The Sonic the Hedgehog fanbase has a very unique reputation. Made up of fans from across the globe, it is split up in so many directions that it can cause your head to spin. People who love the old games, the new games, one of the four TV shows, the American comic, the English comic, the Japanese comics, the OVA…people who love to talk about who Sonic should marry or how he should sound or what he should look like…yeah, it’s not hard to see why the Sonic fandom isn’t the most well-respected on the planet. There are those who yearn for a simpler time, when half of those continuities didn’t exist and the fandom seemed to be a bit more gelled together, giving off the impression that it wasn’t as bad as it is nowadays. And with SEGA getting ready to celebrate Sonic’s 20 years of existence, isn’t it only right to celebrate 20 years of the fanbase? To remember the good ol’ days? And what better way to do that then to turn back the “page” of history, and look fondly at “Sonic-Grams,” the first physical form of communication for numerous Sonic the Hedgehog fanatics…
…and realize that we really haven’t come that far at all.
For those not in the know, “Sonic-Grams” is the fanletter/fanart section of the Archie-released Sonic comic books. While there was a time when the section was severely truncated and letters were nowhere to be found, it has returned with a vengeance. While many other comic books from other companies have dropped their letters page to make room for more advertisements, “Sonic-Grams” is still featured in every issue of Sonic the Hedgehog. But since this is a celebration of the past, this is not a look at the modern, Ian Flynn-driven letters page. Instead, let us go back to an earlier time, when kids wrote to Archie not to speak to Ken Penders, but to speak to Sonic the Hedgehog himself…
The first of these letters comes from Sonic the Hedgehog #35, the famed “One Billionth Ring” tale where lots of foreshadowing and little else happens. But who cares about that? I want to know what Bobby Milligan of Canada had to say to Sonic.
Look at that, a rap long before Knuckles was flexin’ muscles. He was chuckling at the time, though. I quite enjoy the last line…though I’m sure if I looked hard enough I could find fanfics where he does not hurl. Don’t want to look. Don’t send them to me.
Also important to note – yes, that is Sonic responding to the letters. What kid wants to talk to boring adults, anyway? I know I don’t! Our next letter comes from Jason Demetillio of Ronkonkoma, New York, taken from the same issue of the comic:
The questions themselves seem pretty standard fare for the time (though I have no idea why so many people have been obsessed with what Knuckles’ hands look like) but the answers more than make up for it. Would be nice if any fan (or Ken Penders) remembered that Sonic is “still young…and there’s a lot of hedgehogs in the forest.” Oh wait, did Archie just condone SonAmy?! Great, now I’m messing with the minds of our younger readers. Oh well, at least we now know the real reason SatAM was canceled.
This one comes from issue 27, where Sonic gets amnesia and teams up with Robotnik. Oh no! Maybe that’s why this letter from Joshua McGill was published:
Woah! Sonic sure is defensive about this one. Can’t blame him, since this letter is basically telling Robotnik how to kill Sonic. Glad that Sonic can kill a million SWATbots at once, though I already knew this. Heck, he could kill a million billion bots and still have time to “slam a Mountain Due” but I digress. It’s a shame that editorial didn’t realize the kid who wrote to them wanted to see the badniks from the first three games, not the first three issues. They do look a lot more interesting than the generic SWATbots that fill the pages, even if they don’t look as evil. But why does everyone have to look evil? It’s Sonic!
Oh! The next letter is addressed to Sally! Wonder if Rachel Risdal has a crush on her. Figures it’d be a girl writing to Sally…then again, don’t really want to know what the guys would say to her.
Aw geez, she is hitting on Sally! Wonder how excited she was at Sally’s mini-series. Not as excited as the Princess Squirrel is at her possible future, looks like. Though it really wouldn’t be hard for her to make sure that future happens…Sonic is right there. Just give him a wink and nudge, Sal. Huh, seems like a lot of people were confused by possible-future Mobius. Guess that’s why Ken Penders stretched the concept out for another hundred and fifty issues.
The final letter of this go-round is a special one. Though younger fans might not recognize the name, Alessandro Sanasi is a Sonic fan from way back, and one of the pioneers of the Sonic Internet community. The owner of “The Sonic the Hedgehog Info Page,” he was able to get his hands on Sonic material others couldn’t get at the time, since he lived in Germany. While he’s disappeared and most of what he found is now easily accessible, he was there to tell everyone that you get what anyone gets: you get a lifetime. Didn’t stop him from getting angry about Scott Shaw! leaving the comic:
He sure is angry. Then again, Scott Shaw! is a pretty legendary comic book artist. He did write Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! If you don’t like that comic, you have no soul. I wonder what Sanasi thought when he saw his letter published (and how much an American comic subscription costs in Germany). But they sure showed him! You don’t often get companies openly embracing criticism like that. Goes to show you Archie was willing to listen!…before Ken Penders made it the Sonic the Hedgehog comic starring Knuckles and his ten thousand relatives. Maybe Sanasi was right in suggesting we jump ship back then, at least for the comic. How was he to know what else was to come?
That’s all we’ve got this time. “Wait, this time?” you say. Yes, you’ve guessed it. Yet another weekly/bi-weekly/whenever-we-feel-like-it series has begun! I’m afraid I’ve barely scratched the surface. And though it might be obvious, Alessandro wasn’t the only Sonic Internet fan to write to the series…so until next time, I’m ghost!
Wait Sonic was only a ghost in issue 20.