Free Comic Specials are single issue comic books published by Archie Comics, containing Sonic the Hedgehog related material, such as reprints, data files, and original stories, distributed for free for promotional purposes. The most common of these distributions occurs on Free Comic Book Day, for which a Sonic title has been published annually since 2007. Material printed in these issues is considered canon unless stated otherwise.
Free Comic Book Day
This event, an effort by the American comic book industry to help new readers into independent comic book stores, occurs annually on the first Saturday of May, in which publishers distribute specially made one-shot issues for free to commemorate the event. Archie Comics began releasing Sonic issues for the event in 2007, and have continued to do so to this day. The contents of these specials have varied from brand new stories to reprints.
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2007- contains a brand new story, "Unburying the Hatchet".
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2008- a digitally remastered reprint of the main Sonic series' first issue.
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2009- consists entirely of newly-made data files about the Archie Sonic universe, including previously unknown information.
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2010- contains a brand new story, "Hide & Seek & Destroy".
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2011- contains a brand new story, "The Rematch", which also serves as a semi-remake of the SSS#15 story, "Naugus Games".
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2012- a reprint of the "Genesis" epilogue story, "Two Steps Back...", from StH#230, and a short series of new literary stories, "Genesis: Awakenings".
- Sonic/Mega Man Free Comic Book Day 2013- a flipbook serving as a prologue to the then-running Worlds Collide crossover, reprinting the respective Sonic and Mega Man stories that proceeded the crossover.
- Sonic/Mega Man X Free Comic Book Day 2014- another flipbook sharing space with the Mega Man series, debuting the first two chapters of the Sonic Comic Origins series and a reprint of the two-part Mega Man X story, "The X Factor".
- Sonic/Mega Man Free Comic Book Day 2015- the third and final Sonic/Mega Man flipbook, serving as a prologue to the then-running Worlds Unite crossover, featuring the debut of the Sonic Comic Origins story, "Into the Unknown" and selections from various Mega Man issues.
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2016- a "sampling" of stories from the Sonic and Sonic Universe series, specifically "Keys to Victory" (StH#280) and the first ten pages of "Eggman's Dozen" (SU#83)
- Sonic Free Comic Book Day 2017 - CANCELLED
These specials were released to coincide with Halloween, with the third specifically being a part of Halloween Comic Fest, the only issue released for the event to date.
- Archie & Friends: A Halloween Tale (1998)- contains brand new story promoting all the Archie Comics titles running at the time, including the Sonic and Knuckles series'.
- Archie's Weird Mysteries (1999)- contains a brand new story promoting the newly-launched TV series and comic book of the same name, as well as Archie's past and then-present titles, including Sonic and Knuckles once again.
- Sonic Halloween Comic Fest 2013- contains a brand new story serving as a tie-in to the game Sonic Lost World.
Digital Game Tie-ins
These comics were released digitally in association with the Sonic video games they promoted.
- Sonic and the Secret Rings- a CD-ROM comic released alongside the Nintendo Wii game of the same name exclusively at Target stores.
- Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal Digital Comic- available within the Nintendo 3DS game Sonic Boom: Shattered Crystal from the bonus features section, serves as a prequal to the game itself.
- Sonic the Hedgehog #1/4 (1992)- a promotional comic serving as a special preview to issue 0 of the Original Sonic Miniseries, making it the earliest known Archie Sonic publication.
- Sonic #1/4 is the very first Archie-produced Sonic comic to ever be published.
- While the comic itself was free, the "Sonic and the Secret Rings" special was distributed on a bonus DVD with copies of the game bought at specific Target retailers.