Archie Comics held its Archie Action Hour panel Sunday afternoon at New York Comic Con. The panelists included Executive Director of Editorial Paul Kaminski, Archie Comics President Mike Pellerito, Assistant Editor Vincent Lovallo, along with writer Ian Flynn and artists Alitha Martinez, Jamal Peppers and Ryan Jampole.
The majority of the panel focused on plans for Mega Man and Sonic the Hedgehog, particularly their upcoming crossover. The panelists assured the audience that this crossover will not merely be a showy battle with a quick resolution. This will be a crossover spanning across months and multiple titles: "Sonic the Hedgehog," "Sonic Universe" and "Mega Man."
"We need to make this big, we need to make this epic," said Ian Flynn, who wrote the story pitch after he was told that Capcom and Sega had agreed to a crossover. "So it's gonna be a 12-part story and we are gonna cram in as many Sonic and Mega Man characters as we can. It's gonna be fun, it's gonna be huge, and it's gonna have a couple of blue guys in it."
Preview images showed Proto Man and Knuckles standing side by side.
"Starting in 'Mega Man' #24, worlds collide this spring!" Kaminski declared in a movie trailer voice. "Eggman and Wily together are the greatest thing ever. And there may or may not be those two guys on a bicycle built for two."
"There will be a lot of changes after the crossover," Flynn added, prompting Kaminski to shout, "Sally's back!" The audience cheered in response.
Further announcements revealed that "Sonic Universe" will feature other Sega characters, including those from the popular "Skies of Arcadia" game and even race car driver Danica Patrick. "Sonic Universe" #50 heralds the return of Sonic the Hedgehog's band, which caused a roar of approval from the audience. Kaminski explained, "We said, you know what? We need to do an epilogue to 'Sonic Underground' -- The last song, the last concert. What better way to celebrate fifty issues of 'Sonic Universe' than hiring Sonic's band to play?"
"Sonic the Hedgehog" jumps into a new story arc in issue #242 that involves a death egg and the destruction of cities, along with Metal Knuckles and original character Thrash. "There's a reason why this story is called 'Endangered Species,'" Flynn said. "It's going to be changing a lot."
2012 celebrates Mega Man's 25th anniversary and the comic has just concluded its reveal of Proto Man's origin. Upcoming stories include "Roll With It," starring Mega Man's twin sister, Roll, and the 25th anniversary issue story entitled "Rock of Ages." Following the 25th Anniversary issue, the Mega Man comic book timeline will officially roll over to its next year, changing from 200X to 20XX, referencing the continuity of the original video games.
Finally, the panel showed off artwork from current and upcoming issues of "New Crusaders." In the 1940s, Archie Comics produced several superhero titles. In the world of "New Crusaders," these heroes are retired, but after an attack by returning evil, their kids and successors to take up the fight. Future issues will feature the return of older villains, whose looks and abilities have been updated.
"After the first six issues, we're getting ready for 'The Second Strike' in Spring," Kaminski said. "We get to see the kids and their super-powers in high school."
The panel suggested checking out the Archie Comics app to familiarize themselves with the first issue of the new series, along with information on original stories featuring the older characters.