Interview: Ian Potto Flynn head writer of Archie Sonic Series Comics
- Written by Andrew Paulson
- Category: Interviews
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Known most by his pen name Ian Potto, is the current chief writer for Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series since issue #160.
Conducted by Andrew Paulson on July 25, 2006.
Sonic Scene: For Sonic Scene's first interview, we talk to Ian "Potto" Flynn. Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule to do the interview.
Ian Flynn: My pleasure. I love any chance I get for reader interaction.
Sonic Scene: First off, for those who dont know about you and your role in the Sonic community, what is your past and present endeavors?
Ian Flynn: I'm a long-time reader of the Archie Sonic comic, player of the games, and general fan of the series. I applied for a writing position all through my college years and was granted a start on some behind-the-scenes material back in Fall '04. From there, I debuted as the lead writer for Sonic the Hedgehog with #160 (March '06). I hope to have a long stay on Sonic and to work on many other comic book and graphic literature projects in the future.
Sonic Scene: When did you really become a Sonic the Hedgehog fan, and what made you decide to join the Sonic online community and create your very own fan comics?
Ian Flynn: I first got into the franchise with Sonic 2 on the Genesis and, aside from a comic here and there, started my collection at #41. (I've since filled in the holes). My venture into fan-comics was a two-fold descision:
1) A creative mind + fantastic character/world = unavoidable creative output
2) Nobody had done a fan comic that lasted longer than an issue
I accomplished both in my time as a fan creative, so I'm quite happy with what I was able to accomplish with the help of so many talented others.
Sonic Scene: A lot of your long time fans know you as the creator of the popular Sonic fan comic series, "Other-M", tell us about the series and what influenced your original ideas for it.
Ian Flynn: I'd rather not address that topic. Don't get me wrong - I'm really proud of what it accomplished on its own and for the fan creative community as a whole. I'm just not sure how the legal aspect of it works now that I'm connected to the official material. So many people from around the world worked so hard to bring it into being, and some are still striving to see it through to its conclusion. I'd hate for red tape to bring and end to it all. I hate to not acknowledge my "baby," but I feel it's safer that way.
Sonic Scene: When did you first pop into the Sonic online fandom, and what were your original projects in the world of fan comics.
Ian Flynn: I started into the fandom "late," in what I think of as the "Sonic Fandom Renaissance." You had folks like Brookshire, NetRaptor, Dawn Best, J. Axer and Jon "WB" Grey bursting onto the scene and I missed alot of chances to work with them as I was just getting into the field. Ironically enough, the latter three artists had joined and moved on from Sonic before I could work with them too. Irony! As for other comics, I haven't done any fan-comics outside of the Sonic mythos. I'm currently in the early developement stages of Legend of the Corduroy Ninja with the amazingly talented Matt Herms (http://herms85.deviantart.com/).
Sonic Scene: What made Sonic the Hedgehog so special to you and took you in as a fan?
Ian Flynn: It's simply a grand world with fantastic characters. There's an enthralling jumble of so many genres - sci-fi, fantasy, action-adventure, romance, even a little bit of political thriller at times - and they somehow fit together. The characters are all cool, with or without "super powers," and are all very eye-catching. There's enough humor to keep it light-hearted, enough drama to keep it compelling, and sometimes surprising darkness to keep it a seriouss read. It has everything you could want without it feeling like it is pandering to the reader.
Sonic Scene: When did you decide you wanted to become a writer in the Sonic Archie series comics and what did it take to get the job?
Ian Flynn: It was a few years after the success of Other-M. It, along with other writings, had produced in me the basics of a good writer. I continued to mail in applications with improvised scripts annually until the newest editor, Mike Pellerito, saw my work and gave me a shot.
Sonic Scene: What does it take to be a lead writer of a major comic book series? Considering the series is released on a monthly basis. Do you ever run out of ideas or ask friends and staff members for help?
Ian Flynn: It takes time, patience and creativity. The time comes from weekends or slow days at my other job. The patience is mostly on my editor's end, since he fronts most of the approval process from both higher Archie editorial and Sega. Any changes they insist on, of course, comes back to me in the end. We've yet to hit any major hurdles in that regard, though. Also, there is the occassional instance when an idea of mine simply doesn't work. It was fine in my head, but it doesn't work on paper. That can be a little frustrating, but the resulting stories have always been far superior - it's all part of the writing process.
I've yet to run out of ideas. We've worked very far ahead and I'm still chomping at the bit to start work on more projects, scripts and ideas. Co-workers and friends have sometimes offered something up out of the blue and those ideas sometimes really sync with what I'm thinking and I incoperate them - with their permission, of course.
Sonic Scene: How much room does SEGA usually give you for creative stories? Killing off main characters and straying too far from the game plots, does this usually get their attention in the wrong way?
Ian Flynn: Sega wants to be sure their property - namesly Sonic and the other Sega-canon - are used properly. Everything else is left to us, really. They approved both the "Sonic Rush" and "Sonic Riders" stories that are out now, and both stray significantly from the game canon. (This is in part due to limited resources at the time). I, personally, haven't run into any problems in writing for the book.
Sonic Scene: Where do you see the character of Sonic the Hedgehog going in future issues of the comic, as well as the current storyline.
Ian Flynn: My first year focuses on both tying up alot of loose ends as well as advancing the story. After that there will be more of my ideas with some big blockbuster moments and long-building events coming to fruition.
The characters I can't even hint at - there's too much that builds and comes into being for me to even hint at!
Sonic Scene: A few quick random Sonic Archie questions so fans know what is on your mind of past issues. What is your favorite past issue (before your time), as well as artist and cover art.
Ian Flynn: There are a number of great issues in the past, but the one that immediately springs to mind is StH#56. That was an epic conclusion to a long-building confrontation.
It's impossible to pick my favorite artist, but Tracy Yardley (who debuted with me in StH#160) has done a phenominal job with my scripts.
Not to sound like a broken record, but there's dozens of fantastic covers out there. The one that first comes to mind is that for Mecha Madness. That was like a movie poster.
Sonic Scene: What are your thoughts on the current status of the Sonic video game series, Sonic the Hedgehog 360/PS3, and Sonic Wild Fire/Sonic and the Secret Rings (Wii).
Ian Flynn: I'm looking forward to them all. I've enjoyed pretty much all the previous titles, and I'm especially intrigued over what developements will come out of Sonic06.
Sonic Scene: Where would you like to see the Sonic video game series head in the future.
Ian Flynn: There's been alot of experimentation over the past few years. Sonic06 looks like it might've found a happy median for all that's come before. If Sonic06 is what I want it to be - then that, all the way. If not, then I'll still be waiting for cohesive feel to the franchise. I'd also like to see more 2D outtings like Sonic Rush and Sonic Rivals. (Yes, Sonic Rivals is in 3D but you only move within the confines of a 2D game)
Sonic Scene: Where would you like to see your writing career go and grow in the future? Do you plan on writing for other comic series?
Ian Flynn: I'd like to write more - simple as that. I'd like to get a chance at some of the big, well known titles out there but I'm also content pursuing my own projects. I'd like my own BumbleKing Comics to see an appreaciatively large audience. I want folks to read and enjoy my work, and the more of it the better.
Sonic Scene: What advice can you lend to up and coming writers who are in pursuit of a writing career in comics or books.
Ian Flynn: Write. Finished stories, minor poems, notes on napkins - it doesn't matter. Write. It keeps you fresh and limber in the mind. And never give up; never take "no" for an answer. I beat the odds to get onto Sonic. It can happen for anyone.
Sonic Scene: Any final words to Sonic Scene visitors and fellow Sonic community fans?
Ian Flynn: Regardless of what kind of fan you are - veteran, newbie, die-hard SegaSonic purist - give the comic a shot. We've got a fresh creative team that's ready to put out the best Sonic stories out there. One issue may be all it takes to snag you, so give it a shot. Thanks for all the support through my fan-creative endeavours, and I hope you like what I bring to the newsstands each month!