared to the games and such. Artists like Steven Butler, James Fry, and Ron Lim really inspired me and helped improve my artistic side. (still do!) I loved all their unique styles they brought to the table; giving the Sonic cast a semi-realistic or more abstract look that felt fresh to their game designs. I’ve been reading a bunch of them lately and the overall dark-ish dramatic tone (the Good, Bad, & Unknown, Darkest Storm, even Eggman Empire arcs) has had me yearning for the games to hopefully go back to the Adventure tone with Project 2017.

      I grew up with the Penders-era of the comics and I enjoyed them! The comics being just like the games now is pretty meh.

  10. If the Sonic Archie comics get cancelled and it goes to another publisher I would welcome the idea of them focusing on the games continuity now, I like the Freedom Fighters and all the mythos surrounding the current comics but I feel the Satam cast often overshadows the main SegaSonic cast and that their usual arcs are getting repetitive.

    But if this happens I still hope they keep focusing on world building and introducing new characters in the new comic, I get the feeling Sonic would be better at IDW.

  11. Not this shit again. You guys are always causing scares like this for no reason other than to spark a conversation.

  12. “a world that was reset but not fully rebooted” No it was fully rebooted and one Editor making them keep bits of the continuity just to sell trades doesn’t change that.

    Anyway you do make some solid points, Although I have to admit I didn’t read the part that was just bitching about the Shattered World crisis. I’m so tired of seeing people bitch about the Shattered World Crisis.

  13. Tbh, I think the only reason why the lawsuit even happened was because KP wanted some money cuz Flynn had managed to turn the story around for the better after he left. I’m still wondering how Ken even won since all those characters were all supposed to be property of Sega anyway. The comic before the reboot had momentum and the lawsuit ruined that.

  14. As a non-reader who only dabbles in these comics now and again I’ve always found it baffling why a group of characters from a non-cannon show that ran for two seasons in, what, 93-94…? are still a ‘thing’. Why are they still here? lol their designs don’t even match the SegaSonic universe.

    Hopefully they’re just canning the comics to focus on something new to tie in with Mania and Project 2017.

  15. On the basis of Archie’s troubles, I will understand if they cancel the Sonic comic series. But given how good the writing team is on Sonic, I’d be very sad to see it go the way Mega Man comic has. In my opinion, these comics have been the strongest branch of the Sonic franchise at this point. The tone is very much like the Adventure era (which is my preference, and likely a portion of the fanbase too), and since Ian Flynn came onto the team, the comic has stayed consistently good for those who want more story out of Sonic. The games, tv shows, and other branches of the franchise haven not had the same good consistently as Archie’s comics. I also feel that if Archie does cancel the Sonic comics, that puts even more pressure on Sonic Mania and Project Sonic 2017 to hold up the franchise and fanbase alone. Another comic team would be cool, but this transition would be similar to shifting between video games or tv shows. All in all, I hope this all works out, I hope it goes out with a bang, and I hope the Sonic franchise itself can last without it.

  16. Unless Sega changes how it does business, there is no way that a Sega character focued book could last. The reason archie introduces new characters is because those characters are actually allowed to develop, while everyone from the games must remain static

  17. Here’s my problem with the prospect of Sonic moving to another publisher: SEGA holding a tighter leash. You know why the SatAM cast and OCs get more focus than the SegaSonic cast? Because SEGA is bound and determined to keep the core Sonic cast as two-dimensional as possible, specifically Sonic, since he’s a corporate mascot. If it went to another publisher, under a new writer, you can bet on the comics not having anything in the way of actual good storytelling or character development because Sonic can’t feel any emotion other than snarkyness.

    Instead they would get some hack writer who doesn’t get the series (Someone like Pontac & Graff) to devolve the comic into being a glorified advertisement, filled with outdated memes and having no meaningful plot whatsoever.

    The Shattered arc may have been slow, but it’s forgivable since they had to establish the new continuity, and that’s easier said than done. We JUST NOW got to actual, literal adaptations of the Genesis classics because all of that is done with and we’ve entered into a new era of shorter storylines and better flow, and you want to throw all of that away just because YOU don’t like it?

    I don’t like Archie’s bullshit going on behind-the-scenes either, but that is no reason to start fresh. We already started fresh when things started picking up with issue #252, and I really, REALLY don’t want to go through that again.

  18. Personnaly, I would rather prefer Dark Horse (mostly know for the Star Wars comics) than IDW as a new publisher.

  19. Maybe if Sonic DOES end in the comics, then maybe we can get more games, and instead of buying Sonic Books, we should really buy the Harry Potter Books, or the Twilight Saga books.

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