As some of you may have heard, there is a segment of Sonic fandom that has approached me with the goal of licensing the characters I created that were featured in stories published by Archie Comics which I own the Copyrights on, with the intent of allowing Archie to continue using my characters in their ongoing SONIC THE HEDGEHOG series.
Before I go any further, some disclaimers are necessary.
First, I had nothing to do with the idea and legwork involved with this plan. Questions were asked, and I responded to the best of my ability within the parameters I could respond.
Second, nor did current SONIC writer Ian Flynn - or any of his message board administrators - have anything to do with the concoction of the plan or anything to do with shepherding it along into fruition. The fact the discussion apparently began on his board is incidental to the entire proceeding. I imagine Ian's got enough to deal with without anyone laying the blame at his feet for this.
Third, I have an agreement in place with Archie Comics, as has been reported elsewhere, so there are elements of the plan of which I've seen questions asked which I can neither confirm or deny without breaching any confidentiality in place between the parties.
That said, given the fact I own my copyrights and am developing THE LARA-SU CHRONICLES for various media platforms, which involves the licensing of my characters for various purposes, it is a fair question when someone asks "are you selling your characters?" or "how much would it cost to license your characters?"
So let's start with the first question: Are you selling your characters?
The short answer is no.
The longer answer is after all I've been through to establish my claims to my characters and works, there is no way they are for sale. While the cynical would retort every man has his price, the reality is that I can't imagine any party likely to offer anywhere near my asking price. And that's fine with me. I'd rather finish telling the story of these characters, as I believe in the opportunities these characters and stories represent to me.
So if I'm not selling my characters, one could surmise I'm open to licensing my characters, and they would indeed be correct. However, the version of the characters I'm most interested in licensing is how they appear in THE LARA-SU CHRONICLES.
As for how they appear anywhere else, that's another matter.
I've already gone on record stating that The Powers That Be at Archie Comics can use my characters anytime, but whether they would be willing to do so is another matter, which is their right.
With this KICKSTARTER initiative coming on the heels of the release of SONIC #252, it seems some fans have different ideas.
Since I already have enough people clamoring for my head on a pike as being greedy, selfish, unreasonable and so on, and since the question was asked in all seriousness and sincerity, I decided to respond in kind, with the caveat that my response and terms I set down are neither confirmation or denial of any points of agreement I may or may not have with Archie Comics.
As Ethan Davis, the person who initially approached me with the questions in the first place, provided me the link to see for myself the discussion that was going on over on Ian's message board, I did check out several of the posts, which is a rarity as I barely have time to read and respond what's posted on my own message board. Still, it allowed me to see what concerns needed addressing that I may not have contemplated when initially responding to Ethan.
Originally, I had stated to Ethan how Archie Comics would have access to my complete library of characters for use in all-new stories with the following conditions:
A) There are only three untouchable characters: Julie-Su, Locke and Lara-Su. The only thing anyone at Archie Comics would have to run by me regarding any of my characters is if they wanted to kill off a certain character. Beyond that, anything in the present day timeline is fair game. Have fun.
B) With regards to the use of the characters Julie-Su and Locke in the present day timeline, nothing must contradict what was established in my MOBIUS: 25 YEARS LATER stories. Those stories, especially Locke's death, are canon as far as THE LARA-SU CHRONICLES and I'm concerned.
C) Lara-Su is the only character in which any story featuring her which Archie Comics wishes to put into production MUST be reviewed and approved by me.
With regards to any contradictions between what's already established in the series and my requirements here, that's for the creators on the book to figure out how to make it work. I'm trying to stay as much out of their business as they are of mine. I've made my peace with the present day timeline a long time ago, being perfectly happy to settle for playing in the sandbox I'm building for THE LARA-SU CHRONICLES.
But after much discussion with those whose guidance has helped immensely over the past several years since this whole undertaking began, I have come to the conclusion that it doesn't matter what I agree to if Archie Comics doesn't share the same objectives.
While I appreciate and am supportive of the fans' efforts to see my characters back in the pages of the SONIC series, it is up to them to convince Archie Comics it is in their best interests and that of the long-term success of the SONIC series that my characters play a part in that universe once again.
I could suggest buying more copies of the books reprinting my works, but that sounds way too self-serving. I could suggest many other things, but that would sound like I'm an active participant in this endeavor when in truth I am not.
If anyone actually wishes to engage in licensing my characters for whatever product they wish to produce, I will gladly put them in touch with my attorneys at the present time.
As for the money raised should the initiative actually get off the ground, I believe I have a better chance of convincing people Monopoly money is legit tender than actually seeing one red cent that any of the fans pledge, as it'll take more than me to make this work. So while any dollar amount I quoted Ethan more than likely would have been considered reasonable by the great majority of fans, I suspect releasing those numbers would again imply an involvement on my part in the initiative far beyond the reality.
There's also the matter of Ian probably having a year's worth of stories already planned out. After the year he's been through, give the man a break in expecting to make massive adjustments yet again on the fly because of this.
I wish Ethan the best of luck on his endeavors, and that's all I have to say on this matter.