Weaponized Mecha Sally
This one took a lot more time and a lot more doodling. When I started the design I didn't know what "weaponizing" her actually meant, all I knew was she transformed into a stronger robot. I suppose I thought there was some very specific plans for what she would do and how it would relate to the story, and those details would eventually influence the design decisions. While I waited to find that out I had a vibe in my mind I wanted to explore, which is what all the top sketches are.
The dark red trim/band around the bottom of her hair with the low pointed bangs gave me an idea to imply the shape as a sort of hat, giving her a potential evil military officer vibe.
Looking through the sketches there I guess I started toying around with a big arm cannon, which looks cool, and it didn't take long to start messing around with a powerful laser cannon inside her head/hair (which I'm happy to say become one of her actual weapons used in the comic).
As you can see in the color sketches, Sally has very few pieces of metal with her fur tone. Knowing that this design would influence her deroboticized design down the road, gave me the opportunity to start familiarizing the reader with a Sally baring less fur.
I sent these ideas off and was given the direction to try a sleeker body design. Editor Paul Kaminski also stated an interest in designing signature weapons for her, and I'm pretty sure he specified the idea of arm blades, which were super tough to figure out!
I wanted something simple, something that could conceivably be used by an actual enemy in the games. Although it can vary throughout the last twenty years, Sonic badguys usually fall into a fun and cartoony design approach, they attack with lightbulbs or launch spikes at you. More lethal threats tend to be laser beams, missiles, and bombs.
Getting away from Eggman's robots, the character's powers and attacks tend to also be simple and unique. Curling up into balls, or a big hammer, or maybe throwing a giant shuriken. I wanted to bend these arm blades over into that kind of thinking as much as I could. Just because I could do anything I wanted to didn't mean I wanted to go for the easy solutions, I wanted it to fit in and be right.
What would it look like if Metal Sonic had arm blades?
Unfortunately I don't think Metal Sonic's blades would look anything like what I came up with. These are too straightforward, too generic. The energy blades are kind of fun I suppose, but they're still not "there".
I did these drawings two and half years ago, and I can see what I might do differently now to come up with a better idea but I don't want to beat myself up too much about it. I was designing three forms of Sally all at the same time after all, my mind was thinking about a lot of stuff.
So from there I did the turnaround and right at the end Paul had the idea to use power rings as her power source and add a compartment to her back. Her chest is very small and I wasn't sure how big power rings were supposed to be, but you can see my suggested solution if there was a size discrepancy.
To be totally honest, when I was working on the Sonic comics I read every issue to stay up to date but around the time Sally was weaponized I started doing work on Mega Man and then eventually for other comic companies and put the story on hold. I've got all the issues stacked up for any future reference, but I really haven't read anything after issue 232. Was the power ring backpack ever shown in an issue?
Oh yeah, and if you didn't notice her backpack is a slightly modified Dreamcast.
So because I jumped over to Mega Man I never got the chance to draw a Weaponized Mecha Sally story! It was something I really felt I missed out on. Luckily, during the Worlds Collide arc I got to spend at least one little moment with her.
The last few images are some of my favorite stuff, her attacks and powers! It was a pleasant surprise to learn that I could design her weapons. Aside from Pauls suggestion about the arm blades, I thought it would be cool if she used lightning and tried to think what attacks she would have in a game.
The first image is her using a Lightening Shield to block attacks. I don't know if the Lightening Shield has even been used in the comics before, but if not, more game elements added, haha! I thought she could also capture other characters in the shield.