Introducing Comic Scope

Nintendojo cracks open the world of video game comics and publications, starting with Sonic the Hedgehog!

By Robert Marrujo. Posted 04/16/2014 09:00 Comment on this     ShareThis

As a kid, I was drawn to reading by my mom. It started with Golden Books, then quickly moved to what remains a constant in my life; comic books. If there’s anything close to my love of video games, it’s my appreciation for the incredible art and writing of comics. The Amazing Spider-Man, Fantastic Four, Thunderbolts, Batman, and a ton of other superhero books filled my time when I was younger, but there was always one itch that never got scratched, which was my dream of comics with video game characters.

There were some video game comics to be found, of course. Nintendo published a couple of excellent Super Mario and The Legend of Zelda trade paperbacks through Nintendo Power. The company also partnered with Valiant Comics to produce series based on its properties, which came out under the imprint The Nintendo Comics System in the early nineties. Yet, despite the increasing popularity of video games over the years, actual, monthly comics based on game series have been far and few between. It seems odd, but with so many characters ripe for something like a comic, not many have successfully made the leap.

There is one character, though, who has been in his own comic book for twenty years now. His name-Sonic the Hedgehog! Archie Comics has been publishing his self-titled book in partnership with Sega since 1992. The series just recently reached its 250th issue, which served as something of a launchpad to a new world and the perfect jumping on point for incoming readers. As a longtime fan myself, it occurred to me that a lot of our readers here on Nintendojo might not even know that the Sonic the Hedgehog comic even exists, and with such a perfect story arc occurring for you all to get in on the fun, it was time to correct that!

So, what’s Sonic the Hedgehog all about? Glad you asked! StH takes place in a world separate from the video games, where Sonic is the hero of the planet Mobius. He and his friends the Freedom Fighters take on Dr. Robotnik and his endless machinations to take over the world. ¬†What makes this title so interesting is the mixture of familiar and new faces in the cast. From the games, there’s Shadow, Knuckles, Silver, Amy, Tails, and others, and they’re all much more fleshed out and fascinating within the pages of the comic. From the Archie half of the equation, Princess Sally Acorn is Sonic’s main lady, Shard is the friendly, reprogrammed original Metal Sonic, and Rotor Walrus is a longtime comrade in arms, to name a few.

It might be worrisome to see the word “friends” and “Sonic” in the same sentence, but rest assured, Archie has found a way to give Sonic a cast and make them likable, too. Initially, I thought it was jarring seeing Sonic with all these unknowns, but after just a handful of issues, I came to love the interplay between all of them. As a bonus, some characters who suffered disastrous appearances in the games, like Silver, have been given second chances in the hands of the talented folks making the comics. Plus, Archie can be thanked for introducing the world to Metal Knuckles, who is just as cool looking as you’re imagining.

Admittedly, StH is no Watchmen. It never pretends to be highbrow, but at the same time, it also isn’t a “kids” comic, in the traditional sense. I like to compare Sonic to a Pixar movie or Nintendo game; it’s all ages in the truest way possible. There’s no particular demographic that Sonic tries to pander to, because the creators’ only concern is to engage the audience, whoever that audience might be. The fact that Sonic revels in being itself is what makes me a fan. The characters are charming, the action is exciting, the art is electric, and the writing really has me invested in the story.

Of course, with so many characters, it would seem like StH couldn’t possibly keep up with all of them from month to month-which is true. That’s where the other series, Sonic Universe, comes in very handy. In SU, characters like Tails, Shadow, and Knuckles get to shine, and subplots from the main series get some room to breath. SU does a perfect job of giving fans of StH a second title to enjoy that isn’t required reading. With only two books in the Sonic lineup, there’s a synergy between them that’s unusual in comics. The desire to read both will set in pretty quickly for any reader.

Now, I said it’s a perfect time to get on the bandwagon for a reason, as in recent months, Sonic’s entire world has been transformed into something different. During an encounter with Robotnik, the reality-warping Genesis Wave swept across their universe and rewrote history. Sonic and his friends can remember what their pasts were like before the change, but their memories are intermingled with the new history of the transformed Mobius. As of issue 253, Sonic has been frantically trying to save the inhabitants of this new Mobius while trying to figure out how to reset everything back to normal. What’s unknown at this point is how permanent the changes are and what will or won’t revert back if Sonic can fix things.

While I still regularly read mainstream Marvel and DC comics (and the occasional Image and IDW books, amongst others), I’ve become burned out by endless deaths, reincarnations, and so-called world changing event books. I’ve been taking solace in all the different video game comics being published by Archie, Udon, and Viz Media, to name a few, and from now on, the hope to is bring an alternative to other comic book fans and gamers wanting something different. With Comic Scope, expect impressions on series like StH, Mega Man, and other video game publications. Finally, please make your way to Archiecomics.com and Comicshoplocator.com to catch up on Sonic and find a comic shop near you. Till next time, folks!

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