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Opinions please for a newbie to idw comics...


castell-neath
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Hola!

Im an old school fan of sonic (im 40 next month! Boo!) And enjoyed the uk Sonic The Comic series back in the 90s. However, I was NOT a fan of the SATam series nor the archie comics at all for the simple reason i felt they were too far removed from the in game universe...at least in my 12/13 year old head and that feeling has always remained.

So far I've not dipped my toe in to idw series but a new comic book shop opened near me and it stocks the idw series. I had a nose through and thought it ok but was not totally won over.

I was wondering if more experienced readers would recommend the series or not considering my dislike of the archie series? I've seen there are two idw "collection" books i can buy to get up to speed with the storylines but these would cost me around £66 on amazon for both...or £80 in the shop!  Before Ipotentially shell out that much I was wondering what people would suggest?

Thanks in advance for any constructive and helpful advice!!

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1 hour ago, castell-neath said:

Hola!

Im an old school fan of sonic (im 40 next month! Boo!) And enjoyed the uk Sonic The Comic series back in the 90s. However, I was NOT a fan of the SATam series nor the archie comics at all for the simple reason i felt they were too far removed from the in game universe...at least in my 12/13 year old head and that feeling has always remained.

So far I've not dipped my toe in to idw series but a new comic book shop opened near me and it stocks the idw series. I had a nose through and thought it ok but was not totally won over.

I was wondering if more experienced readers would recommend the series or not considering my dislike of the archie series? I've seen there are two idw "collection" books i can buy to get up to speed with the storylines but these would cost me around £66 on amazon for both...or £80 in the shop!  Before Ipotentially shell out that much I was wondering what people would suggest?

Thanks in advance for any constructive and helpful advice!!

There's essentially three ways to read the series as it stands:

  • Single issues - As you expect, they're the monthly issues that come out month to month, and cost about 4 quid a piece or so. Not ideal for newcomers due to price + tracking down old issues, unless you're going digital.
  • Trade Paperbacks - These are the more accessible graphic novels - each one are numbered in volume and covers four issues a piece. This would be the best way if you aren't certain if you'll enjoy the series, as you can buy one or two for a cheaper price, get a few stories under your belt, and figure out if you like it or not. The problems is if you do like it, and you decide you want the collections, you'll either need to rebuy your books, or having a cross-collection of the trades and then start the collection from the second volume. On top of that, mini-series are collected on their own.
  • The IDW Collection - These are the collections you are talking about and are the most premium way to own any IDW series. Having collected a few of them for TMNT and Sonic, the benefits of these is they typically collect about three to four graphic novels of content, are contained with a nice large, premium hardback book, and it covers everything, books, miniseries, and annuals, and they're all placed within recommended reading order.

Unfortunately, there's no real ideal situation, as the collections will require you to make a commitment that you may not like, while the trades might cause you to have to rebuy the books. The best compromises I can think of for your situation are:

  • FCBD Issues - If you go to the IDW app or Comixology, there's a few free FCBD issues available for free that are in continuity, but are meant to be standalone stories, these being a Tangle and Whisper preview, a standalone Classic Amy story, and a Team Sonic story retrospectively. Reading these will give you a good taste of the writing and such.
  • Sonic 30th Anniversary Special - While it's out of continuity with the main IDW series, the 30th anniversary special is a one-shot Classic story that features Ian's writing, and will give you a good idea of the kind of character writing you can expect from the main series. It's also not available in any of the IDW Collection yet, and is one of the comparatively cheaper trades. It might be worth checking this out for a taste of the writers.
  • Volume 1 - If you don't mind one double, or trying to sell it off second-hand, you could pick up the trade of Volume 1, which contains the first four issues, and features character driven stories involving Sonic interacting with Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and Eggman, retrospectively. 
  • IDW Collection Volume 1 - If you want to invest a bit more, but not go all in, you could get IDW Collection Vol 1, which contains Issues #1-12 of the series, and contains the full first year of the series. This contains the full first saga, so to speak, and you'll probably know at that point if it's something you want to be on board with. Either way, I'd recommend going with Amazon and getting it the cheapest way you can, if you choose this.

In terms of your dislike of Archie, IDW is comparatively very different, being much more focused on the games' canon, and there being more guidelines and approval processes to ensure the series remains closer to what SEGA want for it as well. I do think the first four issues along with the Classic specials is a very good showcase of the character writing, which is a main draw of the IDW series in general, so I think those are your best starting points to dip your toe and see if you want to invest in it or not, but I wouldn't recommend going all in at this point, at least, even if it just means only picking up IDW Collection 1.

It's also important to keep in mind IDW does not have the ownership issues Archie had, and IDW generally does a good job keeping their books in print unless they straight up lose the rights to the series, so there's no rush to pick up all the books at once either, so keep that in mind, it's fine to buy only one of them and get others at another point.

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8 minutes ago, Ryannumber1gamer said:

There's essentially three ways to read the series as it stands:

  • Single issues - As you expect, they're the monthly issues that come out month to month, and cost about 4 quid a piece or so. Not ideal for newcomers due to price + tracking down old issues, unless you're going digital.
  • Trade Paperbacks - These are the more accessible graphic novels - each one are numbered in volume and covers four issues a piece. This would be the best way if you aren't certain if you'll enjoy the series, as you can buy one or two for a cheaper price, get a few stories under your belt, and figure out if you like it or not. The problems is if you do like it, and you decide you want the collections, you'll either need to rebuy your books, or having a cross-collection of the trades and then start the collection from the second volume. On top of that, mini-series are collected on their own.
  • The IDW Collection - These are the collections you are talking about and are the most premium way to own any IDW series. Having collected a few of them for TMNT and Sonic, the benefits of these is they typically collect about three to four graphic novels of content, are contained with a nice large, premium hardback book, and it covers everything, books, miniseries, and annuals, and they're all placed within recommended reading order.

Unfortunately, there's no real ideal situation, as the collections will require you to make a commitment that you may not like, while the trades might cause you to have to rebuy the books. The best compromises I can think of for your situation are:

  • FCBD Issues - If you go to the IDW app or Comixology, there's a few free FCBD issues available for free that are in continuity, but are meant to be standalone stories, these being a Tangle and Whisper preview, a standalone Classic Amy story, and a Team Sonic story retrospectively. Reading these will give you a good taste of the writing and such.
  • Sonic 30th Anniversary Special - While it's out of continuity with the main IDW series, the 30th anniversary special is a one-shot Classic story that features Ian's writing, and will give you a good idea of the kind of character writing you can expect from the main series. It's also not available in any of the IDW Collection yet, and is one of the comparatively cheaper trades. It might be worth checking this out for a taste of the writers.
  • Volume 1 - If you don't mind one double, or trying to sell it off second-hand, you could pick up the trade of Volume 1, which contains the first four issues, and features character driven stories involving Sonic interacting with Tails, Amy, Knuckles, and Eggman, retrospectively. 
  • IDW Collection Volume 1 - If you want to invest a bit more, but not go all in, you could get IDW Collection Vol 1, which contains Issues #1-12 of the series, and contains the full first year of the series. This contains the full first saga, so to speak, and you'll probably know at that point if it's something you want to be on board with. Either way, I'd recommend going with Amazon and getting it the cheapest way you can, if you choose this.

In terms of your dislike of Archie, IDW is comparatively very different, being much more focused on the games' canon, and there being more guidelines and approval processes to ensure the series remains closer to what SEGA want for it as well. I do think the first four issues along with the Classic specials is a very good showcase of the character writing, which is a main draw of the IDW series in general, so I think those are your best starting points to dip your toe and see if you want to invest in it or not, but I wouldn't recommend going all in at this point, at least, even if it just means only picking up IDW Collection 1.

It's also important to keep in mind IDW does not have the ownership issues Archie had, and IDW generally does a good job keeping their books in print unless they straight up lose the rights to the series, so there's no rush to pick up all the books at once either, so keep that in mind, it's fine to buy only one of them and get others at another point.

Thank you for that comprehensive answer!! Very very much appreciated. I may well tip my toe in with the 30th as ylu say then maybe collection 1. 

If idw are more in line with game continuity that's pretty much what i was hoping for.

 

Thanks again!!!

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I've only properly read the 30th Anniversary special myself, but from that alone I'd say the IDW series is worth a look. Definitely recommend giving the special and/or Free Comic Book Day issues a read first, as a taste of the comic's writing style, and if it's something you enjoy, then consider grabbing the first IDW Collection.

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1 hour ago, castell-neath said:

I was wondering if more experienced readers would recommend the series or not considering my dislike of the archie series?

 

Dislike of the Archie series is a bit broad. Its changed hands on a few different occasions and issues 0-50 are a different beast than 100-150 and 200-and so on. Its a loaded question, but I'll try and streamline it down as much as I can.

 

I terms of what your asking, the answer is yes and no.

 

Yes, because it does address your biggest concern right out the gate. The IDW series is much more aligned with the games than any comic that has come before it. Issue 1 actually picks up right in the aftermath of Sonic Forces. While there are still original characters here and there, the entire tone, scope and dynamics of the comic are built from the ground up to "fit" into the Sega mold. The comics do deal with some heavier issues which step outside of some of the things we would see in a typical game, but everything is done with a careful attention to what Sega wants each of these characters to be. The IDW run is probably as close as your going to get to a true Sega-Sonic comic without doing nothing but adaptations.

 

No, because the comic does share quite a bit of DNA with the end of the Archie run. Most of the same writers and some of the same artists made the jump over to IDW. While an influx of new blood is in there, if you had an issue with how some of the regulars drew some of the characters, or if you took offense to some pacing issues in the story themselves, its a lot of the same people here.

 

 

Personally, I would recommend the IDW series. Even if the Archie stuff was off-putting. The staff at IDW are working with a much more defined idea of what the comic should be and the product benefits for it. The Archie series ran for so long that it had to fold in on itself and reinvent the wheel several times over the course of its life. That problem hasn't been an issue for the newer series yet. Combine that with a higher ceiling for the artwork and some really engaging story arcs and it makes for a fun read.

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I definitely give the IDW series a read.  I've been really enjoying the series so far and it's pretty well written and beautifully illustrated for the most part.  However, if you weren't a fan of the Archie series, just want to let you know that the writers and artists from the Archie series came over to the IDW series, so you might see some similar narrative structures and artworks from the Archie series here.  However, this series is much closer to the games than the Archie series was, so if you want to read a Sonic comic book series that's faithful to the games, then the IDW series is definitely a series you should check out.

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Your dislike of Archie may not be fully. While Fleetway remained relatively unchanged, Archie went through at least 3 phases, arguably more.

If you mostly care about "being true to games",  there is no spin-off closer. There are few new character who can take decent amount of screen time, but they aren't Sally Acorn, basically 2nd main protagonist.

10 hours ago, castell-neath said:

 new comic book shop opened near me and it stocks the idw series. I had a nose through and thought it ok but was not totally won over.

Can you tell us which stories you read? That will give us idea if you seen best moments or worse moments. Of the book (I mean, reading epilogue of big story arc would probably feel kinda lame without context).

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The short and sweet:
I was completely new to the comics and I'd recommend the IDW collection #1 on paperback. It gives you a nice feel for the art and story writing, you do clearly see the guiding hand of SEGA though, keeping it close to the video games. It also contains gorgeous art pieces from other artists like Nathalie Fourdraine, Tyson Hesse, Kieran Gates, Adam Bryce Thomas, Jonathan Gray and Matt Herms to gawk over.
And nothing beats kicking it back with a hardcover book and spending an evening with plenty of issues to read so you don't run out of stories to read.

 

As someone who's never gotten into the Sonic comics, but wanted to get into the medium I personally settled for a bit of an investment with both the IDW collection volumes #1 and #2 since I really wanted to get a feel for how the stories were written and drawn. I haven't regretted my decision one bit as I basically devoured them in 2 evening reads. I wanted to read so much more that I bit the bullet and ordered the other volumes (volumes of 1-4 issues bundled together) and loose missing issues digitally to get up to speed. I do look forward to getting more of the volume collections as they come out because I do want to have them on paperback as nothing feels more fun than kicking it back in a comfy chair with a good comic book.

As previously stated by others, IDW sticks really close to the game's stories and cannon so you'll find tons of references to the games if that's something you like. They don't push it front and center and a quoted line from the games slips in from time to time when it's appropriate which to me is a very fun touch. One or two are a bit heavy-handed though and feel a bit shoe-horned in, but don't detract too hard from the scene.

I will warn that IDW collection volume #1 (issues 1-12) is a bit heavy on the game reference since it had to establish a framework of how they wanted to portray the series (and SEGA probably keeping a really tight grip on what got in and what didn't), but it gives you a good feel of what the art is you can expect to come from the other issues.

Once you head into volume #2 (issues 13 - 24) you get more of a proper story that was designed by the writers (primarily Ian Flynn) and less heavy on the reference and honestly produces some really harrowing concepts and themes, but also very awesome displays of action, art and story telling.

My personal recommendation as someone who was brand new to IDW with no prior comic knowledge: It gets progressively fun to read and currently am antsy to get my hands on reading issue 52 when it releases.

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7 hours ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Your dislike of Archie may not be fully. While Fleetway remained relatively unchanged, Archie went through at least 3 phases, arguably more.

If you mostly care about "being true to games",  there is no spin-off closer. There are few new character who can take decent amount of screen time, but they aren't Sally Acorn, basically 2nd main protagonist.

Can you tell us which stories you read? That will give us idea if you seen best moments or worse moments. Of the book (I mean, reading epilogue of big story arc would probably feel kinda lame without context).

I read the issue with Sonic meeting shadow while sonic has some form of metal virus. It was this story that put me in 2 minds about the series. But from what everyone on here is saying, I feel I should give it a go. 

 

46 minutes ago, Duelistic Nature said:

The short and sweet:
I was completely new to the comics and I'd recommend the IDW collection #1 on paperback. It gives you a nice feel for the art and story writing, you do clearly see the guiding hand of SEGA though, keeping it close to the video games. It also contains gorgeous art pieces from other artists like Nathalie Fourdraine, Tyson Hesse, Kieran Gates, Adam Bryce Thomas, Jonathan Gray and Matt Herms to gawk over.
And nothing beats kicking it back with a hardcover book and spending an evening with plenty of issues to read so you don't run out of stories to read.

As someone who's never gotten into the Sonic comics, but wanted to get into the medium I personally settled for a bit of an investment with both the IDW collection volumes #1 and #2 since I really wanted to get a feel for how the stories were written and drawn. I haven't regretted my decision one bit as I basically devoured them in 2 evening reads. I wanted to read so much more that I bit the bullet and ordered the other volumes (volumes of 1-4 issues bundled together) and loose missing issues digitally to get up to speed. I do look forward to getting more of the volume collections as they come out because I do want to have them on paperback as nothing feels more fun than kicking it back in a comfy chair with a good comic book.

As previously stated by others, IDW sticks really close to the game's stories and cannon so you'll find tons of references to the games if that's something you like. They don't push it front and center and a quoted line from the games slips in from time to time when it's appropriate which to me is a very fun touch. One or two are a bit heavy-handed though and feel a bit shoe-horned in, but don't detract too hard from the scene.

I will warn that IDW collection volume #1 (issues 1-12) is a bit heavy on the game reference since it had to establish a framework of how they wanted to portray the series (and SEGA probably keeping a really tight grip on what got in and what didn't), but it gives you a good feel of what the art is you can expect to come from the other issues.

Once you head into volume #2 (issues 13 - 24) you get more of a proper story that was designed by the writers (primarily Ian Flynn) and less heavy on the reference and honestly produces some really harrowing concepts and themes, but also very awesome displays of action, art and story telling.

My personal recommendation as someone who was brand new to IDW with no prior comic knowledge: It gets progressively fun to read and currently am antsy to get my hands on reading issue 52 when it releases.

This is a very helpful answer. 👍Thanks for taking the time to explain. I will look to give the series a go!

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12 minutes ago, castell-neath said:

I read the issue with Sonic meeting Shadow while sonic has some form of Metal Virus. It was this story that put me in 2 minds about the series. But from what everyone on here is saying, I feel I should give it a go. 

This is a very helpful answer. 👍Thanks for taking the time to explain. I will look to give the series a go i think

Then let me assure you this is one of the weaker issues.

There are some weird mandates around Shadow and writers have a hard time making him work, this one being probably most controversial issue.

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1 hour ago, MetalSkulkBane said:

Then let me assure you this is one of the weaker issues.

There are some weird mandates around Shadow and writers have a hard time making him work, this one being probably most controversial issue.

1 hour ago, castell-neath said:

I read the issue with Sonic meeting shadow while sonic has some form of metal virus. It was this story that put me in 2 minds about the series. But from what everyone on here is saying, I feel I should give it a go.

The issue you're referring to here is part of the previously mentioned IDW #2 volume which covers the first half of the 2nd story arc. 

And I agree with MetalSkulkBane. Shadow's unfortunately a character that isn't that much represented in the stories and what he does/ is written to do has raised some eyebrows, to put it very mildly. A real shame given the general popularity of Shadow. He does have a nice story point in the first story arc and in my opinion behaves and acts completely IN character there.

Given the current rules around the Comic section of the Forum, I'd love to open character discussion topics about the IDW cast to give more spotlight to this specific issue for example as it's now flooded/ drowned/ resting in the mega thread waiting to be unearthed whenever a new issue shines new light on a character, but the difficult part is that separate topics have a hard time avoiding spoilers for beginning readers.

Unfortunately, I am not allowed to open new topics yet so that's going to be shelved until I can or if someone feels like pitching the topic.

 

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