This year is a year of anniversaries for Sonic in more ways then one, because not only is the franchise itself turning 30, but Ian Flynn’s first published Sonic work, Archie Sonic #160, turns 15. This means that Flynn has now been writing comics for roughly half of the franchise’s entire lifespan, and the time between his first comic, and his next IDW story arc starting later this year, is roughly the same amount of time as between Sonic 1 and Sonic 2006. Yes, that makes folks like myself who remember when they picked up #160 feel rather old!
Since his debut, Ian Flynn has written well over 200 Sonic comics across five ongoing series, alongside a selection of mini-series and one-shots, as well as a couple of Sonic Boom episodes. This gives him the largest body of work of any Sonic writer.
Flynn had been applying for years to the Sonic comic before he was finally brought on. Both he and artist Tracy Yardley! were given a chance to work on the comic by then-editor of the book, Mike Pellerito. Yardley debuted a bit earlier than Flynn in Sonic X #5. Their first story, “See Ya Later Chao,” was written and drawn in 2005, though wouldn’t make it into the book until years later. Though initially not brought on in that capacity, Ian Flynn soon became the head writer of the Archie Sonic book, writing the bulk of the stories from his debut issue on.
Flynn and Yardley!’s debut story, “Birthday Bash,” was a two-part storyline that turned “Evil Sonic” into Scourge the Hedgehog, briefly brought back old school Archie badniks Octobot and Crocbot as a strange fused monstrosity, and also introduced fan favorites Bean the Duck and Bark the Polar Bear as money-grubbing mercs for hire. This duo’s opening chapter would be the first of many, as Yardley became a fairly consistent presence in the Archie books for years. Both Flynn and Yardley would hone their craft over time, introducing bigger and better stories with better art.
On a more personal note, 160 was my big jumping-back-on point for the comics, after dropping them twice in the past. I never dropped them again after this. It’s not an exaggeration to say that Flynn and Yardley significantly redefined how the comics looked and read for the rest of their run. As someone who loved their work, and thought they only got better with time, I was quite content with that.
What are your experiences with Ian Flynn and Tracy Yardley!’s work? Did you pick up #160? Have you ever read that or any other part of Flynn’s Archie run? Let us know in the comments!
I’ve got at least one article in the work about Ian Flynn’s Archie run, in commemoration of this anniversary, so stay tuned for that!
Unfortunately, it does not appear that issue #160 has been reprinted in any capacity, but other Flynn stories from #162 onward were reprinted in the Sonic Sagas collection, which can still be found on Amazon.
Special Note: Tracy Yardley!’s pen name ends with an exclamation point. I thought it fitting to include it here.