BumbleKast #69: Tangle and Blaze?

Ian and Kyle are back at it again. This week they are talking about the new hit movie, Deadpool 2! Additionally, Ian digs into some interesting fan questions regarding alternative characters returning, Tangle’s crushes, and the “dreaded” SEGA Mandates!

Per usual you can check out the entire podcast below, we skipped to the Q&A, as well as a transcript of the IDW relevant questions for our archives!

Q: Has IDW stopped making the comics? I want to collect them but they are sold out. What do I do? Where would I get Gray’s Spencer’s cover?

A: Sonic the Hedgehog #1-4 released once a week at full cover price, sold out. Every issue. Completely. That’s unprecedented and kind of mind-blowing, and they all went into second printings, and #1 sold out after the second printing was even done printing. So, it went into a 3rd printing. I can’t even conceive of that, Kyle, it’s honestly terrifying and humbling…So that’s why you would have trouble finding it in comic shops, because I don’t think anybody expected it to be as huge as it was. Not retailers, not the distributors, nobody. If you haven’t already, hit up your local comic shop, see if they still have it.

I don’t know what all is being reprinted in terms of variant covers. If you missed out on the first run of them, I think that’s it. You might have to go on to eBay or Amazon or other online stores and see if anyone is selling them. Go to shows and, you know, collector marts and see  if anyone’s got back issues for sale, because I think the 2nd printings have unique covers to them.

Many shops still have copies in stock, and many stores have ordered additional copies of the reprints which do somewhat different colors for those interested in collecting. If your local comic shop no longer has the books in stock, request a reorder or look at various online shops like Midtown Comics in the US or Forbidden Planet in the UK.

As for the Spencer’s cover that was exclusive to Spencer’s stores, which as far as I know are only in the US, and you had to purchase one of the Sonic T-shirts on Free Comic Book Day to receive one of the comics, as supplies lasted. So, if you missed out on that, you can try going to your local Spencer’s, if you have one, and seeing if they still have some in the back. Otherwise, you’re going to have to start hunting online because it was a very, very limited run. I mean it’s the same comic, it’s just a different cover, but if you really want that collector’s item, you’re going to have to hunt for it, cause it’s a collector’s item for a reason all of a sudden. None of these, “We’re going to inflate the market with our hologram covers and a bajillion #1’s!” No, no, no, people actually snatched this sucker up.

From personally experience, most Spencer’s stores sold out pretty fast, only getting 4-8 copies of the book per store. Inquiring with managers as to what would happen with extras, many replied that they would give them to their employees. Thus, the chances of any give store still having any stock at this point is extremely low. However, I have heard of people finding copies after the event. Also, there are still copies available online at places such as eBay. 

Q: You did a great work with Sally Acorn in the Archie Sonic series, and she is a popular request for the IDW series, but have you ever thought about reinventing any of the other old SEGA of America Sonic friends: Porker Lewis, Joe Sushi, Tux, Chirps, and Johnny Lightfoot, that is to say as separate entities from the little animals in Sonic 1 just as Sally Acorn became?

A: Let’s dissect this one a little bit because Johnny Lightfoot and Porker Lewis, specifically, are better known for their Fleetway incarnations, and I know those would be off-limits to me right now. My Fleetway knowledge is not the best, I don’t think Joe Sushi, Tux, or Chirps showed up in that? I don’t think they did, or if they did, it was as the little animals and not like full-fledged Mobians, for lack of a better term. The idea of taking the little animals and reinventing them as full fledged characters is certainly possible, but if we were to go that route they would have to be distinct from the incarnations that have been seen in other comics. So, you probably wouldn’t see the names “Sally Acorn” or “Joe Sushi” or “Johnny Lightfoot” or any of those used. It would have to be something wholly new, and if we’re going to do that, we might as well make a character. Species reference, you know me, I love my references, I love my callbacks, but it would be just that. If we introduced a pig character based on the, what were they? Pickies? It would be a pig character and you could say, “Oh, is that a reference to the Pickies?” And I could be, “Ya.” or I could, “No, it’s just a pig character.” It wouldn’t be, “Here’s the Porker Lewis XP, or the Johnny XP or the Sally XP”, it’s not that. It wouldn’t be that.

[What about the band from the Sonic 1 Sound Test?] There’s  Mach the Rabbit, Max the Monkey, and Sharps the Parakeet, who every one thought was a chicken for the longest time, because he looked like a chicken. It wasn’t until very, very recently that it was figured out that he was a parakeet. Lot of interesting trivia coming out over the recent few months. If they were to come back, I would like to bring them back as the band, but I think those would probably fall under the classic sonic umbrella, and classic sonic is very quickly solidifying into its own thing.

Q: There’s been a lot of discussion about this, so I might as well take it to the source. Is Tangle a lesbian, a lot of readers, including myself, read her interaction with Blaze as a crush.

A: And counter point, a lot of people read her interactions with Sonic as a crush, so… I’m not going to touch this, and I’m not going to do it for anyone: Not Rough and Tumble, not Whisper when she shows up, not with any of the main cast, because my experience has been that unfortunately, the minute you trot out that aspect of the character, that becomes the only discussion of the character. Not who they are, not what their interests are, not what the actual story content is. It just becomes one giant, constantly roiling ball of angry argument over just a small aspect of the character. So, if you want to read her that way, have fun, go for it, I’m not going to say your wrong. If you don’t want her to be that way, then she’s not, and your fine, and just keep reading.

Maybe down the line, once the book is better established and once she’s had the chance to do something besides from appear once. We can, you know, delve into her and expand that, and maybe, you know, set a flag on that mountaintop, who knows. But for right now, I want folks to enjoy her for who she is in the world of colorful animal people. And then we’ll start getting into the more nitty-gritty stuff that is going to piss off the internet no matter what I do. So my answer is no answer right now. I don’t want to care about the romantic relationships of these characters because it’s never brough anything but misery upon the series. Just enjoy the adventures for now. That’s not just Tangle, that’s everybody. No Sonic-Amy, Sonic-Tails, Big-Froggy, whatever, nothing, no. I’m done with it; I was my hands of the shipping. And I already know someone’s going to be saying, “Ah ah ah, In Sonic #2, you had Amy totally having the hots for Sonic.” Yes, because that’s canon in the games! That is her central character point! That is her introduction in Sonic CD! Don’t @ me, tired of it.

When I first read issue #4, I had the same assessment as Flynn. Tangle seemed infatuated with both Sonic and Blaze. However, gushing over someone is not the same as being romantically attracted to them. Of course, many were quick to conclude that this appreciation of a character of the same sex, must by necessity imply homosexuality. This seems, at least to me, to be a byproduct of a culture that has become somewhat obsessed with identity, sexual or otherwise. 

Let me stop there, because I have no intention of getting political, and it is clear neither does Flynn. I understand the merit of representation in media, and frankly, the fun of speculating this type of thing and developing your own head cannon and ships. However, we have seen the impact of this trend in the comic industry in recent years, and while we have seen the benefit of it, we  have also seen the damage it can do. 

Ultimately, I side with the writer on this one, these things do not matter, only limit the story and its characters, and cause unnecessary controversy. While there may be many mature life long fans following the book, this is still ultimately a children’s book and there really is not any need to delve into sexuality in a world filled with anthropomorphic animals, and as any Archie fan knows, adding that sort of shipping drama never turns out well for the overall health of the book. You are more than welcome to your own theories and ideas, but do not put the book in a box and do not assume that your perspective is necessarily the right or only one!

Q: Ian, are you allowed to have a fan fiction, and do you? Also what mandates or rules has Archie given you in directing this new Sonic continuity. I am aware that before hand Archie had rules pertaining to characters. Such as, Sonic can’t cry, or Sonic can’t show any interest in Amy Rose. Are those just rumor, or very real, and are they still present or are the shackles released and you may discern a little more concerning character portrayal and development in IDW comics.

A: Do I have fanfic? In terms of, these are the stories I’d like tell within these properties? Sure, it’s not written down or published anywhere, it’s all head stuff. but I guess in terms of formulating stories based on other people’s properties, that is fanfic, whether or not its on the page or just in my head. So sure, why not? [Sonic fanfic]…Ya there’s some stuff floating around out there in the dark places of the internet back before I was professional, and please don’t look it up, it’s bad. We all do stupid things when we’re kids.

In terms of the mandates, ah… the mandates. The mandates are not like these hard and fast rules that were chiseled into stone and delivered to my doorstep. THOUS SHALT NOT HAVE SONIC EMOTE. They are general, common sense criteria that various writers have made public over time because when the fans go why haven’t you done X? And not just me, but others in the past has said, “Well, because we can’t.”  Because that’s not what the liscensor wants us to do with the characters. And that’s not unique to sonic, and we’ve been through this so many times. It makes sense because it is a multinational brand, a multimedia brand. It needs to stay on point and some of these rules or guidelines have been distorted by the internet over time because that’s what the internet does.

Like the whole Sonic cannot cry. That is a oversimplification of what came to be. There was this cover for one of the older books where sonic is sitting there hugging his knees with a tear rolling down his cheek and its all very morose and sad and what not. And people kind of point to that as that’s the single turning point. That’s the straw that broke the camel’s back.  And it may have been one of the red flags that went up, but it was not the one event. And the guideline that came from it was not that Sonic can’t ever cry; it’s that you can’t write Sonic as a mopey emo derp in the corner. That’s not how Sonic would react to things; that’s not who the character is. He’s not someone who’s going to get overly emotion or weepy when met with adversity. He’s someone who reacts, whether it is positively or negatively, that is up for interpretations, that’s up to the individual moment. He is a very proactive character. He isn’t mopey mope.

Sonic can’t show interest in Amy. It’s that he doesn’t really show interest in anyone. He’s that free spirit. He doesn’t sit down and get overly emotional or pour out his feelings. He’s always on the move. He’s very cool and chill about everything. He’s not going to swing into this romance cover harlequin book style romance with Amy Rose; it’s just no who he is.

Yes, there are directions that fans want the characters to go and grow in and what not, and I understand that. There is no common consensus on where that’s going to go. So, its not like I am beholden to any one idea. And it all comes down to what the licencor wants. If they want Sonic to be portrayed in this way, that is how he will be portrayed. That’s how it was before I ever got on the book, that’s how it was when I worked on the book, and that’s how it is now. See, I’m going to say this, and it’s going be misinterpreted, and there’s nothing I can do about. All the rules are still there, because they make sense and they are common sense rules. It hasn’t impacted how I approached the series over the years. And, as a matter of fact, with IDW Sonic, SEGA has given us a ton of creative freedom, and has been very receptive to a lot of the new ideas.

There’s stuff that I can’t talk about and it’s really super cool. That I said, “What if we do this”, and they were like, “That’s cool, but what if it were this way?”, and I said, “That’s even cooler, definitely doing that.”

“I want to introduce this element.”

“Ok cool, what if it also had this element to it?”

“That’s genius! I can’t use it in this issue, but I will use it somewhere else because that’s us awesome.”

It’s been very, very exhilarating to not only just to play with all these old toys like I always have, but to have the licencor kind of lean over your shoulder and go “That’s pretty cool, what if you played with it that way?” Ya, that’s awesome

So, I’ve gone way of tangent here. So basically, everything is fine, nothing is broken. It’s wonderful. I’m enjoying myself.

Wow, that was a long one! I think the key point to take away is that once again, Sonic is a brand and a flagship one for SEGA, at that. Thus it is reasonable for them to put certain guidelines in place to protect that. Nonetheless, it is clear that they trust Flynn and have given him more freedom and input than ever before and that he is truly enjoying his work on this book!



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