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Was the 90's Sonic fandom in the west really dominated by the cartoons and comics?

Discussion in 'General Sonic Discussion' started by Frostav, Sep 27, 2021.

  1. Metalwario64


    I just want to say I always love deep dives and first-hand accounts of the history of the fandoms of my favorite media from a time where I was too young to experience parts of it (since I was very young in the 90s), and I appreciate everyone for the insight and the memories.
  2. Yash


    CHOCOLATE! Member
    One thing I'll say purely from anecdotal experience is that SatAM didn't seem to leave nearly the same kind of footprint that AoStH did - I knew about it because of the Internet and because my local Blockbuster had a few of its episodes on VHS, which is how I watched it originally. It was only after getting sucked into places like Sonic HQ and FUS that I really got more into it, to the point where one year for my birthday I asked my mom to buy me the full series that some guy was selling online on bootleg VHS tapes.

    (As an aside, thank you, mom and dad, for always indulging my incredibly weird interests)

    AoStH was a staple for the local syndicators though which meant that even around 96-97 I was still able to catch it on UPN, whereas SatAM seemed to fall off the face of the earth after its first run on ABC (aside from USA Network picking it up briefly). At the time if I asked anyone if they watched "the Sonic cartoon" that exclusively meant AoStH.

    Likewise I always thought it was interesting that in the Sonic Jam history timeline, they only make mention of AoStH premiering in 93, ignoring SatAM entirely. I doubt this was a deliberate omission, I recall reading at the time that Naka and the rest of Sonic Team didn't even realize there was a Sonic cartoon at all, but it does go to show how much more mainstream AoStH was by comparison.
  3. LordOfSquad


    bobs over baghdad Member
    Winnipeg, MB
    making cool music no one gives a shit about
    Helps that AoStH is approachable even if you don't know what a Sonic is. It's basically just less good Looney Tunes, even my mom didn't mind it lol. SatAM is heavyhanded furry drama, not nearly as generally appealing.
  4. saxman


    Oldbie Tech Member
    I came onto the internet in 1996. I remember a *lot* of Sonic websites, most of which were dedicated more toward the SatAM side of the franchise. To be honest, it makes a certain amount of sense to me, because Genesis emulation was barely a thing at that time (and I didn't even know what emulation was!). So there was less of an influence from the SegaSonic side. Plenty of comic scans and fan fiction existed though, but it was of course based around Archive and SatAM. There were cheat codes listed on some sites. There were files from CD media (e.g. Sonic CD for PC) that were shared on some sites. Info on the Sonic anime (that's what we all called it at the time) was plentiful (though few had actually seen it).

    I would say the following helped make the transition:
    * ROM hacking
    * S2 beta ROM
    * Sonic Adventure
  5. Yash


    CHOCOLATE! Member
    True enough - it's a much more basic premise, just Sonic and Tails having silly adventures. It actually had a decent amount of continuity for an episodic series, but it really didn't matter which episode you saw first (the first episode I ever saw was the first one with Robotnik Jr.).

    SatAM had a through-line on its plot that felt more rewarding to keep up with (for me, anyway), especially in season 2, but there's a reason that something like SpongeBob Squarepants is way more popular than Avatar the Last Airbender, for example.
  6. Antheraea


    Bug Hunter Member
    yeah like, born in 91, grew up on Sonic religiously...and yet the American comics and cartoons basically left no footprint on me as a kid. The Sonic OVA had far more of an impact in terms of ancillary media, but other than that I was pretty much focused on the games Sonic-wise, whereas with Pokemon I got into the anime and cards first and then the games (as renting a VHS is way cheaper than getting a GameBoy and game), and still saw the movies in theatres after being into the games. The Pokemon anime and TCG actually sticking to the games' aesthetic strongly helped that feeling of "that game you like but More Of It" more than any of the American Sonic stuff ever did, and like with American Sonic, those mediums had different characters and protagonists. The difference is that they at least attempted some form of cohesion as opposed to basically greenlighting professional fanfiction that might as well have been "oh no! Sonic has been isekai'd into this different world!" with how off it was.

    yeah like, there was initial feeling of "I want more Sonic so I'll watch this" and then it fell out of my head as soon as I was done watching. Even as a kid I noticed the disconnect between the aesthetics, and I didn't like Spinball for similar reasons too (its weird art style and usage of the characters I didn't really care about at all).
  7. Rlan


    I think the reason why Sonic got so big is that it just kind of exploded into literally everything out there - games, books, comics, TV shows, toys, anything you could shake a stick at - Sonic had a thing for it. In Australia AoStH was prominently on TV in the mornings for me, and I was kind of amazed when I saw SatAM later on (I believe it was on just before a TV show called "The Zone" that was a video game show I watched a whole lot)

    If you only cared about one thing in the series, you could like that, and if you liked all of it - whatever, take it all!

    I watched AoStH, I religiously read the Archie Comics, I bought all the Ladybird Books like "Where's Sonic?" and "Sonic The Story" and the Troll Books like "Fortress Of Fear". I kind of all knew they were different based on their platform, but never really stopped to think why they're all different.

    And the online community probably was one of the big breakouts in the late 90's because there was so much to talk about. Sonic Pandemonium was there talking about SatAM, Sonic HQ had a lot about the comics, the Sonic Stuff Research Group with the Sonic 2 Beta page, Secrets Of Sonic The Hedgehog and Jan Abaza's Area 51 showed all this cool, unused stuff, and the official Japanese Sonic Team site would have blogs about what they were doing, with wallpaper and tiny MOV files and everything!

    The best thing to look at now would be one of the first Sonic sites I ever visited - Andy Watt's Sonic page - which is still up!

    Especially the links page:
  8. ChaddyFantome


    I find its kind of overdone nowadays, (it seems characters can't go 2 seconds without mentioning chilidogs) but the sentiment in integrating it as Sonic's favorite food I think is a nice addition that doesn't conflict with what we knew about the character before.
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2021
  9. Asagoth


    Behold! The mighty, the flawless, salted cod eater Member
    wiki stuff... and a beer... or two... or more...
    "The Zone" ... ;) ...
  10. Gestalt


    Sphinx in Chains Member
    I have no idea what you guys are talking about, but I love it! :V Me also watched AoStH and SatAM as a kid, but you know, I also really liked Mickey Mouse and while I still liked Sonic better, you naturally notice a difference in the quality of their respective shows. Maybe I was spoiled by the incredible art style of Sonic 2, or maybe Disney shows were just THAT good. Who knows? In any case, I liked drawing Mohawk Sonic! First you draw a circle, then a little sausage with a nose on it... But yeah, I was pretty late to the internet and thus not part of any fandom until Sonic Heroes, so I don't know!
  11. God, some of y'all are pushing 40, that's insane to me lol.

    Born in 93, so I didn't even know what a SATAM was until my brother five years my senior told me about it. Strangely AOSTH seems to be more popular because that shit was on every damn day at 9am on Toon Disney in the early 2000's. Apparently it was rerun since 1998, which was crazy. Even Underground was syndicated until about 2004. SATAM tho? It was just....gone. For as much as that fandom talked about it, it was nowhere near as prominent in media.
  12. Mecha Sally

    Mecha Sally

    It is good to see the SatAM fans are still around and continuing the continuity, since there's a snowball's chance in hell of Sega ever giving the green light to anything SatAM related ever again. And I hear you about Sally being popular; she was probably my favorite character too. Hell, she's how I got my username a good 15 years or so before Archie made their own officially-named Mecha Sally, haha.

    The idea of AoStH being hated on is pretty funny to think about now. I think that show is more popular now than it was back then thanks to Youtube Poop.

    Ah yes, I remember There was also the Knothole Library, Knuxcom, Artail Productions, Sonic HQ (in its older forms), Tyro's Sonic Info Page... good times aplenty on those sites. I also remember a site called the Freedom Fighter Shrine that had some fanart of the characters done in a really cool anime style. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be an archive of it on Wayback Machine. Dan Drazen's site is actually still up (though hasn't been updated in a while), and I dare say his fanfic stories hold up really well. And I will confess I was one of those that also tried to establish my own fanfic universe based in the SatAM/Archie timeline. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately?) I didn't get very far, haha.

    Oh man, I still have the first two books shown here in a box at my parents' house! Had no idea the third one existed up until a few years ago. I also have that Play-A-Sound book that was set in the SatAM universe, but also added in stuff from the games (Knuckles, zones) and Sonic was drawn in his SegaSonic style. It was pretty mind-blowing as a kid.
  13. Wildcat


    Oh this. Never had it but love to have one.

    I had this. Golden Sight N Sound. Not sure I still do. I’d have to look for it. Pictures are from eBay.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    While we’re on the subject I also have this. I know I have the finger puppet and box somewhere.

    But I never knew there was a Sally and Knuckles O_O
  14. Official sally merch. Love to see it
  15. Billy


    RIP Oderus Urungus Member
    Colorado, USA
    Indie games
    I still have this, though the spine has seen better days:

    It had a weird a combination of the freedom fighters but AoStH Robotnik:
  16. Glaber


    Has Beaten Sonic Genesis for GBA Oldbie
    It's weird how just about the majority of SatAM merch uses AoSTH Robotnik instead of SatAM Robotnik.
  17. Who did the Sonic illustration on that cover? Looks familiar, like an archie artist, but I'm having trouble pinpointing who...

    Dave Manak and Art Mawhinney come to mind.
  18. Yash


    CHOCOLATE! Member
    And yet the one time they were seemingly going to localize Robotnik's appearance in one of the video games (the SegaSonic arcade game), they went with the SatAM design:


    Gotta love that commitment to franchise continuity and consistency!

    Even now when you see the DiC cartoons pop up on streaming, they switch around assets all the time. This, for example, is key art they originally made for a SatAM VHS tape in 2002:

  19. Xilla


    The UK AoSth DVD set came with a set of Sonic Underground stickers IIRC.


    So I waited to respond to this, but honestly, you're ignoring the efforts that went into branding western Sonic media on almost everything. Yes, there were clearly inconsistencies. But rarely did we see images of traditional Japanese 9-spine Sonic outside of the games themselves before 1997 or so. Virtually everything was 3 spine Americanized Sonic, from books, merchandise, toys, cartoons, comics, and more. Sure, SegaSonic would sneak through on occaision and the real 90s Oshima Sonic would be seen in instruction manuals and within game art itself, but the marketing forces were so strong everywhere else that a great many kids would either ignore the inconsistencies or not notice them. Sure, SATAM Robotnik and AOSTH Robotnik didn't look the same, but they looked similar enough that you still imagined that's what Robotnik looked like in the games until you saw actual art of Eggman, and that was rarely seen without the internet's influence.

    It wasn't until 97/98 or so that SegaSonic began to creep through more consistently, and then with Sonic Adventure everything got rebooted. Classic Sonic, for all the love he gets now, really was NOT the face of the brand in the west for most of its early life due to a large marketing effort to make cartoon Sonic THE Sonic, and it worked a lot better than many of you either remember or realize.

    This was Sonic as I knew him back then. It was that simple, with only the occasional Naoto Oshima Sonic being seen (like on that TV toy, which I do indeed own still).

    Finally, as one last point, you need to remember that, believe it or not, Sonic sold well, but the actual game players were only a fraction of the kids that were aware of the brand and character back then. As hard as it is to believe, Sonic as a character was more popular than Sonic as a video game character. You could watch his TV shows or buy his merchandise for much less than the cost of actually buying the games in many cases, so a TON of kids were either Nintendo fans who never actually owned the Genesis, but saw their friends as fans and experienced Sonic through proxy fandom, or their parents never actually bought them the games at all for years due to pricing (Game systems were even more of a luxury back then, and there was a huge push in America against them due to general conservatism that is often forgotten. Sega's Bad boy image also meant tons of kids new Sonic but weren't able to play the Genesis either. As silly as it all sounds, this was a common experience around my friend circles in the early 90s).
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