For nearly 25 years, Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog has spindash-ed into history books as one of the longest running American comics that's never been relaunched. That record is about to come to a screeching halt, as Sega and Archie are ending their publishing contract.
Image: Archie Comics. Sonic #290 cover art by Patrick Spaziante.
The writing has been on the wall for the Sonic comics for a few months now, with fans murmuring at a potential cancellation when the series and several spinoffs suddenly had upcoming issues cancelled, and never returned to Archie Comics' solicits. The news became official this morning in a brief statement posted to the official Sonic the Hedgehog Twitter account:
An important update from SEGA regarding Sonic comics: pic.twitter.com/qy9BKkmIvA
— Sonic the Hedgehog (@sonic_hedgehog) July 19, 2017
Although Sega's partnership with Archie Comics is over — presumably meaning that most of the giant, elaborate canon developed in those books is over, too — the company stresses that Sonic as a character is not leaving comics altogether. It wouldn't be totally surprising to get an announcement about a new publisher for Sonic, given that we've just begun the San Diego Comic-Con.
The Sonic series might not live up to the legacy or length of a series like DC's Detective Comics, which has been around in various forms since the 1930s, or even the issue numbers of something like the original Archie before it was rebooted a few years ago. But Sonic held on to its strangely arcane title as one of the longest running monthly American comics around due to the fact the main Sonic series ran continuously for nearly 290 issues up until its hiatus at the end of last year without so much as a single change to its issue numbering, even as the comic's own complex continuity went on to expand, reboot and contract over nearly 25 years of stories.
That's a feat normally only achieved by the biggest superhero comics by Marvel and DC, and the fact that Sonic hasn't had a majorly successful (or particularly well-received) video game for many of those 25 years makes it even more impressive.