Finding a comic creator who’s stayed put on a company-owned title for more than a year is becoming a rare thing in the industry, while finding a creator who’s been on a book for five years is even rarer, and ten years or more…heck, that barely happens anymore.
And soon, it will happen even less, as long time Sonic the Hedgehog writer/artist has announced on his website that he’ll be leaving the Archie series in early 2006. Penders’ first Sonic work was on issue #11 of the ongoing series, in 1994. Since then, he’s been one of the major voices on the property.
The creator explained his decision in a statement on his website, which reads in part:
I've been working in the comics industry for almost twenty years, going back to my first assignment for DC Comics. Back in 1986 I worked for their WHO'S WHO IN STAR TREK mini-series; and, I can state from first-hand experience and the testimony of others that as hard as it is to break in, it's even harder to make a career of it -- unless you're adaptable. You can go from assignment to assignment and then, one morning, wake up wondering why there's no work.
That's partly why I became a writer, in response to having to wait for other writers' scripts that I was assigned to illustrate. I figured if I got into the game at the initial stage of creation, I could generate my own assignments. In the case of SONIC, it also offered me a chance to jump onto a book that was looking for one thing (writers) instead of the other (artists). You do what you have to, y'know?
What I didn't count on was ever staying as long as I did on the series. I figured I'd do a few issues and move on to something else at Marvel and DC. After all, working on SONIC back then was an issue-by-issue proposition. Even the publishers had no clue at all how long the book would last, hedging their bets by offering only six-issue subscriptions instead of the twelve-issue subs they offered on all their other titles. And when the original SONIC animated series were cancelled, even my then-editor Scott Fulop was pessimistic of the book itself lasting much longer. The history of similarly licensed-titles in the comics industry did not bode well for Sonic. It was at that point that I wrote up an outline of stories designed to take the series to issue 50. The culmination of which was the final epic battle between Sonic and his arch-nemesis Dr. Robotnik. All the while I knew there were no guarantees we would even make it to the 50th issue.
The only time I had any sense of stability was probably when I wrote the first twenty-five or so issues of Knuckles. When artist Manny Galan moved on to Nickelodeon, things seemed to fall apart. The book, as you know, was cancelled rather abruptly with issue 32.
After that, it became one long roller coaster ride, never knowing how long it would last. Finally, this past October, editor Mike Pellerito told me he wanted to make a change. The MOBIUS: 25 YEARS LATER 2-parter I had recently turned in would be the last story I would write for Archie Sonic in the foreseeable future. He did, however, allow me the chance to continue working on the book in an artistic capacity. I accepted those assignments at first. Then, while working on an assignment, I discovered that there were more pressing family matters as well as other opportunities elsewhere that I couldn't afford to turn down any longer.
So, the current Sonic-Shadow story line seeing print in issues #157 through #159 will be my last regular Sonic story in the series. The upcoming M:25YL 2-parter is my swan song from the book altogether. It's now up to new scribe Ian Flynn and others to carry the ball from here on out.
At this point, I want to thank editors Paul Castiglia, Scott Fulop, Justin Gabrie, and Mike Pellerito, along with editor-in-chief Victor Gorelick, and publishers Michael Silberkleit and Richard Goldwater for the opportunity to work on the series all these many years. And I must mention my appreciation for being part of a series that has meant so much to so many people all that time. My wish is that it continues to do so for many years to come.
Archie Comics Press Releases
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