My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Number One: The Kotaku Comic Book Review

The first issue of a comic book based on an animated series is not normally cause for excitement. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is no regular animated series, and its comic book companion is much more than a throwaway cartoon tie-in.

It's incredibly easy to make a lazy cartoon-based comic book. Recycle some plot lines, drop in some art that looks like stills from the source material, drop in some word bubbles and wrap it up in a cover that catches the eye of the target audience -- kids.

That would not have worked with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, largely due to the fact that a large portion of its audience -- certainly the portion with the most disposable income -- is adult men and women. Older fans might have flocked to a sub-par series for novelty's sake, perhaps kept up with the first few issues, but to truly capture our hearts a comic book has to do what Lauren Faust and company have been doing for more than two seasons of the animated series -- cater to us.

I'm not just talking about dropping in fan-favourite characters like Derpy, DJ Pon-3 and Doctor Who homage Time Turner (though their appearances certainly help). I'm talking about art that captures the spirit of the show in an entirely new way; writing that's kid-friendly with the requisite winks. We want to be taken seriously as fans.

IDW has taken us very seriously.

If you've had doubts over a static image's ability to convey motion and life over a half-hour animated program, Andy Price's artwork will put them to rest. His deft, often whimsical lines communicate more in a single panel than a thousand frames. His versions of the beloved Rainbow Dash, Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, Pinkie Pie and Fluttershy are more expressive and dynamic than their television counterparts, aided by black outlines that contrast strikingly with the show's coloured ones.

Price breathes new life into Ponyville and its denizens on every page, and it's quite obvious he's having a hell of a time doing so.

The energetic imagery couples well with the words of writer Katie Cook, who's quite the artist herself. I've been aware of Cook for several years now, my wife being a huge fan of her work. When I discovered she was handling writing duties on Friendship is Magic I was ecstatic, and not just because it helped me justify buying multiple copies to my spouse. Over the past few years I've seen many examples of Cook capturing the essence of existing characters in her drawings; I was excited to see if that talent carried over to her writing.

It definitely does. She voices the characters as sincerely as any handful of voice actresses packing scripts. She nails their personalities, right down to the cadence (not that Cadence) of their speech. It's almost too perfect, matching the tone and pacing of the animated series almost to a fault. I knew when the jokes were coming, I sussed how the plot would unfold only a few pages in. Perhaps I've just steeped myself in the subject matter a wee bit too much.

As for the story proper, it's off to a good start. A dangerous enemy from the second season of the television show sets her sights on Ponyville, and the Mane Six are the only ponies left standing. One would think the first thing any returning enemy would do would be to take out the heroes that foiled her evil plans previously, but if there's one thing comic books have taught me, it's that villains are incredibly stupid -- even the smart ones. Besides, it's not like she can hire snipers.

Stay with me here, the My Little Sniper fanfic can wait.

There are battles fought. There are jokes flung. Pinkie Pie finds herself in a situation that strangely echoes a recent episode of the series. Rarity gets angry about fashion. Derpy... well, you'll see.

"No I won't!" some of you exclaim, slamming your fist angrily upon your desk. That's fine. IDW would love for you to pick up the book I'm sure, but with more than 100,000 preorders (one for every cover variant!) they won't be losing any sleep if you pass. The Bronies and Pegasisters got this.


    This is the worst thing ever.

      Clearly you've never watched the show.

        Yeah, am I missing something here? Is it awesome? I always thought it was just like Care Bears with horses...

        Then I figured there's no way it'd be that awesome so I never bothered with it.

          The first few generations were carebears with horses, but Friendship is Magic initially took the effort to not be utter crap for parents to watch, even before gaining actual popularity among adults. There were jokes that the writers must have known would never be understood by children. (Appletini, 'punch has been Spiked', etc.)
          Since then, they have made a lot of their hidden jokes as references to the brony community (such as Derpy being hidden in almost every episode of season 2).

          I like it, and so do many others.

          It's pretty funny, but each to their own. What doesn't get mentioned very often is that most media available for anyone over the age of 12 is summed up with 'Kill them, swear a lot, then dose yourself with any substance you can get your hands on'. I don't know about everyone else, but I am so over being told we're all evil and terrible. Happy friends doing happy things with a feel good ending and frequent - admittedly, often groan-worthy - jokes intermixed makes for a wonderful change. Wonderful enough I use it to cheer up after a bad day. Additionally, 'Friendship is Witchcraft' becomes about a hundred times funnier(youtube it - even if you don't like ponies, it's pretty funny).

          It's sad that many people go 'That's not for boys, it's clearly terrible!', but it seems to be overcompensation for the most part - kind of like how teenagers always over-adult their mannerisms. The show is actually designed for a) Children and b) Minders of said children, who are in the adult bracket. Most people seem to forget this part when trying to rag on it.

          Do skip the first 3 generations, and give 'Friendship is Magic' 4 or so episodes before you make a call - it starts slowly(Personally, I think s2ep3(Titled 'Lesson Zero') is the best place to start, but some like to go in order), but it actually has plot to set up, which is a nice change. Most certainly do avoid anyone who calls themselves a brony - those are the guys that run around shoving it down your face like it's a 'yo momma' joke on xbox live.

          It's fun enough to be worth giving it a decent try - if you don't like it, oh well.

        Well I have watched the show, and I'd say the show is actually the worst thing ever.

          Well Im going to accept your opinion, at least some people watch a episode or two before making their opinion. I like the show but I'm not going to buy a comic or anything over it.

            I love the show, I'm a sucker for it's cutesy adorable ways along with it's humour.
            But I'm not about to say it's the best show ever, or only an idiot dislikes it. I think there's a lot of blind hatred thrown between people who love the show and people who hate it. Perhaps because a lot are hating it without actually giving it a go, and perhaps because, well, fanboys are idiots.
            Where as you, AussieSniper, you watched it, you didn't like it, fair enough.

    Oh god, they have invaded Kotaku. The last refuge for the non-pony loving people.


    Wait, Lauren Faust was only on for the first season.

    I know Animaniacs also had a kick-ass comic release.
    However, it WAS helped along by appearances from Hello Nurse...

    Artwork looks nice and colorful i guess.

    I never got the appeal of the show personally, but i always liked the art style. But then again, aren't most self proclaimed bronies just in it for the art style? I dunno, i'll just stick to Adventure Time.

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