Initially intended to be a single massive post detailing the history of Robotnik’s artistic depiction in the Archie books, it became clear that the sheer number of artists who had drawn the doc could not be contained to one post, and so, this will be a five part series celebrating the sheer variety of styles that were used back in the day, while analyzing the little details each artist would add to distinguish THEIR Robotnik. Why? Because one of the things I did like about the old days, even though it meant a lot of inconsistency and quality issues, was the fact that there were so many different artists able to put their own spin on things. While the streamlining of the art since the time Flynn came on board has ultimately been for the best, a part of me misses the variety that was present in those days, and so, I made this Art Historia series in order to examine and celebrate that variety.
We open with the beginnings of the book- a bygone era wherein the tone of the book took more direction from the VERY goofy Adventures series, in a stark contrast to the Saturday Morning show it was intended to tie into. Many of the artists on this list would become the earliest regulars on the book, serving as trailblazers to those who would come after and becoming Sonic icons in their own right.
1. Scott Shaw!
Scott Shaw! (exclamation point intended) is noteworthy for being the very first artist to draw for the Archie Sonic series, illustrating the miniseries that would go on to become the Archie series proper, and as such, the very first to draw Robotnik. A veteran of Hanna Barbera and DC (where he created Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew), Scott Shaw had an affinity for the ‘Funny Animal’ style that was more than appropriate for Sonic in those very early days of the franchise, especially given the ‘gag-a-day’ nature of the book at that point. His depiction of Robotnik would be spot on for the SatAM design, though it would take the colorist a bit of time to remember that Robotnik has red-on-black eyes.
2. Dave Manak
In the earliest days of the book, Dave Manak served as the primary artist, and stayed on board for a veeery long time. Manak’s art direction was fitting enough given the heavy emphasis on comedy in those days, and his work seemed heavily derived from Scott Shaw’s own style. Such was the case for his Robotnik, who for the most part was rather show accurate… most of the time. Manak could be very inconsistent a lot of the time, often making Robotnik’s forehead and nose larger or smaller panel by panel. One noteworthy thing about Manak’s Robotnik was the mustache- he tended to draw it way, way longer than the show’s design, as shown here. Guy really liked the ‘stache, I guess.
Manak wasn’t the best of artists, but he wasn’t horrible either, and for what the book was during the time he was most prolific? He was as good a choice as any at the time.
3. Art Mawhinney
The Archie Sonic comic wasn’t Art Mawhinney’s first encounter with Sonic- prior to coming on board, he had served as a storyboard artist for SatAM as well as doing tie-in work for some of the Sonic books released at that time. Mawhinney’s style at the time was an easy fit for the book, with his storybook-esque style lending itself well to humorous and more serious stories- some of the most emotionally touching moments in the book were thanks to him, and his style played a big part in that. Unfortunately, Mawhinney would prove unable to adjust to the times and to Sonic’s post-Adventure design, and despite being one of the best regarded artists of the Pre-Adventure era, he simply no longer fit in after a certain point.
Mawhinney’s Robotnik was very well done, naturally, though due to his style had a soft, almost cuddly look to him- though make no mistake, Mawhinney could make him pull off the menace when needed. Interestingly, Mawhinney tended to draw Robotnik as having irises, a stylistic choice evocative of the AosTH incarnation of Robotnik.
4. Patrick Spaziante
Honestly, I’ve already said a lot about Spaz’s Robotnik. Heck, he’s the reason for this entire list! But, I may as well say a bit more. Patrick “Spaz” Spaziante (a nickname that would probably be a little less well received these days…) was probably the first true Sonic Comic superstar- his kinetic, anime-esque art style breathed a new life into the book. Getting his start as an interior artist, Spaz would truly cement his place in the Archie book for his work in the Mecha Madness and the iconic final fight between Robotnik and Sonic in Endgame, and for his dazzling cover art both in the Sonic series AND the Knuckles series, as well as being a conceptual artist for the book. He would persist as a Sonic cover artist for many years, and move on to do work for the Archie Megaman Comics and even work for SEGA themselves.
His Robotnik changed and evolved drastically over the course of the book- starting out as kind of squashed, puffy and cartoony, Spaz would gradually add greater detailing and dial back the tooniness of the design until concocting a truly menacing Robotnik… just in time for Robotnik to be killed off, of course. Ah well, bottom line? Spaz was one of the greats, and the book probably wouldn’t have gotten where it was without his work in those days.
5. Ken Penders
Hoo boy, you knew that sooner or later we’d be getting to this guy. We all know the story- Penders came on board as a writer at the behest of his friend Mike Kantevorich due to the fact that his son was a fan of the Sonic series, and would gradually steer the series away from the humor focus towards more plot focused, story driven work, and most famously would write the Knuckles series, with much of his work forming the basis for the Archie Sonic world… as well as being the origin of many of the quality problems the book would suffer from later down the road. In addition to being a writer, he also did artwork from time to time, much of it… well, catastrophic. Easily the least suited artist for the book’s early days, Penders was accustomed to drawing realistic humans and just could not adjust to the more cartoony style demanded by the book, and in all his time spent he working on Sonic he would never truly manage to really master the kind of style you’d expect for a Sonic book. This definitely showed through with his take on Robotnik, with his bulbose nose, oversized and oddly placed eyes and the weirdly 2-D looking mustache. Ironically, Penders only drew Robotnik a few times over his entire decade long career on the book.
Curiously, Penders had an odd tendency to draw Robotnik as having rectangle shaped pupils. Why he did this I have no idea, but I have a feeling that the fact that his ‘original villain’ Dr. Droid would demonstrate similarly square sclera down the road was meant to serve as foreshadowing to his nature as a counterpart/successor to the doc… yeeeeeah.
And so concludes our first installment! Join us tomorrow as we delve into the artists brought on board as the comic marched towards Endgame, an event that would change the comic forever!
Robotnik Art Historia- Part Two: The Road to Endgame
Hello there, and welcome to the Robotnik Art Historia, where we journey through the various artistic interpretations of the dearly depraved doc over the course of Archie Sonic’s existence!
In this installment, we observe some the later artists who contributed over the course of what was considered The Classic Era, leading up to issue 50. While many of the regular artists were firmly in place by this point (Manak, Spaziante and Mawhinney), there were still others who would step up from time to time. Many of these artists worked sporadically on the book during this time and after it, with one rather major exception- none the less, each one put a fairly unique stylistic spin on the doc, for better or worse. And that’s what this is all about.
6. Brian Thomas
Brian Thomas, prior to coming to Sonic, was an artist for Archie’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Adventures book, and also did work on the ‘Mighty Mutanimals’ spinoff. By this point the Archie TMNT comic had been cancelled for a while now, and it was likely he was bumped onto the TMNT book under the basis that his experience in drawing humanoid animals would be a boon. Jury’s out on that front, but he wasn’t a bad fit all the same. His Robotnik tended to be drawn with somewhat thin limbs, and he made Robotnik’s nose more bulbous…in that respect, his design was actually closer to that of the Sonic games than the SatAM show.
7. Richard Koslowski
Rich Koslowski was an inker who got to do pencils for a single story, issue 37′s “Bunnie’s Worst Nightmare”. There is not a lot to say about his take on Robotnik other than the fact that he seems to be a middle ground between Mawhinney’s and Thomas’, possessing the visible black pupils of the latter and the overgrown nose of the other. Uniquely though, his depiction of Robotnik would see to treat what is normally Robotnik’s iris as being his actual eye, with the black ‘sclera’ seemingly being the shadows around his eye, a creative conceit that was actually contemplated in SatAM’s concept art before moving on to the final design. An interesting coincidence, to be sure.
8. Manny Galan
A fresh young face at Archie, Galan much like Spaz took some time to really get things down right, but to his credit Galan really managed to do Robotnik justice, drawing him as a massive, menacing sort that was all too appropriate for the character. Galan started out on the Sonic book proper, but his ‘big break’ came when he did the art on the Sonic Quest miniseries. Galan would then become particularly famous for being the main artist on the Knuckles the Echidna series. Over time his style would evolve to become more anime-esque, but whatever the particular period, he always drew the Big Round Guy Well.
9. Kyle Hunter
Working primarily as a colorist, Kyle Hunter did pencils for exactly one issue of Sonic, so there’s not a lot to say really. His take on Robotnik is fairly standard, though weirdly enough he was depicted as ultra-detailed on the first page and then far toonier on the second. Why this is, I have no idea- but either way, his Robotnik was competently handled if not particular noteworthy, seeming to take cues from Spaz’s depiction.
10. Nelson Ortega
Nelson Ortega is a bit of an odd one. He did several issues for the book, and a lot of that artwork looks… kinda lousy, in all honesty. However, his one bit of Pro-Art, pictured on the left there, demonstrates that he is in fact a stellar artist. This leads me to believe that the lack of skill demonstrated in the book proper may fall on the inker… who, ironically enough, was the previously examined Brian Thomas. Anyway, despite the problems with the final art in the book, his depiction of Robotnik is pretty impressive all the same, ESPECIALLY in the pro-art piece. It’s just a shame would couldn’t have seen more like the latter rather than the former.
11. Sam Maxwell
One of the last additions to the ‘classical’ era of the book, Sam Maxwell’s style tended to throw a lot of people for a loop. VERY rubbery and cartoony, many have claimed that his characters look like they’re stuffed with balloons, and a lot of the times the proportions on his characters would shift from page to page or even panel to panel. How good or bad a fit he was depends on your personal tastes, and honestly I always kinda liked his style. His Robotnik was also pretty distinct looking, with a lot of emphasis placed on his teeth and the absolutely MASSIVE size of his ear implants. Maxwell would linger on a while after Endgame and even contribute a bit of pro-Art before disappearing into the ether.
And with that, the second installment of the Robotnik Art Historia comes to a close! Sufficed to say, the art didn’t want for variety in these days, and that trend would continue in the time period we’ll be covering tomorrow- the Post Endgame Era!
I have a lot of respect and admiration for Simo Hayha, but not so much for the idiotic bandwagon that only views the kill count as “Snip3r Leet!!!”
Carlos Hathcock, Ed England, Chuck Mawhinney and Adelbert Waldron were all snipers in the Vietnam War, a very different kind of war than the one between the Finns and Russians.
Hayha’s battleground was a target rich environment because the Soviets believed in sheer overwhelming numbers in order to capitulate an enemy.
The Vietnamese were brilliant at guerrilla warfare and used the dense jungle to their advantage to avoid being easy targets.
Chris Kyle’s kill count, although often attributed to a target rich environment has differing circumstances as opposed to Simo Hayha.
Iraqi insurgents don’t have insignia or uniforms identifying them as potential threats, other than them carrying weapons in the open. Hayha could easily identify his targets because of their Soviet uniforms. Kyle operated in a populated urban environment. Hayha was usually out in the open fields and forests of Finland hunting Soviets who had invaded his country with almost 1 million troops.
To illustrate how a target rich environment can affect individual kill counts, Simo Hayha achieved his 505 confirmed kills in less than 100 days, which is how long the Winter War went on.
Heinrich Severloh, “The Beast of Omaha” is supposedly responsible for around 1,000 to 2,000 deaths in 12 hours during D-Day using his MG42 and Mauser K98.
This by no means belittles Hayha’s accomplishments; rather an explanation of how battlefield conditions and circumstances can affect individual outcomes.
Anyway…the only pussy here is the one who said “lrn2quickscope”.
Fraudulent “Rock Star” Scams Banks Out Of $11 Million To Try To Be Next blink-182
Robert Mawhinney had a band called Lights Over Paris that received over $11 million in bank loans in hopes of being a massive rock band in order to be the next blink-182. Mawhinney, through a very large series of lies, seas sentenced to seven years in prison. Watch a whole video from ABC on the story below after the jump.