“My Little Pony Annual #1: Equestria Girls”

MyLittlePonyAnnual2013_A-copy
IDW Publishing
Cook (W), Price (A)
47 Pages • $7.99

Has it already been a year since the release of “My Little Pony #1“? We’ve seen a strong start and several excellent arcs thus far, including a separate series of character one shots. Anyone who knows me knows I adore these anthropomorphized horses and the life lessons they can offer to kids while simultaneously embarking on thrilling adventures squaring off against monsters with magic and flight and strength—you know, superpowers. Even adults, in our dog eat dog, work first, corporate-minded world, can afford to be reminded of the value of teamwork, compassion, and cooperation in our daily interactions. Know that what I’m about to say comes fully from a place of love and respect for these characters and this franchise, but can we please stop it with the Equestria Girls line?

Earlier this year My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic‘s first animated movie, Equestria Girls, was released to select theaters, VOD & network TV debut. The premise was that parallel to Equestria (the kingdom these ponies reside in) exists an alternate dimension in which they become people, teenagers in fact, attending high school. The life lessons become not ones of aforementioned friendship, but rather needing to rally popularity to have public support against your rival and earning the equivalent of the homecoming king/queen—all while wrapped up in the importance of materialism and bolstering beyond unrealistic body image proportions. Sadly, as the annual serves as a direct prequel for the movie, the tone of this comic isn’t much different. Popularity and conformity remain the ongoing drive throughout the book, with only a panel or two to undo the avidity of the previous 46 pages. There isn’t a page that goes by once in the world of Equestria High that fashion isn’t mentioned (and simultaneously judged) or characters are not ostracized and left to question their self-worth. But, hey, welcome to high school, kids!

The beauty of the show and other comics thus far is that the lessons of friendship are presented in a humorous, often times epic, package with the truly evil villains being vanquished and the merely misguided ones given a chance for catharsis. However, the catty girls who are the main antagonists of this book, experience no growth or change other than having to display a half ounce of humility in a single panel. The art from Andy Price is as solid as ever; even the story advances well while highlighting the character traits we’ve come to expect from each individual girl/pony/I don’t know, character. However, the whole Equestria Girls concept so poorly misses the mark of what made the original special, that this $7.99 double sized issue is worth neither your time nor money. At best, it is a well-intentioned miss and, at worst, a blatant ploy to double MLP merchandising potential. Either way, even for the hardcore MLP:FIM fan, Equestria Girls is anything but magic.

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Thom Obarski is an editor with a writing problem. Also, a podcaster, nerdy comic gamer guy & opinionated consumer with a penchant for geeky fitness involved in a dark and twisted love/hate relationship with pop-culture and run-on sentences. Check him out weekly on Geek Girls, Nerd Boys on Fanboys Inc. When not inside hiding from the sun, you can find him running from zombies, slinging arrows with Hawkeye, sparing with the Cavalier, or target shooting with Deadshot.