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!

The first thing you notice about this comic/book/whatever is its size: it's 13 by  8½ inches, which for us British types is a bit larger than A4. The cover design is nice and striking — but, weirdly, it depicts a scene from issue #2. Why is this weird? Well, because what you get inside the book is a black-and-white inked edition of the first issue. So the cover design doesn't actually bear any relation to what lies within. I'm not sure what the thinking behind that particular decision was.

Anyway, if you're reading this you probably already know what Andy Price's drawing looks like — here is the proof that he makes each pony truly distinct. Thanks to that and Katie Cook's spirited writing, the comic is almost as enjoyable as ever: I say "almost" because I really do think that Heather Breckel's colours add significantly to its impact. On the plus side, the oversized nature of this comic does mean that some of the little details, especially in things like the full-page picture of Ponyville near the start, are easier to make out.

Interior artwork
Pinkie Pie's name now seems strangely inappropriate
Given that you only get a quarter of the launch arc, and that you lose the colours, this probably wouldn't be a very good way to start reading Pony, but then I really doubt that anyone will. (That said, my first Asterix books were black and white versions.) It's clearly being sold as an item to be aimed at the bronies and/or comic collectors. It's still fun to read, but when I actually want to experience the story itself again, I'll head back to the original comics as bought from Nostalgia & Comics.

The second, and larger, part of the book is taken up with a cover gallery. To my mind, this is actually a better reason for buying the comic than the issue #1 reprint, since you get reproductions of the 48 covers that appeared on the first four issues of the thing (ie the whole Chrysalis arc) without the mastheads, price boxes and so on that slightly disfigure the original comic covers. This is therefore about as close as those of us without bottomless pockets will get to owning original Pony artwork.

Part of the cover gallery
Amy Mebberson really worked overtime on the variant covers
I could make one or two small complaints: it's irritating (though understandable) that Katie Cook's triptych for issue #2 is squashed onto a double-page spread whereas every other cover gets a full page to itself. And the art doesn't look quite as vibrant on matt paper as it does on the glossy comic covers. Even so, it's great to be able to examine some of the rarer covers, such as the Larry's/Jetpack doubles. (Note that you don't get reproductions of the sketch versions of those.)

All in all, the Treasury Edition is a bit of an indulgence. You certainly don't need to buy it to get full value from the comic itself, and I suspect that IDW simply have dollar signs in front of their eyes whenever they consider the brony market's tendency to throw money about. Not that you can blame them for that! But if you feel like being indulgent, then you could certainly do worse. The cover gallery is probably worth the price alone.

  • Seeing those 48 covers free of logos
  • Large format helps to bring out small details
  • Well produced with clear printing
  • Won't break the bank
  • Odd choice of cover picture
  • Katie Cook's three covers across only two pages

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