New Sonic the Hedgehog Comic Publisher Announced
Well, that was quick! (And explains why Sega was so forthcoming about taking the Sonic the Hedgehog license away from Archie.)
Beginning next year, Sega will be publishing Sonic the Hedgehog comics through IDW Publishing, “the leading publisher of licensed comic books”.
And that’s not just a tagline — they’re big and successful based on their many licenses, including a number of Hasbro properties (My Little Pony, Transformers) and such well-known media franchises as Ghostbusters and Jem and the Holograms.
This is a very early announcement, timed to get attention during the San Diego Comic-Con going on this weekend. No specifics as to writer, artist, format, or release date are available. As the press release says:
Creative teams are currently being formed, and a publishing plan is now underway with more details to come at a later date.
The IDW rep is “excited” and Sega’s Brand Officer is “ecstatic”.
Some new blood, at a company that has built a major part of their business around licenses, is a good idea at this point in the property’s life. I can’t imagine reading this comic, about an anthropomorphic video game character, but I’m sure fans are both interested and a little apprehensive to see how the long-running series will be restarted.
Sonic fans are intense. (I’ve got one — who is presumably upset about the cancelation news — currently berating me on Disqus over some blog posts from 2013 where I analyzed Ken Penders’s legal case.) I expect the vocal ones will do what fanboys always do: preemptively hate the new series, sight unseen, and then buy every issue, complaining all the while.
The Archie series was impressive for its longevity; 290 issues is quite an achievement for any series, especially a licensed one. Hell, Conan the Barbarian only made it to 275.
And it managed to accumulate all the continuity cruft you’d expect from any long-running series. I used to read it back in the 1990s, and I’ve picked up a couple recent FCBD issues. They were totally incomprehensible; every character introduction came with some kind of explanation rooted in some previous story that just raised MORE questions. And those were books that were supposed to be jumping-on points!
I expect IDW’s first order of business is to chuck all that stuff and start fresh. Though given the rabid fanbase, there might be a market for a second series later on down the line to continue the previous Archie series (similar to the Transformers series they published that picked up where the original Marvel series left off, with the same creative team).
It’s been a long time since I was interested in Sonic, but I’ve been surprised by just how good some of IDW’s Transformers comics are. With the right creative team, you can spin gold from any license.