Considering my most recent sprite collage of sorts for
's Ultimate Sonic Fighter, involving the non-Sonic strips in the comic's run, I think I should pay tribute to the top 5 best and worst of the non-Sonic strips.
5) Wonder Boy - Now don't get me wrong. I like the Wonder Boy series, but this doesn't seem to be a step in the right direction for Shion to go. The comic also makes little mention to Shion's previous adventure (Wonder Boy in Monster World) instead sending the boy hero to fight demons and ghosts in completely different kingdoms. Perhaps this is the reason why Monster World IV mentioned that he was swallowed up by a sinkhole?
4) Marko - Nothing too special. Just a loose adaptation of the game. Also the only one to be based on... a Nintendo game?! Yeah, believe it or not, Marko is actually a multi-platform game, appearing on the SNES and Mega Drive as well as the Game Gear.
3) Ecco the Dolphin - Maybe it's just the fact that the idea of constantly searching for air pockets as a bottlenose turns me off, but I'm none too keen on this comic adaptation of Ecco's debut game. The artwork is impressive, mimicking Novotrade's artstyle for the game to a T.
2) Ristar - When I learned that Ristar was going to be added to StC Online, I was excited. But when I read the comic, I was very disappointed. All canon established by the game was defied, presenting Ristar as more of a dork than the Chosen One that the intro to the game presents him as. For that matter, where is Oluto and where is Tyrant Greedy?
1) Pirate StC - To Stephen Bliss, this seamed like the most logical conclusion for Sega Fans who subscribed to StC: Bring Sega TV to pages and emulate the style of the advertisements, including the Sega Pirate and Steve O'Donnell as characters. And then everything just went wrong. The art-style is incredibly grotesque, none of the jokes make any sense, and there is very little in the way of character development for the "characters". The whole thing just seems like a mind-fuck that makes Decap Attack look sane.
The best. (Granted, #1 normally belongs to Decap Attack, as it should, and I agree. But for the sake of this list, I will be excluding it for being in a league of its own)
5) Revenge of Shinobi - Technically speaking, this is the very first non-Sonic strip in StC history, predating the actual comic. The story actually begins in the Sonic Annual Yearbook 1991/1992. The single story from there continues into StC Proper, following Joe Musashi in his journey across the world to defeat Xeed.
4) Eternal Champions - Fleetway really knew what they were doing when they printed this strip. The strip was brought to attention when the game was reviewed in issue 17 by Vincent Low, where it received a rating of 85%. Positives were gleamed from its great characters and huge variety of moves, but the sound was criticised. After an initial story, it soon recieved its own special covering many of the fighters in the game, as well as a final story focussing on Larcen Tyler.
3) The Legend of the Golden Axe - Despite sharing its name with Axe Battler - Legend of Golden Axe, this strip is instead set after the events of Golden Axe 2, following Tarik, Tyris Flare, and Gilius Thunderhead in their travels across Yuria to protect the kingdom from whatever new threat arrises. At the time of publication, the main threat was Dark Guld, the final boss of GA2. After his defeat in the first strip, the story then turned to the heroes on their way back to the kingdom to return the Golden Axe to its resting place, along the way rescuing Gilius' sister Yuki and his fellow dwarves from the evil sorcerer Cobraxis. Oddly enough, Cobraxis' method of transformation into a snakelike being was later employed by Death-Adder himself in Golden Axe - Beast Rider when the giant transforms into his snakelike Titan form.
2) Streets of Rage - This one was legendary in terms of length, content, and appeal. The story was written by future-Marvel writer Mark Millar, and set up the ongoing plot of Axel, Max, Skates, and Blaze toughing their way through the streets of the City, sweeping up criminal activity in its wake where no police would be able to clean up, and taking on the Syndicate originally led by Hawk from within the police department and later by Mr. X. There were at least 4 stories of Streets of Rage, with the last one by Kitching. Millar has very recently written the Civil War stories for Marvel, later being adapted as part of the MCU as Captain America - Civil War.
1) Sparkster - Admittingly, if I had Decap Attack on here, everything would be pushed back by one, making this #2. But since this is not the case, this spot goes for the sole strip based on Konami's Sonic alike. Kitching has stated that this was the easiest strip for him to do, because of how Sonic-like the source material was. In this story, Sparkster has been branded as a public enemy and learns that it was not by the will of his beloved Princess Sherry, but rather by King Gedol, his old adversary. Rushing to the Elhorn royal palace, Sparkster finds that Sherry is being controlled by Gedol. She has been under a spell, just like the whole of Elhorn, that intensifies the badness in people. Sparkster guesses it is his enchanted armour that protects him and anyone near him. Unfortunately, he isn't near Sherry right now, and the brainwashed princess calls for guards. Worse still, Sherry is soon going to be married to Gedol. Sparkster soon breaks out of the dungeon and makes his way to the chapel to stop the wedding from taking place. Along the way, Sparkster finds the source of the corruption, fighting against the evil gemstone and its reflections of him. With the gem destroyed, the attendees at the wedding all announce their rejection of this marriage. Sparkster chases after Gedol and his captive "bride" to the steeple where he plummets into the river below, with Sparkster rescuing the princess. With Gedol gone, it is time to rebuild the world and Shelly's kingdom. Out of all the non-Sonic strips, this was the one other than Decap Attack that fans clamored for a new installment of, but Fleetway no longer had the lisence from Konami. There are still plans for StC Online to visit Elhorn, but none have materialized yet.
Also, to anyone who is arriving back from the 25th anniverary meetup in Manchester, I hope you and the staffs of both the original and the continuation had fun!