After attending Geek Girl Con, Emerald City Comic Con, and San Diego Comic Con, it became clear to me that My Little Pony Fans, or Bronies as they like to be called, are legion. From cosplay to discussions about how to make your own custom My Little Pony creation, it seemed like everything was coming up Pony.
But I was completely caught off guard when I saw the pre-order numbers for the book. Given how hit movies have not helped Avengers sales, and a hit tv show has not helped Green Arrow sales, I never would guessed that the My LittlePony TV show would translate into these kind of sales figures!
So, the real question becomes: will these readers stick around? Given the quality of the first issue of the My Little Pony series, I don’t think so.
The My Little Pony comic is clearly written for fans of the TV show. Since it is a licensed product, it is relying on an already existing fan base to make up the bulk of its sales. However, like any other product, the first issue/episode/chapter should provide an easy entry point for anyone familiar with the product or not. No such easy entry point exists for the My Little Pony world.
Writer Katie Cook introduces the reader to nearly a dozen named characters in the first issue and many, many more are shown or have bit parts but are never named. While this is a bit confusing to the new reader, most fans of My Little Pony will delight in seeing everypony all in one place. But that is not the real problem. The real problem is that Cook falls into the same trap that most writers in serialized comics face: Continuity.
Cook’s antagonist for this story apparently has a long, and somewhat complex, history with the ponies. One can only assume that all of this was covered in the cartoon, because it is barely glossed over in the comic. Queen Chrysalis is BACK and she is, for some unexplained reason, unleashing her minions to swap bodies with unsuspecting ponies. Her motives are never fully explained other than this is ome sort of revenge. I guess I should have watched that episode?
The art by Andy Price does not clarify things. In fact it actually adds another layer of confusion. Between awkward panel placement which disrupts the reading flow, and scenes which desperately need some sort of explanation, the book becomes almost unreadable in several places. More than once I had to go back and try to figure out what was happening on the page because it did not seem to make any sense as presented, and there was no explanation given. While an already established My Little Pony fan may enjoy poring over the pages time and time again, it did not make for an enjoyable experience for me.
Overall My Little Pony was a disappointment. I was hoping to read the comic and discover what all the fuss was about. Instead I was dropped into the middle of a convoluted and disjointed comic which offered little to no explanation for the new reader. Far from being an entry point into the My Little Pony univers, I will take this as an exit point and allow the ponies to ride off into the sunset.