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Kenneth W. Penders II[1] is an American comic artist and writer. He was formerly an artist and the main writer for the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs published by Archie Comics. He first worked on Sonic the Hedgehog #11, and continued working on the book until Sonic the Hedgehog #159, whereupon he was succeeded as the primary writer for the series by Ian Flynn. Penders is known for creating many of the characters that were part of Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series in the Pre-Super Genesis Wave timeline.


Penders is the creator of many of the comic-exclusive characters that once populated the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series before his lawsuit with Archie Comics. He also designed the cover art to the complete series DVD box set of the Sonic the Hedgehog television show. Additionally, he was also responsible for conceptualizing the unsuccessful Sonic Armageddon film pitch.[2]



Archie Comics


Archie Comics


Archie Comics


Archie Comics


Archie Comics



Legal battle against Archie Comics

Between January 2009 and October 2015, Penders created or directed a number of lawsuits and legal cases against Sega and Archie Comics related to the rights of his characters in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs. This would result in the creation of a reformed timeline in the comics and the removal of characters he and other authors created.

Scourge: the Speed Demon

In 2021, Ken Penders licensed the character of Scourge the Hedgehog to an indie company named Rush! Comics as the protagonist of their comic book series Scourge: The Speed Demon. However, the comic was canceled a week after its announcement due to a backlash against the creative staff and Penders' involvement.[3]


Following the legal battles with Archie Comics, the popularity towards Penders took a dive, with most support towards him disappearing outside a vocal minority.

Penders's work in the series was received with mixed results, with some people praising the mature themes, saying that the "comics did not talk down to children". Others, however, criticized the writer's writing style, such as an immaturity and ingenuity when discussing said themes and the vast difference between Penders's work and the style of the videogames (with Penders's own apathy to the source material).[4]

Notable criticisms include the glut of characters introduced in his stories, a visible disregard for story elements established in the series' source material, a penchant for secret family members and monologue, and a lack of distinguishing features between characters of his creation. Since his disputes with Archie Comics came to light, fan reception of him and his future works has been mostly negative; with many placing the sole blame on him for the removal of his concepts from the series.

Penders' artwork throughout the series has also come under heavy criticism, with the most common of complaints being of disproportionate character models and designs, usage of stock images as background artwork, and even accusations of tracing.

Another criticized aspect of Penders' tenure was his apparent inability to work in agreement with other writers on the series. Penders has often been known for going ahead with his own projects while paying very little attention to any continuity that other writers established in other stories. This disregard for his fellow creatives is believed to be what caused fellow head writer Karl Bollers to leave the series.


  • Ken Penders is so far the only Archie Comics staff member to take the highest amount of production roles in the Sonic the Hedgehog comic series (excluding unsolicited works), totaling to five roles (writing, pencils, inks, colors, and letters).
  • Like Karl Bollers, Ken Penders has released information on unused stories he wrote or pitched for the Sonic the hedgehog comic series and its spin-offs. These include:
    • "The Legend", a story pitched by Penders and Mike Kanterovich meant to take place in the future after the implied death of both Sonic and Robotnik in their final battle. A young child would then find Sonic's sneakers in a cave, and become inspired by his legacy. This story received backlash and feedback from editor Scott Fulop and licensing manager Bob Harris due to the implied death of Sonic, although elements of it (such as the future premise and Robotnik's death) would later be reworked into Sonic the Hedgehog In Your Face! and Sonic the Hedgehog #50.[5]
    • "A Day in the Life of Dr. Robotnik", another story pitched by Penders and Kanterovich. This story was planned to focus on Robotnik and his lifestyle, putting specific emphasis on Sonic's conflict with Robotnik from the latter's perspective. Although initially embraced by Sega, the story was never given approval for publication, and despite both Penders and Kanterovich sending a follow-up note on its status, no response was given.[6]
    • "All My Tomorrows", a two-part story arc intended to be published in issues #160-#161 which would have acted as a continuation of the Light Mobius arc which ended in issue #144. The arc would see Sonic returning to a war in the past, only to find him unable to be seen or to physically effect anything, although he can still be heard, which leads to many suspecting a supernatural cause. Upon returning to his future, Sonic finds it heavily altered, prompting Rotor Walrus to send Nicole into the past as a last resort.[7]
    • "Last Tango in Knothole", a story intended for issue #162 which would center around Sir Charles Hedgehog and Rosie going out on a date in Knothole, while Sonic tries to prevent Eggman's "stealth-bots" from ruining it.[7]
    • "Girls Night Out", a story intended for issue #163, where Amy and Mina would travel to New Megaopolis to prove themselves, after being teased by Ash. Sally and Sonic hear of this and set off to find them, while Nic and Rouge also travel to the city in the hopes of stealing a rare gem from Eggman.[7]
    • "This Robian, This Hedgehog", a story intended for issue #164, where Sonic would notice Jules' disappointment at being kept a Robian, and with the help of Sir Charles, would raid one of Eggman's nano-technology labs in the hopes of returning his father to his former state. However, the technology would fail to turn Charles back to being organic, although it would make him appear physically more like his old self.[7]
    • "Last Man Standing", a story intended for issue #165, where Antoine would propose marriage to Bunnie, only to be interrupted by a mission to shut down one of Eggman's reactors experiencing a meltdown. (Penders' plan was for Bunnie to accept in issue #175, and finally marry Antoine in issue #200). Although the reactor would be safely neutralized, Snively would sacrifice his life in order for save the others.[7]
    • "Fall-Out", a story intended for issue #166, where Snively's death would have left Sonic racked with grief, and pushing his team harder on their next mission, enough that concerns about Sonic's morality would begin formulating within the Freedom Fighters. The situation would become worse upon the Freedom Fighters learning of their foe's plan to destroy all life on Mobius.[7]
    • "New World Order", a story intended for issue #167, where Sonic would be granted the rank of "Gentleman-At-Arms" by the Kingdom of Acorn, and tasked to accompany Sally to Station Square as an embassy. This would create issues, however, as Sonic would be able to overrule Sally on security matters, and Antione's new position as head of the Honor Guard would conflict with his proposal to Bunnie.[7]
    • "Our Hedgehog in Station Square", a story intended for issue #168, where Sonic would arrive at Station Square, only to be troubled by the arrival of Evil Sonic, whom he would try to provoke into a fight by flirting with Rouge, all while trying to prevent Sally from interfering.[7]
    • "A Dish Best Served Cold", a two-part story arc intended to be published in issues #169-#170, where Knuckles and the Chaotix arrive at Station Square in search of a group that attempted invasion of Angel Island. However, Knothole's new alliance with Station Square would lead to Sonic being forced to fight Knuckles.[7]


  1. Sonic the Hedgehog #144, "Mobius: 25 Years Later: Father's Day"
  2. Ken Penders on Twitter (12 March 2019). Archived from the original on 13 December 2020.
  3. Bit on Twitter. Twitter (19 November 2021). Retrieved on 28 December 2021.
  4. BARF: How a Legal Dispute Wiped Hundreds of Sonic the Hedgehog Characters From Existence. New York Magazine (11 February 2020). Retrieved on 28 December 2021.
  5. Ken Penders on Twitter. Twitter (1 May 2022). Retrieved on 18 May 2022. "Ken Penders: Mike K & I clearly freaked out both Sonic Editor Scott Fulop & SEGA Licensing Mgr Bob Harris with our pitch for THE LEGEND. This would later be developed into Future Sonic (IN YO' FACE) & eventually M25YL. I would also salvage the key bit for the ENDGAME saga."
  6. Ken Penders on Twitter. Twitter (4 May 2022). Retrieved on 18 May 2022. "Ken Penders: From the Files: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF DR ROBOTNIK was a story whose premise SEGA approved, Archie told us to write the script which Mike K & I did, and then... nothing. After we faxed it in, we didn't hear from anyone or get paid for our work. So we wrote the following note."
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 Penders, Ken (9 February 2010). In Answer To Numerous Requests. Ken Penders Fourms. Archived from the original on 24 March 2016.

External links

Archie Comics staff members