Sonic the Hedgehog is having a big week. On the video game side of things, Sega has released Sonic Generations, the latest multiplatform entry into the Sonic series. At the same time, Archie Comics has released Sonic the Hedgehog #230 and Sonic Super Special Magazine #1. All this Sonic isn't just a coincidence; everyone's favorite blue hedgehog is celebrating his 20th Anniversary this year.
Mega Man's not having such a bad year himself, at least when it comes to comics. With two highly anticipated games recently canceled, the Blue Bomber may seem like he's a little down and out, but anyone that's picked up his new comic over the last few months knows otherwise. Archie has given Mega Man some serious love, as the series is deep into its second arc, and already has a graphic novel under its belt.
In honor of such momentous occasions, MTV Geek will be running a pair of interviews with two of Archie's biggest names associated with both franchises. First up is Editor Paul Kaminski who can offer up some insight into both the Sonic and Mega Man books, as well how big of a fan he is of the original games.
MTV GEEK: What’s a little of the background of where the Sonic series is in its lifecycle??
Paul Kaminski: It's not just a good time to be a Sonic fan, it's the BEST time to be a Sonic fan. The book is at the pinnacle of quality in terms of art and story and we're nearing our 20 year mark on the book. Not only is a twenty-year run incredible from a licensed comic standpoint, but record-breaking when it comes to video game based comic adaptations. ??
GEEK: How did working on the Mega Man franchise come about?
Kaminski: Capcom caught wind that Archie was looking to expand its video game based titles beyond Sonic, and Mega Man seemed like the natural choice for a brand new series. We're all big Mega Man fans over here, and a couple quick phone calls to Ian and SPAZ were all it took to get a pitch together and out to Capcom within maybe a weeks' time. ??
GEEK: Was the artist selection based on their ability to draw video game characters vs. Archie’s more traditional characters, or just their art-styles overall??
Kaminski: Patrick "SPAZ" Spaziante has been drawing Sonic comics since the early days of the comic, and his love for and ability to draw the Mega Man cast made his the first choice for penciller on the book. The Sonic/Mega Man artist team is really tight and is extremely versatile - those guys can draw anything. If we're looking for a new artist to join the team we have to make sure they can nail the Sega or Capcom model and go from there. The name of the game when it comes to the Sonic or Mega Man comics is excitement!?
GEEK: ?Has there ever been any talk of switching up the art style for an issue of either book, and going with a pixel-art based style??
Kaminski: We've actually included some modern video game rendered images on some covers in the past year which has been really cool. Patrick "SPAZ" Spaziante is so insanely talented that sometimes he'll hand in a piece of art that looks like its a CG image from a game when he really just drew the thing and colored it to match the CG look! As for pixel-art based style, you may see some shots of Mega Man in Ben Bates' upcoming run on the book that are a bit more direct homages to the original pixel look of the game.
GEEK: Archie is obviously not in the business of creating manga, but in Japan, manga-style books for video game characters are commonplace - has that style influenced any of the choices made for either of these series??
Kaminski: It has to a degree... Archie is in a unique position because we're a company that is a great big slice of Americana, that just so happens to publish some comics that showcase Japanese-created characters. Our focus is always on delivering stories with those characters that are definitively an "American comic book" in terms of style, tone and presentation. At the end of the day, though, these are Japanese designs, so we embrace that aspect of it fully. ??
GEEK: How forthcoming have the publishers been with their i.p.s??
Kaminski: Both Capcom and Sega are unflinchingly cooperative and supportive of what we're doing and are a pleasure to work with. As long as what we're doing is cool, they're all in.??
GEEK: Any hope for a Sonic/Mega Man cross over??
Kaminski: We know the fans would certainly be excited to see it!??
GEEK: Have there ever been talks of doing any in-game tie-ins??
Kaminski: We do them with Sonic whenever a new game comes out, for instance there's a Sonic Generations tie-in coming up in Sonic #230 that'll act as a primer for the game. With Mega Man, the series hasn't been around long enough to coincide with a new Mega Man game for it to tie in to, but expect to see it down the road! We do adaptations of previously established games too, like the "Sonic Genesis" storyline that ran in Sonic #226-229 (hardcover collection available early next year) which was an adaptation of Sonic 1 and 2 for the Sega Genesis, or the Mega Man 2 adaptation story we've got coming up in Mega Man #9-12.??
GEEK: What other games would you like to see turned in to comics? How would you approach them?
Kaminski: ?I'm dying to see an awesome Metroid comic. A Resident Evil on-going series would be cool too, which would give the story some more room to breathe that you can't always get with the more sporadic one-shots. My brother would also never forgive me if I didn't mention Dash Galaxy in the Alien Asylum. Now THERE'S a series ripe with possibility! I would also love to flesh out a really cool Contra OGN. ??
GEEK: How long have you been a fan of each franchise?
Kaminski: I grew up with both franchises! I was maybe 8 or 9 years old when I got into them.
GEEK: What are your first memories of Sonic and Mega Man??
Kaminski: With Sonic, you couldn't have pried that Game Gear from my hands if you wanted to - I was hooked! Sonic 2 and Sonic and Knuckles were my favorites growing up, but I've also really dug the more modern games, starting with Sonic Heroes especially. With Mega Man I loved the cartoon from the 90's and particularly Mega Man 6, as it was the first from the series our family owned for the NES. Talk about some tough games to beat!??
GEEK: What can fans look forward to next for each of the series??
Kaminski: Mega Man is really kicking into high gear as we wrap up our "Time Keeps Slipping" story arc and move into the Mega Man 2 adaptation storyline starting with issue #9 titled "The Return of Dr. Wily". There will also be some surprises we're cooking up for next year that'll really get everyone psyched!
Sonic has been such a whirlwind this past year. Sonic Universe #33-36 feature the Babylon Rouges as they search for the secrets of their past in "Babylon Rising", written and pencilled by fan-fav Tracy Yardley! Over in "Sonic the Hedgehog", we've got the big "Genesis" storyline wrapping up in issue #230. That's only the beginning of Sonic's troubles, as his main squeeze Sally Acorn has been warped by Eggman into Sonic's most deadly villain. Be prepared for new teams, shocking developments, and big changes for Sonic and his world. Just you wait - your jaws are going to hit the floor! And on top of all that we've got the launch of the Sonic Super Special Magazine (on sale now!) which features Sonic news, interviews, classic adventures and exclusive content - Great for new readers as well as tried-n-true fans.
Check out the trailer for the video game Sonic Generations below!