Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Why IDW wants MLP:FiM to succeed

Probably by now most of you know that issue #1 of the MLP:FiM comic had an estimated sale of over 80,000 copies and that it was IDW's best-selling single issue in the company's history. But delve slightly deeper and its success becomes even more impressive. Below is a list of the top ten IDW comics for November 2012, as listed by Comic Book Resources. No prizes for guessing what's at the top, but that's not the point just now.

And just look at those numbers. My Little Pony first; the rest... in the dust. It sold almost two and a half times as many copies as the debut issue of Judge Dredd, itself a great success for IDW. Our colourful ponies actually accounted for more sales than the total of the next three titles combined! It'll be fascinating to see in February how sales of issues #2 and #3 have held up, but it could still be IDW's number one in the long term!

1. My Little Pony:FiM #1 .......... 80,128 ( 15)
2. Judge Dredd #1 ................. 32,269 ( 69)
3. ST:TNG/Dr Who Assimilation #7 .. 21,014 (110)
4. TNMT Ongoing #16 ............... 17,142 (132)
5. Locke & Key Omega #1 ........... 14,127 (153)
6. MTG: Spell Thief #4 ............ 12,330 (168)
7. Danger Girl/GI Joe #4 .......... 10,770 (176)
8. Rocketeer:Cargo of Doom #4...... 10,700 (178)
9. Frankenstein Alive Alive #2 .... 10,686 (179)
10.Transformers Regen One #85 ..... 10,569 (180)

Monday, 24 December 2012

Review: Season One DVD box set

The opening menu screen
They should have called that option "Marathon", really...
It's taken its time coming, but at last you can own Season One of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic in physical form with the release of the DVD box set, which is available only in Region 1 form and only here on There's no Blu-ray option (yet?) which may put off some prospective purchasers, but I took the plunge and ordered a copy from across the Pond. Keep reading after the jump to see my detailed (and I do mean detailed!) thoughts on whether it was worth it.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Review: "Apple Family Reunion" (S3E08)

The Apple Family in front of the barn
"Buy some Apples"? Slavery has been abolished, you know!
We're coming up to Hearth's Warming now, so Louder Yay will be taking a short break. Not quite yet, though! Tomorrow, you can look forward to a full review of the Season One DVD from Shout! Factory. In the meantime, here's what I thought of "Apple Family Reunion". This is a rather shorter review than I'd expected to write, since there wasn't a lot to write about. Follow me past the jump to find out more.

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Official trailer for the Bronies documentary is out

Lauren Faust: "We need to ... not call [men] weak for caring."

And here it is! This comes courtesy of Scrnland, the company responsible for the digital distribution of the documentary. (Whose full title, as I'm sure you all know already, is Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony. Not perhaps the snappiest name in existence, but I guess it does the job.) Brian Gyss of Scrnland posted the link to the video here on UK of Equestria a little earlier on, so this trailer is all official and above board. This video has been eagerly awaited by many in the fandom, so is it going to live up to expectation?

Well, there's only so much of a 90-minute film that you can fit into a four-minute trailer, but on the evidence of that trailer it's looking pretty promising. We get several show personalities interviewed, naturally including Tara Strong, and both Lauren Faust and John de Lancie appear as their OCs as well as in human form. (That's right, folks: there's original animation too!) The fans interviewed are a little on the overwhelmingly enthusiastic side, though they're balanced by one poor guy from the mountains of Appalachia who was confronted by rednecks with baseball bats...

We're told that the full documentary will also feature a certain amount of original music — though we don't know who will write it — but the trailer simply uses two fan-made songs, both by very well-known artists. One is "A Long Way From Equestria", a collaboration between Acoustic Brony and MandoPony. The other is the pony song with the highest number of views on YouTube — 4.6 million and counting — The Living Tombstone's legendary remix of Eurobeat Brony's "Discord". Come on, do I really need to give you a link for that one? Oh all right, if you insist.

Bronies: The Extremely Unexpected Adult Fans of My Little Pony will be released on 12 January, and a download in DRM-free (yay) MP4 format will cost US$12.99. That equates to £8 or so at current exchange rates. You get your choice of resolutions: since they all cost the same, I expect most people will go for the 1080p video, but there's also a 720p version and a 400p "phone resolution" option as well. (Actually it's 405p, but apparently 400p sounded better!) You can sign up for a pre-order at Oh, and before I go: nice to see that we British fans aren't forgotten: BUCK 2012 features briefly in the trailer!

Friday, 21 December 2012

Finding ponies: a shopper's guide

Rainbow Dash from the Rainbow Cards pack
The completed Rainbow Dash card from the Rainbow Cards pack
Until Hasbro gets its act together and actually launches the additional merchandise we in Europe have been promised for 2013, shopping for MLP:FiM items can be a bit of a chore. It's hard to tell what's likely to be found where, and if you don't want to go down the eBay route, you'll need to be prepared to do a fair amount of hoofwork. The situation varies from place to place, but my own experiences might help you a little:

The Entertainer is the go-to toy shop for many things. It's not usually the cheapest, but most branches will have a reasonable selection of brushables, fashion ponies and the like. The Crystal Design-a-Pony Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy have been spotted in several stores, and the Walking Talking Pinkie Pie is increasingly seen. Blind bags are usually in stock, though often several waves old. One word of warning: some branches are reportedly more brony-friendly than others.

Smyths, if you have a branch near you, is much like the above, only larger. You should be able to find some of the less common brushables (Sunny Rays, for example) and things like the talking Princess Cadance. Staff in these warehouse-like places are sometimes a little on the over-attentive side, so be prepared to tough it out or lie through your teeth when you're asked what you're looking for!

Toys R Us is the only place I've seen actual MLP-themed window displays — but don't bother asking the staff if you can take them home when the promotion's over. Several have tried, unsuccessfully, and one or two requests have been refused quite curtly. There is the odd item of interest to be found here, such as the Pinkie Pie hair extensions. (Not for me, I'm afraid!) Prices aren't terribly keen unless there's a promotion on.

Discount chains can hold unexpected delights... or nothing at all. Recently I discovered that Home Bargains in Stourbridge was stuffed with £2.99 brushables, and that The Range in Kidderminster had heaps of the Rainbow Cards set. (And heaps of G3 stuff, more even than there was related to G4, but I'll let them off... this time.) Pound shops are little use unless the dreaded "Princess Candance" [sic] tiara set, which often lurks in Poundland, is of interest to you.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Five on the skive

Magnet Bolt Wave 6 blind bag figure
Magnet Bolt showing off her striking colour scheme
I was in an Asda supermarket the other day and noticed that they had Wave 6 blind bags in stock. Nothing at all wrong with that; quite the reverse, and I was pleased to be able to snap up Magnet Bolt, the only completely new pony in this wave. I think she's a very nicely designed pony, too, and although she's the usual Twilight Sparkle recolour, I think she still has her own identity.

But... what happened to Wave 5? The yellow bags, with the three princesses included. I haven't seen those anywhere, and the only reason I have a Wave 5 pony at all (Breezie, since you ask) is because of the generosity of a friend. Now, it's true that Celestia/Luna/Cadance tend to get sifted out within nanoseconds, but I wouldn't have minded some of the others. Ah well, never mind.

Monday, 17 December 2012

"I love it. I think it's great."

The Nerd Reactor site has a short but interesting interview with MLP:FiM's head writer, Meghan McCarthy. There isn't a lot of new information in there — though there's a mild spoiler if you haven't seen the most recent episode — but it's nice, if unsurprising, to know that McCarthy is pro-fandom. (That subject line is a direct quote from her answers.) It's a bit strange that John Nguyen, who conducts the interview, has never seen an episode (though he did like The Powerpuff Girls) but never mind. Actually, McCarthy says that if he had, he'd "already be a brony"!

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Review: "Wonderbolts Academy" (S3E07)

Rainbow Dash in her Wonderbolts cadet uniform
How does she get away with a manecut like that in the military?
This was a really interesting episode. Very different to what I was expecting, certainly. I liked a pony I thought I wouldn't; I didn't like a pony I thought I would. Merriwether Williams isn't my favourite MLP:FiM writer, as a rule, but maybe she's come up trumps this time. Let's get going with the review and find out! Join us after the cut for more.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Those rumours: even if they're true, it doesn't matter

Not that I think they are necessarily true, for reasons I'll get to — though since they do include a potential spoiler about the S3 finale, I'll put the details under a jump. There are a number of reasons that I think the alleged leak is no such thing. The wording, for one, has several very odd turns of phrase. In fact, just the sort of turns of phrase that would be used by a wind-up merchant. Also, Meghan McCarthy made a tweet about people "who go on the Internet and make stuff up" that was in all probability referring to these rumours.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Comic release schedule

Just a quick post this time. We know that issue #2 of the MLP:FiM comic is being delayed until 2 January. However, it seems that we won't have to wait very long after that for our next fix of pony. Issue #3 looks like it will be out on 16 January, which is a week earlier than I'd expected. Then we have a five-week gap until 20 February for issue #4; as that's the last instalment of the opening arc, I suspect the wait is deliberate to build up a bit of tension!

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Season 1 DVD sells out at Amazon... or not

Front cover of the MLP:FiM S1 DVD box set
This particular copy is mine, all mine. Mwa ha ha ha!
This shouldn't really come as a surprise to any of us by now, but if you wander over to you'll find that the Season 1 DVD has already sold out. I have no idea how many copies were produced — except that it clearly wasn't enough! The cash cow that is MLP:FiM just keeps on mooing, and presumably Shout! Factory aren't going to be slow in following IDW's lead with the comic and making a second batch.

Edit 16/12/12: Ah, it looks like I was wrong about this, as the DVD is available again. It was only withdrawn for a very short time, so possibly there was some quality control issue.

But I want it NOOOW!

Apple Bloom making her "I want it NOW" face

Sorry, Apple Bloom: thanks to a port strike in California, issue #2 of the MLP:FiM comic won't be with us until 2 January. Which is, to say the least, frustrating. IDW presumably prints these comics in Korea for sound business reasons, but it does put the company at the mercy of events such as this. On the plus side, issue #3 is apparently still on schedule, so we should get twice the pony in January.

I do hope that this won't have too much of an effect on the comic's sales figures. It would be a real shame if that warm glow of its wonderfully successful start were dimmed because of this. I doubt it'll have a big impact on fans, but maybe some of the more casual family buyers could drift away, as they may turn up in comic shops on the 19th, find there's no Pony for them, and buy something else instead.

This also means that the second printing of issue #1 — including the reprinted box sets — will now come out on 2 January, which unfortunately will have an impact. Up until now, it looked entirely possible that issue #1 would total over 100,000 copies when the overall 2012 charts were published. Now that the reprints won't be sold until 2013, that seems extremely unlikely to happen.

Which is a shame, but remember: this is still a record-breaking — and brilliant — comic book. Bobby Curnow (its editor) has said that anything selling over 10,000 copies is pretty safe, and frankly if this fandom can't keep that number going we should be ashamed of ourselves. So get out there on 2 January and buy issue #2; I know I will!

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Merch: what 2013 may bring for the UK

It's no secret that those of us in the UK have had a pretty raw deal in many respects when it comes to merchandise. Of course, we all expect the US to get the lion's share of the feast, but even some European countries — Germany chief among them — have enjoyed a variety of merch that we in Britain can only dream of. (Or order from, but that's not the point.) Audioplays of the episodes, pop-up books, you name it: Germany has had it and we haven't. And I'm not even complaining yet, let alone whining. Do you want to hear whining?

Oh. All right then.

Anyway, we have it from the pony's mouth that Hasbro will be expanding its range of licensed products in Europe over the next few months. The short MLP paragraph in the press release doesn't give away a great deal; after the usual bit of self-promotion, all we get is the following:
The brand is set to arrive on digital platforms, including apps and storybooks across Europe in 2013. The extensive MY LITTLE PONY merchandising program reaches across all major categories including apparel, toys and accessories with new ranges released this season.
The "apps" part of that may well be accounted for by Gameloft's somewhat controversial game which, it now appears, will probably take around ten years to complete if you don't want to shell out for premium stuff. The rest, though, is open to interpretation — which is to say, guessing. And that's something I can do! Here are some things I'd like to see in 2013:
  • Stationery. I find it astounding that we don't already have pony-themed notepads, stationery sets, ring binders and so on. Almost every other remotely successful cartoon series (Ben 10, for one) has them — but so far, I've only seen such things on the front of some issues of the monthly magazine. I'd buy a CMC-themed pencil case like a shot, and I doubt I'm alone in that!
  • Food and drink. Of course Hasbro will have to be careful with this, so as not to fall foul of laws restricting the advertising of snack foods to children. That probably means no Pinkie Pie cupcakes or That Pony muffins. But we already have Applejack pasta shapes, so how about building on the AJ sub-brand and selling some nice, healthy, apple-based snacks? Buy some apples!
  • Board games. Hasbro is the owner of a wide variety of games, and we've seen one of them (Battleship) in the show already, albeit in thinly-disguised form. Wouldn't it be good to have Twilight Scrabble, or Applejack Buckaroo, or even a pony-filled extravaganza edition of Guess Who? Look how many varieties of Monopoly now exist: wouldn't you buy a Ponyville one?
  • Licensed T-shirts. WeLoveFine is all very well, but they charge quite terrifying postage rates to the UK. RedBubble is much cheaper, but they are unofficial and some fans would prefer to support the show by buying official merch. A small range is already available from TruffleShuffle, and it would be nice to see that extended in the next few months.
We do, of course, come back to the single biggest problem with MLP:FiM in the UK, which is its lack of TV exposure. Although this isn't a particular problem to the YouTube-using older fanbase, the cartoon is still very much a niche interest in this country. Until and unless that changes, we may just have to roll with the punches and be grateful that we get any merch beyond the figures themselves.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Comic sales: Pastel Ponies 1 Green Lantern 0

MLP:FiM comic #1, Twilight cover
Something tells me I'm into something good
After all the hype and speculation about IDW's MLP:FiM comic over the past few months, we now actually have some sales figures for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1. Remembering that these only account for sales to shops in North America during November, I think it's fair to say that we — and IDW, of course — have a winner on our hands. What's the headline number? Drumroll, please! It's...


That puts MLP:FiM #1 in 15th place in the charts in terms of sales volume, and 10th in terms of total dollar value. The only reason our favourite ponies didn't climb even higher is that November turned out to be a stellar month for comic sales, with all the top 10 selling more than 110,000 copies for the first time in several years. I think we can live with 15th place, especially as there'll be more sales in December when the second printing arrives.

And no, that subject line does not deceive you. MLP:FiM #1 outsold Green Lantern in November. It also outsold The Walking Dead. Oh, and Batgirl too. While we're at it: this was both IDW's best-selling and its highest-charting comic ever. So yes, this constitutes a commercial success to go with the critical one we already knew about. Now let's make sure we carry on buying the thing!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Review: "Sleepless in Ponyville" (S3E06)

Scootaloo on her scooter
Scootaloo's gonna scoot
Now that was a surprise! After last week's action-packed Trixiefest, which I have to say I didn't like quite as much as a lot of people, "Sleepless in Ponyville" took us in an entirely different direction. Writer Corey Powell is new to Friendship is Magic, and she gave us something which in some ways wouldn't have felt out of place way back in season 1. It was certainly an unusual episode by current standards, but was it an effective one? This review is a lot longer than some of them will be, so be warned if you click on the jump!

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Andy Price cover art sells for $6,300

Hmm... this is the third comics-related post I've made in a row! I'll do something about that next time, when I post my review of "Sleepless in Ponyville", but for now I'll stick with the comic. And as the title says, Andy Price's original art for the Mane Six covers has sold for the little matter of $6,300 on eBay in the US. Quite remarkable, and another indication of just how well Price's style has captured many fans' imagination.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic issue 1

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic #1: Cover E (Fluttershy)
I got a virtual cookie from Andy Price for working out the book reference!
All right, it's a week or so late, but it's time I posted my review of the launch issue of IDW's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic book, which we're told will be the first in a four-issue initial arc. As we all know by now, it's been a gigantic sales success... but does it actually deserve all that? The short answer is yes — at least if you're a devoted fan of the series already. If you're not, the answer might be just a little more nuanced... but if you're reading this blog, you're probably firmly in the "fan" category anyway.

I know not all of you will yet have read the comic, not least thanks to the failure of IDW to meet the vast demand for the first printing, so I'll put all the detailed, spoilery stuff after a jump. Some good words go to Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham, where a friend and I went on launch day (28 November) to pick up our copies. (They cost £3.15, since you ask.) As you would expect, I plumped for the version with the Best Pony cover, which you can see up above. Right then: review after the jump!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Who was that unmasked pony?

The mysterious dark green mare in MLP:FiM comic #1
She's even darker than this on the page
There are many things to interest and intrigue in issue #1 of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic from IDW, of which the least is probably the fact that at last the colon seems to have been made canon. Ahem. But while I'll be posting a full review of the comic in the near future (short version: yay!) I wanted to single out one mystery first. It's not spoilery, and in any case it's also in the section used for the comic's credits section inside the front cover, so I'll put this out here in the open.

My question is simple: just who is this striking dark green background pony? She doesn't play any significant role in the story, but I wonder. She has a non-standard eye design, for one thing, which suggests she may not just be there to fill in space. She's also an unusual dark green colour, plus her cutie mark is rather strange. I do have one hunch, though: could this, just possibly, be the "Jade Singer" mentioned in the brief synopsis for issue #1 of the forthcoming micro series?

(Of course, if JS turns out to be a stallion, this post will look especially silly...)

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

How season 3 is measuring up so far

The answer to that is: not bad, not bad. I can't really say that any episode (no, not even the last one!) has truly blown me away, though parts of some of them have. Counting the opener as one, we've had four stories so far, and in order I've given them 8, 7, 6 and 7 marks out of 10. Of course, these numbers may change -- as happened with Bridle Gossip, which I didn't actually like much the first time round, but now really enjoy. We shall have to see!

Tuesday, 4 December 2012


Hello and welcome, cyberspace,
To Louder Yay, my little place
Where ponies and related stuff
Will be discussed. That's quite enough
For now, so I will end this rhyme --
I think I just have space and time --
By saying that, though Flutters' best,
I do, of course, love all the rest!