Comic Book: Sonic the Hedgehog Promo Comic

Kintobor: "Who in tarnations are you!?"
Sonic: "Don't you know? I'm Sonic the Hedgehog"

A very interesting entry from the earliest days in the Sonic the Hedgehog series, this oneshot promo comic was crafted in an attempt to provide an origin story for Sonic in the western world, as well as promote his debut game.

The comic starts with Sonic rescuing his friends from several badniks created by Dr. Robotnik, as they question where their friend Dr. Kintobor is—only for Sonic to drop the bad news that Kintobor IS Robotnik! He then flashes back into an origin story, where Sonic explains how he first met Kintobor.

His tale begins back when he was a prickly, brown hedgehog, with him accidentally burrowing into Kintobor's underground laboratory just as he is working on a Retro-Orbital Chaos Compressor— or just R.O.C.C. for short, which the good doctor intends to use to rid the hedgehog's planet of all evil as soon as he finds a Gray Emerald to counteract the other six in the machine. Sonic and Kintobor become fast friends, and after a freak accident involving a treadmill (due to Sonic wanting to kick the mass versus velocity theory in the dirt) Sonic's fur is turned from brown to cobalt blue, and his quills are permanently fused together from the heat of the speed he was going at—and Kintobor promptly gives him a special pair of friction-less shoes to replace his old ones.

But one day, Kintobor spills a drink on the R.O.C.C. controls, causing the machine to go haywire; not only scattering the R.O.C.C.'s containment rings all over South Island, but also bathing Kintobor in 10,000 bolts of Pure Evil Energy, causing him to transform into Dr. Robotnik.

The rest of the comic is spent on Sonic partaking in loose adaptations of the levels from the games to try and stop Robotnik, as well as saving Porker Lewis in the end (albeit losing a Chaos Emerald to Dr. Robotnik in the process) and the comic telling the readers to go buy the game to see what happens next.

While the comic is obviously not canon to the games, note  it did provide the backbone for Fleetway's Sonic the Comic, which borrowed the same origin story.

No relation to Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, which has a completely different backstory and continuity, despite also being set on Mobius.

You can find the comic in question in its entirety here. It was included in some older early 90's comic books, and was also included in issues of Sega Visions and Disney Adventures (the former in a heavily abridged form that chopped out the entire Kintobor to Robotnik part). Predictably, it was also given away as a standalone promotional issue.

Compare to the Japan only, three volume tie in manga, "Sonic The Hedgehog Story Comic", which likewise provides a little backstory to Sonic before the main game (and is likewise unrelated to the other Sonic manga series published there, which also had its own interpretation of the original games backstory drawn by the mangas artists, albeit as a tie-in to Sonic the Hedgehog 2 instead).

Tropes Related To The Comic:

  • Art Evolution: The unnamed squirrel girl is almost certainly a template for Sally, and she appears very different. She is not humanoid at all (the current one is essentially a photorealistic naked human with a anthro animal head stuck on, especially under Stevn Butler), wearing a pink bow (the current one has boots and a vest) and very diminutive.
    • This version of the squirrel is essentially Ricky with a bow on his head, trying to pass for a girl.
    • Also applies to the unnamed rabbit (a Johnny Lightfoot prototype) and Porker Lewis. Thankfully, the current incarnations are not photorealistic humans with animal heads, however the new ones are more anthropomorphised.
  • Artistic License Physics: Invoked; Kintobor's treadmill acknowledges a proper estimate of Sonic's natural speed using the Mass Versus Velocity theory as 17 mph, but Sonic, being as brash as he is, decides to spit in the face of it by going so fast that he breaks the sound barrier, and thus violently overloads the treadmill—and the heat from the speed also changes Sonic's color and permanently fuses his quills together.
  • Beneath the Earth: Where Kintobor's secret lab is located.
  • Big Bad: Dr. Robotnik.
  • Big Good: Dr. Kintobor, until he becomes Robotnik.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The comic has never been taken as canon for the games, especially since Sonic Adventure.
  • Canon Foreigner: "A Gray Emerald" gets mentioned offhand in the story, even though at the time only six Chaos Emeralds existed in the early Sonic games. The seventh Chaos Emerald (of similar color) wouldn't become canon until Sonic the Hedgehog 2, and while the Grey Emerald could neutralize the others in Sonic the Comic, this concept wouldn't be applied in the games until the Master Emerald was introduced later on.
  • Canon Immigrant: Porker Lewis would become a prominent character in the UK Sonic Comic.
  • Cliffhanger: Basically an adaptation of the original game with an added background for Sonic and Robotnik, skipping Marble Zone and Spring Yard Zone, and stopping short of the Final Zone with the Chaos Emerald tally one-to-one. The reader is encouraged to play the Sega Genesis to play out what happens next.
  • Continuity Drift: Initially the canon Sega of America backstory, but this was either ignored or forgotten, and made moot anyway when Sonic Adventure nullified the concept of different localizations getting different storylines.
  • The Corruption: What turns Kintobor into Robotnik.
  • Create Your Own Villain: Robotnik
  • Early Installment Weirdness: On account of the totally bizarre origin story.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Sonic introducing himself to Kintobor.
  • Fun with Acronyms: R.O.C.C.
  • Grimy Water: In Labyrinth Zone, due to Robotnik's pollution. Sonic almost drowns in it.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The Badniks.
  • Mineral MacGuffin: The Chaos Emeralds.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: If Kintobor had just kept that soda away from the machine, the whole mess wouldn't have started in the first place.
  • Now Buy the Merchandise: Sonic tells the reader at the end to buy the game it's based on to find out how the story ends.
  • Off Model: The artist simply could not make up his mind about how big or small Sonic's features, head or girth are.
  • Prequel: Intended to be one to the first game.
  • Pungeon Master: Sonic.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: Kintobor and Robotnik.
  • Super Hero Origin
  • Super Speed: Sonic, naturally. He breaks the sound barrier early in the story.
  • Writing Around Trademarks: While the Mass Vs. Velocity theory was written by Albert Einstein, here he's called Eggstein due to the Einstein name being trademarked.

Alternative Title(s):

Sonic The Hedgehog 1991