The Great and Powerful

“Great occasions do not make heroes or cowards; they simply unveil them to the eyes of men. Silently and imperceptibly, as we wake and sleep, we grow strong or weak; and at last some crisis shows what we have become”

This quote came to mind while I was watching My Little Pony. To be particular, an early episode from 2010 featuring “The Great and Powerful Trixie”, a character who is unusually complex for a children’s cartoon, so much so that I think it warrants further exploration. We’ll look at some merchandise along the way, too, because this is Toy Meets World after all, not blimmin’…. Pony… Love… World.

dfhgh

“I’m on that website too. I was young and needed the money”

Continue reading

Advertisements

Price for our minds

When I was younger, I loved comics. My publication of choice – indeed my obsession – was Marvel’s Transformers, but I also enjoyed such fabulously British output as The Beano, Whizzer and Chips, and if I was feeling particularly charitable, The Dandy.

BECAUSE HE'S A FUNNY GIANT AMERICAN YOU SEE.

It’s funny because he’s supposed to be American.

I had boxes and boxes of comics under my bed, and would grab a handful to read each night before going to sleep. There was something quite special about British comics, especially from Marvel. They blew the American ones right out of the water.

These days, it’s different. There isn’t a comics industry in the UK anymore. Comics shriveled up and died, and so did my interest and passion for reading them. When Transformers came back in 2002 from Dreamwave, my interest was briefly piqued, but after some abysmal work by IDW a few years later, I pretty much forgot about comics altogether.

However, these feelings never truly die. One day, I was mooching around my local comic shop when I saw a book emblazoned with the My Little Pony logo. “Mufufu! How lame,” I mocked. “There’s a comic for this now?”

She looks like a peacock

Well, at least they brush their teeth. It’s the only part of them not full of holes.

I was vaguely aware of the MLP phenomenon, and viewed it with only a detached amusement. But the cover for this comic was strikingly different to what one might expect. Instead of cute, fluffy ponies, it had fanged monsters in black-and-neon livery. At their head was an emerald-eyed demon with funny peacock-like antennae (*ahem* – turns out it’s a crown). I was intrigued, so I opened the issue.

And lo, the scales fell from my eyes. And I was saved.

large

You will weep for the huggy catty things.

The art inside was incredible! It was by Andy Price, who I’d never heard of at the time. I’d assumed the comic would closely mimic the cartoon show, if not screencap it outright. But what I found inside was nothing of the sort. It looked like a proper comic. The kind of which I grew up reading.

Comic illustration is an art form, and it’s a dying one. In the last decade or two we’ve seen comic art get ever more complicated, elaborate and lifelike. But it’s lost its soul. We have artwork that is technically very accomplished, and imitates life superbly, but has no life of its own.

However, Andy Price is different. The man is some kind of comic genius from another world. Opening up that My Little Pony issue was like pouring water on the rose of Jericho; I was in love with comics again.

Price03

Ah, the ol’ coin-behind-the-ear bit. Never fails.

In stark contrast to the clean, unchanging digital artwork of the MLP cartoon, Price’s ponies are wonderfully soft and expressive. They radiate personality and emotion, and are forever twisting and gurning their faces and bodies into ever more grotesque forms. Panel after panel, he finds something different to do with the characters, working – I assume – outside of the given script.

boop

Popular in Finland, is Andy.

He plays with the format, too. Borders blur and merge organically together. Characters and scenery intrude between adjacent panels and pages, and even simple lettering, usually left to the digital guys, becomes part of the artwork and helps tie the stories together. Most of Andy’s comics are graced with one or more splash pages that stand out as being particularly dramatic, funny or emotional. I actually cut one out and framed it on my wall.

Andy makes reading comics fun again; each issue is filled with little jokes and asides, hidden away in the artwork. You’ll find yourself scouring each new page to seek them out. Sometimes it’s less like reading a comic and more like reading Where’s Wally (or Where’s Waldo if you’re from Americaland). Certain characters, such as the mysterious night mare Princess Luna, shine above the cartoon versions that are supposed to have inspired them and stand alone to become beloved favourites.

luna_micro_series_andy_price_clean_full_picture_by_neptunefallen-d7hxbo1

I privately mocked My Little Pony at first, but looking back I’m happy to have been proven wrong. Since then, I’ve become rather infatuated with it… I think this shows that you should never knock something until you’ve tried it, and in the right hands things that sound a bit naff can be turned into something truly great.

To sum up – if you’re a fan of MLP, you need to read these comics. If you’re not a fan of MLP, you still need to read these comics. There isn’t space enough on the whole internet, let alone this one page, to demonstrate how good Andy Price is, so just take my word for it.

70hp2e

Twins! Always bickering, they are.

Bear in mind that the series has been going for two or three years now with various artists and writers at the helm, and so the quality of each issue varies – some are things of wonder, others pretty dire – but Price’s name comes as a seal of quality. If it’s got his name on it, you won’t be disappointed. Look for The Return of Queen Chrysalis (#1 ~ #4), Reflections (#17 ~ #20)Root of the Problem (#27 ~ #28) and Princess Luna (Micro Series #10), among others.

Well, what are you waiting for…!? Bugger off and get reading!Luna_fed up

Top 5 Weirdest Cartoon Songs

nametagLUKEWe watch a lot of cartoons here at TMW. And, while we’re not easily impressed (except by shiny things, pop-up books and hand puppets of course), for some reason we love it when cartoons spontaneously bust out a musical segment in the middle of a show. Animation is already an intensive, laborious process on its own without trying to cram an original song in there, so we salute the creators who put in that little bit of extra effort for no other reason than it seemed funny to someone at the time. Here are some of the best examples:

1. The Amazing World of Gumball: She’s a Lady

How_Embarrassing There’s a new girl at school. She’s a transfer student from Europe, and is fitting in quite well – despite having an unpronounceable name and wearing a wedding dress to class every day. That’s all because she’s beautiful and the students and faculty of Elmore High School can’t help but bend over backwards (literally) for her. What they don’t know is that “she” is actually perennial misfit Gumball Watterson, who wore a dress to school that day after his father destroyed his original clothes in an attempt to wash them. After rebuffing the affections of his own brother, Gumball kills off his female alter-ego by having her head explode as she ascends towards the sun – in front of a crowd of shocked onlookers. Yes, this is a kids cartoon.

Continue reading

Comp-U-Zone: Sexual Predators

I’ll come clean; I thought up the title of this article before writing it. I was thinking about how overtly sexy some video game characters are, and how they tend to be anthropomorphic animals. Once I had the title the words just sort of… materialised. A quick Google search revealed massive amounts of “fan art” (cough cough) dedicated to these furry females, so I’ve included some of that, too. Humorously censored with Adam’s Choice™ My Little Pony, you understand, because this isn’t that kind of blog.

There’s some useful information, some nostalgia, and some filler. Hold your breath… we’re going in!

Continue reading

Daring Do Collection Review

My Little Pony: The Daring Do Collection

Review

In season two of My Little Pony, there was an episode called Read it and Weep. The plot was fairly typical children’s fare – One of the main characters, the athletic Rainbow Dash, doesn’t like to read. She thinks that books are for eggheads. Shortly after making her opinion known and mocking her bookworm friends, she gets injured and has a lengthy stay in the hospital. Devoid of any other entertainment and going insane with boredom, she reluctantly starts to read a book from the hospital library. She’s immediately hooked, of course. Afraid of looking like a hypocrite, she spends the rest of the episode dodging her friends and, uh, stealing from the library in order to read it in secret.

Rainbow_Dash_holding_Daring_Do_book_S2E16

This is a POV shot, in case you were wondering.

Continue reading

Music To Mein Ears

Dubbing cartoons is a funny old thing. All cartoons are animated from a script, and everything from body movements to gestures and lip flaps (*splutter*) reflect the words and intent of the original author. So it’s a bit of a nightmare when the time comes to release the cartoon in another territory. A great deal of stuff we watch over here is made in (or more accurately for) America, so dubbing isn’t an issue. But people in distant lands have it tough.

It would be boring to go through a whole bunch of cartoons and see how they’re adjusted for export, so instead I thought I’d choose some popular ones and, if nothing else, listen to the theme songs and see how they differ from what we’re used to. They run the gamut from surprising to plain to just plain wrong. Grab your headphones and turn it up to 11!

Continue reading