Skip to main content

How a Sonic fanfic writer ended up leading Sonic Frontiers

While we still know little about Sonic Frontiers, the first open-world adventure for the super-fast hedgehog, there is a good reason to hope it will be something special: one of the main writers on the title is Ian Flynn, a big name in the Sonic community, and chief writer on Archie Comic’s Sonic the Hedgehog series and lead writer on IDW Publishing’s Sonic the Hedgehog comics.

Flynn’s path to Sonic Frontiers gives hope Sonic fans (or any fans, really) can, with perseverance, luck, and talent, one day help create the thing they love.

Flynn’s love of Sonic started when his dad brought home a Sega Genesis and Sonic the Hedgehog 2. A passion for the cartoons and comics quickly followed. “They got me hooked young,” Flynn tells us.

Throughout college and working on his English degree, Flynn remained a fan of the blue hedgehog. But on the other side, he panicked: “‘What does one actually do with an English degree?’ I asked myself.” So he decided to try and mix his passions and write a Sonic comic.

What does one actually do with an English degree?

Ian Flynn

Submitting unsolicited manuscripts to comic companies isn’t the norm for landing a job in the industry – not that there is a standard route – and it didn’t immediately pay off. Speaking to (now defunct) website Dreamflint back in 2006, Flynn explained how he sent in scripts for four years before then-editor of the Archie Comic’s Sonic The Hedgehog series, Mike Pellerito, gave Flynn a shot. Flynn told us how he started by writing data files – pages that appeared in the comics and gave detailed breakdowns of characters and locations –  though he then moved on to penning test scripts.

Flynn rose fast; within a few months he had become the lead writer of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, a position he held for over a decade.

A selection of Sonic The Hedgehog comic covers

(Image credit: Archie Comics)

Going to the source

“There was always the hope,” Flynn says, talking about working on a Sonic game. “After all, I beat the odds and landed my dream job with the comic, so why not hope lightning would strike more than once?”

Still, Flynn wasn’t short of Sonic work – in addition to writing the main book, he also took on writing duties for comics based on the Sonic X and Sonic Boom television series. “Both books took a more comedic approach than the main series,” Flynn explains. “Sonic X was more out of a need to stand out, but also as a way of finding the fun in a series that was under much tighter restrictions. Sonic Boom followed in the footsteps of the cartoon rather than the games and was extra silly.”

Sonic Boom, in particular, opened up a surprising new avenue for Flynn. Showrunner Bill Freiberger had communicated with then-editor Paul Kaminski to have some of the cartoon’s writers contribute to the comic, and vice versa. “[Freiberger] coached me on how to write for TV versus comics and workshopped some pitches with me,” Flynn says. “In comics, there’s a very narrow pipeline from me to the artists. The editors and licensors have input, but the comic script is the blueprint for the art team. With TV, you have directors, storyboarders, animators, voice actors, and their directors, all influencing the final product. The TV script is structurally similar but doesn’t need to be as precise in its moment-to-moment descriptions. It’s less of a blueprint and more of a strongly suggested set of directions. I’m a big fan of the current voice team, so it was a thrill to hear my script realized by them.”

Flynn was riding high at this point, regularly penning three monthly Sonic comics and a handful of Sonic Boom TV scripts.

Then one day, everything fell apart.

End of an era

I was gutted and more than a little terrified.

Ian Flynn

Despite having preliminary plans for issue #300 and beyond, all Archie Sonic comics abruptly ceased production in 2017, with no explanation given. This was a gut punch to fans and the books’ creatives alike, Flynn included. “I was gutted and more than a little terrified,” he recalls. “It was my regular gig, a reliable source of income, and my dream job. All of that was gone in the blink of an eye. And right before Christmas. If there was a new book, I hoped I might be involved in some capacity and point out all the talented folks I had worked with, but there were no guarantees.”

It wasn’t long after Archie Sonic’s cancelation that IDW announced it had gained the publishing rights to Sonic comics. The fans immediately jumped on the bandwagon to try and get Flynn on board. Then-editor Joe Hughes reached out to Flynn and asked if he was interested. “The answer was a thankful and emphatic ‘Yes,’” Flynn says.

A panel of IDW Publishing's Sonic The Hedgehog

(Image credit: IDW Publishing)

At this point in his writing career, Flynn’s written for multiple Sonic comics across two different publishers, game tie-in stories, and cartoons. His fans have clamored for years for Sega to let him work on one of the games, and, at last, that opportunity has come. 

“The working relationship between IDW and Sega is a bit different than the Archie days,” Flynn says, “which opened up different avenues of communication. I can’t say for certain who took notice of me when, but the offer was made [to work on Sonic Frontiers], and I gave another emphatic ‘Yes.’”  

The chance to work on a significant Sonic title is “Surreal,” Flynn says. “Daunting, even. There are a lot of expectations and assumptions, and all I can do is my best and hope folks enjoy the experience. The team has been a pleasure to work with, and I hope to do it again one day.”

Source: TechRadar

Popular posts from this blog

Twitter has hidden the chronological feed on iOS again – and I'm furious

In a controversial move, Twitter has brought back a feature that removes the 'Latest Tweets' view for users on iOS, which is something that many users, including me, hated back in March 2022 – and it's now rolling out. The first time the company decided to do this, 'Home' would appear first in a tab at the top, and there was no way of changing it so that 'Latest Tweets' would be the default view. It was reverted back after the company said it was a 'bug' for iOS users. This time though, it's no bug. Instead, it's 'For You' and 'Following' where you can only swipe between them now, which doesn't make much sense for a platform where you're using the platform to keep up to date with who you follow. It's a bizarre change that makes me ask – who wants this, especially during a time when its new owner, Elon Musk, is bringing in and reversing changes almost every week still? This one change will have big consequenc

This new Linux malware floods machines with cryptominers and DDoS bots

Cybersecurity researchers have spotted a new Linux malware downloader that targets poorly defended Linux servers with cryptocurrency miners and DDoS IRC bots. Researchers from ASEC discovered the attack after the Shell Script Compiler (SHC) used to create the downloader was uploaded to VirusTotal. Apparently, Korean users were the ones uploading the SHC, and it’s Korean users who are targets, as well. Further analysis has shown that the threat actors are going after poorly defended Linux servers, brute-forcing their way into administrator accounts over SSH.  Mining Monero Once they make their way in, they’ll either install a cryptocurrency miner, or a DDoS IRC bot. The miner being deployed is XMRig, arguably the most popular cryptocurrency miner among hackers. It uses the computing power of a victim's endpoints to generate Monero, a privacy-oriented cryptocurrency whose transactions are seemingly impossible to track, and whose users are allegedly impossible to identify. Fo

New MacBook Pro Reviews: Hands-On Look at Performance and Upgraded Specs

The new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pro models will start arriving to customers and launch in stores this Tuesday. Ahead of time, the first reviews of the laptops have been shared by select media publications and YouTube channels. Powered by Apple's latest M2 Pro and M2 Max chips, the new MacBook Pros offer up to 20% faster performance and up to 30% faster graphics. The laptops can be configured with up to 96GB of RAM, compared to a max of 64GB previously. Other improvements include Wi-Fi 6E, an upgraded HDMI 2.1 port with support for up to an 8K external display, and an extra hour of battery life over the previous generation. The new MacBook Pros have the same design as the previous models released in October 2021. The laptops can be pre-ordered on Apple's online store, with pricing starting at $1,999 for the 14-inch model and at $2,499 for the 16-inch model. Benchmarks Geekbench results from last week revealed that the M2 Pro and M2 Max chips offer up to around 20%

iPhone 15 Pro Rumored to Feature Ultra-Thin Curved Bezels

The iPhone 15 Pro models will have thinner, curved bezels compared to the iPhone 14 Pro models, potentially resulting in an Apple Watch-like appearance, according to the leaker known as " ShrimpApplePro ." ShrimpApplePro clarified that the next-generation "Pro" iPhone models will still have flat displays, since only the bezels are to be curved. According to a source speaking to the leaker, this combination of slimmer bezels and curved edges could result in a look similar to the Apple Watch Series 7 and Series 8. The curved front glass will purportedly also be present on the ‌iPhone 15‌ and ‌iPhone 15‌ Plus's design, but these devices will not have thinner bezels compared to their iPhone 14 predecessors. ShrimpApplePro added that the ‌iPhone 15‌ lineup will feature the same display sizes as last year's ‌iPhone 14‌ lineup. Last year, the leaker was among the first to say that the ‌iPhone 15‌ Pro models will have a titanium frame with curved rear ed