Richard Elson is a British cartoonist and illustrator who was the main artist on the British publication Sonic the Comic for the entirety of its nine year run. Along with writers Nigel Kitching and Lew Stringer, he produced the majority of the comic's most famous storylines.
Outside of the Sonic the Hedgehog series, he is best known for his work on various 2000 AD strips. He is a fine arts graduate.
In the early 1990s, Richard Elson did a lot of work for the British Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles comic. The comic's editor, Barry Tomlinson, was asked to put together the first Sonic the Hedgehog Yearbook. Tomlinson asked Elson to draw the cover, an eight-page comic strip ("Cartoon Concerto", written by Alan McKenzie) and an illustration to complement a text piece in the yearbook. (The illustration was left out of the final publication.)
A short time later, Elson happened to contact Richard Burton, the editor on a strip Elson had drawn for 2000 AD in 1990. At this time, Burton had moved on from 2000 AD to set up and oversee Sonic the Comic and, on hearing of Elson's experience with the Sonic Yearbook, invited him to illustrate one of Nigel Kitching's strips since they were looking for a regular artist on the comic. Elson and Kitching together produced the Sonic stories from Sonic the Comic #7 to #10 in a single run, including the first appearance of Super Sonic in issue #7 and "The Origin of Sonic" in issue #8. These issues also depicted Doctor Robotnik's conquest of planet Mobius, which would remain the status quo until Sonic the Comic #100, "The Final Victory".
Kitching and Elson formed a close working relationship on the comic, frequently exchanging story ideas over the telephone. For example, the idea that the Drakons were fish in mechanical bodies was one of Elson's. Elson developed the character of Doctor Zachary and plotted the entire first story in which he appeared ("The Homecoming", from Sonic the Comic #65 to #68), although Elson had other work commitments at the time and the story was eventually written by Kitching and drawn by Nigel Dobbyn. Elson also wrote the Captain Plunder story "Shanghaied" (from Sonic the Comic #91 to #93), for which he received a joint writing credit with Nigel Kitching (who finalised the dialogue) and which he says is one of his favourite stories from the comic. Elson also received a joint writing credit on "Running Wild, Part 3" from Sonic the Comic #82, in which Elson came up with the idea to split Sonic and Super Sonic into two separate beings.
Occasionally, Elson would design characters for Kitching to include in a story. Characters created in this way include Arnem Abacus, Lord Sidewinder and his gang (Lightmare, Mr. Fry, and Bio-Hazard) and Hobson and Choy.
Beginning in Sonic the Comic #170, Elson became the sole artist on the comic, producing the final run of stories (including the adaptation of Sonic Adventure). Between Sonic the Comic #185 (in which the comic was given over completely to reprinted material) and the comic's cancellation in issue #223, Elson was the only creative staff member, providing the original cover art.