Friday, Associate Editor David Mariotte along with Editor Joe Hughes held a Q&A session on the IDW Sonic Comic Squad Facebook group! Below is a transcript of some of the more interesting questions asked and IDW’s answers! And if you have not yet joined the IDW Sonic Comic Squad on Facebook, make sure you do! It is the best place to get news on the upcoming book and make your voice heard to the creative team there!
David and Joe pointedly ignored any questions regarding the licensing of other iterations of Sonic intellectual property despite some rather dogged hounding by particular fans eager to get an answer to questions that have been answered over and over at this point: Particularly the fate of the Freedom Fighters. It is clear a day, that IDW will not be using these characters any time soon, if ever, as they work to establish a brand new world for Sonic and friends to inhabit. Will there be room for the Freedom Fighters as it is fleshed out? Only time will tell, but I would recommend you stop asking, at least for the time being.
Another popular question that has been the source of confusion for many, including myself is that of canonictiy. While the editors have repeated that the new book will be its own world detached from the games, but able to draw inspiration from them, Sonic Forces in particular, Flynn has been quoted mentioning that he is writing the story after the events of Forces. This can likely be reconciled in the idea that the book will be picking up generically after one of Eggman’s many defeats at the hands of Sonic. While this defeat may take some cues from Forces, it seems it will not explicitly be Forces.
Q1: Have their been any discussions about a new equivalent to Sonic Universe, a series focused on Classic Sonic, mini-series, etc?
A1: This might sound wild, but a ton of people want to work on Sonic! So, we’ve definitely been talking about ways to let more great creators have a chance to tell some cool stories, but nothing concrete yet.
Q2: Which parts of the overall Sonic franchise are open for usage within the new IDW series? Are you limited to the games only, or are elements from things like the various cartoon series available to be incorporated within the upcoming comic?
A2: As far as limitations, Sega has given us a lot of leeway in creating this new series. I can’t answer things specifically — I know being vague is incredibly frustrating, and I’m sorry about that — but as issues come out, you’ll get a better understanding of where we’re going with the story in Year One, and the kinds of stories we’ll be telling in this series and beyond.
Q3: Can we expect the comic to touch on other games in the main franchise? I’m really hoping to see Mephiles and Infinite. Fingers crossed.
A3: There are definitely references to some of the games, but we’re trying to keep them light enough (at least at first) so that if you know what we’re talking about, awesome, but if you’re totally new to Sonic, you aren’t lost. Can’t say much more than that.
Q4: Will each IDW Sonic issue have a new addition to past Sonic game characters? I know already confirmed are Tails, Knuckles, Amy Rose, Blaze, and the Chaotix. Now will we see Rouge the Bat, Big the Cat, Cream, Vanilla, Mighty, Ray, Shadow, Silver, Honey, and Sticks the Badger in upcoming issues?
A4: Before 2018 is out, I can confirm we’ll see some of those characters in the comic. Can’t say which ones though. As well as at least 1 more new face!
Q5: Are characters from Sonic Forces going to appear in this comic? Since this comic takes place after the game.
A5: The comic doesn’t take place after the game. It’s a separate continuity. But there are certainly Forces elements that have inspired our story. And games characters like Tails, Amy, and Knuckles who we’ll see in the comic.
Q6: Do you think new Sonic character Tangle the Lemur will be popular?
A6: Yes. Crabsolutely. I’d say she’s a popular lady already!
Q7: Also, some of my favorite Archie Sonic artists were Patrick Spaziante and Diana Skelly, will we see them or any other un-announced Archie Sonic creatives back (loving seeing all the old faces in the April solicits!)
Q8: (Mariotte) There are definitely more creators to be announced. One of the coolest things about working on this book is that there’s already a huge pool of talent to pull from that knows how do draw and write Sonic. It’s great and we want to bring some of those people back. But… we also want to give some new folks a chance to contribute and really make this new version distinct from anything that’s come before!
(Huges) To David’s point: one of the cool things about working on this series is that SO MANY ridiculously talented people want to work on Sonic. It’s our job to find space for as many of them as we can. All things considered, it’s not a bad problem to have.
Q8: Will IDW have Sonic comics single issues to purchase on their website, just in case we miss a comic or two at our local shop?? Also, I know there are several variant covers, can IDW consider at least making it easier for us collectors to buy them on their website just in case they sale out at comic shops?
Q9: IDW will have single issues on our website, yes! I think generally we sell the regular covers from there. The other variant covers, since they’re retailer exclusives and rewards, can be a bit harder for us to sell though.
Q9: Is it possible we could see Sonic go to space at some point? Most of all, could we see the Sonic gang end up in some circus shenanigans?
A9: It’s possible. Man… those are some good ideas, Robin! But, nothing like that in the works right now.
Q10: Since a crossover with another IDW comic is inevitable, how long would you say until we might expect one and would it take place in a separate book or issues of the main Sonic comic?
Q10: Hey Ryan! Right now we’re just focused on launching this series and making it as good as we can, before thinking about if or when Sonic and pals may hang out with anyone else. But as for the future… who knows?
Q11: In the Sonic world, the levels are truly unique, vibrant, and creative on various merits. Will we be seeing zones from the Sonic lore from past games as well as new zones being represented into the Sonic comic?
A11: We will be! Part of the excitement of the first arc (and, really, the first year) is Sonic’s running around cleaning up badniks and seeing the world. There’ll be a really vibrant, distinct flavor to each town he visits and each place he goes.
Q12: Tails be a wimp (like he was in Forces) in this comic?
A12: Tails will be battling right alongside Sonic in the very first issue!
Q13: If you are to make crossovers for Sonic, wouldn’t you require talks with Sega? Say you’re thinking of doing Sonic crossovers with DC or Hasbro characters. Would their respective companies have to engage talks with Sega for confirmation, or is IDW free to make their own choices for a crossover?
A13: Any crossovers would have to be run by any and all licensors involved, yeah. For example, when we did TMNT/Ghostbusters, both the Turtles team at Nick and the Ghosbusters team at Sony had to sign off on the project before we started. IDW can help coordinate that and make sure both licensors sign off. But, we don’t have any Sonic crossover plans right now.
Q14: Will the Sonic Comic be getting anything similar to Sonic Grams?
A14: We’ll have a letters/fan art column, yes! Feel free to send letters, photos, or fan art in to email@example.com, include your name, and mark it “Okay to Print” to maybe see it in a comic!
Q15: Should everything from all the games currently released be considered part of the canon that you’re working with? Or will things differ from the SEGA lore in any way other than stuff like adding characters like Tumble? Are any games off-limits in terms of what you’re able to draw from? I say this as a big fan of the weirdo stuff like SEGASonic the Hedgehog arcade and Tails’ Sky Patrol.
A15: No games should be considered canon, but our goal is to draw on the many stories and games featuring Sonic as inspirations for the new series and part of the backstory. So, none of the events of the games are canon, but something similar may have happened. We are establishing a new canon, exclusive to the comic. It’s inspired by the games and the other versions of Sonic that have come before, but is a complete fresh start. It doesn’t mean similar things haven’t happened, but we are not in the canon of the games and vice versa.
Q16: Will IDW be at San Diego Comic Con this year with the team that is working on Sonic the Hedgehog?
A16: Joe Hughes and I will definitely be at SDCC (because IDW is a San Diego based company and we’re always there). But he and I will be at other conventions as well. When it comes to other creators… well… stay tuned to this very page if we have an announcement like that.
Q17: Will IDW be giving Sonic a Free Comic Book Day issue like Archie had?
QA17: No FCBD issue this year! Each year, IDW chooses 2 titles to release Free Comic Book Day offerings of and since we launch with 4 issues in April and FCBD is the first Saturday of May, we felt like it might be approaching too much Sonic all at once. But… maybe in the future!
Q18: In the past, Sega had certain specific mandates for how Sonic and the gang can be handled when licensed out, which of course became a topic of discussion across various forums. Are these mandates still in effect, or is Sega more lax in how the characters are handled, so long as nothing is done that severely damages the image? Is there a list of rules that must be followed along these lines that can be publicly known about?
A18: Every licensor has certain rules for their characters, as they should. Sega gives us a lot of freedom to tell great stories, and it means a lot to us that they trust us with all of this. In return, we have to respect and stay true to the characters at all times. There are certain characteristics that make Sonic, Tails, Amy etc. who they are. We can’t change that, and I wouldn’t want to. But we’re going to have a lot of fun with this.
Q19: The first trade paperback got it’s cover art changed on Amazon to one of the variant covers for the first issue. Is this going to be the trade’s cover, or is the Hesse art still going to be used?
A19: The cover art on the trade is being updated. The Tyson Hesse art that was up there, cool as it is, was a placeholder.
Q20: Will Tyson Hesse be a regular for the Sonic series or is he only going to be doing a limited number of art for the comics?
A20: (Mariotte) Tyson’s a super talented, but also super busy guy! We’re so glad to have him on covers for the first 4 issues and really love working with him, so we’d like to have him come back and do more, but he isn’t scheduled for anything else right now. We gotta wait for him to be a little less busy.
(Hughes) Tyson is a very busy man! But he has an open invitation to contribute to the series in some capacity whenever he likes. At least, until he gets sick of us.