Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Straight Outta Comic-Con

... New York Comic Con, that is.

Off-screen photos by Tyler, posted by TSSZ. Cropped and downsized for this post.

So the Internet is abuzz with some recent news that Archie dropped during their appearance at this year's New York Comic Con. As usual, Archie has announced some new solicitations, roughly projecting the direction of the comic series for the next year. While several books, collections, etc. were announced at Archie's panel, this post will mostly just feature a rundown of some of the major announcements. You can see all the photos from the panel over at TSSZ.*

More after the jump.

*Yes, I know many are not fond of that site, but they are a decent source for most Sonic-related news at least, therefore I'll link to it since that's where I got most of the images from.

Some noteworthy things that were brought up:

Sonic 243, cover by Tracy Yardley!

First up, things are still be ready to go for the "Endangered Species" storyline, set to begin in issue 243. Sonic and Team Fighters will be heading out to Albion, the Echidna homeland, and throw down with Metal Knuckles.

This is noteworthy because of the current situation with former writer Ken Penders and fears that Penders would somehow prevent this storyline from happening. If you haven't been keeping up, a while back Ken Penders filed copyrights for several characters and stories he had created for the series. This was done in response to what he felt was SEGA and Bioware ripping off his work for the 2008 DS game Sonic Chronicles: The Dark Brotherhood (there were some vague similarities to concepts introduced in the Knuckles the Echidna comic series). Bear in mind he is not just seeking royalties, but full ownership of what he created during his tenure on the series. Some look at this as a spiteful act by Penders, and regularly point out that most/all the characters he created for Archie's Sonic series are derivative of Sonic, Knuckles and other SEGA owned characters. In addition, Archie is currently suing Penders in an attempt to get things sorted out. Most of this has been happening behind the scenes and Archie has done well in not starting a mass panic among its readers (I doubt they've even mentioned it at their panel).

Fears for what would happen for this storyline were all but confirmed when Penders tried to prevent Diamond Comics from distributing volume 3 of the Knuckles Archives (the collection heavily features Albion and many of Penders's "original" Echidna creations). Of course, Archie isn't intimidated by Penders's attempts to exercise his "rights" as creator of most of the Echidna lore of the Archie series. Current writer Ian Flynn later confirmed on his own message board that shipments for Knuckles Archives volume 3 were fine. This seems true as the book is indeed widely available online and in bookstores and comic book stores.

Since I don't know the specifics of copyright law (it's a very touchy subject in the realm of comic books in general--just look up Jack Kirby or the various copyright issues regarding Superman), and I feel there is better commentary on the subject out there, that's all I'll say for now. Just look out for Sonic 243, part one of "Endangered Species," this December!

Enough of that though, what else we got?

Some cover artwork was revealed for the upcoming "Chaotix Quest" storyline for Sonic Universe. The cover for issue 48 shows that the team will come into conflict with Jack Rabbit and the Sandblast Freedom Fighters, last seen in issue 218 of the regular series. Mighty the Armadillo is also seen, who left with Ray the Squirrel in issue 212 to search for his sister, so we may see a conclusion to his quest here. Given the setting, the Chaotix may also likely tangle with the local Dark Egg Legion chapter led by Grandmaster Beauregard Rabbot, Bunnie Rabbot's uncle. This DEL chapter is composed of members who defected to Dr. Eggman for protection from Jack and his crew.

The "Chaotix Quest" begins this November!

Next is Sonic Universe's next milestone, issue 50! This will be a  one-shot storyline that will serve as a conclusion for the original Sonic Underground cartoon series. Sonic Underground, in terms of Archie's Sonic, is represented as an alternate universe and therefore has no real relevance to the on-going story. The last time it was visited was in 1999, as a back-up story in Sonic Super Special issue 10, where the Underground band teamed up with Sonic Prime to battle Evil Sonic (years before he transformed and became Scourge) and their universe's Dr. Robotnik.

They've even released some cover art by Patrick Spaziante!

Sonic Universe 50, cover by Spaz.
The Sonic Underground story seems slated for next March.

Remember there was a crossover with Archie's Mega Man announced a while back? Archie has officially announced their schedule for how the crossover will work.

The crossover event will begin next April, beginning with Mega Man issue 24, then continuing into Sonic Universe issue 51. In May, issue 248 of the regular Sonic the Hedgehog series will continue the story followed shortly by Mega Man milestone issue 25 and Sonic Universe 52. In June, issue 249 of the regular series, 26 of Mega Man and 53 of Sonic Universe.  July will see the release of milestone issue 250 of Sonic, which is now confirmed as part of the crossover event, and will be followed by issue 27 of Mega Man and issue 54 of Sonic Universe. The crossover will conclude in August with issue 251 of Sonic the Hedgehog.

Whew! That's twelve issues in the span of five months of pure Sonic and Mega Man action!

I do wonder how/if this will affect both series in the long run? Then again, Archie's Sonic isn't a stranger to crossovers, such as when Sonic met Sabrina the Teenaged Witch or even Spawn and other Image superheroes. However, it seems those two crossovers are relegated to "non-canon" status as they have not had any lasting effect beyond the issues their stories take place in. Time will tell. Get hyped Sonic and Mega Man fans.

Finally, the big announcement (which I want to write about further, but in another post) is the revelation of Sally Acorn's fate. Sally was roboticized in issue 230, and became Eggman's primary weapon for fighting Sonic. It is confirmed that she will be restored in the near future, and will be sporting a brand-new design to boot! The new design largely gives her a new set of clothes and what many seem to consider a more "SEGA-Sonic" look. Considering the character's appearance has gone relatively unchanged for much of 18 years, it's interesting that Archie has decided now would be the right time to update her appearance. Check and judge it for yourself.

Sally Acorn: Forever the Base Breaker
It seems the upcoming change is already dividing the broken base that is Sonic fandom (surprise, surprise...*sigh*). If I may say so, I rather like the new look. I'm especially interested in seeing how Sally's restoration will be handled in future books.

2013 just got more interesting.

That's all I got for now. Again, off-screen photo credits by Tyler, posted by TSSZ.

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