What’s one book that got you thrilled when you first opened it? Were you delighted by Dr. Seuss’ rhymes? Did you feel the magic leafing through the pages of J.K. Rowling’s masterpieces? Did you wish to become the colorful butterfly in Eric Carle’s classic?
Like you, I was exposed to different books that our teachers asked us to read from Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could to Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are. I also enjoyed A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh and Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Oh, those were the days!
But I’ve got to admit that my favorite would always have to be Sonic the Hedgehog comic books that were published by Archie Comics. (I know, I know. It’s not your typical schoolteacher-recommended literature!).
First released in 1992, it started as a 4-volume edition then came the regular monthly releases the following year until 2016! It was also reprinted many times because of its huge following, especially here in Canada. No doubt, it became the longest-running comic series based on a video game, which is hard to match these days.
For those unfamiliar with Sonic (in case you haven’t played the Sega game or watched the movie version yet), this ultrafast blue hedgehog, together with his friends called Freedom Fighters, has made his mission to thwart the insidious plans of Doctor Robotnik to protect the planet Mobius and its anthropomorphic inhabitants called Mobians.
The Freedom Fighters composed of Tails Prower (Sonic’s BFF!), Princess Sally Acorn and her computer Nicole, Antoine D’Coolette, Bunnie Robot, Rotor, Knuckles, Amy Rose and Uncle Chuck all helped Sonic prevent Dr. Robotnik and his revived version, Dr. Eggman, from conquering their planet.
First, it was packed with action and thrills. Forget about the 2020 live action release. Nothing compares to the storyline by Ian Flynn, Ken Panders and the rest of the gang matched by the collab of its amazing artists, colorists and pencillers. Until now, fans of the series can’t get enough of the details they put into every page. Titan Tails trampling Mammoth Mogul? Oh, those pages got me hooked!
Then it had crossover specials with Mega Man, not once but twice! The much-loved characters from Sega and Capcom came together in the Sonic universe and made us fans bright-eyed each time the latest release hit the stands.
The writers also grew the Sonic Universe by releasing several spin-offs and related series featuring Knuckles. The way they introduced new characters and villains fits each story arc to perfection!
Oh, and there’s romance too! Sonic got involved with Sally, Fiona Fox plus his alter-universe version hitting on Bunnie, Mina and Amy too. This got me thinking: he’s had more flings than Archie drooling over Betty and Veronica!
The writers also attracted more fans when they parodied Casablanca and Sailor Moon — something that no one dared to expect from Ken Panders.
And finally, there are lessons on family, freedom and drug abuse to educate preteen kids. Uncle Chuck designed a machine to heal his brother and other people from injuries, Dr. Robotnik was a fascist ruler, and a character gets hooked on a substance called “Lemon Sundrop Dandelion” or LSD only to suffer the consequences later in the series.
It’s Maurice - Thank me later.