Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Comic review: My Little Pony Treasury Edition

Treasury Edition front cover
If they do one of #2, will it have a cover design from #1?
I suppose this counts as a comic review rather than a book one, but who knows? Certainly not me, and since I'm the one in charge of this blog that's a bit of a drawback. Ah, shoot, let's get on with it. You can pick this up in person in some branches of Forbidden Planet and the like, but I bought my own copy for £9.00 including p&p from A Place in Space on eBay. A very, very reliable seller, incidentally, and one whose combination of keen prices and one-copy-per-person policy means ordinary fans actually have a chance of having nice things. Come with me beyond the jump, though, for the actual review!

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Fluttershy Collector's Box

Fluttershy Collector's Box
Also includes exciting glossy cling-film wrap :P
("At last!" I hear you cry.) Yes, I admit it: for a thoroughly devoted Flutterfan, it really has taken me far too long to pick up this box. But since Toys R Us in Bristol had it for a perfectly reasonable £7.99 the other day, I was left with little choice. You can see the outer box above and the special trading card (the only Series 2 card officially on sale in the UK!) below, but you do get a few other things. To wit: a few more Series 1 trading cards, a mini-poster of Fluttershy with a card checklist on the other side and a sticker of... well, who do you think? That's right: Fluttershy. So I'm happy. :)

Fluttershy S2 foil card
This actually looks very, very nice

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Ponypic: Fluttershy Top Hat by FrenchyToastyy

Fluttershy Top Hat by FrenchyToastyy, Jun 2012. CC by-nc-sa 3.0
It's been a while since we had a Ponypic in these parts, so here's an excellent pastel painting of everyone's (and that means everyone's, right?) Best Pony, the one and only Fluttershy. I highly recommend you check out this guy's other MLP-related artwork, incidentally: he has a great, distinctive style that I think looks fantastic. This picture is dedicated to a certain someone who told me a little while ago that something else Fluttershy-related "need[ed] more top hats". Well, I hope this is satisfactory, sir! ;)

Sunday, 21 July 2013

SDCC Season Four preview clip video!

The YouTube clip above was taken with someone's phone camera, so it's not the greatest quality, but you can make out what's going on. This shows several clips from Season Four, with black-and-white storyboards and the dialogue only. I shall refrain from spoilers here, but what I can say is that there's one CMC clip, one Spike clip and one Twilight clip, plus a very catchy little song. The first clip is the one that excited me most, as it touches on an issue I've wanted to see explored for ages. You'll have to watch the clip to see what I mean...!

Friday, 19 July 2013

This is really, really annoying

Showcase Cinemas are putting on screenings of Equestria Girls all over the country over the weekend of 10/11 August. Having seen the film via a dodgy YouTube video, I know that it's not as bad as I'd feared — and in places is actually fun — so I'd have been quite interested in going to see it. But this is the one and only time in the whole of August (other than BUCK, of course) when I simply can't break other commitments. Argh, and argh again. Hopefully one day we'll get a true FiM movie to make up for this.

What's particularly annoying from a personal point of view is that I've never, ever watched an episode of the show in company, unless you count virtual things like Bronystate streams. Licensing problems mean that this year's BUCK won't have the "Pony Odeon" and I have to confess that that's a big disappointment. Yes, there are occasional meetups for things like season finales and premieres, but they tend to be huge-scale "spend an entire day drinking and partying" things in London, which is not really my scene. Grump.

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Wave 7 blind bags back at last!

Wave 7 blind bag figures
Barber Groomsby has a natty little bow tie as well as that 'tache
After the false start a few weeks back, when a number of retailers jumped the gun — and were duly pulled up on it by Hasbro — it seems that we really are into Wave 7 time now. I know several shops around the country have had them for a little while, but it's only now that I've seen them again with my own eyes. Asda in Worcester, for example, had a nice new box, seemingly entirely unsifted. Well, until I came along... these are the three I chose: Barber Groomsby, "Sweetie Drops" and Soarin. Not a bad little trio, I think!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Six weeks to go!

Actually slightly under six weeks, but BUCK really is approaching now at a rate of knots. This is the first time I've really felt it was getting close, and there's a definite sense of excitement now. Some apprehension as well, given that this is something entirely new to me — I've never even been to PonyCon or MCM, let alone something on this scale. But the hotel has been booked, the trains have been planned, and six weeks from now I hope I'll be coming to the end of a thoroughly enjoyable weekend. Confound these ponies, they drive me to cons!

Friday, 12 July 2013

Comic review: MLP:FiM Micro-series issue #6: Applejack

MLP:FiM Micro-series #6 cover B
Brenda Hickey's very likable cover B
And so we come to the end of the Mane Six's spotlight issues, though the Micro-series itself seems set to continue for quite some time yet. Applejack fans might think it entirely typical that her comic has been left until last — but sometimes that's where the best is saved for. Series editor Bobby Curnow makes his debut as a My Little Pony writer — and yes, he edited himself here! — while artist Brenda Hickey is also a newcomer. As usual, I bought my copy from Birmingham's Nostalgia & Comics shop, so let's see what my £3.15 bought me...

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Book review: Pinkie Pie and the Rockin' Ponypalooza Party! (G. M. Berrow)

Front cover
At least there's a Party Cannon on the back...
Pinkie Pie and the Rockin' Ponypalooza Party! — somehow inevitably for Pinkie, there's an exclamation mark in the title — is the second in the series of My Little Pony "chapter books" that began with the really pretty entertaining Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell (by the same author). This second one was available for pre-order direct from Amazon.co.uk, but for mysterious reasons it became unavailable shortly before the release date (2 July). Luckily, several Marketplace sellers still offer it, though be careful to pick one that ships from within the UK. I paid £6.01 (including p&p) from "langton_info_england" and was very pleased with both speed of delivery and the item's condition. As for the actual book...

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

June IDW comics sales figures: bouncing back

MLP:FiM micro series #5 (Pinkie Pie) cover B
"You know what these sales figures call for? A party!"
Well, wouldn't you know it, it's time to take a look at the comics sales stats once more. In the normal way, the numbers are taken from Comichron and reflect only sales to North American comic shops. This was quite a busy month, with the end of a main-series arc, a micro-series comic and the Color Me Treasury Edition being released. Yes, that last one counts as a comic rather than a graphic novel, despite being effectively an anthology. Don't ask me why. Anyway, main-series issue #8 came in at no. 66 and sold:
This is an increase over last month's figure! Huzzah! Admittedly it's only a small rise (2.9%, in fact) but it's only the second such increase the series has had, so there's no harm in celebrating. I must admit that I'd expected another slight fall, so this is a stat that I'm very pleased to be surprised by. Maybe putting a great big picture of Luna wearing armour on the cover didn't hurt things... anyway, June also saw the release of the Pinkie Pie micro, which made it into the top 100 at no. 90 and shifted a grand total of:
This is another rise on last month, and this time it's a pretty hefty one: 10.8%, no less. It's fair to say that Fluttershy's micro wasn't the greatest My Little Pony comic ever released, but even so I'm (again) surprised to see such a healthy return. Both titles are back in the top 100, and they're also back to being IDW's number one and two best sellers, with the micro just managing to beat X:Files Season 10 issue #1 into third. Finally, the Treasury Edition crept into the chart at no. 286, selling:
A couple of hundred copies more than the trade paperback collecting issues #1 to #4, for what is also the most expensive title in the comics chart (US cover price $9.99). As such, I think this is a very respectable performance indeed. I don't (yet!) own this particular book, but clearly it's garnered a lot of interest. Oh, and before I forget, the aforementioned trade paperback added another 929 copies to last month's 4,652. An IDW graphic novel selling over 5,000 copies is doing very well, thank you. All in all, a very pleasing month!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Initial thoughts: Equestria Girls

Equestria Girls poster
Yes, I know they don't quite look like this. Never mind, eh?
Like just about everyone else in the fandom (or so it sometimes seems) I eventually caved in and watched Equestria Girls via one of the short-lived shakycam versions that popped up on YouTube a little while ago. However, you'll notice that, although this post has the "reviews" label, I haven't reflected that in the subject line. This is deliberate: I'd rather wait until I've seen the film properly, ideally on an official DVD, before I write an in-depth review. Past the jump, I'll say a bit more...

Friday, 5 July 2013

Classic episode review: "Griffon the Brush Off" (S1E05)

Gilda yells at Fluttershy
Fly away, Gilda. Fly. Fly away, and never return.
It's been some weeks since we had a classic episode review on this blog, so I think it's time that was changed! The often misspelled "Griffon the Brush Off" just happens to be the first of many episodes of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic to be written by a woman who will be one of BUCK's VIP guests, a certain Cindy Morrow. She's written episodes that almost every fan thinks are great, but this one does rather divide opinion. After the break, I'll say where I stand.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

BUCK guests: one in, one out

As BUCK 2013 draws ever nearer, the VIP guest list has undergone some changes. Sadly, John de Lancie has been forced to withdraw from the convention, owing to a family emergency. While this is a great shame, I'm sure everyone will readily accept that there are some things that must take priority over con appearances, and that this is one of them. All best wishes to Mr de Lancie and his family.

On the plus side, however, we'll still have a show VA coming to Manchester — because Michelle Creber will be attending! She's the voice for Apple Bloom, as well as the singing voice for both AB and Sweetie Belle. She has a fantastic singing voice, so it's particularly good to hear that she'll be performing live at the Lunar Eclipse concert on the Saturday evening. I have no idea what she'll sing, though I'm sure it'll be great!

Monday, 1 July 2013

The Toronto Star has a go at understanding the fandom

And, to be fair to the paper, its report isn't bad. Okay, so there are a few errors, most notably the notion that you have to be male and over 18 to be a brony. But on the whole, the piece is fair-minded and not sensationalistic. The picture  they use to introduce the article shows a normal-looking guy with his merch collection... which, wonder of wonders, is actually from the right generation. (I'm pleased to see The Elements of Harmony book there — good man!) Rather too many journalists have seen "My Little Pony" and just slapped on a photo of a G3 pony.

It's not all rainbows and cuteness: a seven-year-old's mother does admit to having felt a bit uncomfortable watching Equestria Girls with a bunch of older males. She doesn't seem to have come across bronies before, so I hope that discomfort won't last once she reads the Star's article. On a brighter note, there's a fascinating comment below the line from "a 74-year-old documentary filmmaker" who suggests that bronies operated in a similar way to some of the 1960s hippies whose "core values, when finally understood, were powerful and had a generally positive effect on society".