Archie's Ken Penders has responded to fan criticism over the release of the compilation book Sonic Super Special 15 (SSS #15), offering some insight into the comic-production process and explaining the circumstances that led to the development of this particular book.
Ultimately, he said, the weird mish-mash of stories and styles all comes down to the clash of material that was on retainer and compiled for the issue. "Those stories were done on an inventory basis," Penders said. "What that usually means is these are stories [that] the editor has commissioned to have on hand in the event the regular creative team cannot meet the deadline for whatever reason."
Such a situation isn't rare in the comics business, the author explained. "Rather than skip an issue or delay publication, they keep the machinery running by reaching into the drawer and pulling out whatever stories are needed for the situation. More often than not, they're usually stand-alone adventures that don't affect the current status quo running in the series at the time."
When Archie was publishing three Sonic-related titles, this was considered a prudent course of action. With the demise of a title or two, this resulted in a bit more material laying around than the publisher liked. Since the status quo of Sonic has been constantly evolving since its inception, the shelf life of any given inventory story is limited. If it wasn't used within a certain time, it would be considerably dated in terms of the series. Nobody who works on the books wanted to see this happen, but circumstances dictated otherwise.
Regarding the creative people involved, while I understand your feelings regarding the finished product, and how some of you feel you could do better (I was in your shoes when I was your age, so I know full well your feelings), the fact remains that sometimes there are other factors beyond talent that result in certain decisions being made. Maybe someday I'll go into them, but not at the present time.
I wish KNUCKLES: TWENTY YEARS LATER had been ready to go when SSS#15 was being planned out, but even if it had been, there's no guarantee it still would have seen print in place of the material that did see print, as I was not privy to the decision-making process.
While that was far from being one of our finest efforts, I can assure you the people currently involved are doing their best to make Sonic every bit as good as we can. I look forward to hearing what you think of the coming issues, as I think everyone will be interested in seeing where we're going as we count down to issue #100. Thanks and take care.
Source: Ken Penders