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Gotcha! Perfect Fleetway!


Badnik Mechanic
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Originally I wanted to do the following...

I am one of the few people out there that have a full collection of Sonic The Comic... that line has a successful pulling rate of well below 10% and will only make you cool to sonic fans for around 10 min... so don't try it out.

However, my collection is not 'perfect' far from it. Issues 1-126 are for the most part in great condition, some still have free gifts attached, some are not there but I have them in my house so they are for the most part 'complete.' The problem comes with the issues I've had to buy second hand, a lot of them are very damaged and just about all of them are missing free gifts. One issue has half of the post cards attached to it (nearly falling off) the others have... gone. One issue has the washing machine look... and some have a lot of damage that cannot be repaired...

bananaman.jpg

Banana Man is here because I wanted a picture to break up this big bit of text... Banana man is epic so he gets the job.

No matter who I buy them from, the damage is always in the same areas, it's a consequence of the cost cutting of the later issues, poorer paper, and heavy free gifts with sellotape do not go well unless someone is VERY careful with them. And I doubt that unless there is someone out there who is utterly insane, there is not a holy grail issue... that’s a perfect issue which has a sweet or edible item as the free gift still attached on the cover... gross.... yet comic collectors go ape for them... yet it's gross...

What I wanted to do, I originally wanted to try and find images/photographs of perfect issues, issues that still have their free gifts (attached or detached.) complete, with no damage. Issues that are especially hard to find are the later issues. Exceptionally rare issues are post 184 onwards, just about every issue I've seen from that number onwards to the end is either damaged or missing a free gift. Issue 200, I've never seen that issue without some damage... although I got a new issue 200 recently and I'm very confident I can restore it but it won't be perfect.

I know that someone on here has the final issue in what I would consider perfect condition, it even has the watch attached to the front. lol I even offered to buy it from her! I saw it at SOS 08... just as it was on it's way to be signed by Nigel Kitching... making it even more special.

What I wanted to do, was turn this opening post into a kind of archive and issue locator. Showing photographs of every cover/issue in perfect, or 'as good as' condition, with the free gifts, and simply have the name of the city that the issue currently rests in, also the owner if anyone wanted to do that.

But it would take forever to do that, and I think people may get bored.

So instead I would like to show you some things in my Fleetway collection that I consider to be either perfect or very very special... at least to me. Oh sure, they won't win any snooty 10 out of 10 scores from those comic book guys... but if someone who loves these comics as much as I was offered them in even a tiny part of the condition that I'm lucky to have them in, they'd be over the bloody moon!

issue1signed.jpg

Issue 1

This is issue 1, although it's not technically the first issue, it's not even technically the second issue. It's actually the third issue if you want to be insanely purist.

STC actually began life as a promotional issue, barely 8 pages long it had a couple of frames from each of the stories that would appear in issue 1, as well as a competition and a few other details. It was a free gift with other Fleetway publications such as 2000AD and a couple of other magazines at the time. I do have that issue, but it's quite boring to look at, and you can almost always find a copy of it for sale on ebay if you're patient.

However I said it was technically the third issue... the reason for that, is that as we know, there is a small comic in a Disney publication that popular belief is that Fleetway is based from... this is kinda true... but not fully... I came into possession of a Canadian comic which was simply entitled "Sonic the Hedgehog" is a very small comic, however it has the first Fleetway Sonic story in it, almost identical in every way. Everything from the positioning of the art, to the dialogue, it's near the same in every department. However, it also contains a few scenes that would appear in a later issue that would explore how Sonic was created, the brown Sonic is barely any different from the STC version... however, the greatest difference is Kintobor.

At SOS 08, I showed Nigel this issue and he practically gasped, he took it from my hands and began reading from it and started nodding, he said "Yes, yes... goodness... I remember this... this is what 'they' showed us, what they told us to work from." What’s very interesting, is that one character who appeared right to the final original issue could have looked very different. Kintobor. All the other characters look very much like their Canadian counterpart, the support cast such as Porker Lewis make an appearance, and he looks very similar... But Kintobor is the giant difference here, It could so easily have gone the other way and Kintobor would have looked very different.

Why I like this issue in this state, it's very close to perfect, there’s no damage, the free gift is there, it's signed by Nigel Kitching, and it hasn't been written in, even the Data Burst cut out is still there. But it's main charm is that it's the first issue, the rules and the relationships begin here, although Tails doesn't get a look in until issue two... But it's issue 1, who doesn't smile when they find an issue 1?

signedissue11.jpg

Issue 11

The reasons as to why this one is very special to me should be obvious, it's signed by everyone on the STC team at the time, some signed it more than once, some included my name, hence why there’s a bit of photoshop going on. But I adore this issue just because in it's own way it's a bit of a textual photograph of the staff at the time, every one of them who was at the convention that the original owner went to signed it (who also shared my name by an amazing twist of fate.) It's got a bit of damage to it... but when you have an issue this old that’s signed by everyone who worked on the comic at the time. You were one of three things. One of the comic staff, a lucky sod at the right place at the right time... or... just a lucky sod. I'm the lucky sod.

postermag.jpg

Poster Mag 8

There were 9 poster mags in total, numbers 1-7 are for the most part... common... at least compared to 8 and 9... these were the last two issues I had missing from my list. For some reason, after issue 7, a lot of newsagents didn't get their supplies of issues 8 and 9. Many people noticed this at the time, and it makes these two issues very very rare. It also makes them very very hard to find in a perfect condition... due to their nature (posters) many have damage from their time of being on walls... be it blu-tac stains, pin holes, sellotape marks, rips, you name it... Fortunately, the only damage on this one is the small damage you see on the cover at the bottom. The issue otherwise is in very good condition.

Why I like this issue... it's one of the few issues where Knuckles is purple.... and Nigel Kitching utterly hates it! HO HO! At SOS 08, I asked Nigel to sign it and he said "Ugh... do I have to, I hate this issue..." I asked him why, and he mentioned that he hated purple Knuckles. He also groaned when I showed him the poster and said something like "Not my finest hour... not by a long shot..." And then did a face palm... He disliked it so much, that when someone asked if he would draw them 'Knuckles' he said "Sure, but do any of these magazines have a picture of him for reference" He then started to rummage through Flyboy Fox's comics and I said... "Oh here’s a picture of Knuckles that you drew!" and showed him the issue. He looked at it and said something along the lines of "No! No! Are there any others! No!" and waved his arm at the comic. I laughed.

I really liked this issue because I think the story was quite good for a one off filler title, the artwork was pretty good and it was a classic Sonic Vs Knuckles fight which Fleetway did very well in their history.

stcscript.jpg

Fox on the Run Script

This is very special... mainly because of a long time I wasn't sure if it was a genuine item or not... When I found other examples of the signature and a few other bits of info, I realised that it was the real thing. This is a concept script for a Tails strip entitled "Fox on the Run" the script has survived the years quite well. Not sure what they printed it off, but it looks nothing like typical office paper, it doesn't look nor feel like it, nor does the ink type. It's definitely not a photocopy, the paper is wrong and there would be universal imperfections on the pages, and the ink type wouldn't be like it is. It reminds me a lot of a product made from a typewriter... only I can't imagine a typewriter still being used in the 1990's when Fleetway would have had a lot of word processors around. So it's a very strange item, the paper type is something I've never seen before, but the signature as far as I can tell (from my research) is genuine, and it was acquired at the same place as the issue 11.

Again, it's signed to me, lol or at least my name as the dude who I got them off shared the same name as me... again... amazing twist of fate.

So those are my perfect fleetways... I have others, but those are the extra special ones... Would anyone else like to share?

Edited by Casanova
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LOL, poster mags. I didn't even remember them!

I certainly have all the numbered, regular issues first-hand, tucked away in my Wardrobe Of Mystery at home - which, alas, is some hundreds of miles distant at the moment and thus I'm in no position to get scanny. I am also retroactively kicking myself in the head that I religiously removed all the free gifts and stickers and stuff from them (for ease fo filing)... but what can I say, the intricies of proper comic-collecting practice went over the head of a four-year-old or however small I was when I started.

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But the Summer Specials were great, weren't they? SO LONG. £1.95. A small fortune, back in the day!

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I might be wrong, but wasn't the free gift in issue #223 simply a pencil?! Unfortunately, I wasn't one to keep free gifts on the covers as I wanted to keep them in a neat pile (indeed my complete collection* is in two tubs in my bedroom), but I did keep a large majority with me - in a little box I haven't opened for two years. One of the free Sonic badges is on my work bag and is getting a little worn, but I don't care :P. I have a post #184 issue with some free postcards that I haven't taken off, but I don't have a scanner so I can't help you. It had a red cover - that much I remember. If you'd like I could take a photograph of it, if it'll please you?

I'm happy to say my issue #1 was signed by Nigel, but because I was 8 years old at the time (I share my birthday with the launch of StC and Nigel - 29th May), it's dog-eared to oblivion! I drew all over the Cool Spot advert on the back in pemanent marker! All the pages are still there thankfully. I also have issue #4 autographed (Nigel's first story - Day of the Badniks...he hates it!) and #223.

*#1-#223 & all 4 Sonic summer specials & Knuckles summer special. You could say it's incomplete as I only have 1 STPM and no issue #0 but i'll let you decide)

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I have issues 1-184 in varying conditions, all of the specials but only the first 4 Poster Mags. I stopped collecting them after full reprint but I do plan to complete it some day.

Issue 183 signed by Nigel Kitching, Nigel Dobbyn and Richard Elson (Rich actually sent me this, along with digital copies of a load of STC covers, unlettered).

This original page, drawn and signed by Nigel Dobbyn. Photo00067.jpg

A print copy of STCO #224.

And that's it, really =/. I need to get my fanboy on.

Edited by Stiv
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bananaman.jpg

Banana Man is here because I wanted a picture to break up this big bit of text... Banana man is epic so he gets the job.

Okay I will say now that I am NOT a Fleetway fan in the least. I approve of this topic though and that sentence on it's own made me need to fetch a change of underwear. People must end paragraphs with Banana Man more often!

I don't have much in the way of fanboyism collections. I'm just a DVD collector mainly. <_< However, I am trying more with Eggman related merch. Speaking of... Cas any Eggy posters in there? =P

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My God can it really be 16 years ago I first picked up issue 1 from my newsagents, This is such a personal series for me, (so sad as to i remember each day i bought the comic) I could always count on his series to take me away from school/family etc and be immeresd into a world full of adventure-action-romance (in Amy's world anyway) horror-sci fi-western and to me made better adaptations of the games than its american counterpart (they even kept Sonic and Knuckles bitter rivalry to pure borderline. Whereas Archie's Sonic i see as a more of an Indiana Jones personality I saw Fleetways as more of a Han Solo personality, cocky always rushes into a fight.

And chracters we had Porker lewis, Johnny Lightfoot, Tekno, Shortfuse the Cybernik (who was awesome) Grimer, Captain Plunder, Simpson, the marxio bros, Dr Zachery, The Drakon Empire, Vesper the wasp and a little shout out to a chracter who appeared near the end of the main story run Turbo who i really wanted to see more of.

This comic deserves more acclaim and will be remembered for years to come, It unofficially lives on online but somewhere inside me wants it back, I may be 25 and still collect the archie ones but those will never give me memories like the Fleetway ones did.

As an old friend said to us numerous times Flettway 'Live Long and Prosper'.

May 1993 - January 2002.

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