Sonic, Archie and Mario: An Interview with Comic Writer Ian Flynn

Sonic, Archie and Mario: An Interview with Comic Writer Ian Flynn 4

Archie. Super Mario. Sonic The Hedgehog. These characters are staples of popular culture, but what else do they have in common? Writer Ian Flynn has worked on all of them.

Born in the 1980’s, Flynn got his first gig writing on Sonic the Hedgehog by sending in unsolicited story proposals. Since then he has written over 100 issues of the main Sonic series for Archie Comics and is heading up the characters new series over at IDW. He’s also currently working on the official comic series for Nintendo’s Arms video game as well as the mainline Archie series. A full list of his current and upcoming projects can be found here.

CGMagazine’s Alex Handziuk had the pleasure of sitting down with Ian at Toronto Comicon to discuss his new Sonic series, working on Archie with Mark Waid, as well as his various Nintendo related projects.

Sonic, Archie And Mario: An Interview With Comic Writer Ian Flynn 5
Image courtesy of Archie Comics.

CGMagazine: Thanks for taking the time to speak with us. How’s your con going? 

Ian Flynn: My pleasure! It’s been a good show, there have been lots of fun costumes. I love seeing the kids who come by and just get so excited about Sonic and Mega Man and all the stuff I’m doing. It’s been a great show!

CGMagazine: So you been writing Sonic the Hedgehog since issue 160, how has that journey been?

Ian Flynn: It’s been a roller-coaster, the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It’s always going to be special to me because I grew up reading that book. So the fact that my first professional gig was to not only write for it but become the head writer pretty much straight out of the gate was unprecedented? A fluke? I don’t know, but I’ve enjoyed all of my time on it. On one hand, I’m very sad to see my planned stories getting truncated. But I’m also very excited about what I’m going to be doing with IDW in April and taking Sonic in a new direction.

CGMagazine: On that topic, with IDW now owning the rights to Sonic comics, what can we expect from the tone of the new series? Is it going to be similar to when Archie published it or a whole new ballgame? 

Ian Flynn: The tone of the new series is going to be Sonic. It’s going to be adventurous and upbeat I think we’re going to be focusing a little more on that telling exciting adventure stories first and then we’ll be focusing on building up the world for later. The old run is a little more known for delving into the backgrounds and the history of building a really long backlog of what has happened. This time around were a bit more forward facing like let’s hit the ground running. Let’s do some exciting stuff! And then once you know the new people on board and the old fans are like, “this is good, I have a new home now.” Then we can start expanding and building on that.

Sonic, Archie And Mario: An Interview With Comic Writer Ian Flynn 4
Image Courtesy of IDW.

CGMagazine: Can you tease what you have in store in your opening arc? 

Ian Flynn: The opening story takes its inspiration from Sonic Forces, the latest Sonic video game in which Dr. Eggman took over the world and then you play as your little fuzzy buddy and you help sonic kick robot butt and save the world. So Eggman has been dethroned but his robots, well there’s still a lot of robots out there. So Sonic is going around saving people as these marauding robots roam around the planet. And they were just kind of helter-skelter but they’re starting to look a little more organized. So who’s the one organizing them? And that’s going to be kind of the initial tease. 

CGMagazine: You’ve worked with Nintendo on Localizing the Mario Guidebook and for the Arms Comics series. How has the working relationship with them been?

Sonic, Archie And Mario: An Interview With Comic Writer Ian Flynn 1
Image Courtesy of Dark Horse Comics.

Ian Flynn:  They’re very protective of their IPs which makes perfect sense. We all saw what happened with Mario movie. Love it or hate it. It was not really Mario in the strictest sense, and this is coming from someone who loves photo-realistic dinosaurs. But they’ve been fantastic to work with on Arms.

I mean the Mario project, that’s localizing and there’s not really a creative process. But Arms is the first time that Dark Horse has done anything wholly new or creative with a Nintendo property and it’s been a fantastic experience so far. They’ve been very receptive to my ideas and very encouraging of new ideas. They gave me the series bible. I’m going to be plugging in a little bits of lore that you wouldn’t normally know about. And I’m just having a blast playing with this new universe because there’s a lot of stuff that they put into it.

CGMagazine: What drives you to continue working in the comic industry?

Ian Flynn: I’m not qualified to do anything else. But in all seriousness I love comics. I’ve always enjoyed reading them, I’ve always enjoyed writing. I really love the way that this medium can convey stories in ways that prose cannot. I mean that’s not a knock against straight prose writing because that’s a separate medium that does its storytelling its own way. And I love working with so many talented artists that can take an idea and perfectly render what vision or take it in a slightly different direction and open up new possibilities. It’s just an exciting fun team thing. 

CGMagazine: You’ve also recently started co-writing the main Archie series with Mark Waid. How did that opportunity come about?

Sonic, Archie And Mario: An Interview With Comic Writer Ian Flynn 2
Image Courtesy of Archie Comics.

Ian Flynn: I’ve done a ton of stuff for Archie and Mark Waid was rather busy and asked for some help on the book so they said, hey! We know a guy. Working with Mark has been incredibly easy. He said here’s the idea for this story. I said what if we did this? He said, “that’s cool.” I said, “here’s the script,” he said, “okay, here’s my changes and those are cool and boom, done.” It’s been so simple. He’s basically the captain and I’m the navigator. I kind of steer the boat and we haven’t hit an iceberg yet so that’s a plus.

CGMagazine: What can you tease what’s coming up in Archie? 

Ian Flynn: it’s kind of the culmination of a number of things that Mark has set up over his run. A big point will be the mystery of who the Blossom Twins actual father is. Because the drama bomb that was recently dropped is that their father is not their biological father. It’s also going to be one of the most dramatic stories and that’s taking into account the car crash story. And folks will really be wondering: Wow they went that far with it with it? Yes. I mean it’s still Archie but we’re pushing the envelope for sure.

CGMagazine: Wonderful, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us and have a great rest of the con!

Ian Flynn:  You too!

Liked this article and want to read more like it? Check out our other Toronto Comicon Interviews with Overwatch Voice Actress Lucy Pohl and Comic Creator Howard Chaykin. 

Want to see more videos? Subscribe to our YouTube channel and check out the First 15: Fe, Monster Hunter World Beta: the Insatiable Nergigante, Dissidia Final Fantasy NT,  Star Wars Battlefront II, Sonic Forces + Episode Shadow, and  Super Mario Odyssey!

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