The American Superhero Comic Book. A strange enigma in the creative world that attempts to be the small, self-contained tales of yesteryear while also being a sprawling epic that will leave people talking for years to come. While many have attempted to find a balance, few have truly succeeded. Now, you could say that Ian Flynn‘s work on the Sonic the Hedgehog comic by Archie has attempted this formula, having smaller arcs and stand alone issues that build upon what he’s been doing with the comic since cleaning up all the various threads left by his predecessors. Even Archie has acknowledged this by compiling his work for the Sonic Saga line of graphic novels that are slowly being released. Discussing just how well he’s done could make an interesting article, but would be lacking until his tenure on the comic is over.
However, Ian wasn’t the first to use the Sonic comic book as a canvas to tell a much larger story. No, the first man to truly try and tackle this feat in the pages of the licensed series was Ken Penders. The name should not be unfamiliar to people who have read my previous articles on the front page, or even those who can’t help but watch the slowest moving trainwreak of our times. But there was a point not all that long ago when he was considered the architect of Sonic, even though he wasn’t the main writer for the flagship title during much of his time working under Archie. Still, many of his concepts and characters that he came up with became integral parts of what the other writers played with during the 90’s and early 2000’s. He would be the one fans turned to for sneak peaks and explanations of what was happening in the monthly adventures of everyone’s favorite blue hedgehog.
Though he clearly had a passion for Sonic in his writing as evidenced in the originally intended finale Endgame, Ken’s true baby was his Knuckles the Echidna line of comics. Starting with specials and mini-series, Knuckles was spun off into his own comic book that lasted for thirty-two issues before being unceremoniously canceled right before the Sonic Adventure adaptation (something I’ll get to eventually – I haven’t given up on the game adaptation reviews). Ken’s work did continue as back-up tales in the main Sonic series, and while he reveled in the continued adventures of the Floating Island, there was one arc that stood out in his mind. What he wanted to be his legacy and wrap up the Sonic series once and for all. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the first in the multi-part feature to look into Ken Penders’ “crown jewel” of storytelling: Mobius: 25 Years Later.