BY MATT TUCK, BLOGGER SUPREME
FB@ The Comic Blog
Sonic the Hedgehog 2 is zooming into theaters, and with it comes a Sonic boom for those 1990s comics. (WARNING: SPOILERS)
When it comes to video game movie adaptations, the bar was set low long ago. Those of us who lived through the abominations known as Super Mario Bros., Mortal Kombat, Mortal Kombat: Annihilation (which made MK look like an Oscar winner), Street Fighter, and Doom groan whenever we hear that a game is getting a feature film. They’re not so bad that they’re funny, they’re so bad that they’re painful.
Given the state of video game cinema, it’s understandable that the expectations for 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog were somewhere between Annihilation and Doom. It didn’t help that the original design for Sonic was atrocious. Then the filmmakers did something unheard of: they listened to the fans and redesigned the character to reflect his gaming roots. Sure, the movie was corny, but between Sonic’s undeniable charm and Jim Carrey just being Jim Carrey, this quickly became the best video game adaptation ever made. Then again, the competition wasn’t exactly stiff.
How does the sequel compare to the original? By and large, it’s the next chapter of the same story. Other than the additions of new characters Tails and Knuckles, it’s virtually identical to the first installment. This time around, it takes more of a superhero turn with Sonic gaining godlike powers to become Super Sonic.
As an adult, I wasn’t particularly enthralled with Sonic 2 from start to finish. It had its clever jokes and numerous pop culture references that will make us cringe in ten years. The plot was simple and predictable, and Jim Carrey did his same cartoon routine. Then again, this was aimed at children, and kids will absolutely love this movie. From that perspective, it’s a win.
For comic collectors, the real win is in the key issues, and Sonic has plenty to choose from. On that note, let’s look at these five that should feel the impact from the new movie.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #1 (1991)
The first time fans saw the blue hedgehog in a comic was in 1991, the same year the original game debuted for Sega Genesis. To promote Sega’s answer to Super Mario, the company issued a mini comic starring the protagonist of its game.
For Sonic collectors, this is the holy grail, particularly those higher grades. The CGC census data lists a grand total of 113 copies on record. Of those 100+, 51 were graded at 9.8. While that may sound like a decent amount compared to, say, a high-grade Golden Age comic, having 51 graded 9.8s in existence is fairly small for a modern comic. That is why finding one will cost you, and the price is only going up.
With such a small number, it is understandable that the sales are few and far between. Two years ago, the only 9.8 copy to sell online went for $550. There hasn’t been a 9.8 sold in 2022, but 2021 saw two copies hit the four-digit mark. The first was for $1,400 in May, followed by a September sale that netted $1k.
The highest grade sold this year has been the 9.4, which brought $346 last month. The true sign of the time is the lowest graded sale on record, the 6.0. That mid-grade copy sold for $150 in 2020.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG MINI #0
Now that Sonic’s supporting cast is moving into the mainstream consciousness, there’s more issues that should have your attention. Here we have another mini comic, Sonic the Hedgehog #0 that presented the debut of Tails. If you have seen the latest movie, you’ll know that Tails is an integral part of the plot, and a new generation of kids are bound to fall in love with the two-tailed talking Fox.
So far this year, only a 9.2 and 9.0 have sold online, as far as graded copies go. The 9.2 earned $61 in January while the 9.0 sold for $75 a month later. Last year, three 9.8s traded hands online for an average of $305. The most recent sale was for a record-breaking $450 in September.
While you’re collecting Tails’ first appearance, don’t forget about the second Sonic the Hedgehog mini comic. This was only eight pages, and those were pulled straight from Sonic #0, but it predates the full comic by a couple of months. The sale records for this particular item are scarce, and the best I can tell is that these tend to go for around $20-$30 for raw copies.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #13
There is a good chance that Knuckles could be more of a hit with audiences than Tails. The dim-witted antagonist gets plenty of laughs in Sonic 2, and he is definitely coming back for the sequel.
What makes Knuckles so lovable was stolen straight from Guardians of the Galaxy. He is more or less a copy of Drax. On one hand, he’s a tough-as-nails warrior on a path of vengeance. At the same time, he takes everything literally and is oblivious to sarcasm, which is always good for laughs.
Since Knuckles is poised to be a fan favorite with a broader audience than ever before, collectors have been eying his first appearance in Sonic the Hedgehog #13. What makes Knuckles’ first appearance more appealing is the rumor that Paramount is developing a solo movie for the red Echidna. Before the first trailer revealed the CGI Knuckles, this was a $63 comic for a graded 9.8. A year ago, that average jumped to $307. The only sale this year was in February, but it still garnered a respectable $282.
SONIC THE HEDGEHOG #98
This is the issue that will soon find its way on many comic lists. Following the modern tradition of adding mid-credits scenes for new character reveals, Sonic’s next adversary will be Shadow the Hedgehog. He is basically an edgier version of Sonic with black fur. In the games, he uses guns and occasionally curses, though I doubt we’ll hear any foul language in a kids’ movie. Shadow had long been a favorite among Sonic fans, and his first CGI appearance will have collectors rushing for his first comic appearance in Sonic #98.
There hasn’t been a graded 9.8 sold online since a 9.8 brought $356 in January. Just yesterday, a 9.6 went for $260. As far as raw copies, expect to pay a premium at the moment. After all, a copy brought $200 last month.
SONIC SUPER SPECIAL #7
This isn’t necessarily a major key issue, but it’s interesting nonetheless. In 1998, Sonic had one of the most unlikely crossovers in all of comics. The Sonic Super Special #7 saw the kid-friendly hedgehog meet some of the heroes of Image Comics, namely Spawn, Savage Dragon, Shadowhawk, and the Maxx. It’s such an odd pairing of worlds that it’s worth owning just for the fun of it. If you want one, the raw copies sell for less than $20.
A WHOLE NEW WORLD
Kids’ comics are big business in the world of collectables, and the box office success means we’ll be seeing more of Sonic for years to come. Knuckles could be the first of many spinoff movies, and I would be surprised if we don’t see a cartoon series or two. That opens the door for several of Sonic’s supporting characters, which means more comics to target.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is a professional writer, avid comic collector, former teacher, and the Blogger Supreme. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog, or on Instagram at matt.tuck.writer.