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Shanazar is a fictional planet used in Sonic the Comic which was a run of stories was set from issue #149 to #165.
Shanazar was originally a planet existing on a sub-molecular level, working on laws based on magic and mysticism, and divided into distinctive Zones similar to Mobius. The central Kingdom of Shanazar and most of the nearby areas was a sort of Arabian Nights-style fantasy world, with fantasy-Arabic architecture, deserts, dress and magics, ruled over by the "extremely pretty" and tyrannical Princess Kupacius. The kingdom saw a technological advancement when Doctor Robotnik, briefly transformed into his original Kintobor form, arrived and began introducing innovations such as redesigning the kingdom's plumbing system.
The planet also possesses Zones based around other fantasy genres, such as a forest populated by medieval-style knights and an area much like Ancient Greece which was once plagued by the powerful Medusa. It also possesses a very technologically advanced Zone that takes place in the brutal Space Races, where racers are blackmailed into acting as champions for their planets in a race on an asteroid belt.
Shanazar was also invaded by the plastic alien hive-race known as the The Plax, who devastated Shanazer with earthquakes caused by their mining operation.
The Mystic Mountain
The kingdom of Shanazar's security was ensured for centuries by a pact made with the Genies of the nearby Mystic Mountain. Every few years, a number of small children would be sent to the Mystic Mountain to have the spirit of a Genie placed inside their body. This would enable the Genies to leave the Mountain, and for five years the child would be able to summon a Genie (in a more solid form) and command its power in defense of the kingdom. The stress of containing this power would cause the child to die after those five years and the Genie would become a truly free being, and for that time the child would be treated like royalty.
This practice was ended by Sonic the Hedgehog, who took moral offense at the idea of the child dying within five years and destroyed the Mystic Globe which made it possible. It is unknown what happened to the Kingdom of Shanazar without the Genies to defend it.
Union With Mobius/Time Zone
In order to return to Mobius, Robotnik (with help from Grimer and Nack the Weasel) developed a Dimensional Blender device that would enlarge Shanazar until it occupied the same space as Mobius, merging the two planets together; the resulting chaos and destruction would make it easy for Robotnik to take over. The device merged the worlds together but Mobius was left unharmed, with the Zones from Shanazar being added to the planet and accessible via dimensional portals. As a side effect, gateways to alternate dimensions and planet Earth (at any time and any place) were opened, and Sonic spent the next few issues exploring the New Zones and various times on Earth.
The story that caused all this was designed by writer Lew Stringer as a way of both returning the cast to Mobius while simultaneously having Sonic hopping around time & space, an idea editor Deborah Tate was keen on at the time.
Notable Indigenous Characters
The Plax were a race of merciless and aggressive alien androids that Sonic first encountered in the Shanazar desert, stopping them from using a mining machine called 'The Rig' to generate powerful earthquakes that destroyed several surrounding communities. They claimed to be a form of living plastic that could be moulded into any shape and could not be harmed by any conventional means.
The Plax were a collective race, sharing the same mind. This is attributed to be the cause of their telepathic abilities. After Shanazar and Mobius were merged, the Plax swore fealty to Doctor Robotnik, believing him to be the spiritual leader that their prophecies had foretold. With his help, they designed a machine that allowed Robotnik to drain the life-force of Mobius, making him almost omnipotent. They fought Sonic and his team to a standstill to defend Robotnik until the process was complete, but were convinced by Robotnik's lackey Grimer that the villain planned to betray them as well. The Plax attempted to stop Robotnik, but were easily destroyed by the powerful mad scientist.
Death-Trap were a trio of bounty hunters on the planet Shanazar, composed of - Kalus, a powerful stone golem; Prank, a sadist who could summon a demonic-looking Genie; and Totem Billy, an animalistic tracker. Hunting down criminals for money on a powerful motorcycle, they were hired by Robotnik to hunt down Sonic (in order to keep him out of Robotnik's way) with the pretense of arresting him for destroying Shanazar's means of gaining new Genies. In their first battle, Sonic was forced to retreat; the rematch never came, as they were swiftly wiped out later on when they ran into the Medusa.
Death-Trap were originally planned to have a much larger role, until writer Nigel Kitching was briefly fired from the comic. Kalus was intended to not really be a villain at all, just a man who tracks down criminals, and a very private individual who was not always a golem; Prank was stated by Nigel Kitching on the Sonicthecomic E-group to be "the nastiest character I had ever written for Sonic. He actually likes inflicting pain on people and has no mercy at all", with Kalus having an unknown way of keeping him in check. An unused idea would be that Sonic would deal with the fact that Death-Trap were hunting him because, to society at large, he was a criminal for his actions at the Mystic Mountain.
Nigel Kitching revealed on the Sonic the Comic Yahoo group that Shanazar was originally intended to not be a separate planet (or even called Shanazar, that was meant to just be the name of the Kingdom) but Mobius in the ancient past. Sonic would discover this when running into an old-fashioned version of the Drakon Empire, who would invade the planet and be opposed by the ancient Echidnas led by Knuckles (much of this was reused in STC's Sonic Adventure adaptation).
When only the Sonic strip in STC was left non-reprint and was divided between two writers, Nigel Kitching revised his plans and introduced the mercenary group Death-Trap (see above for description). The idea behind this was that they would pursue Sonic, who himself would be pursuing Nack, and lose him after each story; this would enable Kitching to do his own plans and backstory while ensuring Lew Stringer was able to write what he wanted without being restrained. Unfortunately, Kitching was fired by the current editor and his plans went unused.