Ken Penders

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Ken Penders
Place of birth: United States
Twitter: @KenPenders

Kenneth "Ken" W. Penders, II is an American comic artist and former Archie Comics' lead writer. Most known for his work on the company's Sonic the Hedgehog series, he first began working on Sonic comics in early 1993, and remained the driving force behind its storylines until his departure in 2006.

In addition to Penders' work on with Sega's star mascot, he has also written and illustrated stories for every major comics publisher (including DC, Marvel, Image, and Disney) on titles such as Star Trek: The Next Generation, Disney Adventures, Savage Sword of Conan, Captain Atom, and The Green Hornet, among others.


With a history in illustration, Ken Penders was first hired at Archie Comics in early 1993 to work on the company's Sonic the Hedgehog series. Soon, he found himself serving as lead writer for many of the series' early issues, alongside working on Archie's Knuckles the Echidna series. Penders remained as lead writer until he departed Archie in 2006, with his final contributions appearing in issue #169 that November.

Alongside his work on the comics, Penders also created the artwork for Sonic the Hedgehog: The Complete Series, a 2007 DVD release of the Saturday morning television series, Sonic the Hedgehog.

Sonic Armageddon

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Sonic Armageddon

In 2003, Penders pitched a concept for a big-budget Sonic the Hedgehog animated film. Known under the working title of Sonic Armageddon, he created four pieces of concept art and produced a homemade pitch video. The project continued into at least 2007, when reported "massive corporate upheavals" within Sega ultimately resulted in the film being cancelled.

Archie v. Penders

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Archie v. Penders

In January 2009, Penders began copyrighting various stories, characters, and artwork that he created for Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, with these claims being officially certified in April 2010 by the United States Copyright Office. Penders also declared that he would "use every legal means at my disposal to protect and preserve" his contested works. In particular, the artist wanted to continue the story of his echidna original character, Lara-Su, and a related comic arc titled Mobius: 25 Years Later, in a potential media franchise named The Lara-Su Chronicles.

In response to Penders' actions, Archie launched a lawsuit against the artist. Archie v. Penders was heard on July 1, 2013, where it was dismissed by the judge.[1] However, reportedly a settlement was later reached between the two parties, with many Penders-created characters abruptly disappearing from the comics.

Penders v. Sega

Sonic Retro emblem.svg Main article: Penders v. Sega

During Archie v. Penders, Penders launched his own lawsuit against Sega of America and Electronic Arts, known as Penders v. Sega. The lawsuit asserted that the two companies had committed copyright infringement of Penders' original creations, particularly that they based their Nocturnus Clan on his Dark Legion.

On September 26, 2011, the court dismissed the case without prejudice, stating that Penders could re-file the action after the conclusion of Archie v. Penders (which was still ongoing). Instead, Penders decided to re-file the same action on October 3 in the same district. On February 23, 2012, Judge Wright dismissed the case without prejudice.[2]

Later career

In October 2015, Penders created a Twitter post which seemed to threaten legal action against unnamed comics publishers (construed to be directed at Archie Comics, in response to their planned reprints of the Sonic comics), but nothing came of this threat. However, following the release of the second Sonic the Hedgehog film in April 2022, Penders again took to his Twitter, stating that the film's introduction of a father character for Knuckles too closely mirrored his original character of Locke from the original Archie comics. When a Twitter user asked him if he felt he had grounds to launch a lawsuit, Penders replied that he was going to "let the attorneys hash that out." Despite this, no new lawsuit has been launched by the artist.


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