Line by Line

Sonic, Comics, and Me

posted December 07, 2016

Tags: comics, Sonic, video games

I apologize for the length of time it's taken me to get this post out. This spring, after a series of Sonic-related misfortunes, I decided to take a hiatus from all things Sonic for the duration of Lent. You can read all the details in my earlier post on the subject, so I won't recap them here.

Since then, a few things have changed. For one, I started getting Sonic Universe again. It turned out that the reason I didn't get part 4 of the Silver arc was a delay on Archie's end, so no subscribers got the issue. After a couple months, it did show up. It was also a huge disappointment, like the finales of SU arcs usually are, but whatever. I continued getting SU issues until my subscription ran out, which includes all of "Eggman's Dozen" and the first three parts of the next arc starring Knuckles, Amy, and Team Dark. I never did get the issues I missed from the start of the subscription, or any STH issues.

Another thing that wasn't really a new development, but was news to me, was that Archie Comics is, well, still Archie Comics. I'd hoped that perhaps, after the Ken Penders kerfuffle and replacing their legal team, they might have cleaned up their act with regard to how they treat their talent, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Then there's the firing of Jon Gray, which is probably unrelated to a lawsuit he was involved in against one of Archie's co-owners, but still looks shady for reasons I can't quite put my finger on.

I've also seen general complaints about the quality of the comics I'd missed. According to fan complaint, the main series has fallen back on a pattern of introducing a Freedom Fighter group in a new, exotic locale, then dashing off to the next one without really developing the new characters. As much as the series was hurting for world-building after the reboot, I don't think anyone was really asking for a return to the mid-90s mode of empty lore-creation without compelling stories and character development.

For that matter, now that I think about it, the comic has never really been as good as I've wanted it to be. It's had its moments, but it always seems to fall flat at the last minute or settle for being just okay. I've given it more chances than it really deserves, and it's clear now that things are not likely to change any time soon.

Enough about Archie. What about the games? Another Boom game came out and it's...less bad. I still don't care about Boom, but credit where it's due: It's an improvement. Sonic Mania was announced, and it looks fantastic. Finally, someone gets what fans actually mean when they say they want something like the Genesis games. Another announced Sonic game that may or may not be a de facto Generations 2 looks like it has potential, at least.

Sure, the franchise still has its problems, but things are looking promising.

On the fandom side of things, I'm still checking in on the forums at Archie Sonic Online every so often. It's a nice little community with a lot of former BumbleKing members. I've also found several Archie Sonic blogs for when I get nostalgic for that side of the franchise: Bonehead XL has a full-fledged review blog Hedgehogs Can't Swim that nicely fills in the hole left by the retired Drazen. The reaction blogs Thanks, Ken Penders and Robotnik Holmes' Sonic Blog of Archie-ness are also interesting, if a little negative (and the former just recently returned from hiatus). On the game side, Blazehedgehog writes about Sonic periodically at The Hotdog Laserhouse, and if I really want Sonic news that I can't get from him or from the forum, I can always just check TSSZ, Sonic Stadium, or Sonic Retro.

Finally, in non-Sonic news, I'm finding other things to keep me busy. There are many wonderful Webcomics I've been reading that offer me things I kept wanting from the Sonic comic but never truly got, or at least never got consistently. I've gotten back into game development, a hobby I've been trying to start for over a decade, and I'm finally making progress. Thanks to Inktober, I'm also a little more confident in my artistic skills.

So all this points me to one thing: I need to ditch the comic and be done with it. Archie is too incompetent to do business with and too sleazy to support, the comic itself shows no signs of ever being as good as I keep wanting it to be, and I have other sources not just for good entertainment in general, but to indulge my emotional attachment to the characters. The comic, not the franchise as a whole, has been the source of most of my Sonic-related frustrations, and I don't need it anymore.

I'm still a little sad to let go, but mainly I'm glad not to be so invested in something that gives me more stress than enjoyment. Either way, I'm still a Sonic fan.