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The most obscure 'My Little Pony' nod ever

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Do you see it? Fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic are well aware of its penchant for pop culture references; some are odd for a show about talking ponies. The recent Equestria Girls movie, for example, quoted dance moves from Pulp Fiction and featured a sly reference to the Stephen King novel and Brian de Palma movie Carrie. Then there’s the famous Big Lebowski ponies from the episode “The Cutie Pox.”

However, last year, the ponies themselves became an obscure nod in Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Vol. III. While we’re on the subject, we might as well take a look back at Vol. II, which features an odd genesis story for the modern furry genre. A new television series based on the comics is coming, after all; might the ponies and furries follow?

You got your MLP in my LXG

I only recently got around to reading The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Century: 2009; this third volume of the series spans a century (as the title suggests) and tells the story of fictional characters Allan Quatermain, Mina Murray and Orlando as they try to stop the Anti-Christ from being born. The main gimmick of the comic series is that all fiction can be canon, regardless of medium, intended audience, or even basic logic (though usually with a dark twist thrown in).

The references to fiction come fast and furious; I freely admit that I basically got Harry Potter and James Bond in 2009 while somehow managing to miss an obvious Lion King nod. Admittedly, most of the references were to British television, not an area of my expertise. Luckily for me, Jess Nevins keeps a set of annotations which list references made by the series; about halfway down, I noticed this:

Page 29. Panel 6. stratos06th@gmail.com writes, “Duff Beer is again seen in the stand as well as ZapApple Energy Drink.”
Zap Apple Energy drink is a reference to the zap apples of the “Family Appreciation Day” episode of My Little Pony.

The panel in question is debatable, to say the least; while technically still within the bounds of “all fiction,” and therefore possibly canon (both unicorns and talking horses are established as canon in the series), My Little Pony seems a bit outside of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman’s wheelhouse. However, I decided to Google “league of extraordinary gentlemen my little pony” and found a much more obvious reference.

Do you see it?

The League of Extraordinary Gentleman My Little Pony reference

How about now?

I checked my physical copy: the poster had been changed to say “Ass id ATTACK!” The annotations are no help; Nevins seems to be lost as well. So, that’s confusing, but at least at one point, the comic explicitly referenced the Wonderbolts (I’m still on the fence about the Zap Apple thing).

Still, this leads us to speculate how Equestria would work in the world of League; my guess is that, if Moore were to explain them, they would be the modern descendants of the Houyhnhnm from Gulliver’s Travels. He’d be hard pressed to come up with a unique “dark” twist to the ponies; given bronies’ love of shipping (they were secretly gay and/or having sex is a favorite twist of Moore’s for children’s characters) and “grimdark” fanworks (“Cupcakes,” “Rainbow Factory,” PONY.MOV/Ask Jappleack and Fallout: Equestria being some of the more well-known), the most shocking thing he could do would probably be just to leave them alone.

But speaking of dark twists on funny animal characters, let’s review Vol. II.

The nature preserve of Dr. Moreau Dr. Moreau's experiments

Though Vol. II of The League of Extraordinary Gentleman primarily revolved around the titular League dealing with the arrival of the Martians from H.G. WellsThe War of the Worlds, there was a subplot to deal with another of Wells’ creations, Dr. Moreau. In this subplot, it is revealed Dr. Moreau survived The Island of Doctor Moreau (despite being pretty definitely dead in the novel's text) and is now using land in the south of England to continue his experiments under the patronage of the British government.

The meta-joke here is that Moore noticed that Wells’ horror novel predates an explosion in British funny animals; his in-universe explanation for this new breed of comic book characters is they are the newer experiments of Dr. Moreau.

Now, it has come to light that a pilot for a League of Extraordinary Gentleman television series is being produced. Alan Moore will almost certainly not be a fan if it becomes a series; he, perhaps more than a bit hypocritically, considers adaptations into different media to be a disservice to stories. Ironically, the infamous League of Extraordinary Gentlemen movie is one of the deciding factors in his hatred of adaptations of his work.

If the series does see the light of day, and it is somewhat faithful to the comics, will the Dr. Moreau plotline be used?

Comments

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Pony sites The Daily Oat and Equestria Daily are sending us some traffic.

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Hopefully they are also reading the rest of our My Little Pony coverage [RSS] (which lately consists of . . . uh, you).

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I know, huh.

This was not supposed to happen.

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SO as far as mlp goes. it could work great if they follow some of the more sinister things in the show. King Sombra is a strange pony like creature that has the ability to control crystals. In one episode (the only one he is seen in) he was seeking to control a crystal heart so that presumably he would then take over all of equestria.
this pony has very vast powers to begin with. He can become ethereal at will. Travel instantly through crystals. Negate other magical creatures and objects powers.
So yeah he's pretty powerful. In the end the good ponies use the power of the crystal heart to litteral obliterate Sombra. However it is unknown if he is really dead as in the scene where he is killed. The single crystal horn on his head is seen flying off into places unknown.

Then there is queen christilist who is the pony equivalent to a succubus. An insect like pony creature that can assume the look of anybody and literally feeds of the love of people. She also has an army of minions changelings numbering in the thousands. Did I mention she also has mind control abilities?

As far as the fans not liking gore, . . . you obviously have never read cupcakes, which is a fanfic where Pinkie Pie goes insane and kills her friends and makes them into cupcakes which she then used to feed to her other friends and then also kill them.
you would think that the fans would despise such fan fics but, well . . people do like it. I mean it's not my thing but that does not mean it cant be something grimdark. I site this http://xxangeluciferxx.deviantart.com/art/Lesson-2-Page-1-and-2-389970515 amazing and quite dark fanfic that just about everyone loves.

Now it is also canon that Apparently Equestria is home to the gates of hades, Cerberus guarding it and all.
Furthermore an Explanation as to how the characters could end up in the The League of Extraordinary Gentleman: Century: 2009 univers is that according the the recent Equestria Girls movie, Celestia owns at least one mirror that leads to other worlds. Namely a human one.

Now the real question is how could the creators of the comic get away with using the name brand of MLP and the characters and such if it strays so far from the canon? I mean I'm sure that the people behind mlp;fim would not be too happy about seeing such a dark adult take on there colorful loving characters for kids.

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1. Sombra sucked.

2. Houhnynhmmnmnmnnms, or whatever that word was Swift made up; Gulliver from Gulliver's travels was a member of the League at one point, and in one of his travels, he meets a country full of talking horses with a collection of consonants that would make H.P. Lovecraft go "too much" for a name. He even tries to become a citizen of this country (making him the original brony in this world), but is eventually kicked out for not being a talking horse. At the very least, this is the explanation for "earth ponies;" (apparently, they got over their love of unpronounceable names at some point); Equestria being the modern day equivalent of this horsey country from older sources would be inside the League wheelhouse.

The Christmas episode about the founding of Equestria would probably account for the unicorns and pegasus; I know there was a unicorn that sung referenced in Vol. II and "The Black Dossier" (it's actually a really dirty, smutty reference, and funny as hell in the "Black Dossier" callback). Pegasi, talking or otherwise, are never mentioned that I can recall, at least until the Wonderbolts poster, but that's not a big deal; there are plenty of fictional pegasi, talking or otherwise, obviously. Equestria, in the League universe, would be a country founded by an alliance of intelligent equine races. Heck, it's probably part of the United Nations; however, I am not aware of any other non-human races with their own country. But, given the prominence of Gulliver in the League's history, it's the most likely explanation.

3. Alternate, or perhaps more accurately, overlapping universes do play a big part of the League world; eventually, the League is based in the "Blazing World," where a lot of weird things exist that otherwise wouldn't fit in with the world of the League. However, I don't think the Equestria Girls "mirror universe" would be the League explanation, mostly because Equestria Girls didn't come out until a year after the book was published. Furthermore, "mirror" universes in the League world are secretive; they wouldn't be crossing over and advertising flying shows.

4. I doubt any future League comics will ever directly deal with the ponies, though the Houhynmmnnmnmmnmnmns may appear in a comic dealing with Gulliver's team, and there may be hints about that they will eventually become the ponies of Equestria, but that's about it. They couldn't directly involve the characters, no, because, of copyright issues; most League characters are public domain, after all. A quick reference is one thing; a comic dealing with the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen fighting Discord with the help of Twilight Sparkle and friends is something else entirely (and I think Alan Moore would kill himself before writing that, anyway). That's the League comics modus operandi; they make vague references, they don't spell it out. Also, seeing as how the 2009 comic was pretty much Moore dumping on modern popular culture, there is no reason to believe that either Moore or O'Neill actually think very highly of MLP:FiM. But more on that in part 5 ...

5. Reasons the poster was changed? Maybe they were afraid of copyright, again (I doubt they'd get in trouble with the show that allows everyone and their dog to upload episodes to YouTube, but maybe they got cold feet). Unlike other things referenced, I would not be surprised if "WonderBolts" and their symbol is actually a trademark of Hasbro; due to the modern setting, they almost certainly had someone go over it to make sure nothing trademarked was actually used, and probably the WonderBolts were brought up.

Alternatively, one or the other decided, after the page was drawn, you know what, screw that. We're not doing ponies. I could see that. And finally, possible in story reason, most of the other posters on that page are for musical groups, and also very adult oriented; perhaps they just decided that if a group of ponies were going to put on a flight show for humans and sell tickets, they would probably advertise somewhere more family oriented, as that would be their audience; realistically, the WonderBolts and "Niggas With Hats" wouldn't be advertising in the same area. They may have just decided the "ASS id Attack" reference (nobody gets) was more "in character" for the panel.

6. I specifically pointed out "Cupcakes" and the lot; dark fanworks are prevalent. My point wasn't "bronies wouldn't like whatever he does dark to them," my point was, if Moore wants to be shocking, he's got his work cut out for him. I seriously doubt Moore cares about what League fans think about what he's doing, nevermind bronies. Actually, that'd probably be it; the dark twist would be bronies, except in this world, they are humans who want to, like Gulliver, become citizens of Equestria.

And then there'd be a panel implying somebody screwing a pony.

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good points. sorry for the misunderstanding.
I do have a question though. what do you mean by "this is the explanation for "earth ponies" I don't understand? do you mean this would be an explanation for how specifically earth ponies could be placed in the universe? or do you mean an explanation for how earth ponies where created to begin with? in which case I am confused.
Yeah I agree with you on the whole copyright stuff, I did mention that as a problem.
I do agree with you on just simple implied shoutouts as the best way to go. I don't think that the guys dislike of modern pop culture being a problem, or a reason for him to dislike ponies. I mean mlp goes against the grain of modern pop culture so . . . ?
Yes by definition it's modern pop culture but only because it is modern. I don't wan't to get into an argument about it, I just wan't to point out how the show makes references to older pop culture all the time so I thought he would like it . . . or at least not be opposed to it.

Also I loled at your comment about implying somebody screwing a pony, because it really would be funny I think.

Well that's all I got. thanks for commenting.

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The "earth ponies" don't have wings or magical horns; the original houhnyhnms (or whatever) in Swift's book didn't either. So, if we're implying these two groups of fictional horses are the same thing, they could specifically be just the earth ponies, and the unicorns and pegasi are separate groups who joined with the houhynms to form Equestria, or houhnyhms developed magical horns and wings at some point between the centuries the original novel was published and show aired. The League rule is that fictional events occurred the year the book/tv show/movie/whatever was published/broadcast/released/whatever; technically, the events of MLP:FiM happen in 2010, then, and this is 2009, but obviously Equestria and the Wonderbolts were already active well more than a year before Twilight Sparkle left for Ponyville.

Alan Moore just doesn't seem like the guy who'd actually even try out MLP:FiM; I doubt he's ever seen an episode, he just picked it because it is a popular show around the time. Also, 2009 kind of came off as Alan Moore presents: I'm Old and Cranky! the Comic Book; the observation that Moore may not actually like MLP:FiM is more an critique of Moore than a critique of MLP:FiM. Of course, it might have been the artist O'Neill's addition; I don't know as much about his opinions on modern culture, but he did draw the comic, after all.

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and red fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.

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