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Webcomic / Ghosts of the Future

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This artwork was created around the comic's first year.
Ghosts of the Future is a Sonic the Hedgehog fan comic written and illustrated by Evan Stanley (a writer and artist on the official Sonic comics, both Archie and IDW versions), co-written since issue 10 by Tom Campbell (aka Okida, the creator of Sonic the Continuation), and colored since issue 18 by Reggie Graham (another IDW Sonic artist). It started on September 24, 2007. Presumably due to Evan Stanley being busy working on the official Sonic franchise, the comic has been in a quiet hiatus since January 7, 2021.

It's 200 years after the deaths of Sonic and his best friends and the removal of the Chaos Emeralds from the main universe. Silver the Hedgehog is just an ordinary kid living in San Francisco and working at a small Chinese restaurant in the Friendly Local Chinatown, until he starts having strange dreams. Then he meets the immortal Shadow, who is being guided by the ghost of Sonic, and learns that he must now retrieve the Chaos Emeralds from The Multiverse to prevent the destruction of the main universe. Along the way, he will have to help Sonic's ghost confront his horrible memories, help Shadow overcome his guilt, and help himself deal with his feelings for his best friend and coworker, Blaze. They also encounter a centuries-long sinister project by a powerful force...

The comics can all be found Evan Stanley's DeviantArt gallery and the Middle Ground, a Sonic fancomic site. If you'd like the comics to be read along to, you can check out the official motion comic version of the first two issues and these fan dubs (another one).

Now has a character and recap page.

Not to be confused with the The Incredible Hulk arc of the same name, Ghosts of the Past, or the Ghost of the Christmas Yet to Come. See also The Murder of Me, another popular Sonic the Hedgehog fancomic which is also a Dark Fic with a supernatural flavor and starring the three hedgehogs as the protagonists. It is also created by a red-haired Promoted Fan, albeit named Gigi Dutreix, and Stanley is in fact best friends with them.

Tropes of the Future:

Please note that links to lore (aka Word of God) may have spoilers. You Have Been Warned!

  • Blood Knight:
    • Omega openly admits to hoping a plan will go wrong so he can fight some mooks.
      Omega: I am detecting the approach of multiple G.U.N. units. Hopefully hostile. (roof collapses, showing approaching robots) Things have gone south. (narrows eyes in glee) Excellent.
    • Sonic of all people becomes one whenever Badniks show up. At one point Tikal has to actually force him to stop attacking after he gets a little too excited in a battle; Sonic doesn’t even realize what he’s doing until she snaps him out of it.
  • Bloody Horror: Played in full force at the Downer Beginning in issue 1 when we see Sonic covered in ugly bloody wounds and slowly dying and Tails' and Knuckles' corpses in blood puddles, in issue 3 when we see Tails' bloody corpse in more detail, in issue 8 when Vennie is mauled by Metal Sonic and has blood leak out of her body and mouth, in issue 9 when we see the same Metal Sonic with bloodstains over him, and in issue 17 when Metallix impales Silver's hands, which results in Silver spilling a gallon of blood over himself, the floor, and Blaze.
    Evan Stanley: (regarding the issue 17 incident) Oh, man… This was tough to draw. I’m not as bloodthirsty as I used to be.
  • Breather Episode: After an intense string of Wham Episodes, issue 16 is a quiet, introspective story about the heroes remembering the people they've lost and reflecting on all that's happened.
  • Call-Back: Many references are made to Sonic's previous adventures in the game series, especially Sonic and the Secret Rings. Intentional, as Evan Stanley said it's her favorite game.
  • The Cameo:
    • Several characters from The Middle Ground, the webcomic site that hosts Ghosts, appear as background characters.
    • The girl above Scourge in the cover of issue 11 is supposed to be a Hybrid version of Meg Finn from The Wish List, one of Stanley's favorite books.
  • Censor Shadow: The Sorceress of the Black Isle's naked Darkwing form has a shadow covering up the groin, though her breasts are uncovered and uncensored, albeit the nipples are rudimentary to the point they look like simple bumps).
  • Creator Cameo: Evan's echid-fox persona briefly appears at the Gold Ring Chinese restaurant in issue 8.
  • Creator Provincialism: Ghosts of the Future usually takes place both in or near the Bay Area in California, where Evan Stanley grew up and lives in. Specifically, the several early issues take place in San Francisco, and Silver's family's home and mansion are confirmed to be located near Brookdale, Santa Cruz Country (Stanley specifically grew up in Santa Cruz) and Half Moon Bay respectively.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The headquarters of the New Chaotix is littered with numerous items, gadgets, and robots from past Sonic games.
  • Crossover: Issue 17 and 18 are a cross-over between Ghosts of the Future and Sonic the Continuation, a Sonic the Comic fancomic by Okida, Ghosts's co-writer.
  • Curse Cut Short: Another Character Interrupts example. In issue 15, Scourge calls Antique a "crazy bit--" and is interrupted by Silver. Silver's speech bubble covers up most of the "bit—".
  • Face–Heel Turn: The entire G.U.N. organization has been corrupted into a tyrannical military force by Nicole after she infiltrated and took control of them.
  • Fan Disservice: The Sorceress of the Black Isle's Darkwing form is intended to evoke this effect. She's naked with uncovered breasts not affected by the Censor Shadow, but the overly muscular, masculine body makes the form disturbing rather than arousing.
  • Fantastic Racism: According to lore, after G.U.N. shut down their breeding program, Hybrids, being Designer Tyke Bombs, had a long and hard time integrating into human society. They were mainly treated as second-class citizens, or "little better than dangerous animals", with the only lucky ones being kids who were Happily Adopted by families who did not dehumanize them, like what happened to Tails and Amy. While different countries offered different experiences, the United States offered an experience that is reminiscent of their real history of immigration and racism. While Sally Acorn led a Hybrid rights activists group that her SatAM friends were part of, Sonic's heroism was what helped highlight and lower the fantastic discrimination towards Hybrids.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: The Sorceress of the Black Isle fights Sonic in her naked Darkwing form.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Sonic's funny-looking surprised face in the second flashback in issue 15 when Rouge interrupts Shadow's plan to flee the New Chaotix.
    • Vennie's silly Black Bead Eyes emoji-like face in the background of the party scene in issue 16.
  • Friendly Local Chinatown: Silver and Blaze work at a Chinese restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown. (To be precise, Silver is participating in a hands-on homeschool project.)
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: There are some people you don't want to upset. Such as Sonic...
  • Government Conspiracy: G.U.N.'s breeding program was kept a secret, until it was exposed to the public. Then they covered it up again by suppressing the original history of the Hybrids. In general, G.U.N. is operating as the Secret Police under Nicole.
  • Gratuitous Foreign Language: In issue 7, Shadow says an Arabic-sounding phrase in phonetic language, "Y falazas, i ees serak! Y falazas i ees serak!" (at least "i ees serak" is Arabic for "is stolen"), which is based on a summoning chant used in both Sonic Storybook games. Evan Stanley stated that her present self would be more sensitive about using gratuitous foreign language she isn't familiar with.
  • Gratuitous Japanese: Issue 10 is titled "Masakatsu Agatsu" ("True Victory; Self Victory").note 
  • Gratuitous Spanish:
    • "Mi casa"note  appears twice inside a frame in the Chaotix Detective Agency in issue 12.
    • Issue 16: "Luces en mi Sombre"note , appropriately for how the issue is centered around the Day of the Dead.
      Shadow: ¡Vamos! Sólo uno de nosotros puedo volar, y no soy yo.note 
      Sonic: No sé...note 
      Shadow: ¡Maldita sea, Sonic! ¡Esta fue tu idea! note 
      Sonic: Sí, pero... ¿Sera demasiado? note 
      Shadow: Si lo es, da igual.note  It's a party. Quit worrying and enjoy it.
      Silver: Guys...? It's 4 in the morning and you're arguing over flowers in Spanish. Just, like, why?!
      Sonic: What? Oh—force'a habit here.
    • In issue 18, Shadow speaks Spanish to Fleetway Sonic.
      Shadow: Sonic, no quiero charlar con este... impostor. Si puedes escucharme, dame una señal.note 
      Fleetway Sonic: "Imposter?" You calling me a faker, faker? I'll show you who's the fake hedgehog around here!
  • Half-Human Hybrid: The Funny Animal characters here are essentially Transhuman-type human-animal hybrids created as the result of gene mutations by Chaos Energy. In fact, they are called Hybrids in-universe. They were first created with gradual Bio-Augmentation by the "Ancient Echidnas", and then as an Artifical Hedgehog and Designer Babies with LEGO Genetics by G.U.N. to be superpowered Tyke Bombs.
  • Hero of Another Story: The Fleetway Sonic and Omni-Viewer show up during one of the expeditions into the Special Zone, having their own adventure while our heroes search for a Chaos Emerald.
  • Holiday Episode: Issue 16 is themed after the Day of the Dead. To top it off, it was published from October 1 to November 1 on a much faster Monday-Wednesday-Friday schedule.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Not humanity, but the same basic principle; being powered up by Sonic’s spirit has the unexpected side effect of granting Metal Sonic self-awareness and morality.
  • Humanlike Hand Anatomy: Taken to the next level beyond Sonic, for the fact that the Hybrids have humanlike nails, most of the time.
  • Humanlike Foot Anatomy: Similar to their hands, they have humanlike feet with humanlike nails, generally.
  • Hypocrite: Blaze is furious upon learning how many secrets Silver has been keeping from her, despite her being a member of the New Chaotix and keeping just as many secrets from him. Silver calls her out on this and she admits that he's right. They both agree to never keep secrets from each other again.
  • Impaled Palm: In issue 17, Metallix grabs ahold of Silver's hands and impales them with his sharp thumbs. Plenty of blood flows.
  • Internal Retcon: Nicole has G.U.N. suppress anything from public knowledge if it interferes with her Government Conspiracy. Examples include:
    • According to lore and issue 17, G.U.N. suppressed the original history of the Hybrids (Ancient Echidnas, Project Shadow, Fantastic Racism against the Hybrids, Sonic and co's adventures and fights against Eggman), because of "that Nicole lady pulling their strings" and only provided a highly Bowdlerized and simplified version, with all of the repugnant and horrific parts edited out, for the people to learn. Only the New Chaotix, including Silver's parents, as well as Sonic, Shadow, and Tikal, know some of the true history each. Sonic is furious about G.U.N.'s cover-up of the original history of the Hybrids and will talk your head off about Hybrid rights aggressively whenever he gets an opportunity.
    • G.U.N. also covered up the existence of supernatural forces, allowing religions to survive.
  • I'll Kill You!: The Sorceress screams this in large, bold italics at Silver when the Chaos Emerald is teleported suddenly to Silver thanks to Schehrazade's writing.
  • Killed Off for Real: Amy, Knuckles, and Tails are dead before the comic even starts. Eggman dies shortly after via a Neck Snap from Shadow. Rouge and Omega are eventually revealed to have died at Moebius at some point. Scourge and Antique aren't explicitly shown dying, but the ending of issue 15 pretty much assures they do. Likewise, a flashback reveals Fiona was killed in the past as well.
  • Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: Humans and human-animal Hybrids co-exist. Eggman the human is shown in the first issue and Maria and the Commander are referenced to in the comic. Issue 8 shows a few human characters as Cameos, one who is a Little Bit Beastly. Issue 16 shows plenty of humans and some Hybrids together in a Flashback. They didn't get along at first, as the Backstory Horror shows.
  • Location Theme Naming: The Erin children are named after real Italian locations. Venice and Sicily are two examples, and did you know Silver's real name is Florence?
  • The Lost Lenore: Sonic clearly misses Amy and regrets not being able to save her, even apologizing to her Arabian Nights counterpart. However, he’s begun to move on from it. Shadow is also devastated by his loss of Rouge when he finds out what happened to her. Big points go to Scourge's heaps of remorse for making a Deal with the Devil and losing everyone, including Fiona, all because he slapped her.
  • Magic Genetics: According to lore, Hybrids were created by mutating genes with Chaos Energy to have extraordinary superpowered abilities that could be useful for G.U.N..
  • The Magic Goes Away: After the Chaos Emeralds were sent away from Earth, the number of Hybrids born with special abilities dropped to almost nothing, and if they aren't brought back, the universe will essentially grind to a screeching halt.
  • Mature Animal Story: Yes, Ghosts of the Future may star your favorite Funny Animal characters from Sonic the Hedgehog, but it's a comic for older Sonic fans and a Dark Fic, with bloodshed, (usually) mild profanity, sexual innuendo, and partial nudity (albeit tame-looking) to prove it. Not to mention the Backstory Horror: It's revealed that the creation of the modern Funny Animals, or Hybrids, (yes, they were transhuman Designer Babies) was made possible through the manipulation of human women by offering them and their loved ones free healthcare and pensions if they consented to bear the Hybrids.
  • Mercy Kill: Shadow's Arabian Nights counterpart, Uhu, is forced to do this to Blaze's counterpart, Fouh, by slitting her throat, much to Silver's horror. Sonic tries to reassure him by pointing out the Arabian Nights world is basically fake, but Silver isn't entirely convinced.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: In issue 18, when Fleetway Sonic passes by a mirror, Sonic's ghost is seen in the mirror, showing he is possessing his Fleetway counterpart.
  • Modern Stasis: The world 200 years in the past and in Silver's timeline doesn't look all that different, with similar architecture and technology.
  • Moment Killer: In issue 14, after Blaze confesses to Silver about her powers, Silver and Blaze share a tearjerking hug and spend time together alone, until Scourge sneaks up onto them.
    Scourge: Oh, don't let me stop you! By the by, you blew it kid. Shoulda gone for a kiss.
  • Monochrome Past: Sonic and Shadow's Flashbacks are rendered in grayscale, except for the end of the flashback in issue 16 which signifies Shadow warming up to Sonic's idea of a Day of the Dead celebration. Scourge and Fiona's flashback in issue 15 is rendered in yellow monochrome.
  • Mood Whiplash: In issue 15, Shadow comes across the petrified and slightly broken remains on Rouge and Omega in Moebius, which is sad. The flashback then plays which shows off a string of funny faces and Omega's funny line. Okida even lampshades this in the excerpt from the writer's chatlog.
    Okida: And here I get back to making witty observations. Behold the page of tone whiplash. Look at Rouge's frozen face, then immediately look at Vector's face at the bottom. Then feel your emotions bounce like a yoyo.
  • Muggle Power: According to lore, in present day, Chaos-muted (aka superpowered) Hybrids are considered dangerous and thus discriminated against, so Silver's and Vennie's powers were suppressed.
  • The Multiverse: The Special Zone permits travel between realities in the Multiverse. The characters travel to Moebius and later encounter the Fleetway version of Sonic.
  • Mythology Gag: Metal Sonic's gradual change into Shard reflects a similar character arc that the original Metal Sonic from the Archie comics underwent.
    • Fleetway Sonic and the Omni-Viewer use British accents and slang, alluding to the fact that they originate from a British comic.
  • Tyop on the Cover: The title on the issue 10 cover is "Masaka Agatsu", but is supposed to be "Masakatsu Agatsu".
  • Villain Team-Up: Nicole and Scourge decide to team up to take down Sonic.
  • Villainous Friendship: Downplayed as they aren't especially close and don't spend much time together, but Scourge and Nicole get along pretty well due to having similar interests (i.e. killing Sonic).
  • Visual Innuendo: In issue 6, the Sorceress holds the long and thin neck of the jug containing Fouh, Blaze's doppelganger Djinn, between her breasts.
  • Void Between the Worlds:
    • A Blank White Void exists between planes of reality, where there is nothing but Chaos Energy. It's known as "Tikal's santuary" in issue 11 and is where Tikal's ghost and Sonic's ghost reside when they're not in the planes.
    • Schehrazade the Writer resides in the Lost Prologue, located "between the pages of this tale of Arabian Nights", and writes the world from there.
  • Wham Line: Silver discovers a startling secret.
    Deborah, Silver's mother: (referring to herself, her husband Richard, and Blaze's dad, Duke) We are the New Chaotix... Secret agents dedicated to preserving the legacy of Sonic the Hedgehog... (transforms into werehog) ...and bringing G.U.N. down! We know you're Nicole's puppets! So... BRING. IT. ON.
    Silver and Sonic: (exceptionally shocked faces)
  • Whole-Plot Reference: The arc spanning from issue 8 to 9 is a reference to The Amazing Spider-Man issue #50 ("Spider-Man No More!"), in which Silver gives up carrying his mission as The Chosen One. The cover of issue #8 is a parody of the famous cover of that issue.