- Also known as a Birthday depending on the context; not to be confused with the in-universe concept of a Birthday
The Sonic the Hedgehog Franchise is, as of 2016, 25 years old. The Archie Sonic the Hedgehog comic books are 23 years old as of the same year.
Both branches have celebrated landmark anniversaries throughout the years. While anniversaries of the overall Sonic franchise have been celebrated through out nearly all Sonic media, including the comics, the Sonic comic anniversaries are usually smaller affairs exclusive to the comics themselves.
Below is a list of all the major anniversaries celebrated on both sides, and how the events were celebrated.
The first ever Sonic game, simply titled Sonic the Hedgehog, was released for the SEGA Genesis system on June 23, 1991.
10th AnniversaryCelebrated in 2001. SEGA acknoweledged the event by releasing the video game Sonic Adventure 2 for the SEGA Dreamcast in June.
Archie Comics dedicated the entirety of Sonic's ninty-eighth issue to a tie-in story for the game, released in the same month. The covers from issues 94 to 103 were adorned with the 10th Anniversary logo.
The main series' landmark one hundredth issue was also released during this year although, while its cover featured the aforementioned anniversary logo, the two events didn't coincede in any real way.
Celebrated in 2006, SEGA marked the occassion with the release of the less-than-well-recieved Sonic the Hedgehog (2006).
The Sonic X comic ran a storyline in issues 10 and 11 (released in the summer) titled "No Thanks for the Memories", in which Eggman trapped Sonic and his friends inside a virtual reality world based directly upon the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game on the SEGA Genesis.
It was also during this year that Archie launched the Sonic Archives graphic novel series (in November) which were stated as being to coincide with the anniversary. The first two volumes had the anniversary logo adorning their covers in the their original printing.
For the two-decade anniversary celebrated in 2011, SEGA released Sonic Generations, the first anniversary game to truly pay homage to Sonic's past.
Archie took part in the celebrations in a considerably more hands-on way than the previous ones. The most noteable contribution being the "Genesis" story arc which in turn coinceded with the main series landmark two hundred and twenty-fifth issue. In this arc, Doctor Eggman launched the first ever Genesis Wave upon the comics Prime Zone, which rewrote all of reality into a world heavily resembling the early Sonic video games. In this new world, Sonic the Hedgehog and the Knothole Freedom Fighters embarked on an adventure that adapted the first two SEGA Genesis games, in order to eventually reverse what had been done to their world. The arc concluded with an epilogue story in issue 230, said issue also included a comic book tie-in story to the aforementioned Sonic Generations, which occurred outside of the main comic continuity in the Another Time, Another Place reality. The "Genesis" story arc proved so popular that it was later compiled into its own hardcover graphic novel the following year.
Other ways inwhich Archie marked the event was with the release of the short-lived Sonic Legacy graphic novel series (November), which acted as oversized omnibuses of the Sonic Archives series printed entirly in black and white, in a similar vein to DC Comics' Showcase and Marvel Comics' Essentials graphic novels.
The year also saw the November debut of the Sonic Super Special Magazine, which featured comic stories (most of which were reprints of past stories) and news and features about the comics and the Sonic video games.
All four issues of the "Genesis" saga, as well as the prologue and epilogue issues, were adorned with the official 20th Anniversary logo, as was the first issue of the Super Special Magazine.
Currently being celebrated, SEGA announced two new games specifically celebrating the anniversary: a new 2D game titled Sonic Mania and a brand new 3D title tentatively named Sonic Project 2017. Both game are not set for release until 2017 however.
Archie once again marked the event in a veriety of ways. First was with the release of a special one-shot comic titled Sonic: Mega Drive, released in July, featuring an all-new story starring the classic incarnations of the Sonic characters. Due to the overwhelming reception to the comics' announcement, a sequal, Sonic: Mega Drive- The Next Level was released in November of the same year, with a third and final installment, Sonic: Mega Drive - Overdrive, is set to be released in 2017. The original Mega Drive became the first ever Archie Sonic title to sell out upon its release, prompting a second printing (with an altered cover) released in August.
In addition, the main Sonic comic series also ran a four-part story titled "Genesis of a Hero" starting from issue 288, which retold selections of the original Sonic the Hedgehog video game trilogy and Sonic CD, taking place within the past of the comics Post-Super Genesis Wave Timeline. At this time, only the first three chapters have been released, with the final chapter, and the comic series as a whole, on an indefinite hiatus.
The 25th Anniversary logo adorned the covers of all three one-shots and the issues that made up the "Genesis of a Hero" arc.
Although the Archie Sonic comics truly began in November 1992 with the launch of the Original Sonic Miniseries, May 1993 (where the ongoing series launched) is regarded as the official anniversary of the series.
The comics tenth anniversary, which occured in 2003, coinceded with the main series' landmark one hundred and twenty-fifth issue (released in July). The issue was promoted as an "anniversary issue", which included a special message from former Sonic Team director Yuji Naka on the final page.
Later in the year, Archie also released the Sonic the Hedgehog: The Beginning graphic novel, which collected all four issues of the Original Sonic Miniseries. In 2009, the book was rebranded into Volume 0 of the Sonic Archives graphic novel series and was condensed into a small size to match the other volumes.
The 15th anniversary, which occurred in 2008, was never directly acknoweledged by Archie. Although, it's worth noting that the Free Comic Book Day issue for that year was a full reprinting of the main series' first issue, complete with reimagined cover art by Patrick Spaziante. Free Comic Book Day annually falls in the month of May which, in 2008, was the comics 15th anniversary month.
Celebrated in 2013, the comics two-decade anniversary was somewhat unfortunate for falling in the year in which the comic was forced into a reboot due to legal problems behind the scenes.
Nonetheless, Archie still made sure to celebrate in any way they still could. The anniversary fell within the four-month-long Worlds Collide crossover event with Archies still reletively young Mega Man comic book series (based on the Capcom video game franchise of the same name which, at the time, was finishing up its own 25th anniversary year). Included in the crossover was the main Sonic comics landmark two hundred and fiftieth issue, released just two months after the comics anniversary. While the overall glut of the issue was dedicated more to the ninth chapter of the crossover, the fact that it was an extended 48-page issue allowed for plenty of room to include other features to celebrate, including an afterword by head writer Ian Flynn and a page full of specially written messages by other members of the comics creative team.
The legal problems the comics faced at the time, which ultimately forced the comic to reboot into a new continuity, had the unfortunate side-effect of marring the celebrations. For instance, there where at least two instances in which the first issue of the main series was planned to be reprinted, but these ended up never coming to pass.
- So far, every main series landmark issue that has fallen within a milestone anniversary year has fallen in one with a number ending in "0":
- For franchise anniversaries, issues 100 and 225 fell within the 10th and 20th anniversaries respectively.
- For comic anniversaries, issues 125 and 250 fell within the 10th and 20th anniversaries respectively.
- In recent years, Sonic Universe landmark issues have also been following this trend (primarily due to the fact that Universe landmarks always occur around just four months before a main series landmark); issues 25 and 50 fell with the franchises and comics respective 20th anniversaries.