About the comics
For those that have never heard of the comics, or have wondered what they are like and have been, this page serves as an introduction and a "briefing" of sorts, to help you get acquainted to the different comics that exist and their places in the Sonic genre! This information is only brief in comparison to the other materials we have on the pages. So if you're a newbie, feel free to read this if you like!
Back in 1991 when Sonic 1 was released for the Genesis/MegaDrive, a comic by Francis Mao on the "origins" of Sonic was released. While inaccurate in regards to the established storyline of the video games, elements from this comic did find its way into both the Archie and Fleetway comic series.
Archie Comic Publications Intro
SONIC THE HEDGEHOGFirst Ever Issue: Sonic The Hedgehog #0 (February 1993); this was a mini-series
Regular Series Began: Sonic The Hedgehog #1 (July 1993)
Ended: Sonic The Hedgehog #290 (December 2016)
Mini-Series Created: Sally #1-3 (1995), Tails #1-3 (1995), Knuckles #1-3 (1996), and Sonic's Quest #1-3 (1996)
Main Plot: Sonic and the Freedom Fighters battle Robotnik (also called Eggman) to prevent him from taking over the Kingdom of Acorn and the rest of the planet Mobius.
KNUCKLES THE ECHIDNAFirst Mini-Series: Sonic's Friendly Nemesis Knuckles #1 (April 1996)
Began: Knuckles: The Dark Legion #1 (January 1997)
Ended: Knuckles The Echidna #32 (November 1999)
Main Plot: Knuckles and the Chaotix discover mysteries surrounding the Floating Island (that's what it was called during the series though it is called Angel Island as of December 2002) and adjust to life as the echidnas finally return to the island along with their enemies.
SPECIALS & SONIC SUPER SPECIALSFirst: Sonic: In Your Face (December 1994)
Last: Sonic Super Special #15 (November 2000)
TRADEPAPER BACKSSonic The Hedgehog: Firsts: Re-print of the first ever Sonic story by Archie (Sonic #0--mini-series), the first appearance of Bunnie (Sonic #3--regular series), the first appearance of Super Sonic (Sonic #4--regular series), and the first appearance of Knuckles (Sonic #13--regular series).
Sonic The Hedgehog: The Beginning: Re-print of the Sonic #0-3 mini-series (and covers) with opening comments by Mike Gallagher.
OVERALL SERIES NOTES
The Archie Sonic Comics series have always worked a different from the norm of the games. Archie, originally working with DiC and Sega, took elements from both the "Adventures Of Sonic The Hedgehog" and "Sonic The Hedgehog" cartoons as well as the video games (as provided by Sega of America) to create their series. As a result, while there are definite references to the video game series (Super Sonic, chaos emeralds, etc.), there are also very strong references to both cartoon shows. Over time, it has clearly become its own individual universe though Archie does acknowledge other official Sonic universes in various ways: Knuckles' hat from the OVA being given to Knuckles as a gift from his great-grandfather six generations removed, Sonic Underground existing in another alternate universe, etc.
II. Sally and "End Game"
Another factor that must be noted concerns the fourth part of "End Game", written by Ken Penders, the main Sonic writer at the time. The original premise behind Endgame was to serve as the true death of Princess Sally - one of the main characters and Sonic's would be love interest. Sally was to die by falling off a building on a reconaissance mission into Robotropolis only to be unknowingly replaced by a Robotnik clone. The clone would have lasted for about ten or so issues and later on down the line, the only person who would have realized this is Tails. Sonic wouldn't have believed him at first until it was too late - only realizing that in his supposed death Doctor Robotnik would have gotten the last laugh after all. Sonic would have become more protective of Tails and would have assumed position as leader of The Freedom Fighters. This NEVER happened. Zero hour of the release date of Sonic #50, Sega Of America stepped in at the last moment saying that they wanted Sally to stay alive for reasons of their own. Needless to say, these reasons have yet to surface. Even #51 hints at the problems of a "traitor" in Knothole (the robotic Sally?), but with Sally still alive, the entire schematics of stories after #50 had to be changed. Ken Penders and editor Justin Gabrie were forced to cut back the story that fans had been expecting and instead of the planned story, we got the Mobius World Tour.
III. Cancellations and Game Adaptations
The cancellation of the Knuckles series caused the Sonic Adventure adaptation to last for six months instead of the planned three months. The cancellation of the Super Specials within a year of the Knuckles cancellation caused many stories to be altered (and others to not even see print) due to adjustments of going from three regular books back to one. The additional forced previews of Sonic Shuffle (Sonic #92) and Sonic Adventure 2 (Sonic #98)--which had not been planned for but were seemingly required by Sega to promote their games--at the time caused the planned crossover for Sonic #100 to be scrapped, and resulted in changes concerning the "Ultimate Villain" storyline, which was never really brought up again. It is worth noting that there has not been another game adaptation/preview by Archie since Sonic Adventure 2 though Archie used to regularly have adaptations for most major games.
IV. SONIC THE HEDGEHOG: One Year Later...
Karl Bollers has provided Sonic HQ with a character overview for the Sonic The Hedgehog series for post-Sonic #134. Obviously the stuff noted here did not happen, but you can see what ended up on the cutting room floor.
SONIC XBegan: Sonic X #1 (September 21, 2005)
Ended: Sonic X #40
Main Plot: Sonic and friends battle Dr. Eggman while living on a parallel earth. The background for this series is rooted in the anime, Sonic X, though the adventures are unique.
Egmont Fleetway Intro
SONIC THE COMICBegan: Sonic The Comic #1 (May 29, 1993)
Last New Story: Sonic The Comic #184 (June 28, 2000)
Ended: Sonic The Comic #223 (January 2001)
Main Plot: Sonic and the Freedom Fighters battle against Robotnik and various other enemies.
SPECIALS & SONIC POSTER MAGAZINESFirst: Sonic the Poster Magazine #1 (December 1993)
Last: Total Sonic Special (July 21, 1999)
OVERALL SERIES NOTESI. Background/References
Fleetway spawned from the old story about Doctor Kintobar, or it adopted that early on at least. Picking up from the games it told the simple the story of Sonic and Tails fighting against Robotnik's various machines and rescuing their friends from evil badniks. Then the backstory introduced the concept that Sonic had once been an ordinary brown hedgehog, but thanks to an accident in Kintobar's labs he transformed into the blue speed demon we all know. Then in another experiment Kintobar fell into his machinery whilst holding a rotten egg and became Doctor Robotnik. And if anyone hasn't noticed Kintobar spelled backwards is...
II. A "Basic" Introduction
After eight issues the Kintobar and Sonic back story was established and in an unexpected plot twist Robotnik took over the planet by catapulting Sonic, Tails, Porker Lewis and Johnny Lightfoot forward 6 months in time. This team of Freedom Fighters was soon joined by Amy Rose, and later by Tekno the Canary and Shortfuse the Cybernik. Since Egmont Fleetway hadn't heard that Tails was supposed to be a boy genius Porker and Tekno both filled out that role, Tails simply playing second fiddle to the hedgehog, and conveniently piloting the plane everywhere. Robotnik remained in power all the way from issue 9 to 100, and then after being deposed he moved to Flickies Island and teamed up, then betrayed the mysterious Drakon Empire. With his cohort Grimer, (loosely inspired by Grima Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings). Robotnik absorbed the Chaos Emeralds, was shrunk to the size of an atom, smashed two worlds into each other and then turned into a demi-god again until he finally went insane. In the final few strips he began a countdown to the end of the world, hoping to have the final laugh as he would see Chaos take Sonic down with him. One of the most major changes to distinguish the Fleetway Universe was the role of Super Sonic. No longer just a powered up Sonic, he slowly developed his own psychopathic personality and his uncontrollable anger meant that when Sonic became him he was more of a liability, several times attacking innocent animals, Knuckles and more importantly nearly murdered Amy Rose. The solution was to split him in two, stranding Super Sonic in the Special Zone. Sonic's new adversary remained with the comic until the end, in fact becoming the final villain which Sonic had to face after Chaos was defeated. Unlike Archie Fleetway's take on the Floating Island was much more in keeping with the games, only one new Echidna was introduced. If all of this sounds complicated, it gets better, but I don't have enough room here to go over anything further. Check out the Encyclopedia for more information.
III. Game Adaptions
During it's time Sonic the Comic roughly adapted all the main Sonic games between Sonic 1 on the Mega Drive (Genesis to Americans) to Sonic Adventure. Sonic remembered the events of Sonic 1 and 2 in the original issues of Sonic's World, Sonic 3 featured the introduction of the Floating Island and Sonic captured Robotnik and earned Knuckles trust. The Sonic and Knuckles adaptation returned to the Floating Island in which Captain Plunder attempted to steal the Sandopolis's zone treasure, but after thwarting him Knuckles and Sonic fall afoul of Robotnik's finally finished Death Egg. Next up was Knuckles Chaotix in which Knuckles falls afoul of the Chaotix Crew, then after beating them in combat teams up with them to rescue the Omni Viewer from the Brotherhood of Metallix. Sonic 3D was referenced when Sonic decides to follow Tails to Flickies Island and introduced the Flickies other universe that's found through the gold rings as the home of the Drakon empire. Sonic Adventure was adapted in a large adventure in which Grimer frees Chaos who rampages around the city, on contact with him Sonic's eyes go green. After Chaos kills Johnny Sonic resigns from the Freedom Fighters, and isn't there to help the others as they have to drag Knuckles away from the crashing floating Island. Sonic is dragged into the past by Pochacamac who lectures to him about the Drakon Empire, and Sonic sees Chaos' birth. Then returning to the present Sonic and the gang take on Chaos in Robotnik's mansion, but fail miserably. Then Super Sonic turns up and absorbs Chaos Energy, then tries to kill Sonic himself. As you can see Fleetway didn't care if the stories weren't accurate, but they did follow them on with some amazing set pieces.
IV. Repeats and Cancellation
Sadly, as the Comic's long continuity heavy arks moved on the producers became worried that the comic wasn't attracting enough new readers. Since they had started repeating the early stories in the last of the 4 strips on the comic, they moved up repeats until only the main strip was left. When the Sonic Adventure adaptation concluded the comic went into all repeats, with only a new cover art drawn by Richard Elson left. Since the comic had been surviving on mostly old readers wanting to keep up with the story, who had mostly all read the old stories sales dried up pretty quickly. The comic failed to attract a new fan base and soon died, at a rather unfortunate time. Having survived the wilderness years where there was hardly any new Sonic games it died just before Sonic came back into the public eye...