The Official Sonic the Hedgehog Special (1992)

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Trunks, May 19, 2018.

  1. Trunks

    Trunks

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    I've seen pictures of this book float around, and saw a bad blurry scan of it was online, but I decided to buy a copy of it, tear off the spine, and scanned each page in a nice high resolution for archival purposes. Hopefully someone else has a better context for the history of this book as I didn't grow up in the UK. It's a heck of a neat thing since all the scenes are great recreations from the game's levels, and the very bad mascot Sonic is a delight.

    One note, pages 13 and 14 were ripped out of my copy of the book, so the pages included are taken from the blurry scan. I cleaned them up a little bit, but it's not ideal.

    [​IMG]

    ZIP - Low Resolution JPEGs
    ZIP - 300 DPI JPEGs
    PDF - Low Resolution PDF
    PDF - 300 DPI PDF
    7z - Raw Scans in PSD Format

    Hope y'all enjoy the fruits of my Friday night's labors. And please make a backup of these somewhere, Mediafire has a tendency of losing things.
     
  2. 360

    360

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    Holy shit I had that! Nostalgia rush. I was like, seven years old or something and it was my most treasured possession for years. What year was this released? I remember only having a Master System with Sonic 1, 2 and maybe Chaos at the time? It was before I bought a Megadrive I believe and experienced all that more advanced Sonic glory. Even the front page of this is giving me flashbacks to my childhood.

    Super cool of you to scan this too. Thanks for brightening up my day.
     
  3. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    Nicely done.

    There is another question that needs answering:

    [​IMG]

    I was scared off by this a couple of months ago - the 1992(?) Sonic the Hedgehog Yearbook, which looks almost identical. I wasn't in a position to prove one of these was a reprint.
     
  4. 360

    360

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    Ah! I may have had the yearbook? Can't for the life of me remember which one as I'm only recalling the cover. I do distinctly remember the book being a hardback - so maybe the yearbook?

    1992 sounds about right as at that point I was playing Sonic 2 on the Megadrive at a friend's house and still had my Master System. Christ I would have only been six. #I'mGettingOld
     
  5. Blue Spikeball

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    Wow. This is the first time I see that Robotnik design, it looks like a transitional point between his original American design and his two DiC redesigns.
     
  6. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I believe this is the first known Sonic art by Nigel Kitching, who would go on to draw all the good looking stories in Sonic the Comic.

    And the reason I know this is because I read an article about... the evolution of how Sonic's back was drawn in STC. Which makes me question my life choices.
     
  7. Blue Spikeball

    Blue Spikeball

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    Now that you mention it, I recall seeing that comic ages ago during my STC-reading years. I must not have paid any attention to Robotnik's design when I went through it, though. Curious how it was never used in STC itself, which premiered after this comic. Do you know whether the design was created by Sega or by Nigel Kitching?
     
  8. big smile

    big smile

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    There was a sequel book for 1993 featuring Zones from Sonic 2, more Tails action (including a Tails only comic) and the AoSTH design Eggman.

    I was hoping that they would make a Sonic 3 book, but I never saw one, so I guess it didn't happen.

    The comic strips also continued in the News of the World.
     
  9. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I have no idea - you'd have to do some research.


    "Angry" versions of the Japanese design were in use during 1991 and 1992. I don't know when he got the circle on his chest, but AoStH didn't begin airing until September 1993.
     
  10. Pengi

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    It's Richard Elson. I'll see if I can ask him about his transitional Robotnik design at STC25, it's something I've been curious about for years. He drew Robotnik that way in the Yearbook, Sonic the Comic, and the newspaper strip.

    Interestingly, the cover on the yearbook has a slightly different design, with the "SatAM" style shoulder pads and gloves (but without the bare arms).

    Also of note is that both AOSTH and SatAM Robotniks had a + shaped yellow pattern with a circle in the middle. Elson's version doesn't have a stripe below the circle, making it more of an upside-down T shape (it also has the triangular bits carried over from the game design). This upside-down T pattern was used in Sonic Spinball's ending. (Sprites here: https://www.spriters-resource.com/genesis_32x_scd/sonicspin/sheet/60729/ )

    Notice that in all versions, the top stripe of the +/T pattern extends to form a collar. You can see this same collar pattern in Robotnik's boss sprite in Spinball. Oddly, in the Spinball boss this pattern/collar is black instead of yellow. And in the ending, it's white.

    During development, Sonic Spinball was working with a slightly different Robotnik design. As you can see, it still has the same basic outfit design, except the stripe pattern and collar are blue. The SatAM shoulder pads are there, but they're less pronounced, and yellow. He has the long gloves too. This design most resembles the one seen on the cover of the Yearbook.

    As we all know, Sonic Spinball took some influence from DiC's Sonic cartoons whilst they were still being developed, vaguely tying in with them. It stands to reason that these Robotnik designs were early designs for the cartoons. It also stands to reason that Richard Elson was probably given similar reference material/model sheets when he took on the job to illustrate the Yearbook, since he would have drawn this around a year before the cartoons aired and before Spinball had begun development.
     
  11. Adamis

    Adamis

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    Richard Elson, not Nigel Kitching.
     
  12. McAleeCh

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    Man, fond memories - me and my brother had this book when we were younger! Can't remember whether ours was marked "Special" or "Yearbook" - my gut says "Special", but I could be misremembering.
     
  13. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    I did not know this.

    http://sonicsundaystrips.tumblr.com/

    Who wants to be the lucky person who mirrors these strips on the wiki??
     
  14. BlackFive

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    I had been umming and ahhing for a while about making a thread for this, so this is very convenient!

    One thing that bothers me is that, everywhere online, this yearbook is either referred to as the "1991" or "1992" yearbook, in spite of the fact that the book is seemingly from 1993. The version in the PDF seems to be exactly the same as the version I have (except mine says "Yearbook" rather than "Special" on the cover, and lacks the price in the corner), so I thought I'd quickly list the evidence that it's a 1993 release.

    -On page 19, there's a photo of a Sonic hot air balloon that was taken at the 1993 Sega European Motor Racing Grand Prix.
    -On pages 36-37, Mega CD competition (as mentioned on the cover) has a closing date of 28th February 1994.
    -On page 49, there are reviews of Jaguar XJ220 and The Flintstones (Taito), both 1993 games. Both are listed as being currently available.
    -On pages 50-51, the model 2 designs of the Model 2 Mega Drive and CD are illustrated and described.

    The general naming convention of Christmas annuals would point to this yearbook as being the "1994" edition, released Autumn 1993. Grandreams annuals tend to be relatively hard to date, however, because they lack a cover year and almost never feature a publication year. Any years listed in the copyright disclaimer tend to refer to instalments of the relevant franchise, the usage of certain characters and the like.

    I'm guessing that the confusion regarding the Sonic yearbooks stems from the ambiguous copyright info given, which simply credits Sega with a ©1991 and ©1992, which I assume refers either to the releases of Sonic 1 and 2 or the usage of Sonic and Tails as characters.
     
  15. Pengi

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    The "Yearbook" version is hardback, whilst the "Special" version is paperback. In the UK, hardback Annuals/Yearbooks are a staple Christmas gift. You only really see them in November/December, then sometimes discounted in January to get rid of extra stock.

    So the hardback was sold in Christmas 1992. The second hardback Yearbook (with the AoSTH Robotnik) went on sale Christmas 1993. I remember that the second hardback Yearbook was made available again for Christmas 1994 - even as a kid I thought that was stingy, and realised that was the reason they didn't print the year on the cover.

    All of this indicates that the "Special" was the reprint, renamed so that it could be sold outside of the Christmas period. The 1993 Yearbook also got paperback "Special" reprint.
     
  16. BlackFive

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    Mine is the hardback though, and still has all the features which point to it being a 1993 release.

    Is there a version of the first yearbook which has different content on pages 19, 36, 37, 49, 50 and 51? At any rate, I've yet to see a picture of the cover which lacks the "Win a Mega CD!" on the front cover. Did Grandreams arrange two separate Mega CD competitions one year apart, just so they didn't have to change the front cover? Or was it one competition that lasted 18 months? :v:

    If nothing else I can imagine that the artwork for the first yearbook was done in 1992. Artwork for annuals is often drawn about a year before release, and it would explain Robotnik's transitional outfit and maybe even why Tails looks particularly off-model in the "Double Sonic" story.
     
  17. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    This can't have been a 1992 release - it specifically credits games with a copyright of 1993. And the European Grand Prix took place on the 11th of April, 1993.

    However, the six button Arcade Power Stick had yet to be released, which dates it before September 1993.


    Which means it was probably released in the summer for some reason, with much of the art, as said, drawn in (late?) 1992 (i.e. before Sonic 2 was much of a thing).



    But it's a very strange time to release a yearbook.
     
  18. BlackFive

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    I think yearbooks/annuals are traditionally released at the very beginning of September, sometimes late August, but aren't really heavily promoted until nearer the Christmas shopping season (I say traditionally, because nowadays they're more likely to come out in July).
     
  19. Pengi

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    Ah, you're right, I didn't think to double check all the other features. So the first book was a 1993 release and the second a 1994 release. (The second hardback was definitely made available again the following Christmas though.)

    I assumed Christmas 1992 because Elson's work on the Yearbook is what helped him land the Sonic the Comic gig (summer 1993). But Annuals/Yearbooks would have a far longer lead time than ongoing magazine publications. So the comic strips themselves were probably drawn before Sonic 2 was released.

    (I'd completely missed your first post BlackFive - looks like we were posting around the same time!)
     
  20. Black Squirrel

    Black Squirrel

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    And they can probably get away with that for say, a Blue Peter annual, where as long as nobody is caught taking cocaine, the content is going to be largely the same regardless of what time of year it's released.

    But with Sonic, huge things happened in late 1993 and the media was geared up for it all - two cartoon shows, Sonic CD, Spinball and Chaos, plus plenty non-Sonic Sega stuff (including the Mega-CD 2, which ruins that competition a bit). August seems a bit late to not mention any of that.


    My guess is this came out around May/June 1993. The "news" section is a bit thin on the ground, which is typical for late Spring, early Summer (before Summer CES 1993, in this case).


    The paperback, "non-yearbook" edition arriving a few months later is fair game, if still a little strange.