Fan MemoriesSo many Boomers have enjoyed Sonic the Comic over the years. But don't take our word for it! Speed Reading lets you hear some of STC's biggest fans' thoughts on their favourite comic.
Compiled and edited by Luke "L.T." Fletcher
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+ DiGi Valentine
As soon as I saw it I'd rush over and grab the thing, then proceeded to finish reading it before we had even left the store, lol. Keen!
But that's what was so good about STC. For a kids comic, you had amazing writing, pacing, storytelling, artwork, the whole lot. There were stories in there that adults would read, they were unbelievably compelling. One of my elders who was heavily in to Transformers and Thundercats during the 1980's found enjoyment from this 1990's 'Sonic comic thing'. Sometimes, you didn't need to be a SEGA fan at all to really appreciate what they had crafted here. They absolutely pushed the boat out for that comic. Every single page filled with labours of hard work, dedication and attention to details. While it very much did it's own thing from time to time, the material it was referencing stayed respectful and at no point ruined the mood or feel of the games it was creating stories of, instead magnifying them through a completely new medium!
And it wasn't just Sonic either. Streets of Rage, Shinobi, Golden Axe, Kid Chameleon, Eternal Champions (the legendary Larcen Tyler and Shadow Yamoto, how I miss those two. Larcen's witty lines alone made me read time and again), every game that received a comic story in STC was amazing. Even if I didn't read certain stories initially as a child, when I came back to re-reading all the old comics as a Teen I found love for stuff that I had missed, like Mutant League Football or Wonder Boy. STC just gave us everything and then some! How I wished a NiGHTS into Dreams story had been made during it's run.
For the Sonic series, it took everything we knew about Sonic and expanded it to unbelievable new heights. Any new characters that were created fitted perfectly in, nobody ever looked out of place and they had rich personalities, bouncing fantastic character interactions off one another. It knew when to poke fun and then it knew when it was time to be serious.
My favourite character, Johnny Lightfoot (r.i.p), maaan! What a guy! I wanted to be that kid with the red leather jacket and a metal pugil stick, lol! And STC-online's most recent issue (#261) centred around Johnny brought a tear to my eye, it was beautiful homage to a wonderful character whom I have not seen for years. That was a 5 hit-combo right in the feels.
Knuckles! He was the first real proper rival to Sonic, something which Shadow has taken the limelight for now in recent years. But ask ANY kid in the 1990's reading that comic who Sonic had a hard time staying on a level with and 9 out of 10 will tell you it was that bad boy, Knuckles the Echidna. What an absolute legend it was to see him in comic form during his heyday!
Part of me does hope and wish for a day when SEGA will run this comic again on a commercial level, really bring it back to the hands of kids and fans who love their games so much, it's a fantastic medium to reach out with.
I look to the American's and I see their Archie comics are still going strong and there have been numerous times I've tried to get in to it too ...and I just can't. No fault of Archie at all, but it's me. I'm so used to what we created over here, it's hard to let go and part of me can't connect purely over the fact that what STC gave me as a child has really stuck with me throughout my life so far. It's hard to replace something like that, especially when it was that well created.
I have probably written too much here, but my memories and love for that comic run deep. It's not something I overly speak about at length and I very rarely have the chance to do so like this, but let it be known that I absolutely adored STC as a kid growing up and have massive amounts of respect for what STC-online continues to do to this day.
If you're from the UK, and if you're a SEGA fan who has never read these comics, you absolutely owe it to yourself to do so. You will not regret it, trust me on this.
+ Lynne Triplett (aka TRiPPY)
It's really hard to ever choose one memory of STC for me. It ate up so much of my time as a teenager that it's hard to believe it's been this long. For me STC was the starting point of something huge and the moment that I knew telling stories through comic art was for me.
The first comic I ever seen was issue 6. I was a huge Mario fan at the time and not really into Sonic but I remember flipping through it and being really excited by it. The comic belonged to my little brother as Sonic was his 'thing' so it was a long long time until I started collecting the comics myself.... years later I went back and stole his copy of issue 6, lol.
It was when the huge hype for Sonic 3 was going around school that I started paying attention. I remember one kid called James was a fan of the comic and he told me that the new Sonic game had a 'pink evil hedgehog' in it, to which some kind of scary fangirl switch went off in my head before I'd even seen the character. Within a week I was off searching my non internetless world for anything that looked like a pink Sonic and wasn't Amy.
I remember seeing the cover art for Sonic 3 and being so bizarrely excited I might have just exploded in the street. I went home with a magazine to show my brother, who then told me that Knuckles was going to be in a special summer issue of STC. That was probably the longest wait ever. I remember very clearly that I was about to go on holiday down to Alton Towers with my family at the time and spent the entire time reading the issue over and over. NO TIME FOR ROLLERCOASTERS! I had raging Knuckles fangirlism and an amazing comic... which I then went home and tried to copy line for line.
And that was that really. After that moment I collected STC religiously and made it my life mission to draw comics. I wanted so badly to work for STC that I'd sit for hours after school practising, copying (ew) and teaching myself how to write scripts. I was living in a homeless refuge at the time, for around 4 years so the comic really gave me something to distract myself with. Scotland had pretty much nothing in terms of comic conventions and all the fun stuff seemed to always happen in England. I used to get so jealous seeing the photos in the comic of the events and all the fans meeting the creators of my favourite stories. I'd actually get genuinely proper upset about it, haha. So one day to compensate for the fact I didn't live in England the children's workers for the refuge took my huge fancomics and colour photocopied them. I recall they sent them to SEGA by accident because they thought STC and SEGA were the same thing. But in a way it was the best accident ever because after that I made great friends at SEGA America who really supported my art and career dreams through high school.
I used to send tons of fanart into STC to make up for the fact that I'd never get to go to any of the conventions. I way way too poor to travel anywhere *smallest violin* so I'd spend a lot of time sending artwork of Knuckles to Fleetway. A lot of it got printed too. I think my art got printed so much that some kid called Hayley wrote in to complain about it (and that got printed)! Hahaha. It's sad though, I just wanted friends to share a hobby with. I always wished that STC would let us have a Penpal section.
Obviously as time went on and the internet arrived properly in the late 90's thanks to the Dreamcast I was able to join the Sonic Mailing list and eventually come down South to meet my favourite artists and writers. That was really special to me. I clearly remember a bunch of us fans after the Bristol Comic con were walking down the street with Nigel Kitching and Richard Elson just idly chatting about comics and old story arcs. I remember wishing that I knew how to properly explain how much their work meant to me, but I never could really. From having fans of my own comic series now I know that there's a very mutual creator/fan respect that doesn't have to be spoken much. You start a comic and know that it will inspire or help someone who really needs it somewhere. I remember Mr Elson replying to an email once telling me to work hard and not give up my dream to be an artist because 'the good guys rise to the top' regardless of what obstacles are there. Just little things like that really pushed me to be a better artist and person.
It's spooky how many friends I knew from Speedlines that I still know today and keep in contact with. The best had to be the other fan artist Jessica Padkin who also got her stuff printed regularly. Later on in life I ended up working here in London at SEGA Europe alongside Jessica who is now an Assistant Producer. A lot of us would sit in SEGA QA and talk about our fond memories of the comic... It really made me feel happy to know that there were people within SEGA who grew up on STC and Sonic. When I was working on Sonic Generations my Team Lead brought in the best/worst edited version of the comic that he'd defaced as a kid full of profanity and dick jokes. It was hilarious. Just things like that... memories that could never have happened if our lovely UK Sonic comic had never existed. It connected us all in some surreal way. You know when you're sitting in SEGA working on a Sonic game joking about Robotnik from STC with childhood friends that life was a little bit special and magic.
Eventually with a heck of a lot of hard work and persistence my artwork made it into an official SEGA game, Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. I would never have done that if not for that frantic holiday of ignoring rollercoaster rides and trying to trace Knuckles. I owe so much of my current art style to both Richard Elson and the lovely Nigel Dobbyn. I often can't see it in my own work anymore but people still continuously point it out to me, so I guess good things stuck. Nigel once spoke to me about my own comic book Engelbaum at Summer of Sonic and it just made me so happy. I really hope that I can inspire my own fans half as much as these guys from Sonic the Comic inspired me. Absolute heroes.
I think if I was to leave a final thought on what made STC really stand out as a child and as an adult, it would have to be the fact that you didn't feel like your intelligence or your appreciation of good art was being insulted just because you were a young reader. The art was and still is top notch epic and beautiful, something rare in kids comics these days. Incredible watercolours and airbrushes, traditionally inked and lettered. The storylines were all so absorbing and exciting, it was like a proper adventure into the imagination. I never wanted to read so much in all my life. Everything was so believable and full of life.
I really wish that STC was still in print because I think it's something that a lot of aspiring comic artists could really use growing up. It taught you to value storytelling and the power of artwork.
Thanks STC. You were the best!
If you want to contribute to this section, get in touch via Speedlines and we'll sort something out!