Finally, fans of the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog series will understand how us Sonic the Comic fans in the UK felt in 2002. While there’s been speculation for a while that this was coming, it’s not any less sad that today Sega of America have concluded their Archie partnership with the Sonic license after 24 years.
The statement from Sega is as follows:
After 24 years of memorable storytelling, SEGA of America will conclude their Sonic the Hedgehog publishing partnership program with Archie Comics. This does not mark the end of Sonic in comics, but signifies SEGA of America’s decision to take a different direction for the series that will be announced at a later date. SEGA would like to thank Sonic’s amazing fans for their loyalty and passion over all the years. SEGA looks forward to providing more information soon.
I personally never followed the entire run of the comic, but always had fun jumping into the odd arc or collected edition. 24 years is a long time, and over that period Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog was not only a flagship media property for Sonic as a series, but a high benchmark as to what a comic book adaptation of a video game franchise could be. In terms of age, no other video game comic series stacks up.
Throughout its run the series built up its own unique and complex canon and story. Somewhat similar to “Sonic SatAM“, the Saturday morning cartoon show from 1993-94, the story follows Sonic and a band of freedom fighters in their struggle against Doctor Robotnik. Of course, in the comics, this simple set-up has grown more and more complex as its gone on.
From Sega’s statement it seems that there will be still be some sort of Sonic series in future. But ceasing this 24 year long series still has a lot of consequences. I’ve known many people for whom this is their favourite comic, and favourite piece of Sonic media.
While sometimes you do need to move on, this is 24 years of high quality story and canon being flushed down the drain — a whole unique universe that will cease to be. It’s a bit of a shame.
On top of the main series, Archie were also responsible for many spin-off Sonic the Hedgehog series, including Sonic Universe, Sonic X, and Sonic Boom, to name but a few. Sonic Boom was a limited run series based on the current, actually-really-quite-good cartoon series.
It could be that in future Sega plan to focus specifically on Sonic Boom as its main “cartoon/comic” franchise, and plan to do so via someone other than Archie. Who knows, perhaps one day we’ll see Sonic cameo in an Avengers movie?
Until then, light a candle as you re-read old Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comics. One positive takeaway is that in general the Sonic fan community is quite eager to not let the signal die out on works like this.
After Sonic the Comic was dropped in 2002 in the UK, a fan project called Sonic the Comic Online was created to continue the story — not only featuring fan contributions, but even the occasional contribution from former Sonic the Comic staff. We’ll just have to wait and see what’s in story for the future of Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog series.