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SONIC THE HEDGEHOG MEETS THE MEDIA

Sonic the Hedgehog - MovieDid you know that Sonic the Hedgehog was created because Sega desired to have a new mascot to compete with Nintendo’s wildly popular plumber, Mario? Up till then, Alex Kidd had served as the company’s mascot, but they wanted something new and hip that would help their company grow as a major brand within the gaming industry. In order to do this, though, they made sure that Sonic’s 1991 debut on the Sega Genesis (Mega Drive) offered a vastly different gameplay experience compared to the likes of ‘Super Mario World’ and its ilk. An experience that featured Sonic zipping through large, sprawling levels, battling all sorts of robotic contraptions, collecting hidden gems called 'Chaos Emeralds', and fighting against an evil scientist hell-bent on world domination. A year later the game spawned a sequel which introduced Tails, Sonic’s friend, to the series, as well as adding all sorts of new gameplay mechanics that picked up the pace, and in many ways, defined the direction of the series from that point on.





While Sonic has gone on to appear in numerous games on various different platforms since the early-1990s, his reach has gone far beyond the gaming world. So with a live-action film based on his series coming in February, 2020, it’s worth taking a look at how the Sonic the Hedgehog franchise has been adapted in other forms of media.


Sonic the Hedgehog - Comic
1) Jumping into Comics

The same year that ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ blasted onto Sega’s 16-bit console, Archie Comics began publishing a series of books based on the game. At first, it was supposed to be a limited four-issue run, but because the feedback was so positive, Sega requested that the comics be produced on an ongoing basis and they continued to be published all the way to July, 2017. The comics drew inspiration from ‘Sonic the Hedgehog 2’ and the 1993 animated series, but quickly branched off into a whole new direction that expanded on the original concept by creating a complex, living world with detailed characters and a rich backstory. While the early games weren’t very clear on when and where the games took place, the Archie comics built on the idea that Sonic and his friends lived in a futuristic version of the Earth, at a time when some animals had evolved into humanlike creatures and the world’s political landscape was vastly different. This may have seemed at odds with the world presented in the games, but ironically enough, Sega would eventually come to embrace this idea with its modern 3D games (starting in the 2000s). In a sense, what was meant to be a spin-off to compliment the main game series, ended up helping to define the series that inspired it and bring it in a whole new direction.

In 2017, Archie’s partnership with Sega came to a close when IDW Publishing took up the mantle with a story set after the events of ‘Sonic Forces’. While IDW may be new to handling the ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ series, its main writer, Ian Flynn, worked on the ‘Sonic Universe’ comics as well as Archie’sMega Man’ comic series. The story arc that Flynn and his creative team have gone with for these new comics seem like they could be perfectly adapted into a whole new video game (if Sega wanted to).


Sonic the Hedgehog - TV
2) Trotting Through the Tube

Sonic’s foray into the world of television has been a bit more hit-and-miss when compared to his adventures in comics. In 1993, DiC first began airing two separate cartoons based on him and his friends: Starting with, ‘The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog’, a very light-hearted take on the series; as well as ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’, a more serious, anime-style show. Both cartoons actually did quite well all across the globe, but the simply-named ‘Sonic the Hedgehog’ was perhaps the more iconic out of the two and was the one that inspired the direction that the Archie comics took (Jaleel White had the honor of voicing Sonic in both series).

In 1999, DiC would produce ‘Sonic Underground’, which met with a decent amount of success, even though this would be their last show based on the franchise. Whereas ‘Sonic X’ (which ran from 2003 to 2006) had the second-longest run of any of the animated shows and was the one based closest to the game at the time.

After ‘Sonic X’, things slowed down on TV for the famous blue hedgehog. That is, until 2014, when he made a return with ‘Sonic Boom’, which was a new show that was part of a separate franchise within the Sonic the Hedgehog universe, featuring redesigned characters and a new take on the classic story. The series ran for 104 episodes, making it the longest-running of any of the shows.


Sonic the Hedgehog - Game3) Bouncing onto the Big Screen

From the looks of it, Sonic’s upcoming live-action movie is going to go in a completely different direction than the comics and the video games. Not only because it’s taking place in a modern-day Earth with Sonic being an alien from another world, but in addition to this, Dr. Robotnik is being played by the hilarious Jim Carrey, who actually seems like a really good fit for the role.

It was originally scheduled for release in November, 2019, but was pushed back to February, 2020, due to the outcry over Sonic’s revamped design which caused some controversy in the press. Jim Carrey, for instance, said that he wasn’t quite sure how he felt about the fan backlash as the movie was still in development, worrying that, “you become a Frankenstein’s monster at some point.” While others, on the other hand, felt that they had some sort of ownership over the character, keeping in mind that Sonic does have a well-established look that’s gone mostly unchanged since his appearance in ‘Sonic Adventure’ on the Dreamcast in 1999.

Sonic the Hedgehog - Version
So, to some extent, one could easily argue that all the source material was there and it wasn’t difficult to get his appearance partly accurate. But in the same breath, nobody wants to impede the director's creative vision or see another bad adaptation of a character from a popular video game. Such as the 1993Super Mario Bros.’ movie, starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizamo, which has become a bit of a cult classic and is often used as a warning for why video game movies shouldn’t be made. So, when you hear something negative about this upcoming live-action Sonic the Hedgehog movie, it’s easy to go, “Oh no! Not another Super Mario Bros.! Haven’t they learned their lesson by now?”, and certainly the strange way that Sonic looked in the first trailer didn’t do the movie any favors. However, given that a redesign is underway and the film has the hilarious Jim Carrey to help it along, I still have a good feeling about this one. Fingers crossed! Touch wood! Nuff said.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on the topic. So please stay tuned for more crafty content coming your way, care of Jessica's Journey, as written by Joypad Jess from NerdyButFlirty.com.

SONIC THE HEDGEHOG MEETS THE MEDIA SONIC THE HEDGEHOG MEETS THE MEDIA Reviewed by David Andrews on September 26, 2019 Rating: 5

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