It's February 2nd! So how about we celebrate 'Hog Day with a little colorist's retrospective on last year's major milestone, Sonic the Hedgehog #225.
2011 was a whirlwind of a year and marked the 20th anniversary of Sega's speedy, bouncin' blue mascot. And what an anniversary! In perhaps a grand coincidence, Archie's two Sonic the Hedgehog licensed books would be celebrating milestone issues that year: Sonic Universe's 25th, and Sonic the Hedgehog's epic 225th. (Every 25 issues tend to be a "milestone" in the comix biz, usually celebrating the start or end of a story arc or introducing a major change to the status-quo.)
As a colorist, I'm usually last to the party as far as storylines go. I'd known a general outline of things to come from a late and rambly night at Heroes Con one year when writer Ian Flynn detailed to myself and Archie production-er Jon Gray his diabolical plans... But that was, like, nearly 1.5 years ago before this issue landed on my doorstep for colors. Something could have changed.
Over the phone, my editor Paul informed me that this was the issue that we were killing off Princess Sally. ...Sorta'. Actually, to commemorate the 20th Anniversary, this issue was going to launch us into a retro-themed flashback to an alternate reality Mobius for a four issue arc. True to the biz, this milestone was gonna' be the big game-changer leading into the next few years: Eggman's back. The Death Egg is back. Naugus is looking to be crowned king and Sally's fate is...? All would be revealed just a handful of months later.
Production-wise, this was also a game-changer. I had just come off a wicked month in which I was sick-as-a-dog and desperate to meet a deadline. With Mega Man poised to enter the monthly schedule soon I needed to scale back my nit-picking and get fast-'n'-loose. This was Sonic, after all - have some energy in those colors! After nearly two years of doing this, things finally started to click. Sonic was the blue I wanted him to be, and everything else was falling into place just how I liked.
I think there is a noticeable difference - an improvement - from #224 to #225. And I'm fiercely proud of this anniversary issue. 200 books ago I was nine years old and reading Sonic versus Metal Sonic, based on the hit Sonic CD video game that had just come out. Working on the book I grew up reading never gets old.