Cover art by Patrick Spaziante and Ken Penders
from a layout by Ken Penders

"Once Upon a Time In Mobotropolis..." finally answers the long-asked question "Whatever Happened to Queen Alicia?" If my former partner Mike Kanterovich and I had had our way when initially writing the PRINCESS SALLY mini-series, the original answer would have revealed Queen Alicia as the evil ruler of grotesque mutants living in the sewers of Robotropolis, all of whom, including the Queen, were the result of Robotnik's early experiments gone awry. Unfortunately, the person who was overseeing approval's on Sega's end over Archie's comic series didn't feel it would be right to make Sally's mom a villain, and so the idea was shelved until SONIC #58, wherein I made Antoine's father, General D'Coolette, one of Robotnik's evil lieutenants, a war hero who fell in the line of duty, and was rewarded with so cruel a fate.

As for Queen Alicia, I always had it in the back of my mind to resolve once and for all what happened, but I never had a clue how until I added the Floating Island and the Guardians into the mix, and then everything began to fall into place. Without spoiling any of the surprises, by the time this 3-issue story arc is over, it'll probably strike everyone how obvious this story is, although no one had ever suggested anything along these lines at any time before this.

Since the book is titled KNUCKLES THE ECHIDNA, naturally the title character and all of our supporting players had to be thrown into the mix somehow. As I worked out all the plot elements, I was struck by how events had a way of shaping what happened more so than anything I wanted to happen. For example, I hadn't intended for Knuckles to encounter either his father, the other Guardians or Haven itself until issue #25, yet most of what I hadn't planned happening yet did take place because the story simply demanded it. The same held true as I further developed the sub-plot of the treacherous Guardian who was secretly the enemy within, which not only affected how this story turned out, but also the upcoming storyline that begins in KNUCKLES #22.

As I finished writing this issue, I began hearing rumblings that penciller Manny Galan might be taking a break after the conclusion of this 3-issue story. When editor Justin Gabrie called to talk about it, we began discussing whose style would be compatible with regular inker Andrew Pepoy. More on this next month.


For those of you wishing to purchase KNUCKLES #20 if you're unable to find a copy at your favorite store, go to the ORIGINAL ART & MORE STORE for further information.

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