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WeedlordGoku69
Feb 11, 2015

A DAILY DOSE
OF OLD SHOOTERS


PLAY NOW MY LORD



the man's wiki page posted:

Ken Penders is an American comic book creator and writer. He makes his living as a freelance writer and artist, accepting assignments involving screenplays, storyboards, character design, backgrounds, website graphics, and some the magazine covers, portraits or commissioned work. Penders illustrated the cover of the complete series DVD set of Sonic the Hedgehog.

...

Penders is known for his work on the comic series Sonic the Hedgehog, which was published by Archie Comics. He primarily worked on the former side-series Knuckles the Echidna before it was cancelled due to poor sales in 1999, though he continued to produce stories and artwork for the main title until 2006.

In addition to his work for Archie Comics, Penders has written and illustrated stories for other comic publishers including DC, Marvel, Image and Disney on titles as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Disney Adventures, Savage Sword of Conan, Captain Atom, and The Green Hornet among many others. He also branched out into other media, producing children's activity books and creating graphics for CD-ROM games.

In December 2011, Penders announced plans to utilize Echidna characters he created for the Archie comics in a graphic novel series entitled The Lara-Su Chronicles. Said series is planned to feature Lara-Su, one of his original characters created during his work at Archie, as its protagonist. On March 5, 2014, Penders announced on his Twitter account that his characters were no longer echidna but Echyd'nya, an alien species. Penders stated reasons for the change was that he needed to make some adjustments to broaden the audience while making certain longtime fans get answers and resolution and because of the difficulty he has seen with people pronouncing the word echidna.

This is technically an accurate summary, but it also severely undersells just how batshit insane the story of Ken Penders is.

Ken Penders, in essence, is the ur-Sonic Fan. Not in the sense that he was the first to like the series, or launched its fandom in any big way, but in the sense that every single awful tendency of the Sonic fandom, from the proliferation of absolute garbage "original characters" to the bizarre sexual fetishism and insistence on grim darkness that pervades many fan works, can be easily traced back to him.

This post, over in the Good Sonic Thread, does a much better job than the Wiki page at summing up why people care about Ken Penders:

Kurui Reiten posted:

First part, Penders stated that in the comic, skunk dude, Penders OC, and full adult Geoffrey St. Johns HAD actually hosed teenager Princess Sally Acorn, and that Sonic may be fast, but he wasn't fast enough on the draw there. You know, for kids.

Secondly, some of the "fun" Penders stories:

He was well known for hating having to work with anyone else, and had an ongoing feud with fellow writer Karl Bollers during the times they had to share duties on the comic. For instance, the comic wanted to introduce Knuckles' little brother as a newborn in a story arc. Penders wanted to name him "Mace", because Penders has the naming sense of a wet paper towel, and Bollers wanted to go with "Kneecaps", because why not. The editor at the time was basically a useless lump, so it became a "first to the post" for who got naming rights.

This resulted in Knuckles' little brother being introduced in Penders' canon future stories (we'll get to this) as being named "Mace", as he got to run his story first. Bollers, who had his own faults but at least had a sense of humor, was the one who wrote in the little kid's actual "first" appearance chronologically, and thus had his full name be "Knecapeon Mace", because gently caress Ken Penders.

Another fun story: The "canon future stories" I alluded to, basically, were Penders writing what he wanted to be the canon later years of the comic. So, as back ups in the book, he got to run "Mobius 25 Years Later", a series of stories that set up a bunch of future events:

Sonic and Sally got married and had kids, Sonia and Manik, a chipmunk and a Hedgehog respectively
Sonic and Tails had an unspecified falling out at some point
Dr. Robotnik stole the Master Emerald and enacted some sort of big evil plan
Knuckles went magic green Hulk mode and used Chaos powers to wipe out Robotnik and his Empire. Permanently. Like, Eggman super mega dead
Knuckles went power mad and had to be stopped, and Sonic was tasked with using a device to depower him, but because he's not an Echidna and can't do anything right, he messed up and Knuckles lost an eye during the depowering
Knuckles is mostly OK with this and has a cyber eye, and a daughter named Lara-Su
Angel Island is now a republic and also the center of all culture on Mobius because Echidnas
All former villains are now kinda just chill and have kids and all heroes are also chill and have kids and they have lots of sleepovers where they talk about how chill they are and how lame their parents are
Also time is breaking down, it's all Sonic's fault, he's tasked with fixing it, and oops somehow he fucks it all up because, again, he's not an Echidna

Now, that's a whoooooooooooole bunch of bullshit, especially trying to set the comic's future in stone as some sort of magnus opus. Penders never got to resolve the whole story thing before he left (I'll get to this, it's funnier than him getting fired), but part of his proposed terms for allowing Archie to keep using "his" characters was that they would declare that his Mobius 25 Years Later was THE de facto canon future for the comic. You know, because THAT'S sane.

In terms of Penders deciding he knows better than everyone else how Sonic's world should go, well, the comic killed off Robotnik in issue 50. Sega was alright with this because the writers at the time double pinky swore to bring him back. The writers were ok with this at the time because they were pretty loving sure the comic wasn't going to be around much longer. They were wrong. The original Robotnik himself only returned once in a throw away plot over fifty issues later, and the concept of Robotnik was gone from the comic for 25 issues before a confusing mess of old plot mashed together to bring back a robotic version of Robotnik who soon after changed to the Sonic Adventure "Eggman" design, and a while after that was turned flesh and blood.

I told you that story to tell you this one: Penders didn't want Robotnik back. No, he had a far better idea. He was setting things up to introduce his own, totally original villain, Dr. Droid, as the new big bad. Penders has had this project he hasn't been able to get off the ground for years called "The Lost Ones", a sort of generic mishmash of sci-fi tropes and poo poo, and he wanted to basically try to have it play out in the Sonic comics.

The thing is, if you haven't noticed yet, Penders doesn't like Sonic. Penders is proud of not liking Sonic. Penders is, in fact, proud of not even playing a Sonic game. Sonic is only allowed to be in Penders stories because his name is on the cover; the plot happens AROUND or TO him, but the most important characters are his original ones, and because he got to create Echidna civilization from whole cloth, they're basically his pet project. Thus, Dr. Droid was finally going to be defeated by Knuckles, the true hero all along. If that sounds familiar to you, well, look a few paragraphs up and swap a name.

Anyway, my point in that story: Penders was super proud that he had managed to have Robotnik written out of the comic for over two years. Other than Knuckles and his supporting cast the Chaotix, he seemed to HATE Sonic characters, and shoved them to the side as soon as he could. The Chaotix got hosed over too, but since they were Knuckles-adjacent it was to a lesser extent.

Dude was super petty. If he was in an argument with other creators on the book, he would casually out their nome de plumes online. He literally claims to have created and own, from whole cloth, Evil Sonic, who is literally Sonic, but evil, and in a leather jacket and shades. He autographs DVD sets of Sonic SatAM, a show he had nothing to do with, but that he claims the (late) writer of, Ben Hurst, told him "you carry (SatAM's) torch now". The actual story there is that when asked if there would be more SatAM, Hurst basically said "at this point, the comics carry the torch now" and Penders has been riding that ever since. When there was talk of a movie being made, Penders went out of his way to poison the well for any pitches but his own, calling up executives and bad mouthing his "competition".

All this poo poo came to a head when the new mandates and such from Sega came down after the whole "who the gently caress OKed a cover of Sonic crying his rear end off holding a wedding invitation" thing, and Penders, who had regained his status of sole writer on the comic, was being told he had to work with newcomer Ian Flynn. Penders, who had been able to pull rank and get what he wanted in the past by sheer virtue of tenure, told his current editor that he was quitting, assuming that he would be given what he wanted to keep him on. This time, however, he was told "You're quitting? Ok, bye" and was left empty handed, and Flynn became sole writer.

I could go into the legal cases or such, but the meat of that is simply that Archie was, as was said, abso-loving-lutely incompetent and apparently pretty corrupt, too, and hosed themselves over in numerous ways around the same time. Penders took advantage of that, and actually people would probably have been on his side for things like "I want royalties" and the like, but he was always, ALWAYS a self-righteous rear end in a top hat who managed to come off as a tone deaf jackass.

Fun fact: After Flynn took over, one of his early story arcs was clearing up Penders' Mobius 25 Years Later mess. He did so with a story called Mobius 30 Years Later, which I'm not going into. The relevant part is that during the story, in a throwaway panel and line, it's pretty clearly implied that Rotor the Walrus' fellow scientist, a generic Echidna seen with him in Penders' work, had been tortured and killed by the villains.

Penders then popped up and was like "oh by Rotor and that guy were both gay and in a relationship", something that had never been hinted at before, the implication being that Flynn had done it as some sort of homophobic thing. Multiple people confirmed there was no evidence Penders left of that in the offices or anything, and the only "undertones" of it were that at one point the two were talking science on a bench.

These are just the stories I remember off the top of my head, and of course, some details may be wrong, but yeah. That's Ken Penders.

Ken Penders is legitimately, honest-to-God, bugfuck crazy and awful. And this is a man who had, essentially, free rein over the Sonic the Hedgehog IP for over a decade. And the results are exactly what you'd expect: a bunch of horrifying batshit nonsense.

Oh, and that thing the last paragraph of his wiki page mentions?

Firstly, as mentioned in the effortpost, it only exists because Penders managed to win the rights to his terrible OCs in court. Yes, this actually happened. It also happened, as mentioned, because Archie is incompetent to almost a hilarious extent and somehow managed to lose his contract in a fire.

Secondly, holy gently caress, THIS is what it looks like

Discendo Vox posted:

I mentioned it earlier, so I want to emphasize the 25 years later stories were also in service of getting full body shots of the suddenly bizzarely hourglass female characters in flimsy nightgowns and full leather catsuits. The whole thing was like a glimpse at some sort of perverse meld of this children 6-12 video game comic, transitioning into the nightmarish future IP Penders really wanted to make:



Anyhow, I don't really know how to end this, I'm mostly making this thread as a way to get Penders discussion out of the thread for Good Sonic because (while I think Penders discussion is loving hilarious) it has a way of taking over the thread and drowning out discussion of comics that don't suck incredible amounts of rear end.

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Digamma-F-Wau
Mar 22, 2016

...puh-
puhroud..??


God imagine how different the whole Ken Penders situation would've been if we had an editor far more competent than Justin Gabrie.

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

Nothing scarier than an artillery barrage -- Am I right?


Imagine if Archie had made backups of their contracts.

Kurui Reiten
Apr 24, 2010


Discendo Vox posted:

Imagine if Archie had made backups of their contracts.

They did. The photocopies they presented were ruled inadmissible in court.

What they SHOULD have done was made everyone sign new contracts as soon as they found out about the burning, or something. As has been said though, Archie was incompetent in many ways. That and Sega was just like "what the poo poo is this crap you're dragging us into" because Penders didn't just sue about the comics, he sued about the Sonic RPG.

Endless Mike
Aug 13, 2003

Get running
Start pumping your bunions, I'm coming
I'm the dumbest, who flamethrow your function to Funyons
Flame your crew quicker than Trump fucks his youngest
Now face the flame fuckers your fame and fate's done with



Can you believe BioWare made a DS-only Sonic RPG? That poo poo's still wild.

ImpAtom
May 24, 2007



Endless Mike posted:

Can you believe BioWare made a DS-only Sonic RPG? That poo poo's still wild.

*glances at Mass Effect and Anthem*

.. yes. Yes I absolutely can believe that.

drrockso20
May 6, 2013

Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl and FOURTEEN KARAT GOLD!!!

Warning: SU Season 3 Spoilers


ImpAtom posted:

*glances at Mass Effect and Anthem*

.. yes. Yes I absolutely can believe that.

Say whatever else you want about the Mass Effect series, but Mass Effect 3's multiplayer was amazing and it's a shame that there hasn't been much imitation of it

Tiggum
Oct 23, 2007


quote:

the difficulty he has seen with people pronouncing the word echidna.

If nothing else does it, the fact that he thinks "Echyd'nya" is easier for people to figure out the pronunciation of than "echidna" should be enough proof that he's a loon. I could see changing it to "ekidna" or something to clarify that it's a hard K, but other than that there's really nothing difficult about it - and he kept the CH!

Yvonmukluk
Oct 10, 2012

There were...
ABSOLUTELY NO CONSEQUENCES.



Wow, I never got a full breakdown of just how crazy the Penders story got. It kind of sounds like that Brazilian Megaman comic where the writer created his own original character and had planned to have her kill all the other characters and take over the book, except in that case the editors caught on and fired him (the fact his pet character apparently talked about doing it in the comic might have been a clue).

Taintrunner
Apr 10, 2017



Ken Penders is amazing. Apparently he was gonna he in charge of a Sonic movie in 2003?

https://twitter.com/kenpenders/stat...9966146561?s=21

Bonus:

WeedlordGoku69
Feb 11, 2015

A DAILY DOSE
OF OLD SHOOTERS


PLAY NOW MY LORD



Yvonmukluk posted:

Wow, I never got a full breakdown of just how crazy the Penders story got. It kind of sounds like that Brazilian Megaman comic where the writer created his own original character and had planned to have her kill all the other characters and take over the book, except in that case the editors caught on and fired him (the fact his pet character apparently talked about doing it in the comic might have been a clue).

Penders wasn't caught until a Sega exec saw a cover with Sonic crying over a wedding invitation, just completely at random in the grocery store checkout line

In 2005

That's how little of a gently caress Sega gave about what Penders was doing to their IP

Veotax
May 16, 2006



The world's most way past cool comic!

ImpAtom
May 24, 2007



I mean to give Penders a small amount of credit, 2005 was one year before:



this. One could assume Sega was perfectly fine with weird melodrama poo poo in their Sonic games!

Gaz-L
Jan 28, 2009


drrockso20 posted:

Say whatever else you want about the Mass Effect series, but Mass Effect 3's multiplayer was amazing and it's a shame that there hasn't been much imitation of it

What do you think Anthem is? Like, Anthem is literally a team based MMO shooter that has basically no PVP. It was always the endgame of including multiplayer in ME and Dragon Age, because that's what EA wants.

drrockso20
May 6, 2013

Garnet, Amethyst, and Pearl and FOURTEEN KARAT GOLD!!!

Warning: SU Season 3 Spoilers


Gaz-L posted:

What do you think Anthem is? Like, Anthem is literally a team based MMO shooter that has basically no PVP. It was always the endgame of including multiplayer in ME and Dragon Age, because that's what EA wants.

I meant the specific gameplay that Mass Effect 3 had

WeedlordGoku69
Feb 11, 2015

A DAILY DOSE
OF OLD SHOOTERS


PLAY NOW MY LORD



hey this is the Ken Penders suck zone there's an Anthem suck zone over in Games

Sonic Chronicles sucks rear end though and the music is hilarious

Good Listener
Sep 2, 2006

Ask me about moons
Fact #1 The Moon is really cool


Has Penders ever actually done anything with his lovely comic or is it just a never ending "COMING SOON GUYS (PLEASE GIVE ME MONEY AND ATTENTION)" ?

Numero6
Oct 10, 2012

ここは地の果て 流されて俺
今日もさすらい 涙も涸れる
ブルーゲイル


Did he ever do something that was comicgate adjacent?

FilthyImp
Sep 30, 2002

Nope



I do t get the impression he's racist or sexist. Just incredibly petty and really, really loving attached to this dumb storybhe's decided NEEDs echidnas.

Discendo Vox
Mar 21, 2013

Nothing scarier than an artillery barrage -- Am I right?


The way he's framed the sexuality of the characters and relationships (setting aside all the furries and children's comic and age stuff) is still pretty darn problematic. Penders has also used cartoon animal species as a race metaphor in really disgusting ways. That said, I think he's got comicsgate-equivalent beliefs, not that he's actually a participant in any way. I am...actually morbidly curious about how he would interact with a woman comics creator.

Digamma-F-Wau
Mar 22, 2016

...puh-
puhroud..??


on twitter he's pretty liberal, though the "unknowingly hypocritical liberal" kind. Anti-trump certainly

Knormal
Nov 11, 2001



Taco Defender

Kurui Reiten
Apr 24, 2010


Good Listener posted:

Has Penders ever actually done anything with his lovely comic or is it just a never ending "COMING SOON GUYS (PLEASE GIVE ME MONEY AND ATTENTION)" ?

At least up until he blocked me on Twitter, he'd never done anything beyond pin ups and claiming stuff was going great.

Fun note, I was blocked on Twitter not because of critiquing his art, telling him to his face he was wrong, or arguing against his points, despite doing all that. No, I was blocked because when he kept going on about how he was having an app made for this, and all the money he was supposedly putting into his original comics do not steal stuff, with the level of amateurishness he was showing constantly, I was like "Wait, is this a tax scam or something?"

Somehow, THAT got him to block me immediately, with his reply being "Why do you care?" Not people openly talking about how to pirate his work, or defending piracy or the like; that he was fine with. Asking "hey, wait, are you trying to somehow take an intentional monetary loss to scam the IRS?", though, WHAM. Blocked, instantly.

Kinda feels telling to me.

Remind me at some point to do an effort post on early Echidna civilization and history as told in the first few Knuckles comics and backup stories. I have a lot to say about how the entire loving story is massively, massively wasted potential AND insulting to anyone with a brain.

FilthyImp
Sep 30, 2002

Nope



Now that i think about it, Penders is the type to be like "well of course Echidnas are more athletic and aggressive than Hedgehogs and Squirrels they have more fast-twitch quill fibres and it's well known that urban 'na culture..."

El Gallinero Gros
Mar 17, 2010




Honestly, upset at the lack of Frank Stallone Knuckles

Gruckles
Mar 11, 2013



Good Listener posted:

Has Penders ever actually done anything with his lovely comic or is it just a never ending "COMING SOON GUYS (PLEASE GIVE ME MONEY AND ATTENTION)" ?

Every few months he'll tweet "I have just about finalized the [menu design]/[graphics]/[programming] for my Lara-Su app. Here is the same preview page I showed last time."
Same for once a year tweeting "I'm working on the final touch-up of the [color correction]/[audio]/[opening logo] of The Republic" about the live actions series he filmed like 10 years ago.

Good Listener
Sep 2, 2006

Ask me about moons
Fact #1 The Moon is really cool


That's kind of what I thought haha. Thanks for the replies and letting me know. I remember a bit of the early Knuckles comics since I read them at the time so it's always amusing to me when he comes up.

rudecyrus
Nov 6, 2009

fuck you trolls



LORD OF BOOTY posted:

Sonic Chronicles sucks rear end though and the music is hilarious

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbbUPBDXMcU

Taintrunner
Apr 10, 2017



Donít forget the Knuckles family tree!

Cael
Feb 2, 2004

I get this funky high on the yellow sun.



Taintrunner posted:

Donít forget the Knuckles family tree!

I think that might actually beat out the Summers/Grey family tree for sheer insanity.

WeedlordGoku69
Feb 11, 2015

A DAILY DOSE
OF OLD SHOOTERS


PLAY NOW MY LORD



Discendo Vox posted:

The way he's framed the sexuality of the characters and relationships (setting aside all the furries and children's comic and age stuff) is still pretty darn problematic. Penders has also used cartoon animal species as a race metaphor in really disgusting ways. That said, I think he's got comicsgate-equivalent beliefs, not that he's actually a participant in any way. I am...actually morbidly curious about how he would interact with a woman comics creator.

Yeah I don't know, I feel like Penders is a little different from them because... like... he's visibly trying to be progressive he's just also rock gently caress stupid

Comicsgate people do their poo poo very deliberately and "deliberate" is a word that is not in Penders' dictionary, dude is one of the biggest bumblefucks in comics

Calaveron
Aug 7, 2006



LORD OF BOOTY posted:

Yeah I don't know, I feel like Penders is a little different from them because... like... he's visibly trying to be progressive he's just also rock gently caress stupid

Comicsgate people do their poo poo very deliberately and "deliberate" is a word that is not in Penders' dictionary, dude is one of the biggest bumblefucks in comics

Hardly. I mean have you heard of the gently caress ups who were running Archie comics in the 90s?

Gavok
Oct 10, 2005

Brock! Oh, man, I'm sorry about your...

...tooth?



I feel like Ken Penders is the comic book counterpart to wrestling's Vince Russo in terms of batshit writers who somehow got way too lengthy a stay in charge and are fun to make fun of in retrospect.

Hell, Penders treats the Sonic part of Sonic the same way Russo treats the wrestling part of wrestling.

Onmi
Jul 12, 2013

If someone says it one more time I'm having Florina show up as a corpse. I'm not even kidding, I was pissed off with people doing that shit back in 2010, and I'm not dealing with it now in 2016.


Also, if you want to see unfiltered Penders poo poo, here's his trailer movie pitch for The Lost Ones, the story he's basically decided he has to use the echidna's to tell

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hsdTPUy4sNI

Synthbuttrange
May 6, 2007

I feel the pressure,
under more scrutiny
And what I do,
act more stupidly




"creative"

WeedlordGoku69
Feb 11, 2015

A DAILY DOSE
OF OLD SHOOTERS


PLAY NOW MY LORD



Calaveron posted:

Hardly. I mean have you heard of the gently caress ups who were running Archie comics in the 90s?

the funny thing is, from an exec perspective, all of this basically makes sense, though.

if Sega isn't breathing down your neck about sticking to the established IP, and this weirdo's actually managed to find an audience with what would otherwise be a throwaway licensed book, why wouldn't you just let him go hog wild? i mean, this is pre-2010s Archie we're talking about.

like, through the 90s and 2000s (arguably starting in the 80s), Archie desperately wanted to a) not be Archie and b) start bringing in the kind of money that not-Archie companies were making. there was little to nothing more desperately uncool than the Archie comics themselves in that time period, so they were pretty much scrambling for any other IP they could get or make that would possibly bring people in.

Sonic in general is an obvious good call for the time period- the IP was hot as gently caress basically from 1991 straight to 2005 (and is still viable enough for IDW to immediately snap the license up the second Archie dropped it, keep in mind), and was especially hot with Archie's traditional demos. it's blindingly obvious why they made the decision to start making Sonic comics in the first place, and it was a straight up good idea.

past that, Penders' ideas, on paper, would have looked like a sure sell in the 90s. firstly, his work was pretty clearly drawing shitloads of influence from the SatAM cartoon, which had just ended in 1994 as a critically acclaimed show with an almost stupidly devoted fanbase; you could honestly say he was basically writing fanfic for that show. secondly, I'm assuming we're all familiar with 90s comics as a whole; edge was in, so the work being weirdly dark for Sonic/Archie probably worked in its favor, and a lot of the overly unwholesome aspects of Penders' work probably just straight up went over everyone's heads since nobody knew what the hell a furry was. thirdly, a lot of his worst narrative flaws are more present in whole story arcs than individual issues, and I don't think the execs really cared about the former as long as everything looked fine issue-to-issue.

like, the contract situation, sure, but really, nothing about Penders is their fault. Penders is a monster entirely of his own creation.

Wanderer
Nov 5, 2006

our every move is the new tradition


LORD OF BOOTY posted:

secondly, I'm assuming we're all familiar with 90s comics as a whole; edge was in, so the work being weirdly dark for Sonic/Archie probably worked in its favor,

That's an interesting point. Come to think of it, we're also talking about the era of Archie that had that infamous panel of the Mutanimals all burning in hell in TMNT, and I remember their attempt at a modern reboot of The Mighty Crusaders coming out around then and reading a lot like some of Mark Gruenwald's angrier work on Captain America.

Rhyno
Mar 22, 2003

Google Image Results for
"Sexy Guy Gardner"


The 90s Crusaders stuff was a DC initiative. IMPACT Comics.

An Taoiseach
Mar 23, 2008

World's Strongest Love


One for the forum historians, but didn't a Sonic writer post here for a while?

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Mikedawson
Jun 21, 2013



An Taoiseach posted:

One for the forum historians, but didn't a Sonic writer post here for a while?

Ian Flynn was a member for a bit back in '07-'09. He did two little retrospective videos for Cybershell's Sonic megathread but had to quit because he was too busy working on the actual comic. He joined the staff a bit before Penders quit, and was head writer for the remainder of the Archie series and continues to write for IDW. IMO the Archie reboot had the best writing across the franchise. Penders has a weird, mostly-one-sided, hatred of him.

E: Also, this might be handy for the OP:
https://thankskenpenders.tumblr.com/facts

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