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Archie Comics is an American comic book publisher known for publishing original comic adaptations of the Sonic the Hedgehog television series, Knuckles the Echidna, Sonic X, Sonic Boom and an original title called Sonic Universe. All the comics were officially sponsored by Sega. As of 2017, however, all Sonic-related publications from Archie have been canceled.
Archie Comics carried the Comics Code Authority (CCA) seal; however, it was removed in February 2011 in favor of self-regulation of content.
In May 2011, Archie released the first issue of Mega Man, based on the Capcom games and featuring the character of the same name. From April to August 2013, Mega Man #24-27 crossed over with both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe in a twelve issue storyline Sonic & Mega Man: Worlds Collide. From May to August 2015, a second crossover with the Mega Man, Sonic the Hedgehog, and Sonic Universe comics occurred, a twelve issue storyline known as Worlds Unite, after which the canon of the Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic Universe comics was rebooted.
On 19 July 2017, Sega announced its partnership with Archie Comics to be over, transferring the comic rights to IDW Publishing, marking the cancellation of the Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic franchise.
Sonic comic series
Sonic the Hedgehog
Published since 1993 and closing in 2017, the comic was heavily inspired by the Sonic the Hedgehog television series and contained many characters from that series in its storyline along with many original characters as well as game characters. Occasionally, they were combined with actual cartoon or game adaptations, with the former tending to be non-canon side stories. However, following the Worlds Unite crossover event, the comics were rebooted to be more in-line with the games. There were a total of 290 released issues, the most a video game comic adaptation has ever had.
Knuckles the Echidna
Starting as a mini-series called Knuckles: the Dark Legion, Archie decided to extend the comic into an ongoing series called Knuckles the Echidna, which lasted a total of 32 issues. These comics were written by Ken Penders. These comics starred Knuckles and Julie-Su the Echidna resulting in a lot of romantic tension until after the series ended and the two finally got together.
From 2005, Archie Comics began a comic series based on the anime series Sonic X. While the series is set in the timeline of Sonic X, their plots are original. In response to the fan letters, the writers have stated that the comic series takes place between the second and third seasons (so after the Sonic Adventure and Sonic Adventure 2 adaptations, but before the gang returns to their unnamed homeworld). The series had a total of 40 issues. The last issue notably featured a crossover with the regular Sonic the Hedgehog series involving Shadow and Metal Sonic from that universe that transitions to Sonic Universe.
Many other characters have had cameo appearances, including Cosmo who never appeared until around the time Season 3 of Sonic X was announced.
After the Sonic X comic series was canceled, it was replaced by a spin-off series called Sonic Universe which picked up right after its predecessor. The series was made up of four-issue story arcs that are able to explore characters and locations not necessary in the main book. The arcs were also created with trade paperbacks in mind (see graphic novel section below). It should be noted that Tracy Yardley had illustrated almost every single issue thus far. The series had a total of 94 released issues.
In late 2014, Archie Comics began publishing another spin-off comic series based on the Sonic Boom sub-franchise. These comics lasted until September 2015, spanning 11 issues.
Along with these series, Archie also produced five mini-series' (Sonic the Hedgehog, Princess Sally, Tails, Knuckles and Sonic Quest). Archie also produced eight special issues many of which were adaptations of video games. 15 more specials were made under the title of Sonic Super Special. Archie also produced special issues of Sonic the Hedgehog for Free Comic Book Day starting from 2007.
Sonic Trade Paperbacks
Throughout the run of the Sonic comics Archie had produced many individual graphic novels as well as several series, each reprinting past issues or stories.
- Sonic Firsts (originally published as Sonic Super Special Issue 3)
- Sonic: The Beginning, reprinting the original 4 issue Sonic miniseries
- Sonic Archives, (beginning with a reprint of Sonic: The Beginning as Volume 0), collects the Sonic the Hedgehog series from issue 1, 4 issues each (Volume 13 contains 2 issues, one in its Sonic Super Special directors cut form as well as 2 more stories from the Sonic Super Specials).
- Sonic Saga Series, reprinting stories from around the time Ian Flynn started writing for the comic.
- Sonic the Hedgehog, reprinting stories from the beginning of the "post super genesis wave timeline" onwards.
- Sonic Select, reprinting canon stories from the Sonic Specials, Sonic Super Specials, and various Sonic miniseries
- Knuckles Archives: Reprints the Knuckles the Echidna issues, 6 per volume. The first volume contains the Knuckles miniseries as well as the first 3 issues of the Knuckles series.
- Sonic Legacy: Each volume reprints 16 issues of the Sonic the Hedgehog series in a cheaper, more affordable format—black and white.
- Sonic Universe: Collects one 4 issue story arc from Sonic Universe per volume.
- Sonic: Genesis: A hardcover book which collects the Genesis saga from the Sonic series, meaning issues 226-229.
- Sonic Super Special Magazine: Quarterly magazine with various reprints of Sonic the Hedgehog as well as many bonus material.
- Sonic Super Digest: Quarterly digest sized books with various reprints of Sonic the Hedgehog.
- Both Sonic the Hedgehog and Sonic X started with a four-issue mini-series to see if the series would gain much popularity. Later issues state connections to them as part of the main storyline. NiGHTS and Knuckles the Echidna also had a 3-issue adaption—twice. NiGHTS was not picked up, but the second Knuckles series became an ongoing comic.
- Sonic, Sally, Tails, and Knuckles had their own mini-series.
- Sonic X, though closer in canonicity to the games, does not have a comic adaption of any of the games.