Sonic the Comic

Sonic the Comic
Sonic the Comic
Cover to Sonic the Comic' #125, art by Richard Elson
Publication information
Publisher Egmont
(originally Fleetway)
Schedule Fortnightly
Format Finished
Publication date 1993-2002
Number of issues 223 total - (184 original, 39 reprints)
Creative team
Writer(s) Nigel Kitching, Lew Stringer et al.
Artist(s) Richard Elson, Mick McMahon et al.

Sonic the Comic, known to its many readers as STC, was a UK children's comic published fortnightly by Fleetway Editions (the merged companies Fleetway and London Editions, which progressively became integrated with its parent company Egmont until it became known as Egmont Magazines) between 1993 and 2002. It was the UK's official Sega comic, featuring stories about its mascot Sonic the Hedgehog, other Sega video game characters and some characters that appeared in Sega's consoles.



Sonic the Comic's original price was 95 pence, increasing to £1.35 by the final issue. The comic generally contained four comic strip stories, each usually following different storylines and being written and drawn by different writers and artists. The first was always a seven page story about Sonic himself (except for #148 which began with the Tails strip), and in the earliest issues, the remaining three would involve a different Sega game character (see list below). Later, the Sega backup strips were supplanted by stories focusing on supporting Sonic characters such as Tails, Knuckles, Amy and Chaotix. The anthology "Sonic's World" featured a variety of events in the STC world not covered by the main character strips.

The different strips could at times contrast heavily with each other, with different strips aimed at different age groups or with a different balance between comedy and drama: the humour-based Decap Attack strip could appear alongside the darker and more violent Streets of Rage strip. Lew Stringer has stated that majority of readers were aged between five and ten and many strips were written with this in mind: "That doesn't mean that older readers can't appreciate the stories and artwork of course but it's worth bearing in mind that if the stories sometimes seem juvenile, it's because they are. Having said that, it doesn't mean we can be sloppy because we're 'just' writing for kids".[1]

Aside from the comic strips, for its first few years STC regularly featured content related to Sega videogaming. Fitting in with the Sonic convention of calling levels "Zones", these sections were given such titles as the "Q-Zone" (which featured videogame tips and cheats), the "News Zone" and the "Review Zone". Readers' artwork was printed in the "Graphic Zone", and letters were featured in "Speedlines".


The mascot of the comic was a robot named Megadroid, composed of parts of a Sega Mega Drive. Megadroid was the persona used by the editors of Sonic the Comic to answer letters and provide story recaps and general magazine news (much like Tharg in 2000AD, and in fact created by former Tharg Richard Burton). He acted as a liaison between the readers (whom he called "boomers") and the "humes who think they're in charge".

Megadroid had a one-off strip, in which he ran away from the STC offices to a seaside town only to return from his harrowing experience to attend to the needs of the boomers.

Megadroid was dropped from the comic in 1998, and with him the "Speedlines" letter page vanished. Speedlines returned in 2000, though it was no longer a regular feature and instead of Megadroid, the letters were supposedly answered by Sonic himself (actually editor Andy Diggle and later Steve MacManus).

Setting and history

Sonic the Comic began its run with a series of fairly inconsequential one-shot stories, and only established its identity and ongoing storyline and setting with issue 8's "The Origin of Sonic". The comic adopted a version of the "Kintobor origin" of Sonic and Doctor Robotnik, which had originally been featured in a promotional comic for the first Sonic game printed in Disney Adventures and had been elaborated upon in Mike Pattenden's book Stay Sonic. Like other UK Sonic publications, STC used the Stay Sonic version as its basis.[2] This origin story established that Sonic was originally a normal brown hedgehog, who burrowed his way into the underground laboratory of Dr. Ovi Kintobor, a scientist who wished to rid the planet Mobius of all evil through the use of powerful gems called the Chaos Emeralds. In addition, he helped Sonic increase his running speed with the gift of red shoes designed to handle the incredible friction he generated, until the hedgehog eventually broke the sound barrier with a sonic boom which turned him blue. However, an accident involving the unstable Chaos Emeralds and a rotten egg transformed Kintobor into the evil Dr Ivo Robotnik, leading to the events of the games Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic the Hedgehog 2.

"The Origin of Sonic" led into a storyline in which Sonic, Tails and their friends were sent forward in time six months. During their absence, Doctor Robotnik had successfully conquered the entire planet of Mobius, and Sonic and co. were forced underground, operating as "freedom fighters" attempting to bring down Robotnik's rule of the planet. This situation remained until issue 100 (1997), when Robotnik was deposed.

The main strip of STC was always Sonic's own, chronicling the adventures he had both on his own and with his teammates, while the other three strips in the comic were a rotating series of stories based on popular Sega video games, usually six parts in length. As time went on, these strips dwindled and were phased out entirely in favour of other stories about Sonic and his friends and enemies, the first of which was a Tails solo series which saw him return to his home in the Nameless Zone, where it was believed that he was the great hero of Mobius, not Sonic, leading to misadventures there. In addition to Tails and Sonic, other members of the Freedom Fighters included Johnny Lightfoot and Porker Lewis, characters based upon the generic rabbit and pig sprites freed from Badniks in the video games. The team soon added the "Kintobor computer" to their ranks - an artificial intelligence based on the brain patterns of Doctor Robotnik's former self - and were later joined by Amy Rose, a female hedgehog infatuated with Sonic, whose lies about being his girlfriend had made her a target for Robotnik's forces. Robotnik himself was later redesigned to match the appearance of his Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog animated series counterpart, and he gained a close ally in Grimer, his green-skinned chief scientist, who was instrumental in creating Metallix, the Metal Sonic (the comic's rename of the character Metal Sonic from the games), leading to the first major multi-part story in the comic, "The Sonic Terminator," itself an adaptation of the Sonic CD video game.

While "The Sonic Terminator" was STC's first adaptation of a video game, it was not their last. Knuckles the Echidna and his Floating Island soon made their debuts in the pages of the comic as Sonic the Hedgehog 3 was adapted, and the mysterious history of the ancient power objects, the Chaos Emeralds and their relation to Knuckles' lost race of Echidnas steadily began to unfold (see the gems' own article for full details). Instantly popular with readers, Knuckles was spun off into his own storylines in the comic, while new, original characters like sky-pirate Captain Plunder, rebellious super-Badnik Shortfuse the Cybernik and engineering genius Tekno the Canary were introduced, often in the anthology strip Sonic's World, and would in turn become popular enough that they would headline their own strips at times. One of the most far-reaching storylines of the comic was the adaptation of the Sonic and Knuckles game, which ultimately led into the introduction of the Chaotix Crew and the Brotherhood of Metallix, an army of Metal Sonics who had turned on Robotnik, and embarked on a plan to alter the timeline and take over Mobius.

One of STC's more innovative choices compared to other Sonic fiction was the use of Sonic's Chaos Emerald-induced powered-up form, Super Sonic, as a monstrous, inhibitionless alter-ego, the Mr. Hyde to Sonic's Doctor Jekyll. The appearances of Super Sonic were few and far between in the first eighty or so issues of the comic, making the character's eventual showings all the more impressive and special. Shortly after reappearing to combat Commander Brutus, a Badnik trooper programmed with Robotnik's own brain patterns who eventually led a revolution against this creator, exposure to more emerald power than ever made Super Sonic almost completely uncontrollable. When the Freedom Fighters transferred the chaos energy out of Sonic into the weird alternate dimension known as the Special Zone, Super Sonic continued to exist as a separate entity, forcing Sonic to pursue him. Using the dimension-hopping Omni-Viewer to freeze Super Sonic in time, Sonic was left with no way to return to Mobius and spent a brief period in the Special Zone, while Shortfuse joined the Freedom Fighters to keep them going and Knuckles ended his long quest back to the Floating Island. This ended when Super Sonic freed himself, his escape triggering a planet-wide electromagnetic pulse that the Omni-Viewer shunted to Mobius, deactivating Robotnik's computer systems and robots worldwide. In the comic's landmark 100th issue, with no technology or troops to protect him, Robotnik was finally deposed as Mobius' ruler, beginning a new stage in the storyline of Sonic the Comic.

After establishing the new state of play on Mobius - including the now-amnesiac Super Sonic's befriending of magician Ebony and psychic Pyjamas - STC's next major move was its adaptation of Sonic 3D Blast, which would prove to be the last game adaptation for a prolonged period of time. Although it ultimately amounted to little more than use of the different elements from the game (Flickies Island, the birds used for Badniks and dimensional travel via Mobius Rings), with the added introduction of a new Metallix villain (with its design based on Knuckles this time), it was a key stepping stone in shaping the direction of Sonic stories right up until the conclusion of the series. The story introduced the interdimensional alien race known as the Drakon Empire (spun out of a dangling plot point from nearly one hundred issues prior), who allied themselves with Doctor Robotnik in an attempt to acquire the Chaos Emeralds, revealing their previous ownership of the gems ages prior. Alliances, betrayals and double-crosses culminated in Robotnik's successful capture of the Emeralds and a 4-issue epic in which he had god-like powers & reshaped Mobius entirely, but when his body was drained of Chaos Energy, he vanished into a sub-atomic dimension.

A series of dimension-hopping adventures by Amy and Tekno resulted in Mobius being briefly invaded by Earth military forces, after which Sonic pursued Grimer and Nack the Weasel in their quest to recover Robotnik. Trapped on the sub-atomic world of Shanazar, Sonic found it hard to adapt to the local culture, and when Amy's adventures led her to join him on the planet, the two explored the world's numerous vastly different zones, combating myriad threats. Robotnik had his own plans, however, using the dimensional technology that brought Sonic, Grimer and Nack to Shanazar to enlarge the world, fusing it with Mobius in a Crisis on Infinite Earths-style event. Shanazar's zones could now be accessed from portals on Mobius, and various doorways had also opened to various points in Earth's history. Infuriated with yet another failure, however, Robotnik decided to bring his long war with Sonic to an end by destroying Mobius once and for all. Entering into a partnership with the living plastic alien hive-mind, The Plax, Robotnik used their technology to absorb elemental energy from both Mobius and Earth, forcing both worlds into total ecological collapse. His scheme was again foiled, however, by Shortfuse, who wired his armour into Robotnik's machine, undoing the damage and draining the energy from the villain, with the added bonus of the feedback finally liberating him from his armour.

This proved to be one defeat too many for Robotnik; retreating physically and mentally, he languished in darkness until Grimer, desperate to snap his master out of his depression, initiated the events of the comic's final storyline, the adaptation of Sonic Adventure (although in practice, this would prove to be the loosest game adaptation yet, as the game's wildly different approach was largely incompatible with the STC universe). Discovering a canister containing a creature of living chaos energy, Grimer unleashed the fear-inducing "Chaos" upon the Freedom Fighters, leading to the death of Johnny Lightfoot. Rampaging out of Grimer's control, Chaos then attacked the Floating Island, intending to absorb the Chaos Emeralds; however, Knuckles jettisoned the emeralds before he could absorb more than one, causing the island itself to plunge into the ocean. While Robotnik then set about gathering the emeralds to lure all the players to his fortress that they might all die together, Sonic was transported into the ancient past of Mobius by Tikal and Pochacamac, two of the planet's race of echidnas, where he witnessed the beginning of the war between the Echidnas and the Drakon Empire, the origins of the Chaos Emeralds, and the creation of Chaos, who proved to be a Drakon prosecutor mutated by exposure to the emeralds. Returning to the present, Sonic arrived just as Chaos absorbed the remaining emeralds and became Perfect Chaos. Robotnik's suicide plan was thwarted, however, by the unexpected appearance of Super Sonic, dying due to depletion of his own chaos energy. Absorbing Chaos's energy, reverting him back to his Drakon form, Super Sonic became his old evil self again and turned on the Freedom Fighters, until Ebony used her magics to fuse Sonic and Super Sonic back together again.

Sonic the Comic's original stories came to an end at this point with issue #184, but the comic continued until #223 with reprinted material from throughout the magazine's life.


Sonic the Hedgehog

As the central protagonist and main character of the comic, Sonic's personality differed slightly from his typical portrayals in other Sonic fiction; a flawed hero, he can act arrogant, rude and somewhat self-centred, being condescending towards Tails in particular (often referring to him as "pixel brain"). Despite his flaws, Sonic will always rescue the innocent from danger when the situation arises. After Johnny Lightfoot's death at the hands of Chaos, Sonic blames himself and disappears for a short while, returning from his self-imposed exile with a less egocentric attitude and a stronger will.

When Sonic is required to do some undercover work, he adopts the persona of "Bob Beaky", a heavily wrapped up bird.

Amy first appeared in a two-part story where she was arrested by Dr. Robotnik's Trooper Badniks for the criminal offense of association with Sonic; she had been saying she was his girlfriend. While annoyed at the fact she had been lying about them being an "item", Sonic still had a duty to rescue her and did so, but to his horror realised that she was now a fugitive and would have to stay with the Freedom Fighters.

Amy's character swiftly matured as the comic went on and became one of the most valuable members of the Freedom Fighters, especially due to her expert marksmanship with her crossbow (as opposed to wielding the Piko Piko Hammer), which she created herself. The notion of a love interest in Sonic was, for the most part, underplayed and one of the comic's writers, Nigel Kitching, revealed he saw it partly as Amy just trying to annoy Sonic.[3] Several times, Sonic would be left exasperated by either civilians assuming the two were dating, which Amy would play along with or her playing up the crush. Because of this, when trapped on the Miracle Planet with her, he faked being lost for two days.[4]

She appeared often in strips, with a few solo stories by Lew Stringer where she saved the day without the others noticing. She constantly showed self-righteousness, pragmatism and quick thinking: in the story "Plasma" in #78, she both worked out how to defeat the villain and let Sonic believe he had as she knew that, as a symbol of hope for Mobius, "it's important that they think it's him who saves the day!". She also took a second-in-command role, taking full control when Sonic was absent or transformed into Super Sonic. When Sonic was lost in the Special Zone, she led the Freedom Fighters[5] until he returned in #100. At a later part of the comic's life, Amy would be mostly written by Lew Stringer as a straightforward adventurer and had a long series of back-up strips teamed up with her best friend Tekno.

Nigel Kitching originally planned for Amy to be more of an irritant for Sonic, influenced by 1930s and 40s "Hollywood screwball comedies" like It's a Wonderful World, but while still being a capable fighter. However, Deborah Tate wanted the character to be of a role model for girls, as she was the only female regular character at the time, and dictated that she be more sensible and mature.[6]

Non-Sonic stories

When STC started out, three of the four strips in each issue originated from games other than Sonic. After a while, they were gradually replaced by Sonic spin-offs.

Of these, "Pirate STC" and the "Megadroid" strips was the only ones not to be based on an existing video game; "Pirate STC" was based on a series of adverts for the Sega Mega Drive and Mega CD, while the "Megadroid" strips were based on the host robot of Sonic the Comic.

Decap Attack

Decap Attack was an adaptation of a Mega Drive game. The strip outlasted all the other non-Sonic strips, seemingly becoming Nigel Kitching's pet project. Richard Piers Rayner co-wrote some episodes and Mike McMahon drew several.

The strip contained a very absurdist and manic sense of black humour, dealing with the daily life of Chuck, Head (the talking skull who, to Head's annoyance, gets thrown at enemies), the evil-minded Igor (who is constantly trying to kill Chuck) and the stereotypical mad scientist Professor Frank N. Stein, who is actually putting on his German accent and really comes from Cardiff. The game's adversary Max D. Cap only appeared twice, along with his accountant sidekick Rupert, who is constantly encouraging Max to be more stereotypically evil in his mannerisms. In the first story, he was chased away by the horror of Stein's newest creation, a creature cloned with half a brain ("...a Blockbusters contestant!"); in the second, he was in charge of the train to Hell ("now boarding for Hell, Damnation and Milton Keynes") that transported new damned souls.

Streets of Rage

Streets of Rage was a three series comic strip adaptation of the Mega Drive/Genesis game of the same name. The strip first appeared in issue 7 of STC and was written by Mark Millar who went on to write for DC and Marvel Comics. The last Streets Of Rage story ran from STC 41-46 and was written by Nigel Kitching, who became a well established writer of STC and almost synonymous with the comic. The art was done by Peter Richardson for all three stories.

The strip was a dark look at a city ruled by an organised crime group known as The Syndicate ruled by Mr. X. It was more mature than anything STC had produced at that time and was possibly the forerunner for STC's more adult stories. The strips were often very long, surprising so for a fortnightly comic, and were often told in 6 parts meaning they took almost 3 months to complete, a rarity for STC at this time (although as Kitching wrote more, arcs and multi part stories became common).

The main characters were Axel, Blaze and Max who were later joined by Skate. Axel and Blaze were from the original game while Max and Skate were from the sequels and the stories revolved around their efforts to rid the city of crime. In the first story Axel, Blaze and Max quit the police force and become vigilantes.


The bulk of the work in the comic was written by either Nigel Kitching or Lew Stringer, while art was provided by Richard Elson, Nigel Dobbyn, Carl Flint, Woodrow Phoenix, Roberto Corona, Mike McMahon, Kitching himself and many others.

Several of the comic's contributors have found success elsewhere in comics. Mark Millar, who wrote the first Streets of Rage storyline and some Sonic strips, has since written major titles for DC and Marvel Comics such as Wanted and Civil War; editor Andy Diggle has since become a comics writer; and Road to Perdition illustrator Richard Rayner contributed to Decap Attack scripts.


The demise of STC began when budget cuts at the comic led to the number of pages being cut from 36 to 32 in 1997 and as a result, the loss of the news, game review and game tips sections. Despite being one of Fleetway's biggest selling comics in 1998 (at one point that year it was outselling 2000AD),[citation needed] from issue 133, published that July, one strip an issue was given over to reprints to save money as part of Fleetway's policy of five-year reader cycles (issue 133 was published shortly after the comic's 5th birthday). Later in the year, the mascot Megadroid was removed, along with the "Speedlines" letters page. Two more strips were later replaced by reprints, leaving just the main strip and the cover as the only new material from issue 157 (issues 155 and 156 had 2 new stories, though this was merely to let the existing Amy and Tekno story draw to a close). With only one new strip an issue, this meant there were no new supporting character strips, the main strip being the only new material in the comic. The reprints policy meant Kitching was asked to share the main strip with Lew Stringer, causing the plans for the Shanazar arc to be heavily altered.[7]

During this time, the main strip's stories came under the "Time Zone" banner, mostly being set on Shanazar and then later involving dimensional portals leading to other dimensions & Earth's history (identical to the previous Amy & Tekno stories) due to editorial preference. This was highly unpopular with some fans as neither Mobius nor any of the main characters bar Sonic & Amy featured, and the lack of ancillary strips meant no other stories could be told. Lew Stringer was the comic's sole writer during this period, replacing Nigel Kitching, who had been sacked after issue 157 (Kitching returned with issue 175 after a change in editor).

Despite an apocalyptic final story by Stringer who was himself replaced by Kitching returning in 2000, Egmont made the decision for the comic to be fully reprint from issue 185 - although these still had new covers, drawn by Richard Elson who was the sole artist in the last 39 issues. This happened at short notice – even Kitching wasn't aware that issue 184 would be his last until he requested an extension for the ten-issue storyline he was in the middle of writing, having apparently already made plans for future stories that would follow it. He revealed the cancellation to fans on the STC Mailing list on April 19, 2000 – a little over two months before the last issue was published, and only a few weeks after he himself had been made aware of the fact. As a result, the final story ended with a handful of loose ends from earlier stories left untied.

Fully reprint issues continued to be published until issue 223, which reprinted the four-part storyline "The Evil Empire" and featured an article by Nigel Kitching about his time working on the comic, an unabridged version of which was posted to the Mailing List.

Related publications

In addition to Sonic the Comic, nine issues of Sonic the Poster Mag were published. This comic consisted of an A1-sized poster, on the reverse of which was printed a comic strip in A4-sized sections. The poster was folded to match the pages of the comic. Most of the stories were based around Sonic, but one was devoted to Shinobi and another to Streets of Rage. Issues 1 & 2 were not strips. Issue 1 contained information on the two cartoon series (Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog and "SatAM") and the second featured game tips for Sonic Chaos.

In 1994, 1995, 1996 and 1999 Sonic Summer Specials were published. The 1995 issue consisted mainly of reprinted material from Sonic the Poster Mag, and the 1999 edition was entirely reprints. In addition, in 1996 the Knuckles Knock-Out Special was printed, containing material devoted to Sonic's "friendly rival".

Virgin Books

Four Sonic books were released by Virgin Publishing in 1993, sharing many similarities with early STC including the origin of Robotnik and the early cast (Johnny, Porker, Sally Acorn, Joe Sushi et al.). The second title, Sonic the Hedgehog in the Fourth Dimension, involved a time-travelling Sonic being forced to ensure Kintobor became Robotnik, in order to save Mobius - several years before STC featured a similar plot element.


  1. ^ Yahoo! Groups
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ Sonic The Comic Yahoo! Group
  4. ^ Sonic the Comic #61, "The Brotherhood Of Metallix part 3"
  5. ^ From Sonic the Comic #89, the "Sonic's World" back-up strips
  6. ^ Nigel Kitching on Amy Rose
  7. ^ Yahoo! Groups

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