Every year in June, Sonic fans and press alike (and the guys at The Sonic Stadium happen to be both!) descend unto the arid, star-studded land of Los Angeles to take on the ‘Video Gaming Superbowl’ that is E3. But, every year, on the Sunday before E3 festivities begin, there’s a whole other party happening in the same city just for Sonic fans.
That event is Sonic Revolution, a regional fan convention started up by local community members (SEGA of America’s headquarters happens to also reside in the same US state – California – which is a bonus) and is now several years old. We attended the first couple of shows, every year since 2015, and as fellow con organisers ourselves (myself and Adam ‘T-Bird’ Tuff, who also came to Sonic Revolution, have co-organised many a Summer of Sonic event) we kept coming away impressed with the enthusiasm and high level of organisation behind it.
2019’s Sonic Revolution show was a little different from the norm. Due to the show’s exciting growth and a consistently sold-out venue, the location of the convention had changed this year. While still based in the sleepy LA suburb of Whittier, this new venue was a lot more spacious and provided a much more interesting atmosphere from Revo’s past. As you can see from the photo gallery here, there was a lot to see and do – with a large part of the convention dedicated to artist and fan stalls such as the one above.
Well-known US-based fan creatives such as Balena Productions, Doryan Nelson and Sasso Studios were showing off their incredible art and video projects alongside artists and creatives who have worked on official products such as comic artist Evan Stanley and Sonic Mania programmer Simon Thomley. Even SEGA America Community Manager Aaron Webber made an appearance to meet and greet with fans.
One of the main stalls at the event, as soon as we walked in, was run by popular fan artist Ceci – she has been a mainstay of the Sonic Revolution show since nearly the very beginning, and like most fan artists at the event she had a large range of items available to buy, from keychains to stickers and even badges. Here she is with Sonic YouTuber Mr Pasquale, who we absolutely adore for his audio-visual take on the Sonic Forces soundtrack.
Speaking of artwork, we have to take a minute to appreciate the above piece by MightySen. Their work has become the ‘face’ of Sonic Revolution this year, with a fun piece riffing on the recently-released Team Sonic Racing promoting the 2019 show.
Oh, who’s this?? We were wondering just why there was such a huge queue in one of the main rooms – turns out one of the convention’s main guests was causing a bit of a stir! Ryan Drummond, the original voice actor for Sonic the Hedgehog (Sonic Adventure, Sonic Adventure 2, Sonic Heroes), spent the entire day shaking hands and doling out autographs. We had a quick chat with him and he’s just as cool and friendly as you’d imagine.
Even though it has been some time since he voiced the blue blur, there’s a lot of community love for Drummond and his voice over work, so it was great to see him in his element here. He was having a great time too – he even found the time to pull a few different poses for our feature here!
Drummond wasn’t the only megastars present at the show. The four faces of the Sonic Boom cartoon series – (L to R) Sam Freiberger, Bill Freiberger, Alan Denton and Greg Hahn – are regulars to Sonic Revolution and this year they brought their trademark charm, hilarity and cooky behind-the-scenes stories en masse. Fans could rock up to their table to get photographs with the gang, buy Sonic Boom DVDs and get comics and other things signed too.
The Sonic Boom team were also at the centre of a couple stage events during the day. This was a fantastic opportunity for fans to ask them about their favourite memories working on the show and their general experiences working in the TV/animation industry. The stage was set up in a separate room away from the rest of the action, which was great as the audience could have a dedicated space to immerse themselves in the discussion. It also was a great indicator of just how much the Sonic Revolution event has grown over the last couple of years.
One of our favourite things about Summer of Sonic was seeing the amazing effort fans would go into with cosplay projects. And at Sonic Revolution, we saw some great costumes – a lot of people really came dressed for the occasion. Like the chap above, who made his own full-size Sonic outfit and bravely rocked around the show without so much as taking their head off. Even got the shoe signed (by Ryan Drummond, it seems like). Excellent work!
We also saw some incredibly imaginative ‘human cosplay’ at the convention too, such as these four absolute boss ladies. If you can’t tell, these guys have come dressed as Rouge the Bat (‘AntiquityDreams‘), Knuckles (‘Xiggeh‘), Sonic (‘Cruelliooli‘) and Shadow (who wanted to make it known that she would like to be referred to as ‘THE GREATEST BITCH MF’ [who am I to argue??] – ‘kiwikimini‘). And an awesome job they’ve all done on their costumes as well – we particularly like the hairdos!
Of course, you can’t have a Sonic convention with only one full-suit Sonic cosplay. So I went ahead and found another one, with an even bigger head! I couldn’t resist a photo opportunity with the pair of them, so you’ll have to excuse the sheer concentrated awesome that the above photo exudes.
Sonic Revolution 2019 was a huge success for the organisers and the crew, and Adam and I had a blast there! It’s lovely to see the event grow and become bigger and bigger every year, and we can’t wait to see what the team has planned for 2020. Until then, we’ll both practice hard on Team Sonic Racing so we can enter into the tournament that we only just noticed was happening behind us. See you guys next year!
Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly attributed Ceci as the artist for the Team Sonic Racing key art for Sonic Revolution 2019. This has been corrected.