Friday, 29 July 2016

A Long Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 10: Total Chaotix*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 9


Do you like plot twists? You don’t? Tough shit, you have no taste, here’s Total Chaotix.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 9: During the Disaster*

2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 8


While the Disaster arc was being epic in the Sonic strip the comic still had three other strips per issue to fill, and now two of those three were going to be set in Sonic’s world, we still have a few more non-Sonic adaptations to go (Sparkster and Shinning Force won’t be adapted until after this batch of issues, for instance) but as we move towards issue 75 they’ll be more and more Sonic per issue (I think issue 79 was the first issue where all the strips were Sonic’s world strips). That means we’ll probably be seeing more of these, where two parts seem to cover the same issues. The good news is that the Sonic & Knuckles adaptation marks the beginning of the best period of stories the series has, a period that will last, pretty much, right up until Sonic goes to the Special Zone (issue 84) – when the Tails strips start to get really dodgy. And even after that, when Stringer and Kitching decide the best way to explore the Special Zone is through unfunny superhero parodies and the Tails stories become utterly pointless filler, the Knuckles and Freedom Fighter strips will keep things afloat, quality wise, up until the excellent issue 100. Anyway that’s a while off; let’s get past 50 before we start thinking about 100.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 8: Disaster!*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 7


The Disaster is upon us. I am so excited to be re-reading this story. The Sonic strips covered here make up the Sonic & Knuckles adaptation (with one filler) and I’m trying not to hype the story too much in case anyone is reading these posts and wants to read the story so let’s just get on with it.

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 7: More Sonic the Hedgehog 3

2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

< Part 6



These issues bridge the gap between the Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles adaptations with mostly more issues adapting parts of Sonic 3, hence the title – I am so fucking clever I hurt.

Monday, 25 July 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 6: Sonic the Hedgehog 3*

2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 


StC were pretty lucky in that they started adapting Sonic games with the first three titles to have a narrative running through them, rather than a plot to set them up (Sadly they never did a proper adaptation of Sonic Spinball, which also had a narrative, and I’d’ve liked to have seen Richard Elson tackle Rexxon and Scorpius) but it still takes a good, or rather appropriate, writer and artist to take those narratives and turn them into stories that retain the epic and exciting feel of playing the games. If you don’t believe me check out Archie’s adaptations of Sonic CD, Sonic 3 and Sonic & Knuckles (and Sonic Spinball actually – issues 25, 13, the Sonic & Knuckles Special and issue 6 respectively), the Sonic 3 & Knuckles adaptations used the average writing team of Ken Penders and Mike Kanterovich and teamed them with the totally unsuitable Dave Manak for the most part, thus we got a fairly unexciting series of scenes with fairly unexciting climaxes drawn by a scratchy comedy artist, meanwhile the other two used totally unsuitable comedy writer Mike Gallagher and for the Spinball adaptation Dave Manak again, so we got two scripts full of horrible humour instead of a satisfying adaptation of the great games we got all excited playing, the Sonic CD adaptation only being saved by having the thoroughly talented and more so appropriate Pat Spaz on art, and even then asking him to draw things like a giant reader’s finger poking Eggman was so jarring compared to his exciting, dynamic drawings of the Stardust Speedway and the Metal Sonic race that it half ruins it and was just insulting to the artist. With Nigel Kitching, who took the source material seriously and wrote stories appropriately, and Richard Elson, who is an excellent action strip artist, StC had two talented and appropriate people working on their adaptations, and thus what we got was excellent. I will say that I think the Sonic 3 adaptation is the weakest of the adaptations pre-100 but given the story-arcs we’re talking about here, being the weakest is…well…what’s the opposite of damning with faint praise? Praising with faint damning? Something like that, anyway - to the issues!     

Friday, 22 July 2016

A Long Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 5.5: Odds & Sods*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 
Right, I was going to do the Sonic 3 adaptation story-arc next, but I reconsidered and decided to do the odds and ends instead because a) I realised I’d forgotten to do a strip b) Pirate STC ends pretty much as that adaptation starts so it wouldn’t make much sense to do it later c) If I keep putting off reviewing Pirate STC I’ll never do it and d) Sonic Poster Mags.

We’ll start with what I forgot: I realised when writing the BARF strip, the second Sonic’s World strip, that I’d forgotten to do the first Sonic’s World strip, which is just called Sonic’s World with no story title. 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 5: Goblins, Pretenders & B.A.R.F.*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 

For a few months we get a slight shift in writers – Mark Eyles is taking over back-ups for the new Tails strip and the second Sonic’s World strip while Lew Stringer is here for his first (short) stint as Main Sonic Writer. I feel bad for marking Stringer out as the weaker of the two Main Sonic Writers (always capitalised, always) because he’s a really nice bloke with a far bigger career in British comics than just Sonic the Comic, he created and drew both Tom Thug and The Dark Newt, for instance and he is often a good writer, though he does turn in more stinkers than Kitching will. But he is the weaker of the two – his dialogue isn’t so good, his plots aren’t so good and he tends to involve fairly weak humour when it’s not needed, that latter downside isn’t all his own fault though; apparently there was several editorial mandates put in as the book went on, one was that Amy was to be a girl power positive role model and the other was that there should be more humour, as I understand it Kitching wasn’t interested in doing either, so Lew got the job of fulfilling those requirements in his strips – as he’d worked on typical Beano and Dandy humour strips before he was probably better suited, I just don’t think that style of strip is well suited for Sonic the Hedgehog, especially not when you’ve got big dramatic world shaking stories going on in the Sonic strip (which is the first one in the book remember), it’s jarring and makes the strips seem throwaway. Anyway Stringer’s work is typified by:
·          Shorter stories with lower stakes (until Kitching is fired anyway)
·          Groan-worthy humour that isn’t without its charm at times.
·          Amy Rose and/or Shortfuse the Cybernik
·          Parodying things that children wouldn’t get.
·          Not Richard Elson

I’d do one of those for Mark Eyles too but really he’s just typified by being so similar to Kitching or Stringer that I didn’t even know he existed until I started having this Look At the book, I just thought he WAS either Stringer or Kitching, that said he is far from a bad writer and has created some of my favourite characters in the series. Anyway: to the issues!

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 4: The Sonic Terminator

2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 
It’s here, it’s finally here, after three entries and having to talk about Mark Millar’s crap one-off stories and boring you with things you need to know but don’t really care about the first Sonic the Comic epic has arrived to reward me and save you from tedium. The Sonic Terminator arc (or Sonic CD arc if you prefer) runs from issues 21 through 28 encompassing three Sonic strip stories ‘Girl Trouble’ (21-22) ‘Pirates of the Mystic Caves’ (23) and ‘The Sonic Terminator’ (24-28), it further builds on what Kitching’s been doing and introduces elements and characters that will be built on or used for years to come, some right up until the end of the book and still manages to be a pretty decent adaptation of Sonic the Hedgehog CD. 

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Quick Crappy Review: World Collectable Figure MG01 (Colossal Titan) and AT06 (Sasha Blouse)*

This will be a completely spoiler free review, both for the end of Attack on Titan season 1 and for anything that happens in the manga afterwards, why am I being unusually considerate? Because if I put spoilers in this at least two of my friends, possibly as many as six, will literally murder me and I would like to stay unmurdered.

So last weekend I went to Hyper Japan, London’s premiere Anime, Manga and Japanese Culture convention. It was bloody hot and most of the day was spent allowing three of my friends to show off their awesome Attack on Titan cosplay and be photographed by three quarters of the hall – and for the friend cosplaying as Sasha to give out potatoes (genius) - this would have been frustrating had they not looked so bloody good (and it was one’s birthday, so we were duty bound to indulge her). Shopping wise it was a bit of a bust, I was hoping to grab some Highschool of the Dead, Sonic the Hedgehog and Azumanga Diaoh merch but there was nothing to be found, as such it ended up being an all Attack on Titan spend-up and I regret nothing. All of that leads to me introducing you to another quick crappy review (sorry), so are you sitting comfortably? Then Seid ihr das Essen? Nein, wir sind die J├Ąger!

A Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 3: The Land Beyond


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 
With issue 18 we begin juggling multiple multi-part strips and that means we have to start dealing with things like ‘reading order’ and ‘continuity’ (as if these articles weren’t long enough). At the moment it’s not so bad, we’ll only be dealing with one or two strips a month as Fleetway continue to fool themselves in thinking fans want to read anything but Sonic stories, but once all the non-Sonic strips have been expunged it can get a bit complex. Hopefully you won’t notice too much because I’ve chosen a layout style designed to reduce that (I’m such a nice individual) but you may notice that the number of issues covered in each part becomes quite uneven and that stories start or end outside of the issues in the title. That’s because I’m mostly separating things up by the Sonic the Hedgehog strip stories and so for arcs like the Sonic 3 or Sonic & Knuckles adaptations or the Return of Chaotix that’s going to be quite a few issues whereas other times, like this, we’ll only have a couple to go through between major arcs.  As for the issue numbers not lining up, again it’s chosen by (mostly) the Sonic stories, and thus the back-up stories will be put where the majority of the story falls, or just where I think they fit best. 
Anyway the series keeps pretty good continuity, Kitchen and Stringer are pretty good at fitting things together especially if they’re the ones writing the conflicting stories but the problems arise just from the general conflicts that happen in having a character appear in up to three stories per book, all of which are multi-parters – Tails simply cannot be in three places at once having an adventure that lasts a couple of days each. I will go through them in an order that seems natural to me, wherever possible I’ll try to get them in chronological order but I’m not going to jump ahead 20 issues to talk about a story that takes place during that timeframe, I’ll get to that when I get to those issues. With all that shit out of way, let’s begin with the very first Tails strip and what I’m now naming ‘Stuff Left Over From Last Entry’ or SLOFLE (slow-full):

Monday, 18 July 2016

A Long Look At Sonic The Comic 1-100 Part 2: The Origin of Sonic


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At. 
As discussed in Part 1 the dark secret of Sonic the Comic is that it’s first main writer was comics superstar and unforgivable prick Mark Millar, thankfully the comic’s (possibly unintentional) format of nearly always having two main writers for Sonic stories meant that his crap was split up by much better stories from StC’s second Main Writer - Nigel Kitching. From the start (and it’s not that grand a start) Kitching writes Sonic as a serious hero in a serious adventure strip*, his reasoning being that readers took Sonic serious as a hero regardless of him being a funny animal and thus the writer should too (I agree) and that British readers wouldn’t take the DiC Cartoon/Archie style class clown Sonic serious (I sort of agree). To put all the cards on the table as it were I shall say that I consider Nigel Kitching to be the best writer this franchise has ever had, both Ben Hurst and Ian Flynn come dangerously close and Lew Stringer is no slouch either but none of them quite measure up to Kitching’s work on StC and reading through them side-by-side as I have for many years (and am now) the difference in the styles between Kitching and Stringer are apparent even before Stringer was tasked to do more humour, Kitching’s stories read like the American comic stories whereas Stringers always feel like a Saturday morning cartoon. Kitching’s work is typified by:
·          A strong sense of continuity
·          Sharp, natural sounding dialogue
·          Long, high stakes adventures and even when the stakes aren’t that high threats that can be taken seriously
·          Engrossing, often twisting, plots 
·          Richard Elson and/or Nigel Dobbyn  
Not all of that comes out in his first strip though, ‘Day of the Badniks’ ran in issue 4 and in fact I thought it was a Millar issue – but reading again I can see it clearly isn’t, though Sonic is unnecessarily rude in places and the art’s pretty amateurish (I just associate bad art on early StC issues with Millar, sorry) you can see the Kitching to come poking through. We have our first instance of continuity (‘Robofox’ is mentioned) and just generally a story that feels more sensible, consistent and mature (three things that Millar still hasn’t grasped yet). It’s also the first issue you actually need to read, as it establishes Robotnik as based in the Special Zone. Kitching comes back a lot stronger with issue 6’s ‘Attack
on the Death Egg’ and the first (of only two) StC trade paperbacks chose to begin reprinting from this issue (a good choice); it’s nowhere near as important as 7-10 but it does give us the first appearance of a prototype version of the Kintobor Computer and allow Kitching to replace Millar’s Sonic/Tails dynamic (Tails is a clueless prat and Sonic is a cock to him) with his own which can best be described as the following: 80% of Sonic’s dialogue is said just to amuse himself and Tails tries to impress him, Sonic teases Tails when he messes up and Tails just sighs and shakes his head when Sonic does. Sonic’s still a little overly rude, Kitching wouldn’t fully get to grips with him until the next issue but he is starting to morph into a likeable character with attitude rather than a dick, the class clown elements you’d associate with Jaleel White and Ian Flynn are never present in StC instead he stays a more personable, funnier, version of Marvel’s Quicksilver, he’s impatient and impetuous (but then he’s a speedster), big-headed and sometimes grumpy but charming and with his ‘tude’ coming across mostly via (usually) good natured sarcasm or eye-rolling rather than being a turd to everyone for no reason.

Super Sonic, the lead Sonic strip from issue 7, is where things really start to be important and thus is where we are finally going to start our proper Look At in this series of waffle:

A Long Look at Sonic the Comic 1-100 Part 1: Hey, Boomers!*


2016 is Sonic the Hedgehog’s 25th Anniversary and I’ve been around since (almost) the start, in celebration of Sonic lasting so long I’m going to be posting a Long Look At Sonic the Comic issues 1 to 100, my favourite time period on one of my favourite comics and one of my favourite things about one of my favourite things – that’d be the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise- and this is that Long Look At.

Welcome to my Long Look At Sonic the Comic 1-100 my imaginary chums! Fleetway’s Sonic the Comic is genuinely one of my happiest childhood memories, every fortnight I would receive a new issue, at Christmas my mum would keep the
nearest issue back and put it on top of my presents. Launching on 29th May 1993 it soon began treating Sonic and his world the way I treated Sonic’s world: as a serious action-adventure and with Sonic SatAM so inaccessible back them it was the only place Sonic was getting that treatment (Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog only being available in specialist shops most kids didn’t know existed and anyway it was still mostly lost in goofy comedy). My original copies have been read half to death but then that’s the advantage of scanned things, you’ll never read the cover off a .cbr file, I obviously have all my issues ‘backed-up’ on my computer and the first thing I wanted to do with a blog was Look At one of my favourite comic series, Sonic the Comic won out, beating Transmetropolitan and Savage Dragon, which should say a lot about my tastes. This 19 part Look At will cover the first 100 issues, the ‘Robotnik Rules’ era of the book and the era that was my childhood, I’m planning to do the latter part of the series for some future date but I felt that at over 20 bloody parts this was long enough. Part 1 here won’t be in the standard Look At format as I’m just going to use it introduce everything and cover some issues that don’t need – or deserve – that format.  With that, are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll begin:

Friday, 8 July 2016

Top 30 X-Men Stories Numbers 15 to 1*


On the 13th of June I turned 30, I’m not dealing with this so instead I decided to both ignore and celebrate me lasting so long by writing a whole bunch of top 30 countdown lists.

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Top 30 X-Men Stories Numbers 30 to 16*


On the 13th of June I turned 30, I’m not dealing with this so instead I decided to both ignore and celebrate me lasting so long by writing a whole bunch of top 30 countdown lists, thus all lists are made up of  things released before June 13th 2016. 


Second in my stream of Top 30s is one for Marvel’s Merry Mutants: The X-Men. Even though they rank lower in my list of obsessions than Sonic the Hedgehog and came into my life slightly later… I finished this list first because it required less watching of television programmes, so it’s next. Being born in ’86 my X-Obsession was of course born out of the three things that I reckon gave birth to more X-Obsessions than any other – the ’93 cartoon series, the Toy Biz toyline and the Konami arcade game, all of which happened to me around the same time (our 4 player X-Men Arcade Game cabinet was in our old Odeon cinema, the cinema is still open – as a Premiere Cinema – and I still visit it regularly, and every time I walk past where it stood I feel a little sad). Since then I’ve been something of an X-Men… I’m a really obnoxious X-Fan, I shan’t lie to you, I’m trying to be better but…no… I’m just an obnoxious X-Elitist and I hate myself for it. You do NOT want to hear my opinion on any of the X-men movies and you really don’t want to see one with me (well that isn’t Deadpool, I accept Deadpool). That is exactly why I am doing this list, because no other Top X-Men Stories countdown will satisfy me and because I want to share MY list which is obviously better than the millions of other X-Men based lists on the internet already because I compiled it and I know my X-Men dammit. Of course this completely overlooks basic things like my completely biased towards stories that deal with bigotry or me being utterly in love with Rogue but fuck that, I know best.  

Monday, 4 July 2016

Five Examples of Crap I Waste My Money On: Bootsale Report 5*

Another weekend is over and thus another bootsale has eaten up the disposal part of my income. I did utterly great, in fact it was less like a bootsale and more just like a usual shopping trip, only dirtier, dustier and all the shops were staffed by moaning middle-aged irritants with sunburn. There’s usually a completive feeling to bootsaling, and a kind of desperate searching amongst the crap for for things that might interest you, but today I just strolled, nay, sauntered, ‘round, picked up items I’d been looking for with little to no scrambling around boxes of broken McDonald’s toys and naked Action Men and was even able to go back later on and buy a couple of items I’d passed on the first time (usually the chances of them still being there, and being the price you’re willing to pay, are about zero) I even treated myself to a slice of cake – I am a fucking hedonist.


And thus it’s time for another Example of Crap I Waste My Money On. I‘ve kept it down to five this time because I feel generous (and utterly depressed so I figure that my enthusiasm glands won’t last for longer than five items). Also, night time shots – because I couldn’t be arsed to get up and turn the other light on – so enjoy moody toys. So are you sitting comfortably? Then I’ll being: