Ah, another Wednesday, another edition of Sonic-Grams. If I keep up this schedule, we might actually have a feature beyond the Monday Links that lasts. For those of you who may have forgotten, this is when Sonic Retro takes a look back to a time when Sonic fans were still young, impressionable, and full of hope because their beloved franchise hadn’t entered its downward spiral. Rummaging through the many issues of Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog, we’ve once again gathered letters from the golden age of Sonic comic-dom. Some good, some bad, but all charming in their own way. So, without further ado, let’s get onto it, shall we?
Our first letter comes from the glorious Sonic the Hedgehog In Your Face, which was the very first of the double-sized specials that came out of Archie during this time period. Released sometime between issues 18 and 19, it not only gave us the origin of Princess Sally‘s handheld computer Nicole and the brief return of Scott Shaw!, it gave us the unveiling of a new character that was soon completely forgotten about:
It’s a bit of a shame, really. Answering Amy Swope’s letter, saying she came up with a great idea, and even drawing out the character to subsequently…not use it ever. I’m actually surprised Ken Penders didn’t scoop up the character and use it in some arbitrary fashion. Could have been part of Geoffrey St. John‘s secret underground freedom fighters. Or he could have been Sonic’s long lost dad!…well maybe not the second one. What we should do is bring the character back to light, and petition Ian Flynn to cement Trigger into the world of Sonic the Hedgehog. He has every right to be there! Perhaps moreso than Mina the Mongoose!
Wait, what’s this? Oh man, Sonic’s answering another letter from another girl in the same issue! Wonder what Tammy Fehr has to tell the blue blur. I bet it’s something awesome.
I…wow. I’m not even sure what to say. There’s so much going on in this letter. The girl taken straight from 1989. Her self-proclaimed love for Dr. Robotnik. The fact Sonic refuses to set her up on a date with him. Maybe she is right! Maybe all the evil doctor needs is some loving! And…Best not to think about that any further. Interesting to note that she seems to love the older interpretation of the doctor, meaning either the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog incarnation got her all hot and bothered (as Milton Knight intended) or she possessed knowledge of the Japanese version of Dr. Eggman. But I think her infatuation with an animated character is the least creepy thing here. That reward goes to the Archie comic staff who subsequently hits on her through Sonic. Wonder if she ever dated any of them? Maybe they should have hooked her up with Joshua McGill! Then they could have lots of children named after Scratch and Grounder.
Let’s jump ahead a little bit, to issue 20. Ah, the issue where everyone thinks Sonic is dead. Spoilers: he’s not. Mark Cooper, Sonic’s “biggest fan,” decides to write in. And boy, is it a doozy:
I think the biggest question here is why this was ever published. Did kids know he wrote in? Did they see this get put in the comic? Did he get a date from it? I love how Sonic completely ignores his request to impregnate Sally so the kid can have someone to date (wait what if the kid is a boy that might get awkward) and just thanks the kid for all the compliments. Sonic does seem a bit off kilter in this reply. Why is he going on about salt? And Sonic hates sitting down! That’s about eighty percent of his character in these comics. Hey, at least the editorial staff didn’t throw themselves at Mark.
The next issue, the one where everyone thinks Robotnik dies at the hands of one of his creations (Spoilers: he doesn’t), features a rebuttal to Alessandro’s letter in issue 18. Lauren Deklerk of Seattle, Washington is quick to jump to the defense of Dave Manek and his artistic abilities:
DAVE MANEK says thanks! I guess Archie isn’t as quick to receive criticism as I thought. The fact they had to rustle up an ego-boster like this one just goes to show you they love Dave Manek. To be fair, he wasn’t that bad of an artist. He was able to keep things on model, right? So maybe the real reason I’m putting this here is because Antoine just never gets any love. Or maybe I’m curious if Alessandro wrote about this on the “Sonic Mailing List” of days gone by. Or maybe I’m just infatuated with that disembodied head of Sally, just watching everyone, making sure they love Dave Manek and buy every issue of Sonic the Hedgehog…
And now the final letter of the day. Jumping way ahead to issue 40 (the aftermath of the Metal Madness Saga) we find another letter typed out by a member of the Sonic Internet community. Thaddeus “X” Boyd was an early member of the community, hanging out where the visitors of rat.org and alt.fan.sonic-hedgehog would gather. Fanfic writer and general fellow, he was the first to be published under the “Notes From The Net” banner Archie threw into their letters page, in an attempt to reach out to their Internet fanbase.
If you’re wondering, yes I’ve checked. His site no longer exists. He does seem nice enough to put Bookshire Draftwood and Daniel Drazen above him in terms of fanfic-authors and “Internet Sonic fans” in general, but is quick to slip in a comment about the writing of the comic. Sometimes, you just can’t help but throw ten thousand puns into a series. But you can help control yourself from talking about how Sally is your favorite character because of the way one artist draws her…hey, it was the 90’s. I guess I can let it slide. For now. Interesting side note: after being published in Sonic-Grams, Thad was apparently attacked on the Internet, certain people feeling he was strolling around and proclaiming his superiority over everyone because he was published. He tried to defend himself on AFSH (which can be read here) but as no one bothered to respond to his thread, it probably wasn’t that big of a deal in the first place. Glad some things never change.
And yes, Bookshire’s site does still exist. Just not on rat.org.