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Sonic's Attitude in Sonic the Comic

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Adamis, Jul 18, 2022.

  1. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    I feel like we covered this week enough before. Sonic does not have to be a fluffy goodboy hero, but he also never has been. These statements about how casually being a dick to people gives him the edge or "attitude" he needs kind of ignore that those traits were already there and have remained there with or without insulting people for no reason.

    The tendency to assume a statement like "StC Sonic acts like a dick" is tantamount to "StC Sonic is a callous sociopath with no soul" takes this to a place of not even feeling like a worthwhile argument.

    Again, there's no difference to me between this and Sonic randomly bullying Antoine in SatAM and the early Archie comics, but the difference is that that didn't stick around for the entire run of those characters appearing, and thus doesn't need a long-winded "well he's still a hero so that makes it okay" defense from anyone who happens to like that continuity. It can just be one of the bad things from the old comics that we think is dumb.

    You can give whatever context you want to StC Sonic's behavior, claim he's lashing out because of the trauma of war or whatever that one guy said, but it would still be bad behavior, and while it can theoretically make sense as a trait, the execution is still lacking enough for that not to really make a difference.

    Maybe this will all change once I finally do a close-read of the entire series in order, but my experiences with the first fifty or so issues did not inspire confidence.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
  2. I feel like people react so negatively because 1) As I mentioned, people either grew up with STC or their primary exposure to Sonic was through it, so Sonic's attitude is the norm for them.

    2) Let's be real, the Sonic fanbase does in fact treat STC!Sonic as a "callous sociopath with no soul", because nobody ever really talks about anything else but how much of a dickbag Sonic is in it.


    Which, I get and completely understand, but it also ignores literally every other facet of the character to zero in on one specific trait. That's grating as hell, especially for someone who can see more nuances in the character. And it doesn't help that since STC has no re-releases of any kind, this skewered interpretation about him is the norm.


    I sympathize with STC fans because they're basically outnumbered, but it doesn't change how I feel; you can have a Sonic who is snarky and cynical without him being verbally abusive to his comrades.
     
  3. Aesculapius Piranha

    Aesculapius Piranha

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    For both their most popular interpretations come from cartoons that show both of their flaws. For Batman he always winds up a loner who puts his war on crime before his friends to the point where nobody is skeptical when they make him a bitter lonely old man in Beyond, and for Wolverine he throws tantrums and is only really nice to a couple characters closest to him. It is just the story in X-Men in the older works is generally such where you understand *why* Logan wants to slice Cyclops's car in two and drive off to be alone or why Bruce Wayne would forsake himself and his friends to fight evil every moment he can. And honestly squeaky clean characters who are nice all the time aren't relatable. There is something appealing about someone who is a loner badass. Even circling back around to Sonic, Shadow has his fans even when he is packing heat. Iron Man was at his most popular when the character was unapologetically a womanizer and an asshole in the first couple of movies, again with only those closest to him (and the audience) knowing what a good person he really was in spite of his flaws. Honestly modern storytelling is so obsessed with Whedonesque perpetual unhappiness and flawed pettiness to where you have a lot of 'heroes' not even being lovable assholes and that is where it stops being fun because you start having sloppy characters that contradict anything you are supposed to like about them. Perhaps the most blatant in comics that comes to mind is Captain America's "Hail Hydra" panel, which was basically character assassination for the sake of a cheap plot twist. That kind of thing isn't fun. But an edgy loner who gets it done is actually pretty compelling.

    Also this. I think this debate was touched for the anime on when people act like he was a total jerk for not swooping in like Superman to save the old owl at the first sign of danger, when he does wind up saving both him and Tails which both gives Tails a chance to show his own character strengths (Which in itself is sadly very unique for the franchise.) and show off that Sonic is so fast that he has good reason to act aloof in the face of danger.

    I mean really can the people here acting like this is a bad thing point to a character they like who is always a paragon of their virtues?
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
  4. Adamis

    Adamis

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    ...you do realize I've posted the epilogue of that story early on ? That example is bullshit as Sonic calms down and apologizes a couple pages later.

    [​IMG]

    Sonic even travels to the Floating Island to check on Porker's well being.

    [​IMG]

    And no moment of introspection ? After Johnny's death, Sonic blames himself and exiles for a few days.
     
  5. BlackHole

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    He also gets shot and punched in the face, so there's your comeuppance.
     
  6. MrMechanic

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    So because I grew up with STC and also have spoken with virtually everyone who wrote and drew STC I.... Might be biased lol... but honestly... the claims Sonic is horrible is grossly over exaggerated and very misconstrued.

    Let's talk about "The Attitude". The reason as to why sonic has an attitude problem in stc comes from 2 key areas.

    1: He was literally marketed as "The Hedgehog with attitude". It was all over the place in the 90s. Especially the UK, you had Sega actively promoting the idea that sonic had an attitude.

    But we know that doesn't mean... bad attitude... well... insert the next point.

    2: Sonic is a teenager, and one who has fame and super powers... And it's gone to his head...

    At least for the first 8 issues.

    In the first 8 or so issues, prior to him being trapped in the special zone for 6 months, Sonic's arrogance comes from a place where it's a young person whose been skyrocketed to fame really fast with a bit of an attitude problem. There's a lot of issues where this is quite evident, there's one issue where Sonic saves a bunch of the emerald hill folk from a death ray strike and he acts quite cocky at the end and totally dismisses Tails, despite the fact Tails had just been kidnapped and nearly killed he is still able to arrive on the scene really quickly.

    Post issue 8, this 'attitude' continues, and it feels like Sonic is continuing his 'nasty' ways... But... One very important thing has changed.

    Fleetway Sonic, is now in a totalitarian state with Robotnik actively murdering civilians.​

    Immediately after Sonic and his friends escape the special zone and discover Robotnik is in total control, Sonic & the reader actually witnesses a civilian about to be murdered, this happens on more than one occasion following the time jump.

    Fleetway Sonic went very quickly from Sonic and his friends living in more or less total freedom, dealing with Robotnik as a bit of an annoyance, where they can afford to mock him... to literal death squads coming for them in the middle of the night (see Amy Rose's first appearance), and civilians being murdered because they're too tired to stand from being conscripted into slave labour!

    The world Sonic knows has changed, he knows that if his friends make mistakes, people will die. His arrogance now isn't because he's cocky and a show off, it's because he knows if his friends make a mistake and he doesn't come down hard or mock them in some way, they could die. It's the same kind of mentality you see in Drill Sergeants, they'll often mock or insult their cadets during training, but it's not because 'they're assholes', they want their cadets to be able to act instantly, think quickly, learn and think so they can survive without risking their and other soldiers lives.

    For nearly 100 Issues, this is the world of Fleetway Sonic, they were fighting a literal war, Sonic's attitude is coming from that of a military leader or drill sergeant. Not because he's an outright asshole.

    And... the comic is full of instances where Sonic clearly does care about his friends, both before, after and... after (lolz) Robotnik gains, maintains and loses total control of the world. In the example I gave with Sonic saving the emerald hill folk from the death ray? Sonic nearly kills himself because he's in so much pain from the strain of running so fast to save his friends.

    For every instance where people point out how horrible Sonic is (I see the Porker Lewis quits) strip has already been mentioned, there's other instances where he's clearly supportive of his friends (some of which already been posted here).


    But I've actually spoken to Nigel Kitching about Sonic and he openly admits that Sonic isn't a 'nice' character, and he wrote him to be arrogant and have an attitude, why? Well, for one thing, it makes him way more interesting, it opens him up to more potential flaws and makes you the reader more prone to questioning your own values as to 'what is acceptable behaviour' under extreme conditions. And you really can't deny, that in a way has succeeded.

    If you look at discussions around Archie comics, there's almost nothing about the actual stories or characterisations, it's almost all exclusive to 'really odd artwork', or WTF moments, quite often involving the weird romance plots... as well as the creepy Sally fans. With Fleetway, almost always the discussions are around the characterisation, would anyone even talk about this comic if he did just act like that Archie version? I doubt it, because he wouldn't stand out in any way.

    I'm slowly starting to see this happen with IDW. whilst it's only at 50 issues, following issue 50's release, most of the talk about the comic recently has been about the characters apparently not acting in character or different to how the expected them to. There was a lot of talk about Sonic's characterisation after issue 50, because shock horror, Sonic didn't act like people expected or wanted him to. Now IDW's 'quality' in terms of stories is another debate altogether (I for one have noticed that Ian Flynn really likes to borrow other peoples ideas a bit much), but would the comic be getting anything like the attention it has been recently if Sonic acted like how the fans felt he should act? Nobody would be talking about it if he were.



    Edit:

    As a bonus, there's a few strips of Sonic the Comic Online which were written by Nigel Kitching and the late Nigel Dobbyn. And a few of these actually do address the 'attitude' of Sonic, the one which comes to mind is the strip where Sonic encounters his past self and is disgusted with how he acts (Basically a fun Sonic Generations mock strip).

    It's quite an interesting read, not just for the fact Sonic hates how he previously acted, but because of how the character Johnny responds to how Sonic's attitude may have been the cause of his eventual fate.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
  7. Blue Spikeball

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    I also specifically quoted Nigel Kitching saying that Sonic was a prick in that scene because he cared about Porker and didn't want him to leave:
     
  8. DefinitiveDubs

    DefinitiveDubs

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    I am well-aware of that scene and I knew you'd point that out. It may seem convenient that I left it out, but the reason I did is that Sonic only apologizes because Porker saved his life. Which ties into what I said before that Sonic seems to only give a shit about people who are useful to him. Remember that one episode of Teen Titans where the guy hardened by war who's racist towards Starfire due to said war has to apologize after she saves his life? And the other characters are just like "fuck you, get out of here"? I would expect something like that to happen to Sonic, eventually.

    And yes, Sonic does seem to lighten up after Johnny's death, but that was seven years after the comic's debut during the final arc before cancellation. And I interpret that as less of a natural character progression and moreso the authors finding an excuse to lighten Sonic up, as a response to either SEGA's mandates kicking in around that time, or fan complaints about Sonic's characterization.

    I understand perfectly what the authors were going for, making Sonic more flawed and not exactly a "good guy", I just don't think it was executed with the grace and nuance that approach requires, and I chalk part of that up to needing to fit an entire story chapter in only 10 pages. And at least for me, that kind of nuance is not what I or most of anyone would expect or want from a Sonic story. If I'm reading a story about a blue hedgehog that runs fast with his cartoony animal friends, I like heroes to be heroes and villains to be villains (this is also why I can't stomach modern capeshit comics that make the dynamics unnecessarily murky despite the absurdism on display). That's just me.

    If you like StC Sonic's characterization, that's fine. If his attitude seems perfectly natural to you, that's fine. Just stop this elitist crap of calling anyone who prefers his Archie/canon characterization as pansies who like shallow stories, or hypocrites because they don't have the same response towards a series like Rick & Morty.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
  9. BlackHole

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    When did anyone do that? I don't recall seeing it...
     
  10. Aesculapius Piranha

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    I could point to things in that are canon in characterization (I've been replaying CD so I actually will post one.) where Sonic is a jerk to his friends but I think the more important takeaway past that might be that it is okay to disagree with certain things even in characterizations you actually like. That is called being critical. Then, with a popular character like Sonic, you then have to appreciate that people might actually enjoy the things you are critical of. Sonic has always been billed on his attitude. Different interpretations take that in different directions and mileage will vary, but most people like that Sonic isn't Tails, which isn't to say Tails is without fans.

    Anyway, for the laughs:
    20220719231544_1.jpg

    Now, they went through the trouble of limiting Sonic's movement so they most certainly could have changed Sonic's reaction from the annoyed wait or let you simply walk away to break free. Instead what ya gotta do:

    20220719231553_1.jpg

    The nuanced way they go of showing Sonic and Amy's relationship and how each feels is actually really amusing when you think about it from a design perspective with their limitations.
     
  11. JaxTH

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    Jack shit.
    Because most people don't want to have actual discussions about Archie when they can just go "LOL PENDERS" and leave. There were constant story discussions back in the day (Its only been five years since the cancelation but it feels like forever ago, but obviously more since the soft-reboot) but no one cares about that when a lot of people who were doing that only checked it out post #252 because they assumed Penders never left the comic until said reboot.

    A vast majority have never read Sonic the Comic in this day and age, which I liken to when Sonic CD was more obscure, and therefore its actual fans will be louder. I didn't like the art in StC and dropped it before Issue 20.
     
  12. Pengi

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    I think you're seeing what you want to see, if that's what you took away from that scene.
     
  13. pkderbar

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    My vote is this. Fans of Fleetway Sonic are wrapped up in identifying with that iteration of the character because it was what was around when they first started consuming Sonic media. In the US we had Archie and SatAM versions but I always rejected them because they didn't match my expectation of the characters from playing the game and reading the manuals. I fully understand why someone would choose another way if they felt a strong connection to Fleetway or Archie or SatAM.
     
  14. Aesculapius Piranha

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    lol whether or not that SCD bit was pointed at me, SCD blew me away the first time I played when my friends rented a Sega CD it and has been my favorite since and I still rank it with my all time favorite games up there with Deus Ex. It always made me sad that time travel never returned as a mechanic and only recently do I know that the teams were rivals and a lot of ideas were not returned to in the mainline because different teams developed them. In my case it was never a "wow nobody has played this and that is why it was good." I always wanted Sega one up it. Never felt like they truly 100% did even now. These days I am better at articulating why I like it but when I was a kid it was "WOW look at the cool cartoon intro and time travel! It has such good music!" I always saw that as the pinnacle I wanted Sega to top, and frankly always thought they would. Now we have Mania which is probably objectively a better game but even that didn't really scratch that itch. Fact is SCD's team just had a different design philosophy and mentality than Naka's Sonic Team. I think that Naka's philosophy won out. Now, if we want to talk about beloved because it was obscure for a time and why that philosophy won out, we can then start talking about Knuckles' Chaotix...

    More toward the topic, I think Penders makes it hard to compliment older Archie stuff because even as a little kid I thought the stories he wrote were kinda meh and the things he did that were cool weren't so cool I would want to risk even butterfly effect style indirectly fluffing his reputation and ego, and Endgame which while effective kind of left the door open for some mediocre plots and villains and I dropped it soon after, picking up issues occasionally up until sometime after the Adventure events, and just finding the mishmash of Adventure and SatAM weird and unpalatable. Archie had its moments and supposedly it was much much better with Flynn behind the wheel but as I said before here it always seemed like he was still cleaning up Penders's mess from what I saw.

    Fleetway I always took as the pride of the British users, and almost as a matter of pride when I was younger I refused to look at it lol. Now I realize that is kind of silly and would like to give it a go despite Sonic looking like a blue tree in more than one example panel. I'm sure it is one of those things where if you get into it, it is enjoyable.

    IDW sounds fun and the main reason I haven't been picking it up is just simply time and already having a backlog of comics to read. Thankfully we live in a world where TPBs are a thing so I will probably be collecting it in the not too distant future.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
  15. E-122-Psi

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    I feel as much of it comes down to the writers wanting a much more cynical, 'grittier' take than the candy coloured games implied. It was hardly just Sonic who had a mean edge, Knuckles was only moderately nicer and just as curmudgeonly, and kinda had a 'never my fault' complex about his and Sonic's feud, the Chaotix were routinely asses to each other, and not even in the 'VERY begrudgingly care' sort of way like Sonic (no matter how many times Charmy saves their life, they STILL hate him). A lot of civilians and one shots were dumb, ungrateful, complained about their rescues, or even Robotnik sympathisers, like imagine Boom's civilians without the ridiculous comedy as a pillow.

    Anyone who was actually NICE in the comics was either having mean stuff happening TO them relentlessly (eg. Tails), designed to be annoying enough that they're almost as insufferable as the jerks (eg. Charmy) or cases like Amy where they were FORCED to write them as likeable role models. It says something that Johnny, one of the few kinder heroes, was chosen to be killed off for being deemed 'boring' by the writers. :P

    I think it's just how some writers run. I definitely feel from both the style in art and writing that they preferred a more grizzled format and weren't that much for writing unambiguously 'nice' characters in a compelling way. I don't think writing 'nice' characters in a way they are still flawed and complex is impossible, but you do need to have your heart in it, and I definitely think the STC lot were of the 'nice is boring' mentality.
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2022
  16. BlackHole

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    Bringing this back as a reminder of the difference between British and American identities.
     
  17. E-122-Psi

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    Yeah I can definitely see the point with that. I mean, I don't believe American characterisation is as amorphous as Fry suggests, but we Brits definitely like writing our grizzled flawed assholes who fail to get any better.

    Like even kids storytelling, you can tell the difference in our original versions of Noddy, Thomas the Tank Engine and Winnie the Pooh to the Americanized versions used these days to appeal to worldwide markets. Heck if you grew up on the original Thomas books and episodes like me, it was quite apparent that Thomas was a rude selfish brat with a ton of snide a lot of the time compared to the sweet but kinda careless and bratty role model your younger siblings or own kids grow up on now. American writing isn't as fond of this kind of stuff nor as apt at making it still "likeable", we get cases like Callou that many American audiences abhor.

    Sonic the Comic I feel is kind of a vice versa thing, trying to translate the "cool" 80s/90s archetype but just not being into the idea of something like say, AoSth Sonic, a wisecracking kind of arrogant but still kindly role model that talks in hilariously cheesy slang.

    I feel like maybe one of the big roadblocks with STC Sonic compared to our usual format however is that, while we like assholes, they're generally guys that lose or make fools of themselves, guys who are still sympathetic by virtue that their meanness always bites them in the end. Sonic however still has to be a hero, the guy that usually comes out on top in the end. Sure he has Robotnik bearing down on Mobius this continuity, but it's less proactive of his own personal follies. In that sense, Sonic may still bother people because he still feels more "glorified" than he deserves instead of quite managing to be that 'unsympathetic comedy protagonist' that keeps landing on his ass. I guess it's us not getting the "cool" factor.

    Weirdly the closest to that approach might be Boom Sonic, given how in-universe cheesy a lot of his humour and attempts to be cool are and the fact a lot more stories than usual end with him "losing" in some comical way. Actually how popular was Boom in the UK?
     
  18. kitsunebi

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    I read through the entirety of StC for the first time a few years ago (Archie as well), so my opinions aren't influenced by nostalgia or partiality to one series or the other. I'm not going to waste time trying to prove that Sonic definitively is or isn't a jerk in StC - because as you all HAVE proven, that's an argument that no one will concede. All I can give is my own personal take, which is that yes, StC Sonic is sort of a terrible friend. He says (and thinks) a lot of hurtful things a lot more often than he apologizes for them, and I think it's a mistake to point to the apologies and suggest that he's a decent fellow after all -- he still says/said hurtful things to his "friends," and that hurt can't be completely taken away by an apology. If he was in a pattern of physically abusing his friends and then apologizing afterwards, we wouldn't even be having this discussion, but emotional abuse is also not something that should be easily forgiven or brushed off as an endearing character quirk.

    So again, just my opinion - I'm not interested in anyone trying to change my mind any more than you're interested in having your opinion changed. If StC Sonic is SUPPOSED to be an asshole, then mission accomplished, and there's nothing wrong with that, really. Flawed characters are still legitimate choices, even as protagonists. But if he's supposed to come off as a lovable asshole, well...for me, they missed the mark.
     
  19. Pengi

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    Sonic was intentionally written as an abrasive character, just not in a binary, one-dimensional way.

    Late in the series' run, Kitching felt that the strip had gotten stale and Sonic had been softened too much. In his proposal for what ending up being the final ten installments for the series, he wanted to refresh things by bringing that aspect of the character back to the forefront, and using his encounter with Chaos (where he gained green eyes) as a way to facilitate that.

    This is how Kitching wanted to approach the cast in the final 10 issue run:

    https://web.archive.org/web/20010502012517/http://www.sonicthecomic.co.uk/nigel10.html

     
  20. Aesculapius Piranha

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    Interesting thoughts. How would you say this relates to Sonic's attitude in StC?