Thursday, 28 November 2013

BUCK 2013 official film preview video published

The sheer volume of material to work through has meant that it's taken some time, but it seems that the BUCK team are getting closer to releasing the official video of the 2013 con. Above (or here) is the preview, which gives just a glimpse of what we can expect. The preview is very interview-heavy, and concentrates on the Friday, but there are a few minutes of Saturday-shot footage near the end. I was particularly amused that the very last word said by the narrator was... "Fun!" (Also, yay retro LWT-style opening ident! ;))

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The 2014 BUCK train is getting up steam

Over on UK of Equestria, Nethesem (BUCK's Deputy PR Manager) has been posting some interesting information. Not least this Q&A thread. As you can see if you take a look at it, almost everything is still up in the air – really the only thing we're sure about is that a 2014 convention is indeed being planned. Birmingham has been mentioned as a potential venue, while the con may well be brought forward a month, to late July. This should help to avoid too many clashes with other events.

One of the things that does seem likely to happen, though, is the a "grass-roots, community-oriented approach". This isn't surprising, given that so many of the participatory events (pub quiz, flashfic contest, gaming tournament, karaoke etc) were very overcrowded last year. It should also help to give BUCK 2014 a distinct, fresh flavour, rather than having it just being a slightly different re-run of this year's con in a different place. So far so good on that score, though!

Everyone, including me, wants to know what tickets are going to cost, but that won't be announced for a while. Nethesem's post states that a Kickstarter campaign may be utilised: everyone pays the same for the actual ticket, but perks are added at certain Kickstarter donation levels. I believe that GalaCon in Germany makes heavy use of crowdfunding, and although BUCK's model isn't likely to be the same, that does prove it can work for a brony convention. All in all: looking good so far!

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Episode review: "Princess Twilight Sparkle" (S4E01 & S4E02)

Twilight and the others in Canterlot Castle
It's all too beautiful...
It's been a long, long time in coming, but the premiere of Season 4 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has finally arrived. Was the (probably deliberately blandly titled) two-parter, Meghan McCarthy's "Princess Twilight Sparkle", worth the wait? I'll spare you the suspense this time: yes, it most certainly was. There's no need to leave the fandom; the ride continues; everything really is going to be just fine. Well, for us the fans it is, at any rate. Perhaps a little less so for our favourite ponies, but for more on that you'll have to come with me past the break…

Friday, 22 November 2013

Comic review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic issue 13

IDW MLP:FiM comic issue #13, cover B
Sara Richard's cover has seaponies, guys. Of course I chose it!
And yet another IDW comic appears... I haven't been too well recently and I have a lot to catch up on; I hope this review won't be too bad, though! This time, my £3.15 went on a collaboration between writer Heather Nuhfer (who wrote the #5-8 arc) and artist Brenda Hickey (who drew the AJ micro). As it's all over the covers, there's no spoileriness in my saying that this is a pirate-themed story. No, it's not called "Wintarrr Wrap Up". You silly, silly people. It's actually "The Salty Sea Mare". Past the jump for more, me hearties!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Comic review: My Little Pony Art Gallery

MLP Art Gallery cover
Clearly pegasi are somewhat cold-resistant!
Back in August, we had the Cover Gallery, to which I gave only a moderately good review. Now, IDW have followed up with the Art Gallery. This is the same size as, and sells for the same price as, a regular comic (which means £3.15 for me) but is printed on noticeably thicker paper than the standard issues. It's something for which a number of fans of IDW's My Little Pony comics have been waiting for quite a while — and that number includes me. Past the break, we'll find out whether or not it's worth shelling out for.

Friday, 15 November 2013

The Brony Broadcasting Corporation?

Well, it had to happen sooner or later: the BBC has noticed our fandom! As part of their Real Time strand, they've put up the video above. (If you can't see it, this link should help.) The con parts of the film were made at BronyDays in France, which is why this doesn't quite merit a UK-specific tag, but it is nice to have actual British bronies interviewed. Oh, and MA Larson. And is that EileMonty I spy? I think it is! There's nothing in the video that's likely to come as a surprise to anyone reading this, but it's a fair-minded piece and refreshingly free of tabloid stupidity. Not bad, BBC. Not bad.

Comic review: MLP:FiM Micro-series issue #9: Spike

MLP:FiM Spike micro comic RI cover
Sara Richard's RI cover — what is is a homage to?
After a gap last month for the Equestria Girls annual, the My Little Pony micro-series is back in action this month with the penultimate issue, featuring Spike. A lot of people seem to have it in for the baby dragon, and I can't say his episodes are my favourites, but I hope this sells decently. We have a new creative team: Rob Anderson writes while Agnes Garbowska (who's done covers in the past) provides the artwork. For once I picked up the RI cover, which cost £4.00 from Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham. Review after the break!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

October IDW comics sales figures: more end-of-month shenanigans?

October 2013 IDW comic covers
Boards? What are boards? I read my comics!
It's time for us to have another glance at Comichron's sales figures for the My Little Pony comics published by IDW. There were three new releases last month: issue #12 of the main series, the Equestria Girls annual (numbered #1, but who knows whether there'll ever be another?) and the My Little Pony Tales anthology of the first six micro-series comics. The first two at least came out very late in the month (the 30th, to be precise) and I think that's affected the numbers, as happened with August's figures. Main series #12 comes in at no. 109 (down 30 places) and and shifted:
This is a headline fall of 27.8%, as well as being the comic's lowest ever ranking, but I don't think it's a fair comparison because of that late-month release date. I'm almost certain that several thousand more copies will end up being attributed to the start of September. So a better comparison would be with August, where the same thing happened, and set against that the fall is a mere 3.2%. And even on the headline numbers, issue #12 was still the best-selling IDW comic, albeit only by 25 copies from Samurai Jack #1. Looking at the EqG annual now, that one shifted:
Both that number and its chart position (no. 141) are very respectable for such a controversial sub-franchise, especially given that the book's $7.99 cover price in the US was higher (in most cases much higher) than every single comic placed above it. The aforementioned Samurai Jack debut was the only IDW publication that beat it; for reference, Powerpuff Girls #2 managed 14,749 — still very respectable for this publisher, but also something of an indication that MLP remains exceptional. So all in all, I'm still pretty satisfied with things where the comics are concerned.

Moving on to graphic novels, we start with a slight surprise: top Pony book, at no. 11 with 4,501 sales, was The Magic Begins, the book based on the S1 premiere with captioned screenshots from the show. My Little Pony Tales debuted at no. 18 selling 3,644, giving MLP books the top two spots as far as IDW graphic novels are concerned. On top of that, the main series anthologies just keep on giving: vol. 1 added another 1,249 at no. 86 and may well break the 10,000 barrier before the year is out. Meanwhile, vol. 2's no. 180 spot and 754 copies sold has that book knocking on the door of 5,000-seller status.

Oh, and the Mini Pony Collector's Guide had a good month, hitting no. 8 in the books chart (no figures available). November's big releases (main-series issue #13 and the Spike micro) happen in mid-month, so we should be back to conventional number-crunching this time next month. I expect the underlying gentle slide to continue, since after all that's what happens to most comics. Looking ahead, it will be fascinating to see how well next year's Friends Forever team-up series sells. The idea has had a very positive reception in most places, so I'm optimistic that they'll do well in the comic shops. I hope so.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Video: I Just Can't Wait To Have Wings

This PMV by KirbyRainboom is short and silly, which is of course the best combination available! It is, of course, a parody of a certain famous song from The Lion King and for the most part it's very well done. There are a few points at which the lyrics could have done with a little work in terms of rhyming/scansion, and for that reason I'm not sure I'd put it in my own all-time list, but there's no doubt that it's good fun.

Friday, 8 November 2013

Book review: Equestria Girls: Through the Mirror (G. M. Berrow)

Front cover of EqG: Through the Mirror
I can't think of anything amusing to say about this
That's right: another review! In truth, this is a book I bought several weeks ago and simply haven't got round to writing about until now. It's the official novelisation of the Equestria Girls film, written by G. M. Berrow. She's already had two chapter books published (one very good and one okay) and there'll be a third coming in the New Year. This book is a slightly different thing, though, in that we've all already seen the underlying story on the movie screen. Come with me and I'll yatter on about Through the Mirror in my usual rambly way!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Comic review: Equestria Girls annual

Equestria Girls annual regular cover
Twilight is central here, yet barely in the book at all!
It's been a little too long in coming, but here at last is my review of the Equestria Girls annual that IDW put out a week or so ago. I don't mean to spend much time revisiting the controversy over EqG itself — we all know Lauren Faust would have hated it, but we can't judge everything purely by those standards — and so this will be a relatively straightforward review. I bought my copy from Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham, though for once I think their pricing (£6.50 for this) was a little bit on the steep side. There's only one regular cover, the workmanlike Tony Fleecs effort you see above. Off we go, then...

Friday, 1 November 2013

Comic review: My Litlte Pony: Friendship is Magic issue 12

MLP:FiM comic issue #12, cover A
Andy Price's Cover A is the one I went for this time
Apologies for the break in service; I'll try to make up for that now! I nipped over to Birmingham's reliable Nostalgia & Comics shop on Wednesday, and bought both issue #12 of the main My Little Pony series as well the Equestria Girls annual. I'll get to the annual in a future post, but this time around I'm concentrating on the regular comic, which as usual was £3.15. This continues the backstory of Cadance and Shining Armor, as begun in issue #11. Has the Cook/Price/Breckel team done a good job with the conclusion? You know what to do by now!