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The Lara-Su Chronicles and Ken Penders topic - READ PAGE 164, POST 4096

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So I poked my head in and decided to clean up the last few posts. Nobody is in trouble, but I'd like to reiterate the point that horridus had brought up about not commenting on Penders's fans/family/whatnot.

Please just focus on his work and whether or not it's even coming out at this point (I'm not holding my breath and I stopped caring about a year ago). I don't think the thread is in any danger, since I don't think we've had a reason to put it up for review, but this is just a reminder not to drag random people into this regardless of their behavior.

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2 hours ago, chaosjam said:

...why even bring this up if you just want to start trouble? There is no reason for this. The comments on it are especially frustrating. I swear this guy knows what he was doing when he posted it. 

Damn, it took this long?

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If he put as much effort and passion into his work as he has into his Twitter rants:

1. We wouldn't be making fun of him here. 

2. We'd be a few issues into his "project" by now. 

He's falling into obscurity, save for hanging on by his fingertips. One only wonders how long his grip will last. 

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He ain't falling into obscurity- he's already there. The only people who know about him are Sonic fans, and the newer ones are focused more on Sonic Mania and the IDW book, as is everyone else. He's not known for anything but Sonic, and Sonic fans at large absolutely hate him. He constantly touts the successes of people he knows in a vain effort to make himself seem more important, and that post there was done solely so he could rile up his remaining legitimate fans and pretend he still has some actual relevance in the scheme of things.

Frankly, once this thread finally dies (which, given the likelihood he will never, ever release his stupid project, is gonna happen sooner rather than later), there will be virtually nothing about him... and this thread is practically a shrine to despising him and chronicling his various misdeeds. 

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Just now, RedFox99 said:

Is he actually repenting?

Not really. This apology is backhanded and passive aggressive at best. He's basically putting his characters on such a high pedestal and claiming they're SO personal to him, nobody could ever HOPE to approach them but him. That's not penance, that's self-congratulation and smugness. 

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7 hours ago, horridus said:

Penders disagreed tremendously with this, and when Bollers brought this opinion to his forums, Penders repeatedly deleted the threads that contained the information while angrily decrying Bollers, and even going so far as accusing the man of trying to undermine him. Likewise, he's wholly dismissed Angelo DeCesare's contributions to the book while trying to claim sole responsibility for the Bunnie/Antoine ship that got started under DeCesare, calling him a small timer and even baselessly calling his work 'Furry Archie' while admitting to having never read any of it.

Oh my goodness, seriously?!

2 hours ago, RedFox99 said:

Is he actually repenting?

Apparently so. 

Though admittedly, it can read a bit backhanded at first.

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45 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

Oh my goodness, seriously?!

Seriously. 

I should note that those 'few stories' Angelo DeCesare did numbered in 14 in total (at least according to Comicvine), and contrary to what Ken is saying here, DeCesare was indeed the first one to build up the Bunnie/Antoine romance. 

Now, the BOLLERS incident can be recounted earlier in this thread. Namely here...

Aaand here.

So yeah, in short? No matter what Ken likes to profess about himself and professional courtesy, he doesn't actually have a lot of respect for anyone who isn't him. Any pretense to the contrary is just him trying to re-write history in his own favor. 

45 minutes ago, DabigRG said:

Though admittedly, it can read a bit backhanded at first.

A *bit*? That tweet REEKS of smug condensation. If that tweet were a person you'd want to punch it just for looking at you, and no court on Earth would fault you for it. 

 

10 minutes ago, RedFox99 said:

This was his response:

You know, I would expect myself to be pissed, but honestly that's just legitimately sad that this man honestly thinks that's good reasoning. These characters were tied into a friggin children's book meant to promote a series of video games. That he invested that much of himself and his life into a Sonic comic is just troubling. Like oh my God man, you really think these fictional characters line up SO well to the people you know in real life? Despite most of them having few to no distinguishable traits or being memorable for all the wrong reasons? That's not profound, that's just tragic. 

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3 hours ago, The Tenth Doctor said:

Sounds like he's saying 'Sorry Ian, you had too much on your shoulders. These are my characters, meaning only I can understand them.'

Of course its rubbish really, other writers can bring flavour to another persons characters. Just look at Infinity War, the Russo's were handed a bunch of characters they'd never worked with but they understood them well enough to do a good job. If this was true Ken many franchises would die after the original writer died.

This is more or less the stance he's taken before -- that as soon as the original creators left a book, it might as well be over.

2 hours ago, RedFox99 said:

This was his response:

 

I mean, he's right -- few are capable of writing characterization as blandly as he can and think they belong on a pedestal.

15 hours ago, chaosjam said:

...why even bring this up if you just want to start trouble? There is no reason for this. The comments on it are especially frustrating. I swear this guy knows what he was doing when he posted it. 

Doesn't he usually tend to @ people a lot, including Ian? That would be a good reason to block, and I know he didn't do so here, but what would have been the point?

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So, I don't know if this point's been brought up (and if it has, I apologize), but I really don't get why Penders didn't just change everything to make it original? Sort of like Mighty No. 9?

I can understand becoming attached to these characters and wanting to continue their stories, even if he's not a good writer and probably shouldn't have gotten this fond of some characters made for a Sonic the Hedgehog comic. But if he's so concerned with continuing their story in his specific vision, why didn't he change the names and the premise to make it original? It could be similar but different enough to be its own thing. As long as it wasn't too much like the original premise, I don't see a problem with it. I see it as a win-win situation: He gets to continue on the legacy in another form with no baggage or limitations, and SEGA/Archie is happy because they're technically not their characters anymore. Everyone's happy. 

But...for some reason he couldn't do that. I don't understand. Why did it have to be exactly Lara-Su and Julie-Su and all the others? Why did they still have to be similar to echidnas? Hell, why did they still have to be anthros? Penders has shown he's way better at drawing humans than he is anthropomorphic animals. Couldn't he make something up like "Su Larisa of the An'dihce on Legna Island on the planet of Suibom (I know that's probably too similar but I'm just trying to make an example)?" For example, in Geoffery's backstory in that character profile he created where he referenced the "Princess of Acorn" and especially the "blue-spined Erinaceidae" part. Why? Why? He really couldn't say something like, "The Princess of Suibom and her other suitor." Or even "the well-known adventurer/hero of Suibom?"

The thing that gets to me about this is that Penders has changed some things around. He's willing to change things to make them more original. The whole e'c'y'd'n'a alien thing and the guardians are now Praetorians...so why not take it a step further? It would probably take only a few more changes to make it distinct enough to make it a separate thing. And you know what? I bet if he did make his own original thing instead of piggybacking off of Sonic, he could more readers in who were interested in his characters. Why is he willing to change some things but remain so stubborn about others? Why does he have this weird sort of half "Yeah, it's Sonic" and half "Nah, it's totally not Sonic" deal going on? That really just...baffles me. 

But I need to admit something: While I dislike the man and definitely don't agree with his actions, I tend to be more sympathetic towards him than most. I think people tend to vilify him waaay too much, and I think people forget that Archie is definitely not blame-free in this. In fact, I'd argue a lot of this whole mess was due to their own incompetence and actions. Penders suing because Sonic Chronicles supposedly "stole" his ideas and characters was dumb (Sonic Chronicles released in 2008 and he filed his lawsuit in 2011. What the hell did he think they were going to do at that point?). But it is absolutely idiotic for Archie to file a lawsuit against someone when they didn't even have the proper paperwork...not to mention the whole paying out royalties situation. I also think the dip in quality and part of why Ken's stories turned out as crazy as they did are also partially Archie's fault, but that's something else for another day (and this post is already getting way too long). All in all, Archie hasn't proven themselves to be the best company towards their creative staff, especially with Jon Gray's firing.

Sorry to jump in randomly in the conversation like this, just wanted to throw in my own thoughts about this whole mess. Really like the discussion and the contributions people have made to this. 👍

 

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1 hour ago, TideKai said:

So, I don't know if this point's been brought up (and if it has, I apologize), but I really don't get why Penders didn't just change everything to make it original? Sort of like Mighty No. 9?

I can understand becoming attached to these characters and wanting to continue their stories, even if he's not a good writer and probably shouldn't have gotten this fond of some characters made for a Sonic the Hedgehog comic. But if he's so concerned with continuing their story in his specific vision, why didn't he change the names and the premise to make it original? It could be similar but different enough to be its own thing. As long as it wasn't too much like the original premise, I don't see a problem with it. I see it as a win-win situation: He gets to continue on the legacy in another form with no baggage or limitations, and SEGA/Archie is happy because they're technically not their characters anymore. Everyone's happy. 

But...for some reason he couldn't do that. I don't understand. Why did it have to be exactly Lara-Su and Julie-Su and all the others? Why did they still have to be similar to echidnas? Hell, why did they still have to be anthros? Penders has shown he's way better at drawing humans than he is anthropomorphic animals. Couldn't he make something up like "Su Larisa of the An'dihce on Legna Island on the planet of Suibom (I know that's probably too similar but I'm just trying to make an example)?" For example, in Geoffery's backstory in that character profile he created where he referenced the "Princess of Acorn" and especially the "blue-spined Erinaceidae" part. Why? Why? He really couldn't say something like, "The Princess of Suibom and her other suitor." Or even "the well-known adventurer/hero of Suibom?"

The thing that gets to me about this is that Penders has changed some things around. He's willing to change things to make them more original. The whole e'c'y'd'n'a alien thing and the guardians are now Praetorians...so why not take it a step further? It would probably take only a few more changes to make it distinct enough to make it a separate thing. And you know what? I bet if he did make his own original thing instead of piggybacking off of Sonic, he could more readers in who were interested in his characters. Why is he willing to change some things but remain so stubborn about others? Why does he have this weird sort of half "Yeah, it's Sonic" and half "Nah, it's totally not Sonic" deal going on? That really just...baffles me. 

You are not the first to ask this. In fact, it was one of the first questions to come up when this mess- why NOT make it wholly original and be free of any constraints? Why bother with all of this at all? Why not just shuffle the names, make a bit of effort at originality, and simply go forth from there? 

Well, the reasons are twofold, and they intimately tie in to one another. 

Now the first thing you need to understand, is that Penders is under the impression that his work (and let's be clear here- its ONLY his work that he really cares about or holds this view of) is far more valuable and influential than it really is. Like, either he believes this or has done a very good job of convincing the world he does, but the bottom line is that he's convinced that his work on Archie has a huge reader base and is incredibly influential and would still sell super well today, despite all the things that made his work relevant no longer having any real place within the franchise. He's obsessive and deeply hellbent on the idea that his work was a potential gold mine, in particular his ambitions for a Sonic movie- he's gone on at length at how his Sonic Movie idea would've CHANGED EVERYTHING if only THOSE FOOLS at SEGA/ARCHIE had just let him have his way. Hell, he even tried to strong arm a Knuckles movie from SEGA during the lawsuit. 

(Not even kidding there, read and be astounded)

So, point of order? He thinks his work is profitable and popular, and what he wants most of all are the profits that could be made from reprinting his work, and as such, this needs to directly tie in to that. Mind you though, profit is only part of the reason, and the second part ties in closely with the first. 

That second part being that Sonic is the only thing Penders has ever had going for him. For as much as he tries to hype his other projects and his career outside of Sonic, the sad reality is that Sonic and Knuckles are the only things that gave him any kind of success or acclaim. His work before Sonic is lackluster, and none of his 'original' works ever went anywhere- The Lost Ones, a comic series made for Image, was cancelled after the first issue, and he still has yet to demonstrate that The Republic will ever be released. His entire identity is intertwined with Sonic, as are his successes. Whatever he claims, deep down he is painfully aware that Sonic is the only thing he's known for and the only thing that's worked for him. He doesn't have any real confidence in his own ideas, and as such he needs the Sonic connection more than  anything. You noted the changes he's made, but the thing of it is, those changes are at the absolute minimum needed to make his work 'distinct' while at the same time trying his damndest to maintain the Sonic connection. The biggest changes we've seen so far have been in those areas where he has no other options. Otherwise? He's still using Mobius, for God's sake. 

So yeah, in short? Its a weird mixture of avarice, pride, and ultimately cowardice. 

1 hour ago, TideKai said:

But I need to admit something: While I dislike the man and definitely don't agree with his actions, I tend to be more sympathetic towards him than most. I think people tend to vilify him waaay too much, and I think people forget that Archie is definitely not blame-free in this. In fact, I'd argue a lot of this whole mess was due to their own incompetence and actions. Penders suing because Sonic Chronicles supposedly "stole" his ideas and characters was dumb (Sonic Chronicles released in 2008 and he filed his lawsuit in 2011. What the hell did he think they were going to do at that point?). But it is absolutely idiotic for Archie to file a lawsuit against someone when they didn't even have the proper paperwork...not to mention the whole paying out royalties situation. I also think the dip in quality and part of why Ken's stories turned out as crazy as they did are also partially Archie's fault, but that's something else for another day (and this post is already getting way too long). All in all, Archie hasn't proven themselves to be the best company towards their creative staff, especially with Jon Gray's firing.

Sorry to jump in randomly in the conversation like this, just wanted to throw in my own thoughts about this whole mess. Really like the discussion and the contributions people have made to this. 👍

 

While that is a lovely sentiment, the sad reality is that Ken is more responsible than for his own wretched status within this fandom than anyone. See, everyone does indeed know that it was Archie's staggering incompetence that allowed a pipsqueak like Penders to go anywhere, and that as far as companies go they're one of the worst. Nobody denies it. The thing of it is though is that Ken is... honestly, kind of a really awful guy, and he brings it on himself. He's been repeatedly caught lying about his career and dismissing the worth of creators who aren't him, has been nothing but horrible to Flynn before AND after the trial, pushes shoddy work while screaming about how professional he is, and in once instance even stole the name of his intended series from a fanwork made by a devoted fan of his, and abjectly refused to speak with the guy or anything. 

It's recounted here.

http://web.archive.org/web/20150427113133/http://kenpenders.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2717

Take note that this guy wasn't just some small timer either- he was a long time member of the forum and a defender of Ken's, and even discounting the theft Ken's treatment of him is nothing short of awful. Also, apologies if the link leads nowhere. For some reason this stupid site gets weird about links from time to time, especially to the wayback captures of Ken's old forum. 

Anyway.... it'd take me far, far too long to do a step by step over all the crap Ken has done. Point of order, his reputation is more than well earned, and even discounting The Lawsuit he's just a wretched excuse for a man. But the thing that makes people hate him above all else, even Archie who enabled him and allowed him to get further than he ever should have? He hasn't moved on since the Trial, not even remotely. Everyone else has gotten along, even after Archie lost the SOnic license. Everyone except him. He still has nothing to show for his efforts, and he still refuses to acknowledge that his era is well and truly done, all the while making a jackass out of himself whenever possible and loudly screeching about what a professional he is, despite having recently been caught directly copying art and selling it (an image of Shadow that came from Sonic Chronicles, ironically enough). 

This post is long enough, as you said, but point of order? The hatred Penders gleans even when compared to Archie is virtually entirely of his own doing. While he gets blamed for more than he is responsible for, his behavior makes it incredibly easy, and the fact he has absolutely nothing to show for all the misery he inflicted on the fans during that lawsuit only exacerbates matters. The fact that he consistently tries to portray himself as the SOnic Savior and the 'only one' who knew Sonic's 'potential' when it was nakedly clear he never, ever cared about Sonic or Knuckles beyond what they could do for him doesn't help matters, like, at all.  

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7 hours ago, TideKai said:

So, I don't know if this point's been brought up (and if it has, I apologize), but I really don't get why Penders didn't just change everything to make it original? Sort of like Mighty No. 9?

I can understand becoming attached to these characters and wanting to continue their stories, even if he's not a good writer and probably shouldn't have gotten this fond of some characters made for a Sonic the Hedgehog comic. But if he's so concerned with continuing their story in his specific vision, why didn't he change the names and the premise to make it original? It could be similar but different enough to be its own thing. As long as it wasn't too much like the original premise, I don't see a problem with it. I see it as a win-win situation: He gets to continue on the legacy in another form with no baggage or limitations, and SEGA/Archie is happy because they're technically not their characters anymore. Everyone's happy. 

But...for some reason he couldn't do that. I don't understand. Why did it have to be exactly Lara-Su and Julie-Su and all the others? Why did they still have to be similar to echidnas? Hell, why did they still have to be anthros? Penders has shown he's way better at drawing humans than he is anthropomorphic animals. Couldn't he make something up like "Su Larisa of the An'dihce on Legna Island on the planet of Suibom (I know that's probably too similar but I'm just trying to make an example)?" For example, in Geoffery's backstory in that character profile he created where he referenced the "Princess of Acorn" and especially the "blue-spined Erinaceidae" part. Why? Why? He really couldn't say something like, "The Princess of Suibom and her other suitor." Or even "the well-known adventurer/hero of Suibom?"

The thing that gets to me about this is that Penders has changed some things around. He's willing to change things to make them more original. The whole e'c'y'd'n'a alien thing and the guardians are now Praetorians...so why not take it a step further? It would probably take only a few more changes to make it distinct enough to make it a separate thing. And you know what? I bet if he did make his own original thing instead of piggybacking off of Sonic, he could more readers in who were interested in his characters. Why is he willing to change some things but remain so stubborn about others? Why does he have this weird sort of half "Yeah, it's Sonic" and half "Nah, it's totally not Sonic" deal going on? That really just...baffles me. 

 

From a broad standpoint, it's probably so that fans of his work wont' have to be too shaken up and forced to remember/reapply their long-established knowledge to match a legally disguised version.

However, as the tweet above alludes to, I think part of it is also because he intrinsically doesn't want to change what he's put so much of himself into. I believe he's already gone on record to state that half of his work on Sonic(or rather Knuckles) was less about writing stories about those characters and more about telling stories he wanted to tell while filling in blanks with things he cares about. Locke in particular is a character he sees his own father in, to the point that he was notably upset with the direction Mr. Flynn and by extension Mr. Bollers took him in.

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On 9/15/2018 at 2:49 PM, RedFox99 said:

Is he actually repenting?

Don't buy it. He'll be back to blasting him next time he tweets about it. 

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Thank you a ton for your replies, guys, I'm going to break them up into two seperate parts because I talk waaaay too much, haha.

@horridus

Spoiler
11 hours ago, horridus said:

Now the first thing you need to understand, is that Penders is under the impression that his work (and let's be clear here- its ONLY his work that he really cares about or holds this view of) is far more valuable and influential than it really is. Like, either he believes this or has done a very good job of convincing the world he does, but the bottom line is that he's convinced that his work on Archie has a huge reader base and is incredibly influential and would still sell super well today, despite all the things that made his work relevant no longer having any real place within the franchise. He's obsessive and deeply hellbent on the idea that his work was a potential gold mine, in particular his ambitions for a Sonic movie- he's gone on at length at how his Sonic Movie idea would've CHANGED EVERYTHING if only THOSE FOOLS at SEGA/ARCHIE had just let him have his way. Hell, he even tried to strong arm a Knuckles movie from SEGA during the lawsuit. 

Ahaha, the Knuckles movie part had me in stitches. The fact that he says that 100% seriously and expects to be taken seriously. And when he says that SEGA would get a part of the action...well I hope to God they do, that's their goddamn character! 

I find it hilarious that he puts his work on such a high pedestal when the reason it was so "highly regarded" (much sarcasm intended) was probably because of two main reasons: First, It was the 90's and it was Sonic. You could put Sonic's face on anything in the 90's and it would probably sell. And second, the majority of his readers were younger and more forgiving. I know that was the case for me when I was a young kid and reading the comics. Anytime anything weird or confusing was happening, I wouldn't care that much because I was just happy to see Sonic and my favorite characters.

What I find particularly tragic about this is that Penders does have fans. As tiny of a fanbase as it might be, he does have people who legitimately liked his works and the characters he wrote. There was this one journal on deviantart I read (which I can't find unfortunately, so I'm afraid you'll just have to take my word for it) where a fan went into detail about why he liked Penders work and how Knuckles's divorced parents helped him with his own parents divorcing when he was a kid. Yet his behavior drove many of them off and have changed their behavior on supporting him. If Penders hadn't gone around burning bridges and acting the way he did, he'd probably still have a somewhat decent following of people who still liked and defended his time on the books. And hey, they might even buy his new graphic novels. Look at how many people supported Mighty No. 9 as a spiritual successor to classic Mega Man before it...turned out the way it did. I'm sure Penders fans would have been eager to check out his new series if they saw it as a successor to the old continuity. But of course he had to be his usual "not-think-things-through-due-to-ego" self. 

12 hours ago, horridus said:

That second part being that Sonic is the only thing Penders has ever had going for him. For as much as he tries to hype his other projects and his career outside of Sonic, the sad reality is that Sonic and Knuckles are the only things that gave him any kind of success or acclaim. His work before Sonic is lackluster, and none of his 'original' works ever went anywhere- The Lost Ones, a comic series made for Image, was cancelled after the first issue, and he still has yet to demonstrate that The Republic will ever be released. His entire identity is intertwined with Sonic, as are his successes. Whatever he claims, deep down he is painfully aware that Sonic is the only thing he's known for and the only thing that's worked for him. He doesn't have any real confidence in his own ideas, and as such he needs the Sonic connection more than  anything. You noted the changes he's made, but the thing of it is, those changes are at the absolute minimum needed to make his work 'distinct' while at the same time trying his damndest to maintain the Sonic connection. The biggest changes we've seen so far have been in those areas where he has no other options. Otherwise? He's still using Mobius, for God's sake. 

So yeah, in short? Its a weird mixture of avarice, pride, and ultimately cowardice. 

This is just...sad, in a way. I mean, I definitely know the feeling of clinging to something because you feel it was the only thing that brought you success or happiness. And you know what? I wouldn't really mind it all that much if he did a sort of spiritual successor thing to Sonic (of course giving due credit to Karl Bollers and Mike Kanterovich and either asking permission for their contributions or leaving them out entirely). But the fact that he's clinging this hard with so much animosity and bile towards others while being so stubborn about it is just pathetic.

And another thing, I may be mistaken and please don't hesitate to correct me, but I think that Penders has this weirdly "dated" mindset about Sonic and the comic book industry. I don't know...I feel like he's still stuck in the 90's when it comes to those things, like he hasn't realized how much things have changed, especially concerning Sonic. He seems to think Sonic is still the titan he was back in the 90's. I mean, Sonic is still popular and brings in money, but he's definitely not as popular and well-regarded as he was back then. 

I can't help but feel is Penders was a bit smarter about everything and would drop the colossal ego for one second, he'd be slightly more successful. Definitely not mainstream successful and probably not as much as he would like, but he'd at least have something more than what he has now.

12 hours ago, horridus said:

While that is a lovely sentiment, the sad reality is that Ken is more responsible than for his own wretched status within this fandom than anyone. See, everyone does indeed know that it was Archie's staggering incompetence that allowed a pipsqueak like Penders to go anywhere, and that as far as companies go they're one of the worst. Nobody denies it. The thing of it is though is that Ken is... honestly, kind of a really awful guy, and he brings it on himself. He's been repeatedly caught lying about his career and dismissing the worth of creators who aren't him, has been nothing but horrible to Flynn before AND after the trial, pushes shoddy work while screaming about how professional he is, and in once instance even stole the name of his intended series from a fanwork made by a devoted fan of his, and abjectly refused to speak with the guy or anything. 

It's recounted here.

http://web.archive.org/web/20150427113133/http://kenpenders.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2717

I'm really sorry horridus, but when I click the link it just says "URL not found." I'm not saying at all that I don't believe you or anything like that, I know what incident you're talking about and I've read about it, but I was hoping to do a refresher so I don't accidentally say something incorrect. I'm having trouble using the archive site so maybe it's the browser I use? I've been trying to use it for sources but I'm having trouble with it. If I mess anything or get anything wrong, I'm very sorry and please go ahead and call me out.

And yeah, I'm definitely not saying that Penders is a good person or anything like that. He's a scumbag and I have very, very little respect for him. But the amount of blame he gets is disproportionate, and I just wish more people would recognize the faults Archie has in this instead of having Ken be the scapegoat for everything and defending Archie. I've seen some people (especially on Tumblr and Twitter) literally comparing him to Adolf Hitler and Stalin (which is downright insane and I don't think I need to say more on that). Looking through the "ken penders" tag on Tumblr and #kenpenders on Twitter, a lot of people believe that he's the sole reason why Archie lost license to Sonic, which is ridiculous and in my opinion, blatantly wrong. I personally cannot fathom why Archie would bring Penders to court to show they own the characters he made...without the proper paperwork to show it. How do you make a mistake like that?

According to the settlement, Penders legally owns Evil SonicPenders legally owns a character that is literally Sonic with a leather jacket and sunglasses. The fact that Archie couldn't dispute that shows just how royally they screwed everything up. And that's not the only thing. Shortly after the settlement, they went and published an app with back issues of Sonic comics that went outside of the agreement and royalties they settled. You just got out of court and settled with this guy and your next course of action is to release back issues that he wrote for despite being in legally murky waters. (Sources: 12 and 3) That's ..."stupid" is not a strong enough word for this. Along with Scott Fulop also suing (though luckily for Archie the case was dismissed), Penders was definitely not the only reason Archie lost the license. A big reason? Yeah, but not the sole and only reason and thus deserving of all the blame.

This is the overall way I feel about: The lawsuit was a huge convoluted mess that happened the way it did because both parties were drowning in incompetence and bad decisions.

By the way, I hope I don't sound at all dismissive or disrespectful to you. I totally agree with you on a lot of things you said. You've made some really good discussion points in this thread and I really appreciate your detailed response to me. Thank you!

@DabigRG

Spoiler
8 hours ago, DabigRG said:

From a broad standpoint, it's probably so that fans of his work wont' have to be too shaken up and forced to remember/reapply their long-established knowledge to match a legally disguised version.

However, as the tweet above alludes to, I think part of it is also because he intrinsically doesn't want to change what he's put so much of himself into. I believe he's already gone on record to state that half of his work on Sonic(or rather Knuckles) was less about writing stories about those characters and more about telling stories he wanted to tell while filling in blanks with things he cares about. Locke in particular is a character he sees his own father in, to the point that he was notably upset with the direction Mr. Flynn and by extension Mr. Bollers took him in.

And that's something I don't understand. Why...did he get so personal with Locke and Knuckles? There is no problem with putting a lot of yourself and your life into characters and stories. I think that's a great way to explore and cope. But to put it in a comic for kids and a comic made for a licensed and registered character...Why? He really should have done this with his own original story with no strings attached. 

And besides, doesn't he realize he would eventually have to give up his writing position and let someone else take over? Didn't he know that someone else would eventually be writing these characters that he put so much of himself into? Did he think he would be writing for the comic forever or something? I really want to know what Penders was thinking when he was doing this.

Reading how lax things were with him while he was writing for the comic is insane. I can't believe it. Did other comic companies have this problem as well during that time, or was it just Archie? I remember reading somewhere (and I would get the source form the archive link if it would actually work for me) that Penders would actually start finalizing the script and working on other parts before he got Archie's approval, because they always said yes and hardly changed anything. Not to mention how crazy un-involved the editor was. I mean, publishing a comic with two writers where the two writers would have things blatantly contradict each other in their different stories? Isn't that the job of an editor? Isn't that the bare minimum for an editor?

Part of the reason why this is so fascinating to me is because it's just such a giant and crazy mess of so many things going wrong and being done wrong.

 

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1 hour ago, TideKai said:

Thank you a ton for your replies, guys, I'm going to break them up into two seperate parts because I talk waaaay too much, haha.

@horridus

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Ahaha, the Knuckles movie part had me in stitches. The fact that he says that 100% seriously and expects to be taken seriously. And when he says that SEGA would get a part of the action...well I hope to God they do, that's their goddamn character! 

I find it hilarious that he puts his work on such a high pedestal when the reason it was so "highly regarded" (much sarcasm intended) was probably because of two main reasons: First, It was the 90's and it was Sonic. You could put Sonic's face on anything in the 90's and it would probably sell. And second, the majority of his readers were younger and more forgiving. I know that was the case for me when I was a young kid and reading the comics. Anytime anything weird or confusing was happening, I wouldn't care that much because I was just happy to see Sonic and my favorite characters.

 

Yeeah, Penders has always had this.... truly baffling viewpoint of how his precise relationship with SEGA actually works or how it would work, acting as though he's a legitimate player in the scheme of things despite his lack of media experience and being a for-hire comic writer for a spinoff book meant to promote the games. If he were a fictional character you'd call him unrealistic. 

Fun fact though- once upon a time, Penders was actually quite capable of acknowledging the factors that made the book so successful, back in the day. In an interview he directly attributed the great sales to the fact that for a long stretch of time, the Archie comics were the only game in town. SatAM was cancelled, and there weren't any real major Sonic games until the Dreamcast came out and Sonic Adventure became a thing. For a very long time, the Archie Comic was the only fix available, and Penders understood and acknowledged this. Course, that was then, and this is now- by this point Penders has wholly convinced himself that he was the sole reason for the book's successes, and absolutely refuses to hear otherwise or take into consideration other factors that would have aided his success. 

1 hour ago, TideKai said:

And another thing, I may be mistaken and please don't hesitate to correct me, but I think that Penders has this weirdly "dated" mindset about Sonic and the comic book industry. I don't know...I feel like he's still stuck in the 90's when it comes to those things, like he hasn't realized how much things have changed, especially concerning Sonic. He seems to think Sonic is still the titan he was back in the 90's. I mean, Sonic is still popular and brings in money, but he's definitely not as popular and well-regarded as he was back then. 

I can't help but feel is Penders was a bit smarter about everything and would drop the colossal ego for one second, he'd be slightly more successful. Definitely not mainstream successful and probably not as much as he would like, but he'd at least have something more than what he has now.

Something like that. Its more like that Penders at this point abjectly refuses to grasp people didn't come to the book for him and his characters, but for Sonic, and anything he put into the book became popular only because of the Sonic connection. Well, that's not entirely true- he knows it, but he doesn't really want to admit to it, hence why he tries so damn hard to keep up the Sonic connection for his new project. More accurately, he doesn't grasp that the Archie book was never a major influence on the wider franchise or that it has always been a niche when compared to the wider audience for the games. He's only vaguely aware of how successful Sonic really is as a game series, once revealing that he believed there was only 'a dozen or so' games a few years ago. He only really processes Sonic's success as a COMIC book phenomenon, with the games as an afterthought. 

There were a great many ways Penders could have gone about this without alienating the fanbase in the process, but the thing of it is, at the end of the day, what Penders wants is a fast track to success. His mentality is that of a man who wants to invent the Chia Pet- something with little effort and a lot of success. The other paths out there would have taken too long and with too much effort, and so, we are here. 

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I'm really sorry horridus, but when I click the link it just says "URL not found." I'm not saying at all that I don't believe you or anything like that, I know what incident you're talking about and I've read about it, but I was hoping to do a refresher so I don't accidentally say something incorrect. I'm having trouble using the archive site so maybe it's the browser I use? I've been trying to use it for sources but I'm having trouble with it. If I mess anything or get anything wrong, I'm very sorry and please go ahead and call me out.

There's no need. Try this-

http://kenpenders.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=18&t=2717

Copy and paste this into the wayback machine, and proceed from there. Hopefully you'll be able to find it then. 

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 And yeah, I'm definitely not saying that Penders is a good person or anything like that. He's a scumbag and I have very, very little respect for him. But the amount of blame he gets is disproportionate, and I just wish more people would recognize the faults Archie has in this instead of having Ken be the scapegoat for everything and defending Archie. I've seen some people (especially on Tumblr and Twitter) literally comparing him to Adolf Hitler and Stalin (which is downright insane and I don't think I need to say more on that). Looking through the "ken penders" tag on Tumblr and #kenpenders on Twitter, a lot of people believe that he's the sole reason why Archie lost license to Sonic, which is ridiculous and in my opinion, blatantly wrong. I personally cannot fathom why Archie would bring Penders to court to show they own the characters he made...without the proper paperwork to show it. How do you make a mistake like that?

 According to the settlement, Penders legally owns Evil SonicPenders legally owns a character that is literally Sonic with a leather jacket and sunglasses. The fact that Archie couldn't dispute that shows just how royally they screwed everything up. And that's not the only thing. Shortly after the settlement, they went and published an app with back issues of Sonic comics that went outside of the agreement and royalties they settled. You just got out of court and settled with this guy and your next course of action is to release back issues that he wrote for despite being in legally murky waters. (Sources: 12 and 3) That's ..."stupid" is not a strong enough word for this. Along with Scott Fulop also suing (though luckily for Archie the case was dismissed), Penders was definitely not the only reason Archie lost the license. A big reason? Yeah, but not the sole and only reason and thus deserving of all the blame.

 

Oh, you're quite correct that he gets misblamed for a great many things, and even gets miscredited for what he did in the book (you'd be amazed at how many people think he's the sole person behind EVERYTHING in the Archie comic before Ian Flynn rolled into things). Indeed comparing him to such real life figures is going overboard, given that at the end of the day he's just a putrid little man who was given more chances than he deserved, at the hands of a company so complacent that it actually hired the man to begin with and let him keep his jobs despite him not actually being all that good at it. 

I'm just pointing out that Penders tendency to make a spectacle of himself is what makes it so easy to think of it as all him rather than as the result of Archie's negligence. He's the one who constantly reminds people of what happened and continues to act like a jerk towards... well... pretty much everybody. That, and as a person he's more directly addressable than Archie- none of the people responsible for the loss of the paperwork have a twitter, and furthermore, Archie itself doesn't constantly bring up the trial and take shots at Penders. Penders does the exact opposite, while putting himself on a pedestal that tends to invite people to want to knock him down. There's no real hero in this story, its just that one of the players is dumb enough to keep reminding people of what he did and thus ensuring that everyone will remember HIS misdeeds rather than Archie's. 

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And besides, doesn't he realize he would eventually have to give up his writing position and let someone else take over? Didn't he know that someone else would eventually be writing these characters that he put so much of himself into? Did he think he would be writing for the comic forever or something? I really want to know what Penders was thinking when he was doing this.

Astoundingly enough, Penders seemed fairly convinced that he would be with Sonic forever, and in particular was completely certain that the Knuckles series would keep going for another hundred issues or so. He really seemed to think he would be 'the' Sonic guy, and having to share the creative duties of the book was one of the causes behind his eventual feud with Bollers- Penders tended to ignore anything not pertaining to his own plans, and deeply resented any kind of intrusion into what he saw as his own private domain. The reason he quit? Was because he couldn't stand the fact that things were changing away from the status quo he preferred, and having to deal with an editor who wanted him to include more game characters and concepts. 

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 Reading how lax things were with him while he was writing for the comic is insane. I can't believe it. Did other comic companies have this problem as well during that time, or was it just Archie? I remember reading somewhere (and I would get the source form the archive link if it would actually work for me) that Penders would actually start finalizing the script and working on other parts before he got Archie's approval, because they always said yes and hardly changed anything. Not to mention how crazy un-involved the editor was. I mean, publishing a comic with two writers where the two writers would have things blatantly contradict each other in their different stories? Isn't that the job of an editor? Isn't that the bare minimum for an editor?

Archie was a very unique case. Basically, Archie didn't give the Sonic book much oversight for a very long time, and SEGA didn't really care all that much so long as Sonic characters were used and the book sold. There was very little in the way of quality control- what you read about Penders finalizing stories and then moving on is quite true, and he himself even admitted that Archie would even publish incomplete stuff just to make the deadline. Archie was extremely unique in this regard, and at least part of it was due to eventual editor Justin Gabrie having an incredibly hands off approach. The future feud between Bollers and Penders happened because he didn't bother to properly communicate things, and for the longest time that was the way of things. When Sonic Adventure came out and SEGA decided they wanted a more coherant approach to Sonic, that slowly changed, and the end result of it was that Penders eventually left. 

As to where Archie was during all of this? Their top priority was always their in-house titles, and in truth they didn't care to pay much attention to Sonic due to it being licensed, despite how popular it was and despite it eventually becoming their flagship title. It was this that allowed all the other stuff to happen, and is part of the reason they took so little care of the paperwork. 

In fact, the fact Archie was so shoddily run is entirely the reason Penders had a career. He was brought on board due to the reccomendation of a friend who already worked at Archie, stayed on board because he was buddies with the first editor he had (Scott Fulop), and continue to stay on board because Gabrie just let him be. He found a job where his work would sell like hotcakes regardless of the quality and regardless of the content, and nobody ever bothered to really reign him in. Everything about Penders' career with Sonic is due entirely to him being at the right place at the right time and being able to stay that way for a decade without ever having to improve himself. Once that changed, he left. 

 

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17 hours ago, horridus said:

Fun fact though- once upon a time, Penders was actually quite capable of acknowledging the factors that made the book so successful, back in the day. In an interview he directly attributed the great sales to the fact that for a long stretch of time, the Archie comics were the only game in town. SatAM was cancelled, and there weren't any real major Sonic games until the Dreamcast came out and Sonic Adventure became a thing. For a very long time, the Archie Comic was the only fix available, and Penders understood and acknowledged this

Can you find the interview?

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