Anniversary Zone

Alumni Memories

*Click the name to view their memories!

+ Ed Reynolds

Sonic the Comic Online's first editor, serving from issues 224-234 and one of the early team to bring the project to life!
Ed Reynolds

This is now reaching back into the dim 'n' distant past which makes me feel very old. I think Tom and I were working on Sonic the Electronic Magazine in the summer of 2000 and had heard from Lew Stringer that the comic was going all-reprint. This was confirmed a little while later. Dave Bulmer and Abby Ryder had recently very successfully put together a comic called The Sonic Ideal and while I think the idea of a fan continuation was probably something that came naturally to my mind ('Gargoyles' had done a similar thing quite successfully), I think it came from Dave and Tom originally.

The early plans were very ambitious and I think soon needed to be adjusted. At this time, there was quite a rift between what I suppose you would call pragmatism and idealism. Tom had a great vision for the project, I just wanted something done out of respect to the great art that had been assembled so far. Tom was right to be sceptical of my ideas, which included text-only stories which would have been a failure I think, but I also didn't really believe there was much of an audience left as the STC mailing list had been quiet.

In 2002, I was off at university and got a bit fed up with it and quit. However, I then got a text from Tom and somehow became editor which was marginally annoying but I figured at least we could set a date (the 10th anniversary) and see where it took us. Luckily, things came together quite nicely after that.

The first issue launched and was actually very successful, something I largely attribute to Mike's very faithful design and some amazing artwork. The first year is a bit patchy but mostly very good -- Mike really carried the year by doing four Knuckles stories on the bounce without which we'd have had substantial delays.

Assembling the Shadow arc was quite tough and required a lot of co-ordination. It was written in a modular fashion so different artists could work on different parts without needing to cross-reference location or character models. I think it worked quite well though. I had to be talked into the Super v Shadow ending and while I appreciate it was a great iconic moment, I'm still not sure, from a character viewpoint, it really works -- as soon as you introduce Super, he's a different character and it sort of takes over the story. Never mind.

Around this time, there are a few of my absolute favourite stories. Working with Adamis on "Journey to the Crossroads" was a treat. 15 pages to play with felt like unimagined riches for a back-up story and I loved writing Tails. The story is a real little gem. I also loved Jamie and Smithy's "Chasing Amy" and my own "Robotnik Forever" which was blessed with beautiful art by Rich Morgan.

However, I had been working on the comic for a long time and never intended to be editor. I "headhunted" Charles Ellis who I hadn't known before but I had seen his posts. He seemed like a smart bloke, loved STC, but also understood comics more generally. I think he was a little surprised to be approached out of the blue but he did an absolutely superb job keeping the comic afloat for many years.

But taking a back seat meant I was less involved in the finished product. I had been used to brushing up scripts before release but now, often, the first I would hear of issues going out now was when they were actually released. I always think I can see a big difference between those issues where I was on the ground on release and the others.

With the Shadow arc finished, there was more freedom to innovate. I felt strongly that STC Online should find its own voice as opposed to just riding on the glories of the past but equally it was very difficult to gather any kind of momentum when only 50% of stories would get made. I encouraged Jamie early on to try and develop a world of his own like the Nigel's Nameless Zone stories, Lew's Cybernik tales and Mark Eyles' Zonerunner tales. He did a fantastic job with the Family. I also knew I wanted to take Sonic back to being a fugitive with an edgy relationship with his friends and this was quite fun.

It seems incredible that #250 finally came round but I was quite proud of it. I'd left the project by this point though so it's really Mike and Charles and the artists that deserve a huge amount of respect for their input. There's a scene by Adamis where Sonic ploughs through badniks that came out of a discussion with him though. I always thought the comic was best when I worked on scripts with the artists, something I know Nigel did originally.

Working on STC Online was rather odd. It could be very time consuming and yet you'd get very little done and you ended up having to commit to ideas over the space of many years, with little opportunity to improve things or make things better because usually the plans were already in motion. I had a wonderful time working with some genuine superstar talents but I don't envy anyone taking it on. It's properly difficult to do at all, let alone do well.

Now STC Online is 10 years old and the original comic is 20 years old! When the online comic launched, it was very important to be faithful to the spirit of the original. But the original would have evolved substantially by this point and so I think in its third decade, STC will have to find a new form. The truth is, I liked Sonic okay and enjoyed the games a lot at the time, but it was really the people who made me love the comic -- Richard Elson, Nigel Dobbyn, Bob Corona, Lew Stringer, Mick McMahon and especially Nigel Kitching.

Nigel, I'm sure I don't need to tell anybody reading this, is a man of extraordinary talent and I think it's a real shame the world has been denied his creative output in recent years. His creator-owned stuff from recent years is really sensational -- check out "Krypt", "AHAB", "Magpie" and "Occultus" if you get a chance. I'm thrilled that he's back doing comics at all and the fact that he's come home to STC makes it all the sweeter.

A couple of months before this crazy STC Online ride started, Nigel shared with the STC list a couple of paragraphs from his plot proposal for his new run. At the time, the comic had lost its way a little and there was nothing more exciting to than these words:

"But now the whole Sonic world seems to have become repetitive and stale and I think it's time to start again - try to forget that these characters have been around for all these years, to stand back and take a fresh look at them."

We're starting to get stories that explain continuity issues, and this kind of plot, by its very nature, looks backward. It's time to draw a line under what has gone before and start again. I want to produce stories that look forward, that give the reader the feeling that something exciting is just around the corner."

+ Roberto Corona

A regular artist on Sonic the Comic between issues 35-156 and known for his work on Amy Rose strips as well as some Tails and Sonic the Hedgehog stories.

Roberto Corona
How did you get involved with STC?
Quite deliberately, and a bit luckily. I picked up an early STC at a newsagent and instantly saw it as a good match for my cartoonish style of art. The next time I was at a comic convention (Glasgow, but can't remember the year) I made a point of seeing Richard Burton, the then STC editor. My portfolio contained pages from my series "Paris Texas" which was just winding up in Deadline magazine, and the lead character happened to be wearing a trenchcoat. Mark Eyles had just come up with the Zonerunner concept for Tails (also wearing a trenchcoat) and Richard decided based solely on that that I was the man for the job.

Do any particular memories stick out of your work on the comic?
I just remember loving the whole thing. The scripts were fun and as artists we got to do everything from slapstick to drama to psychedelia, history, mythology, space opera, you name it. The main negative was the style guide, with its constant abrupt changes and ludicrous restrictions (no teeth on Sonic, pupils must always be in contact with edge of eye whites). The style guide binder actually had a dotted outline on the cover where you were supposed to place your hand and pledge allegiance to the corporate dictates.

Have you had any dealings with Sega or Sonic beyond STC?
Nope. I bought a Megadrive, for research purposes, and quite enjoyed playing Micro Machines on it.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
I'm in advertising now (where all burnt out comic hacks go to die), so just car ads. Until the anniversary panel I just did, I haven't drawn a page of comic art since I think September 2004. I had a webcomic called "Welcome to Heck" which ran to a couple of dozen episodes, but the host sites have all fallen into ruin. I am in the process of preparing all of my online comics and other bits and pieces for posting on a dedicated site. You know, for posterity. If you want, I can let you know when it's underway.

Visit Roberto's website here: http://homepages.ihug.co.nz/~wooboo/

+ Martin Griffiths

The artist who worked for Sonic the Comic on the artwork for the Shining Force story "The Curse of Zeon" between issues 73-78.
Martin Griffiths

How did you get involved with STC?
I got a call from Debbie Tate the editor, who I knew from my Marvel UK days, when she worked there. She called me in and we went through the strip and how it was going to pan out. Debbie, to this day, still blames for spilling coffee over someone else's original artwork, even though I was on the other end of the phone to her. I think I said something funny (for a change) and she spilt the coffee. I'm still good friends with Debbie, to this day.

Do any particular memories stick out of your work on the comic?
I guess this is the coffee story. Luckily the colourist Gina Hart, lived a couple of miles from me and I used to cycle the black and white pages over to her, a lovely lady who I haven't seen since we did the strip together.

Have you had any dealings with Sega or Sonic beyond STC?
No not at all. I've worked on loads of licensed characters, but that was the on time with Sega.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
Mainly these days I work a lot in advertising, producing storyboards for ads ( pays more than comics ) saying that I'm currently working on a strip for Antarctic Press in the USA, called " Bad Kids go to Hell 2" based on a film and an earlier comic. The film is currently out in cinemas in America and hopefully going to be released in foreign territories, not sure if it will be shown in the UK, basically it's a horror version of "The Breakfast Club" Bad things happen to rich students on detention.

Visit Martin's website here: http://www.martingriffiths.com

+ Ferran Rodriguez

One of the early artists to worked for Sonic the Comic in its first two years. He drew lead Sonic the Hedgehog strips and some classic comic covers from issue 6's "Attack on the Death Egg."
Ferran Rodriguez

How did you get involved with STC?
It wasn't something I was looking for. It was my first visit to an artist's agency. I showed them some samples of my wildlife art and they told me that someone in Britain were looking for artists who can draw Sonic. I made some samples for them and they picked me up. It was a visit of some profit as I also got my first Disney work.

Do any particular memories stick out of your work on the comic?
It was my first comic job so everything was a problem. I was able to "fight" with the characters but my backgrounds were pitiful.

I will tell you a secret I kept for me all this years, there are some Sonics integrated in the backgrounds. Nobody knew they were there, my family apart. Sonic arrived to us when I was almost 30 and my wife was pregnant with my daughter. We bought the console to know more about the character, you can't imagine how much she moved at hearing Sonic's music. Just a curiosity, my first STC cover was picked up by DHL at the hospital.

Have you had any dealings with Sega or Sonic beyond STC?
They never call me although I would be glad of it. Sometimes I think in what I could do with that stories now that I'm a grown-up artist.

Are you working on anything at the moment?
After STC I've been busy working for Disney. In the later years I also tried other licenses, in fact, I'm an approved artist for several as: Horseland (DIC), Teen Mutant Ninja Turtles (Nickelodeon), Umi Zoomi Team (Nickelodeon), Dora the explorer (Nickelodeon), Angry Birds (Rovio)... Of course you should not forget all Disney licenses as Standards (Mickey and friends), comic and animation style, Classics, Princess, Winnie the Pooh, even 2D Pixar stories...

You can find some samples of my art at www.ferranrodriguez.com.

+ Carl Flint

Carl worked for most of Sonic the Comic's run, between issues 12-147, at first on covers then mostly on Tails stories and Amy Rose adventures.
Carl Flint

How did you get involved with STC?
In the late '80s I was sharing a studio in Shoreditch, London with comic artists Woodrow Phoenix, Ed Hillyer and Chris Webster. Woody and Ed had both started working for editor Richard Burton on Sonic strips and Chris later did Ecco the Dolphin. I thought it looked like fun and also an interesting alternative to the illustration work I'd been doing on various music papers and magazines. I sent Richard some sketches of Sonic cover ideas most of which were pastiches of famous American comic book covers replacing the super-heroes with Sonic characters - I knew Richard had a history in the comics fan press and thought they might appeal to him on a nostalgic level. None of the cover ideas were commissioned but I did get a Sonic strip and a cover quite soon after that.

Do any particular memories stick out of your work on the comic?
I took part in a couple of Sonic signings at comic conventions in the late '80s/early '90s, I think one was in Bristol and one in London but I could be mistaken. It was nice to meet such enthusiastic fans of the comic although, to my shame, I was rather hungover at both events which were scheduled for Sunday mornings - not the best time to do signings at comic conventions. Apologies to all who turned up...

Overall, I enjoyed collaborating with the STC team, Debbie Tate was editor for most of my time on the comic and Gary Knight was designer. I also met most of the other contributors at conventions and before that at a Sonic meal that took place in a restaurant round the corner from Fleetway's offices in Tavistock Place in London - I enjoyed that! Fleetway paid!

I guess it would be remiss of me not to mention 'Angry' Katy Mason's infamous letter printed in STC #47 that keeps coming back to haunt me. Katy accused me of making Sonic and Tails look like infants and advised I should 'concentrate on drawing some decent artwork'... sorry Katy! Will try harder.

In terms of artwork I think I enjoyed working on the covers most, especially the ones that showcased the supporting characters. Among those I particularly remember are one of Amy aiming a bow & arrow; a pin-up type shot of Cybernik in front of a circuitry background; and one of Dr.Robotnik as cupid.

Have you had any dealings with Sega or Sonic beyond STC?
I haven't worked with Sega or any of their characters since I was last involved with STC which is a few years ago now. I'm still in touch with a number of former STC contributors though, do they count as Sonic characters?

I'm hoping to put in an appearance at this year's Summer of Sonic, plus I'm planning to put a number of pieces of Sonic cover art up for sale on ebay - watch this space!

Are you working on anything at the moment?
Most of my time involves storyboarding for TV ads and idents at the moment. I boarded most of the Channel 4 idents which have been running for quite a while. Recent TV commercials I've worked on include EDF, Pringles and Oreo. There are some examples on my website www.carlflint.com.

Carl Flint

I'm also developing a few ideas for animation and publishing. Earlier this year Macmillan published It Came From Outer Space which is a book of alien & space-themed poems which I illustrated, it's the follow-up to It's Behind You - both books were written by Paul Cookson and David Harmer. I've also have a piece of work in Orbital Gallery's Image Duplicator exhibition, curated by Rian Hughes and Jason Atomic.

Carl Flint







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