Saturday, November 21, 2009
Saturday November 21, 2009
Who is Sonic the Hedgehog?
A little history...
Sonic the Hedgehog was a creation of Naoto Ōshima for the Sega corporation, a replacement for Alex Kidd as a game character mascot for the company. He was chosen specifically to rival Nintendo's seminal character Mario, designed to be an opposite; faster, younger, more reckless. Sonic's game series set records from the first sales, and the popularity of the character only increased with the release of several sequels and spinoffs. Sega's add and merchandise campaign (which would have bankrupted the company if it failed) insured children growing up in the 1990's were literally more likely to recognize the blue hedgehog then Mickey Mouse.
One of these promotional outlets was a comic appearance in Disney Adventure's magazine. Unlike many characters at the time, the writers provided Sonic with a full back story to explain his appearance, where he came from, how he got his speed, as well as the origin of his popular enemy Dr. Eggman, who's name was changed in the U.S to Dr. Robotnik. Sales went well and the United Kingdom used this origin story to make its own run of comics based on Sonic and his expanding universe called Sonic the Comic. American publisher Archie Comics had great success with their own parallel tales of the hedgehog's adventures, a series which is still the longest running licensed comic series in the history of the country, second only to Conan the Barbarian.
Two animated television shows were released in America starring Sonic. The first, The Adventure of Sonic the Hedgehog, was a typically wacky cartoon show, but the second (most often called SATAM because of it being aired on Saturday morning) was closer to the darker and more involved tales of the comic line. Sonic's story was well established on both continents, and the show Sonic the Hedgehog is still considered by many a fine example of both licensed storytelling and ninties American animated shows. Japan too had an anime series devoted to the franchise and two manga series, each with their own separate plot lines.
Following a series of disappointing three dimensional games, Sonic has recently fallen from popularity, at least as a game icon. Mediocre crossover and sports games as well as the characters relegation to being nothing more then a silly mascot has only cemented his reputation as a character who has seen the end of the glory days.
Despite this, a large fan-base remains, and fan-made films, stories, games, and artwork is not uncommon.
What is Sonic Freedom Fighters?
Matt Sullivan (Mysterious Animator X), who credits include The Simpsons and The Adventures of Billy and Mandy, was at one point interested in a revitalization of Sonic the Hedgehog. His vision was an animated show for a new generation called Sonic Freedom Fighters. The stories and atmosphere would harken back to the more serious stories from the comics and SATAM days of the characters; 'cuts, bruises and all' in his words. Some concept art was released based on the original series concept that Sonic's stories were set on Earth in the far future, after a series of great disasters changed the planet so greatly it was renamed Mobius.
However the show concept was canceled. Speculation suggests this was due to shareholder's unhappy with the concept and perhaps fan backlash at the unfamiliar direction the show was taking. He's made it clear he doesn't want anyone to approach him about the concept again.
But his idea did inspire others.
What is Sonic Resurrection?
Sonic Resurrection is a blog based on the desire to see this character Sonic and his rich history of story brought back into public light. Ideally it could be the beginning of a new perspective on this venerable franchise, possibly even a spring board for an independent attempt to show what these stories and characters could be when treated with respect. This is where there can be discussion on the character's past and future, where people can convene to determine how this fan favorite could be made relevant once more for a new generation.
In future posts there will be investigations in the history of the character, his appearances, plots, characters, as well as uploads on my own work which include screenplays, artwork, and links to my youtube videos.
Likewise I'll post inspirations that might guide a revitalization of Sonic be it pictures, music, films or other media, to better bring across what this franchise could be.
I honestly think Sonic and his back-story can be used to tell a compelling narrative, and I'm not alone in this belief. There's a united group of artists who agree the Blue Blur deserves another, different look. Since Matt Sullivan's concept was the origination of our interest, this group has come to be called Team Freedom Fighters, and this unofficial banding together of fans encompasses any who believe this character can be brought back, and for the better.
The next posts will concern the direction I and my friend Samuel Boettner have come up with for the character and his story, but I'm interested to hear if anyone else has ideas for how Sonic could be returned to the lime light, or any feeling that he should. Likewise if there are differing opinions, why Sonic might be better shelved and forgotten, I'm hoping you'll share your opinions.