Cover art by Dave Manak and Jon D'Agostino

One of the top three frequently asked questions I am constantly bombarded with is "How did you break into the business?" If the person asking it is a Sonic the Hedgehog fan, more often than not, they want to know how I landed the assignment of writing the adventures of their favorite character. Truth be told, I possessed the basic qualifications, I had friends in the right places and I was in the right place at the right time. In other words, it was the luck of the draw.

First off, I did have the right qualifications. I had been working in the comics industry for a number of years already, usually as a penciller, though there was an inking assignment here and there, and I had recently worked on my first script, which I sold to then DC Comics STAR TREK editor Alan Gold. I hadn't landed my first regular series yet, but I had come close on at least three occasions, only to see the brass ring snatched away.

Second, I did have a friend in the right place. Mike Kanterovich, with whom I'd known for several years, had been writing stories with his friend Tom Brevoort for several of Marvel's kid-oriented titles. Mike in turn had been friends with Paul Castiglia for years. Paul was then working on SONIC THE HEDGEHOG as an editor for Archie Comics. At the time, Paul was concerned that writer Mike Gallagher might move on to other writing opportunities (which he did) and that the approval process with Sega might delay production (which it nearly did a couple of times). So he asked his friend Mike to submit some story ideas.

Mike, in turn, gave me a call concerning the matter. He explained what Paul wanted and how he, Mike that is, hadn't a clue who or what a SONIC THE HEDGEHOG was. I replied that he was merely my son's favorite character, which led Mike to suggest that him and I get together and brainstorm a few ideas.

Finally, it was a matter of being in the right place at the right time. By anticipating that the key to continuing my career in comics would be to get involved in every phase of production, including writing, I was able to say to Paul I was an established writer when Mike and I submitted our first story ideas for consideration.

We submitted three story ideas initially, two of which saw publication in issue #11, the third of which was rejected outright by Sega. We had suggested doing a Sonic versus Mario take-off, but the licensing rep at Sega was adamant that we not feature Nintendo's characters even in a spoof.

Interestingly enough, at the beginning, we were told to just keep submitting story ideas. Whatever was approved we would then write the complete scripts. As far as Mike and I knew, they were only meant to be used in case writer Mike Gallagher's stories met with problems along the way. It was long, however, before we were considered the A-Team and guiding the storylines for the series.

On this page, I've selected a page sample from each of the three stories that appeared in what I refer to as "our debut" issue. All three of the stories were written by Mike Kanterovich and myself, pencilled by Dave Manak and inked by Art Mawhinney. (Art would later go on to become one of the more popular pencillers of the series.) In addition, Bill Yoshida handled the lettering, Barry Grossman the coloring under the direction of Paul Castiglia.

The Good, the Bad... Beat the Clock Food for Thought

For those of you wishing to purchase SONIC #11 if you're unable to find a copy at your favorite store, go to ORIGINAL ART & MORE for further information.

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