To those of you who follow Archie’s Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, you are most undoubtedly aware of the lawsuit Archie comics filed against Ken Penders, who intends to establish that characters and events depicted during the comic are his intellectual and copyrighted property. Needless to say, the backlash has been enormous, with many fans favoring Archie and decrying Ken’s actions as an attempt to rob the book of numerous beloved characters.
The past few months have seen an upswing in speculation, not just in part to the fact that Archie and Penders have apparently reached a settlement, but due to the fact that numerous characters of Penders’ creation had begun disappearing from the book. Many fans have feared that the case has ended in Ken’s favor, while others have noted that due to the fact that comic books take many months to produce, there’s no way the comic could have implemented so many storyline changes in such a short period of time (the settlement occurred in December, the very same month several of the controversial issues came out).
With the fandom rife with speculation and fear, current scribe Ian Flynn made a point to address the matter on his forum as best he could:
I expect folks to show some maturity and restraint. Flipping out, fretting and creating myriads of doomsday scenarios does nothing positive. If folks want to create a self-perpetuating ball of panic and gloom, they can do it somewhere else.
To boil it down to a couple of points:
1) Regardless of what’s going on, there is nothing the fans can do about it. What will happen will happen, and that’s all there is to it.
2) The comic isn’t going anywhere. The SatAM cast isn’t going anywhere. I’m plotting out the end of the Naugus subplot, short-term plans for post-crossover 2013, and long-term plans for years after.
There’s going to be some changes. That’s beyond my control and the fans’ control. You can either accept that with a modicum of decorum, or you can flail and panic. Only one of those options is going to be tolerated here.
I’m not asking folks to be happy about it. I’m just asking you be mature about it.
Needless to say, this has not quieted people down in the slightest. This is partly due to the fandom’s natural tendency to assume the worst. That said, it’s clear that this will not be an ideal scenario for Archie, and that the book will be affected.
However, there are other problems.
In an article reporting on Ian’s comments, TSSZ News’ Tristan Oliver claims that: “The flip side is that while the events detailed in Sonic #244 did not necessarily close the door on so many characters, these remarks almost certainly do.”
Ian’s words do nothing of the sort. While it certainly makes one wary, Ian never said that all of Penders’ characters were gone for good. This irresponsible type of conjecture twists Ian’s words and only adds to the kind of fear-mongering that Ian was trying to put a stop to. In fact, on Ian Flynn’s own Twitter account, he denied that he had ever confirmed that these characters were gone.
Am I saying that these characters remain Archie’s? Am I saying that everything is going to turn out perfectly okay? No. And neither is Ian. But TSSZ’s “coverage” has done nothing to help spread the truth, which at this point remains elusive. Any demands that Ian be more forthcoming on this matter ignores the precarious legal position upon which Ian and Archie now stand, while also ignoring the fact that he is but one part of the totem pole.
TSSZ’s words do disrespect to Ian, to Archie, to the Sonic brand, and even to Ken Penders himself. Long story short? Get your information from the source, don’t panic, and prepare for the worst should it come.
To my fellow Archie Sonic fans, I ask you all to help signal boost this and get the word out, to help keep TSSZ’s “reporting” from hurting the situation any further. I now leave you with additional words from Ian:
This was just a bump in the road, folks. A teeth-clattering, axle-grinding, tire-changing bump, but still just a bump. We’ll keep rollin’. In five years we’ll look back at this period and go “Oh yeah… that happened.”