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Re: And Straight On 'Til Sunset

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  • Nigel Kitching
    Thanks Ed. My Sonic years were great. I was very privileged to find myself in such a position. I was chatting to Richard Elson today and we were having a good
    Message 1 of 35 , Jan 9, 2002
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      Thanks Ed.

      My Sonic years were great. I was very privileged to find myself in such a

      I was chatting to Richard Elson today and we were having a good old laugh
      about the stuff we used to work on together.

      Here's the full version of my farewell piece. I don't know what Steve
      printed in the end - Fleetway have stopped sending me copies.

      I don't suppose there's anyone out there who can get hold of the last three
      issues for me... It kind of bothers me that I'm missing these issues from my
      collection. They did contain my work for goodness sake.

      Anyway, for those who are interested here's the full and unedited version of
      my piece from the final issue:

      SONIC THE COMIC #200


      By Nigel Kitching 19/12/00

      (Steve - we'll probably need a little introduction as to who I am - it seems
      unreasonable to suppose that everyone pays attention to the credits.)

      The first issue of Sonic The Comic was dated 29 May 1993. This just happens
      to be my birthday and I've always felt it was an omen of some kind. But omen
      or not, I would never have guessed that I would end up writing the
      adventures of the cool blue hedgehog for around seven years.

      My first story appeared in issue 4 and, to be honest, it was a fairly
      ordinary little adventure involving a Sonic-shaped Badnik. And I'm back
      again in 6 with another pretty unremarkable tale of Sonic attacking the
      Death Egg. These first two stories did have little touches I liked; Sonic's
      and Tails' relationship was quite interesting. I remember wondering if I
      could get away with having Sonic treat Tails quite badly, I wanted Sonic to
      be a flawed hero. I also made an effort to have my stories be pretty serious
      rather than humorous. I knew that the readers took Sonic seriously, no
      matter how cute he may have looked. Cute or not he was still the hero.

      But after my first two stories, one thing had become frighteningly obvious
      to me - I had no more ideas for Sonic. Writing this strip for any period of
      time was going to be impossible.

      But just in time a couple of things happened. The first was I had a meeting
      with the Editor, Richard Burton, where we talked about a new direction for
      Sonic in which Robotnik would become the dictator of Mobius and Sonic would
      form a gang of freedom fighters. Suddenly the possibility of far more
      interesting stories presented itself.

      The second thing was the arrival of the artist Richard Elson. Without Rich I
      don't think we'd have had anything like the success that we did. But I'll
      come back to that later.

      So my next stories appeared in issues 7 to 10, all drawn by Rich, and for
      the first time I'm starting to see how this could develop into something
      really interesting. The art was fantastic - Sonic really moved and the
      stories looked really exciting. We were on a roll. Or so it seemed.

      Between issues 11 and 18 I only turned up as writer once. And that story was
      one of the worst I have ever written. None of these stories had anything to
      do with the new direction the Editor and I had discussed. It looked like it
      was all going to go wrong - or at least it was for me. The majority of the
      stories in these early issues were by Mark Millar. Mark is a fine writer
      but he was writing Sonic in quite a different way than I was interested in.

      I was back in issue 18 and Rich was with me. By now Rich and I were becoming
      good friends and I'd got into the habit of telephoning him before I began my
      writing. I did this for two reasons; the first was to try to tailor my story
      to his interests - there's nothing worse than being given a script full of
      stuff you hate to draw. The second reason was so that we could talk about
      ideas - lots of the ideas in my scripts I would never have been able to come
      up with, without having Rich to chat with. In fact some of the ideas were
      entirely down to Rich. So, after a couple of false starts, Rich and I were
      off, working as a team and producing stuff that, I think, we were both
      pretty proud of.

      Over the next ten issues or so we really hit our stride. We introduced new
      characters like the Marxio Brothers and Captain Plunder, and we also brought
      in more characters from the games such as Amy and Metal Sonic (whom we named
      Metallix). The Metallix story featured Sonic time-travelling into the future
      to save himself, which still confuses me when I think about it even now. I
      was told by the Editor that this was about as complicated as I should get.
      Still, I'll bet our readers had no problems at all. The Metallix story
      stretched over five issues - I'd been pushing for longer stories for a while
      and this was my chance to prove they would be popular.

      Lew Stringer arrived on the Sonic strip with issue 30. Lew used my
      continuity but found his own way of doing things by populating the strip
      with his own characters like Metamorphia and Shortfuse. Shortfuse was
      probably the most popular character that anyone created for the Sonic strip
      and he made many appearances.

      The next step was to introduce Knuckles which Rich and I did in issue 33.
      This was another nice long run of connected stories that led up to issue 39.
      In these issues I must have been asked to write a one-off seven page story -
      I tried my best but, I've got to be honest, "Sonic No More" was a bit of a

      But things improved with the next story - a loose adaptation of the latest
      Sonic game "Sonic And Knuckles", lots of Badniks, islands in the sky and
      Chaos Emeralds. From meeting the fans at conventions I know that this went
      down very well.

      Now we came to the Brotherhood of Metallix story. I had a lot of fun with
      this one. The basic idea was that the Metallix built more robots like
      himself and turned on his master, Robotnik. This was a long story in two
      segments; in between was a four-parter, "Project Brutus", by Lew. This
      turned out to be one of Lew's most popular.

      The Metallix story wound up being ten parts long. It brought in Chaotix and
      more time travel. All in all it was quite an epic. It was never planned to
      be ten parts; this took a lot of negotiating on my part and a lot of trust
      on the part of my Editor who was, by this time, Deborah Tate.

      Following this was a bunch of one-off stories but this time I seemed to cope
      with them better. In fact a couple of these, "Smokey And The Badnik" and
      "The Big Decision", I'm rather proud of. The second of these stories was
      about Porker Lewis basically having a nervous breakdown. One of the things
      that was always at the back of my mind when I wrote Sonic was that we should
      show some of the consequences of constantly being at war with Robotnik.
      Every now and again we needed to have something happen that really affected
      the heroes.

      I must have been persuasive around this time because I managed to get
      another big story to write. Issue 80 has the first part of "Running Wild"
      and these three parts plus the following three part "Heroes And Villains"
      make up one of my favourite stories, involving Sonic being split into two
      characters - himself and his evil demon-self, Super Sonic. Rich had a big
      input into this. I don't always remember who thought of which idea but I
      clearly remember it was Rich's idea to have Sonic split this way. He also
      supplied an array of supporting villains for whom I only had to make up

      We were now rapidly heading towards issue 100. I was writing my epics and
      Lew was finding a way of writing his own brand of Sonic adventures. I
      wanted issue 100 to be something special, not just a big story but something
      that really changed the set-up.

      When you have a winning formula, it's tempting, very tempting, not to mess
      with it. But I was really beginning to feel it was time to risk shaking
      things up a little. It had always bothered me that, no matter how many times
      Sonic won, Robotnik was still in power, he still remained as the dictator of
      Mobius. Maybe it was time to change that.

      So in issue 100 Sonic finally beat Robotnik. Lew and I pulled all the other
      Sonic related strips into the plot and came up with one story that filled
      the entire issue. Two writers and four artists all working on the same story
      was a bit of a nightmare but it worked out really well. Deb even let me draw
      the final part of the story. It wasn't a classic piece of art but I got away
      with it.

      The next big story from me and Rich involved our creation, The Drakon
      Empire. In hindsight, my ideas for the Drakon Empire might have been a bit
      too ambitious. Also I was finding it harder to talk Deb into giving me
      longer stories. Still we got a few stories out of the characters that I'm
      very pleased with. The Drakon Empire became the major villains and Robotnik
      was put into a position of having to try to manipulate them. He almost
      succeeded when he tricked them into getting the Chaos Emeralds for him. He
      used the Chaos power to become a god but, of course, it all went horribly

      What followed was a string of shorter stories while I thought about the next
      big event. I'm not putting down the shorter stories, you need them in a
      long-running series like Sonic. But I must confess, coming up with grand
      ideas is what I really enjoy.

      Next was a series of stories set in a new world called Shanazar. This was
      quite a long run and I find, as I now look back at these issues, I'm not
      sure how successful it really was. It may have been good but I'm really not
      sure. The idea was to have a new environment for Sonic and to set stories
      within it. I suspect now that a lot of the fans would have really rather
      seen Sonic on Mobius.

      As it turned out, I wasn't going to have to worry about what to do with
      Sonic for quite a while as issue 157 was going to be my last. I did
      eventually return as all true STC fans know, but for the time being Sonic
      was all Lew's. Why I left and how I came to return is a dark secret known
      only to a chosen few. Will the true facts ever be revealed? And if they are,
      will anybody care? Probably not.

      In the issues that followed Lew gave us his version of the Sonic character
      without having to worry about what I was doing with the character. Lew had
      always written Sonic stories since way back in issue 30. All the time I was
      doing my epics, Lew was writing his own stories. Lew found his own way of
      doing things, adding his own characters and coming up with stories that were
      a nice contrast to my stuff. I've mainly talked about my own stuff here
      because, basically, that's what I remember best.

      But now Lew had the strip all to himself and he gave us a whole series of
      different characters and situations culminating in "Game Over", which I
      think is one of Lew's best.

      The break from Sonic probably did me good. I came back to the comic
      determined to do something really dramatic and memorable. Luckily the new
      Editor, Andy Diggle, was up for it and he asked me for ideas for ten issues.
      I'd never been given this much space before and, for the first time, I was
      able to really plan in advance. The most controversial idea I had was to
      kill Johnny Lightfoot. I had nothing against Johnny, you understand, I just
      wanted to do a story where one of the heroes doesn't make it. As I was
      saying before, if you spend your time in a war, there are going to be

      This was the darkest Sonic story so far. The Chaos monster was scary and
      Sonic was in real trouble. The plot was very loosely based on the latest
      Sonic game but most of what actually happened was from me and Rich. I got to
      do a lot of things that I'd always wanted to. I was particularly pleased to
      finally show where Knuckles came from and his ancient race of echidnas. I
      also finally tied up the loose ends regarding Super Sonic.

      That ten part story was a great way to wind up my seven years with the
      hedgehog and I'm very grateful that I got the chance.

      And now we've reached issue 200. That's really an extraordinary achievement
      and I'm proud to have played my part in that success. And you guys should
      all be proud of your part in it too. It's an old cliché, but we couldn't
      have done it without you. When we began, people were saying we'd last two
      years - and those were the optimistic ones.

      If you want to check out more about STC (and you have a connection to the
      internet) try STEM - Sonic The Electronic Magazine. You'll find them at:
      www.sonicthecomic.co.uk. As well as covers and details about future stories,
      character files and visitor polls, there's interviews and features from me,
      Richard Elson, Lew Stringer, Alan McKenzie and, who knows, maybe more to
    • dhdirk3
      ... I m on his bad side now... I think I ll have to padlock my door if I go to Teeside....
      Message 35 of 35 , Jan 26, 2002
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        LFletch87@... wrote:

        > Nigel:
        > > > I'm gonna get killed now, aren't I? ;-)
        > >
        > > Oh yes...
        > >
        > > Your name goes on the list.
        > I'm at a loss as far as saying anything witty goes, right now so.......damn.

        I'm on his bad side now... I think I'll have to padlock my door if I go to
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