Daryl Edelman Is Literally Insane

So the Sonic the Hedgehog four-issue miniseries was a success! Archie Comics tapped into the burgeoning field of Sonic fans, which seemed to be on the rise even more with two animated shows in syndication. The next logical step was then to give the plucky mascot his own regular monthly series. Jumping right in from the original miniseries, we can see that things are pretty much the same, if a little more polished, and over time the early issues would develop an interesting consistency all their own.

Scott Shaw! had abandoned drawing duties to Dave Manak in the last issue of the miniseries, and it seems like Dave based his style heavily on Scott’s: Sonic still has big, expressive eyes, and the characters have cartoony body features and language. Dave pretty much stuck to this style during every issue of Sonic he ever penciled; regardless of inker or colorist, you can always tell when it’s a Dave Manak story. (Compare this with somebody with Steven Butler, whose early Sonic stuff is virtually unrecognizable from his modern drawings.)

Incidentally, the cover for this issue makes me laugh. Cowardly and comical Antoine ends up putting up more of a fight than Sally (or Tails, but that’s a given).

Amusingly enough, in the remade cover for Free Comic Book Day 2008, Tails still looks like he's gonna get punked by that weird springy rabbit thing.

Meet Me at the Corner of Hedgehog and Vine!
Writer: Michael Gallagher
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Bill White
Letterer: Bill Yoshida
Colorist: Lyrad Namlede

In the first story, Robotnik hangs Sonic by a noose and then decapitates him in the first two pages. Then candy comes out of Sonic’s corpse. Turns out it was just a pinata! See, Crabmeat wants a caramel cream and WHY ARE YOU CRYING KIDS

Robotnik gets out more of his incredibly violent tendencies by wailing on a Swabot that had the misfortune to bring him a mechanical plant from R&D. This plant, the ‘hilariously named’ Krudzu, spreads like wildfire, so the obvious course of action is to use a modified Burrobot to spread the seeds all around the Great Forest, which I guess will bring the Freedom Fighters out of hiding. Or something.

Antoine, meanwhile, is ruminating about how Sally never notices him. He also calls himself the “military leader of the Freedom Fighters,” which is pretty funny given how the only characters to have actually been shown going on missions so far are Sonic, Sally, and Antoine. (Running away from a CHECKER-WRECKER BALL doesn’t count, Boomer.) Twan leaves Knothole via a ladder, which I guess is for people who aren’t Sonic and can’t navigate around a twisting slide. He wants to pick her a lovely bouquet, but will the bouquet… be picking him?!?!?

?!?!?

When Sonic and Sally arrive on the scene, we get the best line in the comic to date so far:

The Freedom Fighters: Friendship Is Magic

They grab Antoine and run from the rapidly spreading Krudzu, which just watched them enter the secret tree stump entrance. It looks like the Burrobot saw Antoine leaving Knothole too. Does it just never occur to Robotnik to ask his robot underlings to look for Knothole instead of concocting this elaborate schemes and shoving his lackeys into the “spare parts department?” It’s obvious the Freedom Fighters aren’t making much of an effort to hide themselves here!

Boomer thinks Antoine is “making a radical fashion statement,” and Sonic actually says that it’s no laughing matter. Man, Sonic’s entire character is based around making wisecracks and he’s the one telling Boomer to treat things seriously. Boomer’s response is to literally pull out a chainsaw just to trim his table… and freak out Antoine (which even Sonic admits is pretty funny). God bless you, Boomer.

They get the Krudzu off of him and Tails decides to water them because he needs to make an appearance in this story or something. Turns out this has an unforeseen benefit – they learn the Krudzu is mechanical and that it’ll short out from water. Sonic is prepared to be heroic, but Sally assures him there’s no need to actually do anything in this story, as a thunderstorm promptly takes care of the rampaging plant… except now there’s random plant parts all over the forest. This will never come up again, even though the Krudzu themselves keep being mentioned in random stories throughout the comic. They even apparently show up in Silver’s time, two hundred years later! Not bad for some random robotic plant thing a Swatbot came up with.

You Bet My Life!
Writer: Michael Gallagher
Penciler: Dave Manak
Inker: Bill White
Letterer: Bill Yoshida
Colorist: Lyrad Namlede

The Freedom Fighters have called on Sonic! …to fold a map properly. Also, Robotnik is making a big speech in the Casino Night Zone and Sonic needs to go check it out. Sonic tells the readers to hook up Sonic 2 and get him to Casino Night, which is a little weird, given that “Renobotnik” looks absolutely nothing like the game version.

Every Swatbot in the room turned their visors toward the sultry mechanical goddess. She could pour them a cup of oil any time she wanted; some days they'd stand out in the rain just to rust a bit so she'd notice them. That poofy red hair, those- what am i even doing

Sonic is the only Mobian present here, so the assumption is basically that… this is a casino for robots. I guess Robotnik felt bad that he was shoving all his lackeys into the spare parts department, so he built them a place to spend the money that I’m sure he doesn’t give them (since they’re robots and all). This also can’t be an elaborate trap for Sonic, since Robotnik seems surprised that the hedgehog shows up at all. In summary: Robotnik is dumb.

Sonic doesn't get the joke. He's obviously used to Boomer's more subtle, chainsaw-based humor.

Anyway, Robotnik’s major announcement is the development of a new Badnik… Orbinaut! (I always thought it was Orbitnaut, incidentally.) You know, that annoying thing with four circling, spiky balls; it fires them off one at a time but doesn’t generate more of them, so it eventually becomes totally vulnerable. THIS WILL SURELY CRUSH THE FREEDOM FIGHTERS

Orbinaut gets taken for a test spin on Sonic, and Sonic gets shoved into a deadly pinball machine, and the pinball machine almost kills him, and Robotnik takes this golden opportunity to leave and go beat up some unlucky robot who managed to actually make some money. Now I’m imagining some sort of fanfic scenario where the Badniks demand wages and benefits and a dental plan (I think Scratch has teeth, doesn’t he). When Robotnik returns, Sonic’s managed to cleverly use his spines to crack the pinball; loading him back into the machine sets him free, and he then proceeds to blow up Casino Night with a bomb he somehow got a hold of. Maybe he won it at the slot machine.

The only other thing of note from this issue is the flat-out hilarious letter in Sonic-Grams previewing the SatAM show, written by editor Daryl Edelman. Here it is in full:

“Heyowza, Speed Demons! Hold onto your joysticks! SONIC THE HEDGEHOG – THE CARTOON streaks outta your TeeVee tubes this fall! JALEEL “ERKEL” WHITE’S the voice of our favorite BLUE BLUR and the animation’s by DIC so you know it’s SPEEDTACULAR! The FREEDOM FIGHTERS are gonna have their paws full ’cause the new RO-SLOB-NIK’s meaner than TEN DARTH VADERS! Stay tuned to this comic book for the latest HEDGEHOG news and more BLASTS into MOBIUS REALITY! YOWZA, it’s so SONIC inside my head!

Dream on!

-Daryl”

I wonder how many Darth Vaders other notable villains would get. If SatAM Robotnik (oh excuse me, RO-SLOB-NIK) is at least 10 then Hannibal Lecter’s probably 15 or 18, whereas somebody like the Penguin gets a measly 1/3 of a Darth Vader. What does 20 Darth Vaders make – Jack Thompson? Obviously we need an equation for this. Also obviously Daryl needs to lay off the caramel creams.

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