Who would have thought that in 2016 one of the longest running comic book titles would be Sonic the Hedgehog?
As the video game character celebrates its 25th anniversary, and his current series rounds 10 years, we talk to Archie Comics editor Vincent Lovallo about the legacy of that little blue speed demon, what it’s been like working with Ian Flynn for such an extended run, and what Humble Bundle and Archie Comics have in store for you!
Matt Santori-Griffith: Thanks so much for taking time to talk to Comicosity about Sonic’s 25th Anniversary, Vincent!
Vincent Lovallo: The pleasure is all mine. Thanks so much for having me!
MSG: What do you think is the secret behind Sonic the Hedgehog’s longevity across all media?
VL: Sonic the Hedgehog is such an iconic character and has made a huge impact in not only video game history, but also pop culture as a whole.
Over the years, SEGA has taken a lot of different approaches to the character; yet always maintains the core attitude of coolness and speed that make Sonic who he is. Because of this, Sonic has been able to lend itself to a wide array of media.
The success of the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise lies in its versatility and ability to change. Be it the video games, comics, TV series, apparel or toys, Sonic remains in the public eye through all of these outlets. There is a version of Sonic for everyone.
MSG: In fact, it’s not just 25 years that you’re celebrating in 2016, but ten years on Ian Flynn’s Sonic the Hedgehog How have you seen the property develop over the time Ian and Archie have worked on the character? What are the highlights for you?
VL: That’s right! Ian has done a tremendous job building the Sonic comic universe over the years. Ian understands the franchise inside and out. From the little nods and cameos to the bigger plot points and major characters, Ian has balanced it all into a fun yet captivating narrative that fans of franchise and new readers can enjoy.
I feel that those elements may have either been pushed back or were at some times lost in the comics’ earlier history, but have now been brought to light and helps to further strengthen the character and world.
A personal highlight for me would be Ian’s inclusion of the character aptly named “Tails Doll”. It is literally a doll made to look like Sonic’s sidekick, Tails, coming from the Sega Saturn racing game, Sonic R. Although that game did not characterize Tails Doll with any particular personality, the fandom deemed the silent, floating doll as a sinister monster, the likes that could haunt your nightmares.
Ian took that concept and ran with it, simultaneously creating one of the scariest and most bizarre monsters Sonic has ever had to face. I love it because it changes up the typical robot or mech Sonic often faces and it can appear differently each time.
MSG: Suffice to say, ten years is a long time for one writer to craft a single character. What’s the secret to maintaining that kind of connection with a creator?
VL: Ten years of writing comics says a lot. Ten years of writing great comics speaks volumes. There is a level of trust and care that has been built over the years that Ian has been on the books. A creator’s personality and professionalism goes a long way. We know that he’ll do a good job; he’s proven himself to be more than capable.
In addition, Ian is a pleasure to work with and just a real nice person. He’s good to us, so we’ll be good to him.
MSG: The cast of Sonic has grown quite a bit in all that time as well. What role do you feel the expanded universe of Sonic the Hedgehog plays in the line, from an editorial perspective?
VL: Having a large cast of characters can be tricky at times. It all depends on how the characters are featured and handled. Because specific characters are settled in certain areas of Sonic’s world, we can spend a story arc visiting that one area.
In that way, it helps us present Sonic with new challenges and locations to do his hero thing. It also helps to push the idea that Sonic enjoys traversing the world and making new bonds. He’s an adventurer, so it’s fitting that he would know a lot of other people.
MSG: Archie Comics has teamed with Humble Bundle to offer a large assortment of digital Sonic comics. Can you share a little about how that offer works for comic fans?
VL: Sure thing! Humble Bundle has a really great system where fans choose how much they want to pledge towards the bundle of their choice. Currently, we have three bundles ranging from $1 to $15. The bundles received depend on the amount that is given, so be sure to read tier amounts to get the books you want!
We are also offering 3 digital graphic novels for free so fans can get started. All you need to do is enter your e-mail at the bottom of the page. Don’t forget, fans have the option to choose how their donation is divided between charity, Archie, and Humble Bundle!
We have a lot of stories to tell, and we aren’t looking to stop anytime soon. Comics like Sonic the Hedgehog continue to bring enjoyment, fun and hope to people all over the world. The donations represent our wish to ensure everyone’s right to read, publish and create wonderful stories for years to come!
MSG: Any final thoughts on Sonic the Hedgehog’s legacy for video games, comics, or the combination of the two?
VL: It’s been a wild ride these past 25 years, and the adventures are far from over. It’s been a pleasure and honor to be such a key part of this franchise’s history; we’re excited to continue making Sonic comics for years to come! There’s a lot more to look forward to, hope you can keep up!
Head on over to Humble Bundle now to get your piece of Sonic the Hedgehog history!