For this set of reviews, I didn’t deviate much from last month; I just swapped out one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Secret History of the Foot Clan issues for a plain old issue of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #4
If you were to chart the highs and lows of this first arc of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the trajectory would look like a single beat of a normal heart on one of those heart monitors. Issue #1 would be right down the middle, nothing too special, nothing too bad, then issue #2 spiking to grand heights of funny animal comics, before an equal spike in the opposite direction following issue #3’s needlessly dark depths. Finally, this issue comes and, well, it’s nothing too special, nor too bad.
As the Franco-Belgian animated film Ernest & Celestine should soon be released on DVD, I thought this would be a good time to review A Town Called Panic (trailer), a movie produced by some of the same animators in 2009.
Actually, let's go further back to 2002, when Belgian animators Vincent Patar and Stéphane Aubier created a series of twenty shorts for TV called Panique au village (Panic in the village). Each was about five minutes long, and like Robot Chicken (2005), employed stop-motion animation with plastic figurines, clay and other objects.
Otherwise the two shows are pretty different. Robot Chicken enjoys mangling pop culture and doing random sketches; while Panique au village focuses on the bizarre daily adventures of a small, constant cast of characters. Something they both have in common is a joy of the absurd, and Panique is often more manic in this respect.
Turkmenistan is widely regarded as one of the more corrupt and repressive nations of Central Asia; called by the New York Times “the North Korea of the former Soviet Union”. But not for oppression of its horses. In Turkmenistan, the odds are almost 100% that they are Akhal-Teke horses, the national breed that goes back to prehistoric times.
The Akhal-Teke is claimed to be the earliest domesticated breed of horse. Alexander the Great’s favorite battle charger Bucephalus (honored on a gold coin), which Alexander named a city after, was an Akhal-Teke. Alexander praised the Akhal-Teke for its hardiness, speed and stamina. See the Embassy of Turkmenistan’s website for an official description of the horse’s status.
The TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is already famous for having inspired a wellspring of creativity in many forms, including art, stories, music, and much more. Now it seems to have reached a particular peak, as a group of “Bronies” around the country have joined forces to create Double Rainboom — the first fully-animated, fully fan-created episode of the show. With the blessings of Hasbro and DHX Media, Zachary Rich (known as Flamingo Rich) and his friends at the Savannah College of Art and Design have created a real, 22-minute episode as part of his senior project in animation. That’s real as in an orchestral score, voice actors for all of the characters, high-quality sound effects, and more. The plot? Twilight Sparkle (pre-wings) develops a magic potion — which has an interesting effect on Rainbow Dash. The entire film will be released to the world on March 30th. You can visit the Double Rainboom web site to keep up with the crew’s progress.
This issue, IDW sweeps the board, with My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #3 and the first two installments of the latest Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles mini-series, “The Secret History of the Foot Clan,” which tells the secret history of the Foot Clan. Turns out they were a parody of Marvel’s Hand ninjas all along!
The A cover for this issue of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic looks like a really, really rejected Marvel Secret Invastion crossover cover from a few years back. At least it gives you some kind of warning; heaven help you if you got the B cover, featuring Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie happily ice skating. I may have juxtaposed Hack/Slash with this series last time, but I’m just kidding around. Apparently some like their ponies like their coffee; black and bitter.
Alright, I am caught up with my Pull List series; nothing old I need to catch up on. Pull List #8 (or even #9, if someone finally takes up my offer to contribute) will consist entirely of comic books released in 2013. The good news is that most of these comics are also pretty fresh.
Wal-Mart, you have failed me.
At this point in time, I should be reviewing the “Adventures in the Crystal Empire” DVD, but the closest Wal-Mart decided not to stock that one, so I had to order it online. Meanwhile, they managed to put out the “Pinkie Pie Party” DVD, but in such small numbers that it sold out instantly. I missed a copy.
Once again, you see what I have to work with here?
So, I’m stuck reviewing this older DVD which I had to drive hundreds of miles to get a copy of. No really, I drove to a Barnes and Noble hundreds of miles away to obtain my copy.
This issue, we take a look at the best-selling comic book about ponies ever, catch up on IDW’s other funny animal comic book series, and end with a brand new Marvel mutant with the ability to turn into a shark — because superheroes do believable stuff like that now!
During the early eighties, the FCC began to back off on restrictions on advertisements in children’s television, despite pressure from parents’ groups to apply more. The upshot was a series of Saturday morning cartoons (as well as other children’s shows) that were nothing but glorified commercials for various toy lines.
Hasbro was one of the companies involved in selling chunks of plastic to kids who could then nag their parents via the magic of animation. To be entirely fair, their products were probably the most artistically valid at the time, which I should stress was not saying much. Most of their shows have had a remarkable shelf life, long after the need to sell toys have gone.
In 1986, Hasbro had two movies hitting theaters based on their toylines; Transformers: The Movie and My Little Pony: The Movie, with a G.I. Joe: The Movie planned for 1987. However, both became massive box office flops, and G.I. Joe was sent direct to video. While Transformers quietly went on to become an animated cult hit, My Little Pony, well, didn’t.
The reason for this is simple; it’s not a very good movie. But looking at it today, it offers insights into why the newest incarnation of the property, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, has followed in Transformers: The Movie footsteps to become its own animated cult hit, as well as why bad movies are bad in general.
What happens when well-known comic book artist Fred Perry gets sat down by his friend Robby Bevard for a marathon viewing of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Adventure Time, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and more? This: Action Time Buddies. “What time is it, bronies? It’s Action Time! The fan-favorite internet sensation now has its own comic book! Bro the Kung-fu Pegasus, Artie the Bookworm Ninja, and Kid the Boy Pilot are out to find danger, monsters, bad guys, and the magic of friendship in their most exciting, wackiest adventure time on the playground of life yet! The action scene is just kicking into gear, so don’t miss out on this exploding phenomenon! This first issue is sure to get snapped up!” It’s coming this February (in full color!) from Antarctic Press, and you can order it at Things from Another World.
Over at the Ursa Major Award-winning site Equestria Daily, lead pony Sethisto has a review of the new first season DVD of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (which also won an Ursa Major Award). Not only does the 4-disc box set include all 26 episodes from the first season, but it also includes creative commentaries on six of those episodes by the likes of Hasbro reps Brian Lenard and Robert Fukes; directors Jayson Thiessen and James “Wootie” Wootton; composer Daniel Ingram; art director Ridd Sorensen; and voice actors Cathy Weseluck, Andrea Libman, Tabitha St. Germain, and Nicole Oliver. The DVD is available exclusively on Amazon, so head over there and check it out. It’s hitting the air starting December 4th.
The back-cover blurb for Archival: Most Secret is accurate but misleading.
Join the heir to a faerie legacy and his bloody companion on a journey that ends before the very ramparts of New Orleans and in the smoke of a terrifying battle. What was the secret Winston Churchill’s valet sought to share with his employer from beyond the grave? Meet Flight Lieutenant Neville ‘Bunny’ Edwards, who in the course of the Second World War loses his humanity, but never his courage or his determination to stay in the fighting.
This makes the book sound like a collection of three stories that are each about a man transformed into an animal. Instead, men are transformed into animals in wholesale lots.
In these three stories, in the form of letters, diaries, journal entries, and interviews covering the years 1805-14, 1894, and 1941, magic is so prevalent that a secret Ministry of the British government has to be formed to practice and combat it.
Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958) is remembered today as the author of the Freddy the Pig children’s books. But from 1915 through the late 1940s, he was also a prolific writer of almost 200 adult short stories for popular magazines like The Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, and Esquire. Among those short stories were the series of humorous fantasies about the talking horse Mr. Ed and his often-drunken owner Wilbur Pope. There were 23 of these between 1937 and 1945, for Liberty, Esquire, The Saturday Evening Post, and Argosy. (Plus two more unsold stories included in the 1963 collection.) Brooks eventually stopped writing anything besides a yearly Freddy the Pig novel, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. The Freddy novels came to be eagerly anticipated annually by children’s librarians and young readers, while Brooks’ earlier magazine short stories were forgotten.
Just before Brooks’ death in August 1958, Arthur Lubin, a fledgling television producer fresh from his success as the director of most of the Francis, the Talking Mule movies for Universal Studios during the 1950s, licensed from him the rights to the Mr. Ed series as Lubin’s first TV program. There was also a connection between the Francis movies and the Mister Ed TV series in that Lubin employed the same animal trainer, Lester Hilton. It took three years, but Lubin and the Filmways Television Productions company sold the concept to sponsor Studebaker Corporation for TV syndication in January 1961, and then to CBS for network broadcast in October. Mister Ed, starring Alan Young as a bumbling young architect and a golden palomino gelding named Bamboo Harvester as the talking horse, was an extremely popular TV comedy for six seasons from 1961 through 1966, and in reruns and DVD sales since then. Brooks’ original mildly bawdy humor, emphasizing Wilbur’s and Mr. Ed’s comedic drunkenness and Ed’s earthiness, was toned down considerably for the family TV audience.
Entertainment Weekly has announced the release date – November 10, at 10AM – for the apparently delayed season three premiere of cult cartoon hit My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. It also revealed that The Hub, MLP:FiM's home channel, will follow the pony premiere with the series premiere of The Littlest Pet Shop. [tip: XyroTR1/EQD]
This likely accounts for the apparent delay. The heavily-anticipated MLP:FiM season premiere is expected to draw a large audience, who may stick around for the Littlest Pet Shop premiere. Both shows are of interest to furry fans, as they feature anthropomorphic animal casts.
See also: Two MLP:FiM DVDs coming in December
It is no secret that the most well-known concept of unicorns is from Europe, in the Middle Ages. In stories from that time period, the creature will be a walking snorting virgin detector with a... ehem... phallic symbol on its head. The horse with one horn will be for girls, and is always male.
Enter 1968: a peculiar book comes out, the likes of which the world had never seen before. The main character is a unicorn. And it is a mare. Female. And instead of having been created by God to detect "proper maidens", she is a semi-immortal creature with a different role in the world. The story centers on her search for her kind, while exploring the concepts of emotions, immortality, and the source of the latter.
In other words, this unicorn was completely different from the existing folklore.
So how did Peter Beagle's book, and the subsequent animated adaptation, change our view of unicorns? Give us your thoughts in the comments!