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Sonic's Attitude in Sonic the Comic

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

  1. That's why it phased out over time. When Antoine became more of a heroic character, Sonic slowly transitioned to more lighthearted ribbing as opposed to belittling him.
     
  2. Azookara

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    It's just hard to imagine Britishisms working on Sonic when it's so clearly a amalgamation of American and Japanese influences, where neither of these cultures feature this kinda attitude in their cool protagonists. Abrasiveness is present in some American stuff and wistful devil-may-care stuff is obviously that of anime, but coming off sour and sardonic doesn't really gel with the formula a lot to me. It can probably find it's place, but it's a thin tightrope to walk.

    It also doesn't help that most examples of this wit working are comedies, and StC (as well as Sonic as a whole) is far more of an action-adventure series, so the kinda banter you expect from sitcoms, stand-up, skits and observational humor doesn't really land entirely the same. Maybe if the comics were more gag-heavy, but it doesn't really seem to be despite the occasional exceptions (like Marxio Bros, that one weird cartoon character everyone hated, etc).
     
  3. Pengi

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    Nigel Kitching created personalities for the Chaotix Crew whole cloth. Prior to that, Charmy was neither popular nor unpopular, the game was brand new and on a system that sold poorly. Charmy was written the way he was because Kitching liked to write character relationships with friction, he didn't like writing characters who all got along well with each other. Charmy's debut story didn't feature Sonic, the Sonic/Charmy relationship wasn't a consideration in the development of Charmy's personality.

    The series wasn't about friendship and Sonic wasn't supposed to be a role model. When he was mean to Tails, the readers were supposed to sympathise with Tails.
     
  4. Azookara

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    This is all well and good when you know what you're looking for (or actively want it), but saying this aloud should make sense out of why people don't really gel with it. Especially when most of the franchise is kinda based around Sonic being a good guy and the strength of his relationships with his friends. lol
     
  5. Aesculapius Piranha

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    It is hard to conform to society's norms when you haven't even learned them yet. Calling children sociopaths is a tad dismissive, but I get your humor. I know back when SatAM was around there were adults who would prefer AoSTH for kids or that Captain Planet be the most beloved superhero ever, but much the same as a kid will choose a candy bar over a salad or even as an adult might for that matter, kids will go for entertainment that has flavor. In SatAM the world was moody and grim and dark and the heroes were in a losing situation, but that is what made it so cool. You wanted to see the heroes overcome insurmountable odds in a world with danger, robots and magic. You wanted the slick cool Sonic to one up Antoine and impress the girl. You wanted to see the violent fights with Robotnik and the races won against him. But past all that you see the dank, polluted world and evil dictator that Sonic is fighting against and maybe think to yourself "that might not be such a good thing to happen in reality."

    While some kids may want everything to be Care Bears, most don't. Entertainment is entertainment. It doesn't need to be a constant idealist setting that takes no risks and does everything perfectly.

    I honestly never thought of it this way. I juxtaposed events in SatAM with Archie at the time and this is evidence Penders did too, which lol.

    Antoine sacking up in the comic was fun though because it was character growth. Made you like him more. Another advantage of characters not being perfect all the time.
     
  6. Fair on the consideration towards the game characterization, which didn't exist at the time. But the original point is that Sonic, the hero of the story, was considering leaving someone to their fate for no other than reason than finding them annoying.

    Even if that was the intent of the author, you're still left with the fact that the hero the audience is supposed to root for almost left someone else to die for an extremely petty reason, and even when he decided otherwise, he did so reluctantly.

    If people are fine with that, cool. But it really shouldn't come as a shock that people outside the European hemisphere would find that kind of behavior somewhat surprising for what's supposed to be a lighthearted children's series.

    Children want to be entertained, but you can still attach good morals to said entertainment.

    Id argue that this is why Sonic has endured for so long as a series. When you get past all of the coolness and over the top nature of the series, Sonic is ultimately a person who values freedom and friendship and hates seeing people oppressed. He's an idealized hero at the end of the day, even if he has the occasional snarky wit to him. Cool enough for the kids that want someone "edgy" but not obnoxious enough to be off putting to ones outside of it.

    Its a delicate balance to be sure, but one that's served Sonic well. You can't make him too obnoxious or too goody good otherwise you'll lose the appeal.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 21, 2022
  7. Pengi

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    I don't mind whether people gel with it or not. People can like or dislike whatever they want. But people are coming at this from some strange angles that don't reflect the reality of the environment the comic existed in.

    The fact is, in 1990s UK, the Sonic franchise wasn't based around Sonic being a good guy and the strength of his relationships with his friends. The slogan used in merchandise in the UK was "Hedgehog With Attitude". He was a cool and edgy '90s cartoon character for children, in the age of Bart Simpson and the like. There was no in-game dialogue to base Sonic's character off of. All the STC writers had to go off of was "cool" and "attitude".

    The UK comic industry was built upon mischievous kids for a young audience (Beano, Dandy, Buster et al) and anti-heroes for a teen audience (Judge Dredd, Tank Girl). Sonic the Comic fell between the two. There was no ingrained belief that British comic protagonists had to be good role models, most of them weren't, by design. Nigel Kitching, the lead Sonic writer, was interested in writing the series as an adventure strip with friction between the cast members, and Sonic as a character with flaws. This wasn't considered an incorrect way to handle the Sonic property at the time, and it wasn't atypical of British comics in the 1990s.
     
  8. The KKM

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    there's your mistake- it absolutely is a comedy. It's in the same tradition of lots of strips in a 2000AD, a Doctor Who Magazine, etc, and also of stuff like the Beano. There might be action and an action climax each story, but the structure of them all, especially the side stories that so many of these screenshots come from, are intentionally and primarily written as comedies. You're not meant to go "character mean in this action story", you're meant to go "ha funny mean gag in this comedy and oo look some fighting too".

    If it's not clear what the issue here is and why people keep pointing "you're approaching it wrong"- it's because the approach a lot of the criticisms and, I'll outright call them, often whinings (because they're based on contextless screenshots and not even knowledge of the comic), is based on the current day and ahistorical- "this is the wrong way to make a Sonic Comic nowadays for the modern audience tastes and expectations of a comic for children"- and no consideration for contextualising it where it should be- "this is the right way to make a children's action comedy comic in 1992 in the UK".

    You don't have to like it, same as you don't have to like a million other art tendencies that relate to specific cultures and moments in time- I certainly loathe the American need for schmaltz care bear bullshit, whether back in the 80s in its coyingly excess or nowadays where it's turned into preachyness; but judging their existence from outside of those cultures and moments in time is where the issue comes. You wouldn't complain Punch and Judy plays from the 19th century fail at being funny because funny means (insert example of modern comedy), because that'd brand you as missing the point and context entirely.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2022
  9. Shaddy the guy

    Shaddy the guy

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    So then, everything from the UK before 1999 should be not-funny by today's standards?

    Because all I'm really getting from this post is that you're admitting it's aged like shit, which isn't really an all-star defense.

    Frankly I think if the problem were as simple as critics simply not having context, this discussion wouldn't even be happening. Plenty of shit in this series comes across wrong without context, but it's only a recurring defense for StC.
     
  10. The KKM

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    If you find it not-funny, sure. So long as you understand the context it was created in and where it fits. Otherwise you look like a moron doing something like criticising a 1930s newspaper strip for being made of strips rather than a continuous story told over 20 pages of comic book. You're outright refusing to acknowledge a different cultural context, different temporal context, and different publishing context.

    But you know. Easier to just go for a quick cheap snark. What do you know, you'd be a natural writing dialogue for these comics!

    EDIT: Oh hey, you decided to add more than cheap snark.

    "you got to have the context" certainly is a defense that gets brought up in favour of SatAM, or AoSTH, or a few others. Things like "superficially eco-focused cartoons were popular as were Disney-knockoff designs" or "this is by staff that was interested in a revival of 1930s cartooning, so that's where a lot of the focus was placed, and it shows even better in this other different show that's not Sonic that some of these staff went and worked in later".

    I also think treating it as "it aged like shit" is just spitting in the face of multiple people telling you "this is how modern UK humour still is", but you know. You're American, that's a given, if we're gonna do it like that.

    EDIT EDIT: I mean, we're talking about what was the acceptable and common and expected standard for children not only not in your country, but 7 years before you were born. You consider maybe you should stop and think you don't know everything regarding this?
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2022
  11. Can we tone down the casual racism please? Its really not that serious
     
  12. kitsunebi

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    Wow, this is really turning into a case of "Americans (who did not read this comic as children) aren't amused by Sonic's douchebaggery" and "UK readers (who grew up reading the strip) defend it by claiming that Americans simply are incapable of understanding it." I'm not suggesting that there isn't more to this than a "stop trampling on my childhood," because there certainly is, but I do think that might be part of what is making this such a hot debate.

    But what's interesting is that very few people on either side are disputing the fact that StC Sonic is a jerk. There are just those that dislike the depiction of Sonic as a jerk, and those that defend his meanness as a likeable character trait, or else just a sense of humor too sophisticated for some to detect.

    I for one would never suggest that the comic is inherently flawed because Sonic is a jerk. I don't believe that there's ONE TRUE SONIC, so the StC Sonic is not the Archie Sonic is not the movie Sonic is not the "this game" Sonic is not the "that game" Sonic. They all exist fairly distinct and separate in my mind, and the defining characteristic of StC Sonic is that I find him thoroughly unlikable. But although that makes him far less interesting than most of the supporting cast (in my opinion), there are clearly other people here who read those same stories and split their sides laughing every time Sonic says something cruel to his "friends." And that's awesome for them. I honestly had no idea StC was intended to be a comedy strip played entirely for laughs, but apparently I was reading it wrong. I'd give it another readthrough to try to view it in that light, but I'm not really into humor comics, so I think I'll pass.

    TLDR: I think StC Sonic is a jerk. You think StC Sonic is a jerk. I am not amused. You are entertained. The universe continues on in all its wondrous diversity. But there's no need to attack people's personal opinions by dismissing them offhand based on the country they were born in.
     
  13. Dark Sonic

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    Lol funny Archie Sonic and Antoine were brought up, because later in Archie but prior to the reboot, Sonic was always a complete dick to Silver whenever he showed up, but that's somewhat justifiable considering he comes back like 6 times with foggy details, fucks around with Sonic and friends, and then accuses Sonic's friends of being the cause of the end of the world. I'd be annoyed too.

    I still love that scene where Silver says Antoine's the traitor and Sonic gets so mad because Antoines in the hospital recovering from Metal Sonic being essentially a suicide bomber. He then takes Silver by his fern hair and drags him through the dirt :V

    EDIT: And seriously people it's Sonic, why are we getting into nationalism and race issues and having like a cat turf war over this, relax.



    Even the dumbest of Sonic opinions like Sonic 06 is good don't deserve this much animosity.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2022
  14. Shaddy the guy

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    You're missing the point. You're saying it's OK to take issue with something so long as you "understand the context", but the context is not really in question here. This only works if you make the leap in logic that critics have a problem with the idea of Sonic being a bit of a buttface, rather than the material that was actually made. People are only having this reaction because StC already exists and they don't like its portrayal of the character. If people deliberately obfuscate pages and panels that would contradict the conclusion, then that's duplicitous, because it's altering what actual material they're consuming and being exposed to. But the StC I've read was unabridged and unedited, and I came away with this feeling because surprise-surprise, Sonic's a bit of a shit, and not in a fun way. There's no secret cultural or historical knowledge that makes un-enjoyable things enjoyable. Reading about AOSTH's origins and influences would not push it any further than a step above watching TV static, which is why I have never seen any fan use this defense.

    To be fair, you have to have a very high IQ to understand Sonic the Comic. The humour is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the jokes will go over a typical reader's head. There's also Sonic's nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into his characterisation- his personal philosophy draws heavily from sophisticated 90s British culture, for instance. The fans understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these jokes, to realise that they're not just funny- they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike StC truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn't appreciate, for instance, the humour in Sonic's existential catchphrase "I'm gonna kill your whole family you piece of fucking garbage," which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev's Russian epic Fathers and Sons. I'm smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as Kitching's genius wit unfolds itself on their television screens. What fools.. how I pity them.

    And yes, by the way, i DO have a Shortfuse the Cybernik tattoo. And no, you cannot see it. It's for the ladies' eyes only- and even then they have to demonstrate that they're within 5 IQ points of my own (preferably lower) beforehand. Nothin personnel kid
     
  15. SuperSnoopy

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    I think some people here are taking StC and its detractors' places of origin a little bit too seriously and it's starting to make me really uncomfortable tbh.
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2022
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  16. kitsunebi

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    Yeah, I honestly don't care one way or the other whether people prefer StC Sonic's attitude or whether or not they find it funny. People saying that they prefer Sonic being self-centered and abrasive to the point of being careless with how he treats people who deserve better is a 100% legitimate preference - not all characters need to be perfect, or even likable.

    What bothers me is when it keeps being brought up that only British people can understand British humor. As an expat living amongst friends from all over, I can confirm that this is a commonly held stereotype. But really, guys, you'd be amazed at how wrong it is. American comedians may not deliver jokes in a British style, but British comedies are hugely popular in America and people absolutely "get" and appreciate the humor. All of the video examples of British humor posted to this thread are indeed entertaining.

    But even so, I don't see StC as a humor strip. If it is...if it truly is LOL funny to everyone from the UK, well then maybe I need to eat my words. But...come on. Be honest. It isn't THAT funny. It's not well written enough for that. If it had been written by Garth Ennis (granted, he's Irish), I have no doubt that Sonic's barbs would have been scathing and hilarious (and R-rated.) But they weren't comics written on that level, they're comics written for kids. Nothing wrong with that, but it makes it really hard to hang an argument on "it's too sophisticated for you to understand."

    As an aside, when I initially did my complete read-through of StC, I honestly had high hopes when I saw that some stories were written by Grant Morrison-protege Mark Millar...but it turns out that his stories were rather ordinary and bland. Too early in his career for him to be interesting, I suppose.
     
  17. Azookara

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    If it helps any Brit/European peoples who are savvy for StC's Sonic, I'm not a big fan of when Sonic is overtly "American" or "Japanese" either lol.

    American media tends to make Sonic really obnoxious and quippy (see: DiC cartoons, Archie, the movies), and the more Japanese-heavy takes tend to make Sonic too soft, gentle and a bit too bog-standard heroic (see: X, the mid 00s Sonic games). And both of those extremes have the problem of leaning too hard on schmaltzy sentiment. Not even to mention how many of the American variations like to try to inject 'family' elements into the character, yech.

    And also if it helps, I can see how someone gets down with StC's Sonic when they see Sonic's mild-mannered attitude in the OVA, or SA1/sorta 2 (and by extension, how I've always perceived Sonic in the classics). But I just think StC takes the huffiness to an extreme that while palatable to 90s UK kids, maybe isn't so much elsewhere. As I said before, Sonic's personality at it's peak for me is like a tightrope act.
     
  18. Sonic has such broad appeal but there's an aspect everyone loves about it.

    I feel like these type of conversations wouldn't be so heated if we asked one good question;

    What is it about Sonic's personality that we like, and I'm not just talking about broad traits like "he's cool". What about him is cool? What are examples of this coolness and why does it resonate with you.

    The better we understand our points, the better off we'll be.
     
  19. Blue Spikeball

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    Sonic X didn't make Sonic a goody two shoes. It made him an aloof guy who was always doing his own thing, to the point there were times his friends had trouble getting ahold of him when they needed his aid against Eggman. They had to get him a mobile phone, and even then he rejected it, as he didn't want to be tied down. It was the dub and especially the Archie adaptation that softened him up. I recall the early Archie Sonic X issues having him reassuring the President that he can always count on him. A stark contrast from the anime (particularly the Japanese version), where he would ignore the government's calls, and Rouge spelled out to the President that despite having previously helped them fight off Eggman, Sonic wasn't truly their ally, but a loose cannon who won't hesitate to turn on them if he ever feels compelled to (and in fact did so on occasion).
    He also had outright jerk moments, like that time he played on Tails and Amy's feelings in a bid to stop a cruise trip he was forced on.

    The mid 2000s games' dubs similarly downplayed Sonic's attitude. Mainly due to Sonic's Japanese speech pattern (not to mention his infamous gratuitous English) being untranslatable to English, coupled with Griffith's deadpan delivery. Kanemaru played him in a more energetic and confident manner. Just compare this (3:50 mark) to this (4:56 mark).

    This is definitely true from my experience. If I had a nickel for every time SatAM fans defended its over-reliance on original characters based on facts like "the games didn't have enough characters back then" (even though they had characters that were ignored by the show like Mecha Sonic, Amy, Metal Sonic or Knuckles) I'd be rich.
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2022
  20. Taylor

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    Not a Brit, but my two cents: Sonic in STC is really funny to me and makes perfect sense in the context of an early 90s british comic. At the same time I completely get why people who didn't grow up with that kind of humor would hate it, and it's probably not something the franchise should ever lean back into. I think most other Sonic media has a more universal appeal in that regard, I mean shit, look at how many dubs AOSTH got :V