Cover Layout by Jim Valentino and Ken Penders
Cover Pencils by Jim Valentino, Pat Spaziante and Ken Penders
Cover Inks by Ken Penders

No, you're not seeing things. It's not a dream, nor a hoax or an imaginary story. (And to the wise guys out there, no, it's not a drug-induced hallucination, either.) SONIC and KNUCKLES and the rest of the Freedom Fighters share an adventure with some of the most popular Image heroes - SHADOWHAWK, THE SAVAGE DRAGON, UNION, VELOCITY, THE MAXX and, oh yeah, some fella named SPAWN.

I can hear the obvious question: Just whose bright idea was this thing anyway?

Before this project saw the light of day, I had been toying with the idea of approaching Mark Waid about working together on a SONIC-FLASH team-up. I had known Mark since 1986 when he was working as an editor of Fantagraphics' AMAZING HEROES publication, having been introduced through a mutual friend. Our paths would cross many times afterwards, including when he was an editor at DC Comics while I was interning in a special artists' program held in DC's offices by then-Creative Director Dick Giordano. We lost touch with each other for awhile, and during that time, Mark went on to become one of the most sought-after writers in comics, while I was enjoying creating the adventures of everyone's favorite hedgehog. Cut to November of 1996 at the Mid-Ohio-Con where I bounce the suggestion off Mark in a half-joking manner. In one of my rare lapses, I don't follow up on this until sometime later when I catch DC Editor Mike Carlin online and throw the suggestion his way.

Since Mike is in charge of all the Superman titles and one of the senior editors in the company, he has the power to push something like a FLASH-SONIC team-up onto the production schedule. Mike, however, turns the idea down for what I consider to be a legitimate reason: he'd rather see SUPERMAN team up with BUGS BUNNY first. Since both are Time-Warner properties, this makes sense.

Having worked in comics for over ten years by this point, I know something like this doesn't happen overnight, so the concept is put on the back burner until the right opportunity comes along.

Jump ahead a few months. It's now October of 1997, and Image co-founder Jim Valentino has expressed an interest in doing something on SONIC to Archie Comics Marketing Director Paul Castiglia. Paul talks to SONIC Editor Justin Gabrie, who talks to me and asks if I can find out what exactly Jim is interested in doing.

Jim has had an amazing career, always doing something different from the last project he's worked on. This time, however, his motivation is more than just a desire to do something different. It turns out his sons Joel and Aaron are huge SONIC fans. Since I can relate to this, having gotten involved with SONIC primarily because of my son Stephen, I start tossing around suggestions to Jim until something clicks.

I can't recall exactly who said what, but I believe I suggested an adventure where something happens to SONIC that results in him going to Earth. Before long, superheroes are mentioned, and it's not long after I suggest using some of Archie superhero characters such as THE JAGUAR, THE W.E.B. and others than SHADOWHAWK is offered up into the mix, thanks to Jim. As the storyline takes shape, permission is granted by the other Image partners to use other characters within certain restrictions.

Now, after long months of hard work, the results are finally in as the Special makes its way to comic shops the first full week in October. All that remains is for the readers to do their part: buy the book and have fun. And if we're really lucky, they'll want to share the fun with a friend. We look forward to hearing your comments in the weeks ahead either way.


For those of you wishing to purchase a copy of SONIC SUPER SPECIAL #7 if you're unable to find a copy at your favorite store, go to ORIGINAL ART & MORE for further information.

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