Guardians offers a more mature take on the Echidna society and the colourful individuals exhibited therein, focusing exclusively on Knuckles' world and his growth. The comic explores difficult topics like forbidden love; substance abuse; and the nature of good, evil, and morality in choices; all with the grace and tact of a more adult-oriented imprint.
The ongoing story does not restrict focus to the Guardian himself, but to a plural of them, and to their enemies without, and within. As Knuckles discards his naivete and grows to take on the tasks assigned to him, he uncovers dark family secrets that could change the world as he knows it, and deep regrets that have festered for decades, and through his viewpoint, the depiction of the world changes accordingly.
Guardians should follow industry format, with 18-22 page main stories, and the occasional five page 'B' stories, offering more insight into the complex world from other perspectives and time periods. These are divided into issues to make reference easier.
As a testament to stories past, we're leaving the character-names of Dimitri and Edmund in there, currently claimed by Ken Penders as of 2013. Dr. Finitevus is owned by Karl Bollers. All other outside contributions will be mentioned here.
- The Brotherhood
- The Sigil
- The Nocturnus
It's important to discuss the rationale behind this alteration, because of events occurring behind the scenes that played such an active role in the conception and production of Guardians. When initially presented as a tightened re-telling of the 'Knuckles the Echidna' pieces from the Archie Sonic lore, the character names, relationships, and backgrounds were largely preserved, out of respect for the creator. We wanted to recognize that these were characters that had a lot of importance and history for many fans, and we hoped to modernize and bring things in line with the then-current format. Cleaner, more cohesive art, slightly more modernized designs, a stronger script that would clarify or remove the retcons and other issues mentioned as a result of the comic working plot-to-plot, and month-to-month. By being able to look backward and pull things together from what it was, we could avoid the problems and uncertainties that stripped the polish from the original comics. It would be a fan-testament, a tribute to what we had enjoyed, an update for a new generation.
The first draft of Guardians was presented as KtE rebooted, without taking into account the lore that came after the cancelation. We'd primarily decided to work with the few pieces leading up to, the tie-ins, and the 30-odd issues of KtE to try to unify these pieces. It was proposed in an anniversary year, but shelved to work on personal projects. By the time we picked things up to look at it again, it was with the confidence of some solid work in the hands of the new Archie team, and their efforts to unify and demystify. Work began again on allowing this rebooted KtE to actually move in line with the more uniform lore, offering a more seasoned approach to the vagaries and questions.
With the recent settlement of ACP and Ken Penders, the complete picture as to the de-emphasis on Echidnas became clear, and the extended honeymoon of work on the re-telling drew to a close. We chose instead to recraft the universe in its entirety, avoiding stepping on toes while creating a wholly new piece as counterpoint to the original KtE. It isn't the KtE we had before. It won't follow the same storyline, use the same scripts as jumping point. KtE stands on its own as a time capsule to the 1990s, a snapshot to that moment, those characters, those thoughts, and we won't alter that. Likewise, in this new hollow in which new lore was formed, we decided to craft new Echidna characters to fulfill the storylines. These characters have their own names, their own separate and distinct appearances, their own relationships and backgrounds. Where there are similar roles, we have offered reference to potential parallel characters by naming hints, but we wanted to avoid derivations, again, out of respect for the history established with KtE and our childhoods, and out of respect for the creator. Guardians as it stands could be a potential history, a parallel universe, a fragment of something that could potentially fit into Archie canon without depending upon it or previous lore.
Certain similarities are unavoidable, and indeed, in attempting to provide a fitting testament to what we had, we used story-kernels that might suggest comparisons and contrasts. In each case where these similarities might point back to original canon, we've attempted to take things in a new direction, places that were not explored or elaborated upon or conceived by the creator. The same story-kernels can be shaken up and put together in different ways by different creators, and as a third-party, we wanted to avoid contention wherever possible. This is a project designed to fit into the Archie Sonic Universe, and parallel the lore built in the SEGA Sonic universe, so the fair use of the character Knuckles the Echidna and references back to game and Archie events are necessary and integral to the plot, just as much as the canon built around Sonic the Hedgehog has no purpose or importance without the Blue Blur himself. Out of all the characters created for the purposes of this project, we decided to name the twin brothers after the integral siblings from KtE: Edmund and Dimitri. These names were very specifically taken from KtE, in reference to original versions of characters present in a markedly different form in Guardians, and so we will offer Ken Penders credit whenever these characters are present, as credit is afforded for all other individual creators when their characters are present in the comics. It's specifically a callback and an honour, not intended as a derivation, and so naming these characters and the citation is a formality to tip the hat to the humble origins of Guardians.
The characters created for the purpose of this comic specifically will remain attached to this comic, and will not be in use elsewhere, commercially or otherwise, unless requested in formal discussion with creator and interested third party. 'Cameo' characters or characters borrowed for use in Guardians are owned by their creators, and will receive appropriate citation; we will not claim ownership of these characters for their appearances, and any plot-related issues will be addressed in discussions with each creator as needed, to ensure harmony. Knuckles the Echidna, the framing events, the locations, the framework, and the continuity are owned by SEGA, in conjunction with Archie Comics Publications, and we claim no ownership of these pieces. This is not a commercial work, and we do not intend to sell merchandise of or related to the work. Artists, writers, and creators may complete commissions related to characters and events from this project under normal commission terms. Fanfiction and fan-art is, as always, definitely okay, and we'd love to have links to host here. The only thing we'd really admonish would be claiming the work as your own, or taking the work for personal commercial endeavors, which would just suck. No one has signed any contracts limiting their rights related to the work. Reproduction is encouraged, rehosting acceptable as long as fans get the same access to the work as those visiting the main website. Additional legalese may be added to this paragraph as needed.