Comic Book: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW)

aka: My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
Six of the twenty unique covers for issue #1.
A My Little Pony comic book series based on the cartoon show of the same name. Published by IDW, with a rotating creative team, the series was first announced at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, with the first issue released on November 28, 2012.

The series has proven a hot seller, reportedly pulling in lots of bronies who haven't bought comics in years and presumably also kids who have never bought them before. In 2012, the first issue, along with Image Comics' The Walking Dead, were the only two non-DC, non-Marvel comic titles to be listed in the top 100 comics of the year. Individual issues have been IDW's top selling comic for each month regularly placing in the top titles sold in those months.

The series begins with a pair of four-issue Story Arcs, with the first featuring the return of Queen Chrysalis, the villain of the Season 2 finale. Other stories span one or two issues. Some issues also have a two page back-up story. This series is notably the first major part of the Friendship Is Magic Expanded Universe, and promises to follow the same all-ages tone that made the show so popular, although the comics sometimes go a little crazier with the characters than the TV series.

This page also covers the Annual comics and one-shot specials. So far they either focus on the Equestria Girls spin-off franchise or an Alternate Universe like the Power Ponies.

Has a Shout Out page.

See also the other My Little Pony series put out by IDW:

IDW has partnered with Madefire to create motion comics from the series as well.

This series provides examples of these tropes (for more, please also visit the character guide and recap page for individual story arcs):

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Andy Price's art will often include background gags of Sweetcream Scoops making advances on a very wary Big McIntosh. Price has stated to fans that he considers that the name "Sweetcream Scoops" sounds like that of a lady of the night, and plays her into that trope.
  • Arc Villain: Almost every arc has had an antagonist of some kind, from heavy hitters like Queen Chrysalis, Nightmare Rarity, and a Mirror Universe Princess Celestia, to a common thief and a high school bully. The only arc so far without an antagonist of any kind is Zen & The Art of Gazebo Repair, it's just Big Mac experiencing a ton of bad luck.
  • Artistic License: Amy Mebberson often draws AJ without her hat; she states that with the hat, this limits how much she can draw of AJ in certain poses and chooses to forgo it instead.
  • Canon Foreigner: There's a few, see here for a full list.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: A type 2 and type 3 at points with background stories.
  • Continuity Nod: Several relating back to the series, as is aught natural for a tie-in comic.
  • Covers Always Lie: What's on the cover usually has nothing to do with what goes on in the story.
  • Creator Cameo: Just a few...
    • Katie Cook has appeared throughout as a green unicorn mare (often wearing a kerchief headwear) with a word-balloon cutie mark. She has also had her husband Ryan appear as a mule in issue #1, with her laughing at him, as light-hearted revenge for his dislike of Fluttershy. This also counts as an indirect example of Interspecies Romance. And despite her personally being younger than Andy, Andy Price drew her next to him in the yearbook (the bottom two left ponies on the Juniors page) on his variant cover for Issue #11 .
    • Andy Price has drawn himself along with his wife Alice as pony characters at least thrice (Issue #1, #9 and the Rarity Micro-comic); his OC is Leadwing, a blue earth pony with a Batman-like cutie mark (part of his previous pedigree), while his wife's OC is a red-headed unicorn mare with a bird-like emblem cutie mark.
      • Both Katie and Andy may have become Ascended Fanboys as their OCs appeared as concept art images for Season 5 of the show. Both characters later had cameos in the episode "Princess Spike."
    • Heather Breckel, the colorist for most of the comics in both the main and micro, has her ponified Angie OC appear in the Rarity microcomic.
  • Darker and Edgier: Storylines are much more mature, Death is actually referred to as such, a lot more of focus is put on the teeth and eyes of characters (in all their icky glory), and the writers are not afraid to include more involved fight scenes and look at some of the more disturbing aspects of Equestrian life, such as just what the Changelings do to their victims. The comic as a whole features a lot of content the cartoon could never get away with in terms of copyright restrictions or Moral Guardians.
  • Depending on the Writer: Like the show, different issues will have different tones and approaches to the characters & universe. A notable example is that Heather Nuhfer and Katie Cook seem to have different opinions on how to approach Princess Twilight's way of dealing with outlaws. In the Nuhfer-written pirates Story Arc Twilight tries to use her Princess status to make a peaceful deal with a group of pony pirates, when they threaten to kidnap her she magically zaps them into submission. Katie Cook on the other hand has Twilight refuse to use her magic on cattle bandits even when they're clearly breaking the law and attacking her friends, on the basis they're legal, sentient citizens of Equestria.
  • Expanded Universe: This series will be the biggest part of it. There have been short "G4" comics and stories found in little girls' magazines before this, but they simply used stock art with poor writing. This series has promised to follow more closely to the show's continuity and tone, while also having the opportunity to flesh out some things that can't be covered in a 22-minute episode. Katie Cook explains that she is writing each 4-issue story with content roughly equal to two 22-minute episodes.
  • Foreshadowing: A cross-arc example: Rarity's issue 1 cover is noticeably darker in colour than the others, and has a cloud or two. Also, Luna is in the background, as if approaching Rarity.
  • Loose Canon: As the comic is written by different people from the show, the comic's canon and the show's canon don't always match up. The comics don't flat-out contradict any pre-established materials, but the show doesn't reference the comic for any material, and as the show has continued on and done more World Building, the discrepancies between the show and the comics began to build up. This is partly because of Animation Lead Time and Hasbro doesn't seem to inform the writers of everything about upcoming seasons. Another factor is that, aside from Twilight becoming an alicorn, there's no indication of passage of time in the comics, and issues are usually self-contained with few, if any, references to other story arcs. Thus, one could even claim the comics are in Anachronic Order, allowing them to happen at different points in the show to various effects on continuity. In short, the canonicity of the comics comes down to how individual fans feel like treating them.
  • Once per Episode: Andy Price, a big fan of the television show Fringe, has included an Observer pony (grey, hairless, wearing a suit and fedora) in every story he's drawn, watching events from the background of a panel.
  • Reference Overdosed: Even more so than the show, especially in the Cook/Price issues. The other writers & artists tone it down a little, but there's still a few shout outs per issue. There's also an interesting case of seeing different tastes in shout outs; Andy Price for example seems fond of old-school Western sci-fi & pop-culture while Amy Mebberson has a tendency to draw ponified Disney & Anime characters.
  • Saved by Canon: It's a simple matter of fact that the characters aren't in any real danger, given the supplementary nature of the comic.
  • Story Arc: The heavier, darker story arcs are four issues long, with Slice of Life comics being one or two issues.

Tropes applying to Short Features:

Issue #1: How Much Is That Pony In the Window?
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
Rarity has Pinkie over to help try on a dress, and steps out for a few moments. Pinkie hears the sounds of an ice cream cart and races to it, ruining the dress by the time she gets there, and tries to play it off when Rarity returns.

  • Idea Bulb: Well, idea candle.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Pinkie Pie when the jingle of an ice cream wagon distracts her from modelling for Rarity.
  • Tempting Fate: "Its not like I'm going to get in trouble in the three seconds she's gone." Says the pony best known for being easily distracted.

Issue #4: In the Interim...
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
Spike, left behind in Ponyville, has tried contacting Princess Celestia via his dragon breath messaging system with no luck, and travels to Canterlot, only to find it under attack by giant flying cockatrices. Celestia grabs Spike in time, and as Spike rattles off the troubles the Mane 6 are going under, the two work together to defend Canterlot from it. With the threat over, Celestia awards Spike a medal for his help before they depart to meet up with the Mane 6.

  • Adaptational Badass: Epic battle-damaged, trident-wielding Spike riding Celestia in the middle of the fight against the giant Cockatrice attack. And he ends up saving everyone!
  • Call Back: Canterlot is protected by a force field as it was in "A Canterlot Wedding", though Shining Armor doesn't otherwise appear.
  • Eyepatch After Time Skip: Spike has acquired one for some reason, even though both his eyes clearly work fine in the last panel. Perhaps he just felt it looked cool.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The giant mutant cockatrices who attack Canterlot don't seem to be able to turn anypony to stone.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Focusing on Spike and Celestia.
  • Synchronous Episodes: With issues #2 through #4 of the series.

Issue #10: A Page from the Scrapbook of Big Mac
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
A two page spread showing various scenes in the aftermath of the Big Mac (#9-10) arc.

Issue #11: Oubliettes and Ogres
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
A short showing Shining Armor, Poindexter, 8-Bit, and Gaffer playing their role-playing game, Oubliettes and Ogres.

Issue #12: PTV
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
A two page spread poking fun at Creator/MTV, back when they actually ran music videos in the 1980s.

Issue #17: How Star Swirl Got His Hat
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
We are shown how Star Swirl got his hat - sans bells - by a series of random events, starting with its original hat maker throwing the hat out because it was a terrible hat.

  • Creator Cameo: Katie and Andy's pony characters appear in one panel. Another panel features Katie's two children (as ponies), and her husband Ryan (still as a donkey, from the first issue).
  • Nice Hat: The core element of this short's plot.
  • Monochrome Past: This comic is all black line art, as it presumably takes place before the flashback events in issue #17.
  • Random Events Plot: The hat goes through a number of situations created by happenstance before it falls into Star Swirl's hooves.
  • Shaped Like Itself: In Star Swirl's words: ''This is the hattiest hat to ever hat"

Issue #18: How Star Swirl Got His Hat... the other story
Written and drawn by Katie Cook

We are shown another version of Star Swirl getting his hat, as Star Swirl searches the ocean for a powerful hat, and finds it in the belly of a whale.

  • Nice Hat: Like the first story. This time, Star Swirl chooses it over a construction helmet.
  • Monochrome Past: This comic is all black line art, also like the first story.

Issue #19: How Star Swirl Got His Hat... yet another version of the same story
Written and drawn by Katie Cook

Yet another version of how Star Swirl got his hat, this based on following in the merch of the "Wilhelm the Wacky Wizard" doll he loved as a foal.

  • Art Shift: Most of the story is in the Monochrome Past black line art of the first two Star Swirl stories, but the final two panels featuring the Mirrorverse Mane 6 is in full color.
  • Mirror Universe: The short takes place by the alternate Mane 6, which has been hinted at by the main story for the Reflections arc. Notable differences here include that Twilight's cutie mark is one that looks like an atom rather than magic (and she remains a unicorn), Pinkie has long, straight hair and is happily enjoying a healthy salad, AJ wears a black hat and bandana, and Rarity has a huge curly perm instead of her normal trim curls.
  • Self-Deprecation: The book that Twilight is reading appears to be authored by "Katie Cook". Real-life Katie has been humorously vocal about the various levels of fan mail she has gotten when she had broken people's headcanon with how she develops back stories, as happens here.

Issue #20: Elsewhere in alternate Equestria...
Written and drawn by Katie Cook

The mirrorverse Mane 6 feel the results of Sombra absorbing the evil energy in his universe, which results in them acting like the Prime-Equestria Mane 6.

Tropes applying to the various covers


It wouldn't be a popular comic series without tons of covers. Guest cover artists include Jill Thompson, Stephanie Buscema, Amy Mebberson, Melanie Tingdahl, J. Scott Campbell, Tony Fleecs, Sabrina Alberghetti, and Rob Reger.

  • Balloonacy: This happens to Apple Bloom on Issue #1's Cover D.
  • Character Celebrity Endorsement: Issue #1's Lone Star Comics variant Cover RE shows Pinkie Pie, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom reading a Hoof Beat magazine with an In-Universe Celebrity Endorsement on its back: a Lone Star ad featuring Spitfire.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Hot Topic exclusive issue 4 cover references gags from both "Call of the Cutie" and "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000".
    • Andy Price's cover variant for Issue #11 calls back to Cheerilee's "80's look" from "Call of the Cutie", mentions Moondancer, the pony who's party Twilight didn't want to go to in the first episode, and then touches on several minor characters, including Lyra, Minuette (Colgate), Caramel, and Thunderlane. Even Wheat Grass, introduced from the Rarity micro-comic, makes an appearance.
  • Covers Always Lie: Most of the revealed covers are sort of just generic "ponies being cute/cool" and very few so far even hint at the return of changelings. Not that we don't expect ponies being cute/cool or anything, but Rainbow Dash doesn't go snowboarding or dressing up as a superhero in Issue #1.
    • Inverted though in other cases, in that the covers are directly using single-page spreads from the comic. In one case, Issue #9's BronyCon exclusive Comics World variant used a full page spread from the story that basically was part of a major joke in the comic, to the point that the writer and artist of the issue, Katie Cook and Andy Price, were annoyed with how much it spoiled.
    • Played straight with the primary cover for #9.
    • Played with for one of the covers for #10. While the depicted scene doesn't occur, fireworks and explosions do feature prominently thanks to the Crusaders attempts at fireworks operating cutie marks.
  • Funny Background Event: In the background of Issue #13's Cover B, Rarity can be seen leaning over the side of the ship, clearly seasick.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: The six covers depicted on this very page are arranged like this.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Third Eye Comic's variant cover for the first Twilight Sparkle micro-cover points out the fact that there are a lot of variant covers for the series.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Issue #1's joint Larry's & Jetpack variant Cover RE, which uses the connected rough design production artwork of the Larry's Comics variant Cover RE and the Jetpack Comics variant Cover RE, will have only 125 copies printed. The Jetpack variant itself will be limited to only 750 copies. To commemorate the comic selling 1 million copies, a special cover for issue #12 was made. Only 12 copies of the cover will be made.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Shining Armor's yearbook photo is this. One can see below the picture that he's part of the LARP Club, the Math Club, the Chess Club, and the Gaming Club (though he also runs cross-country), yet he would look like a dreamboat to many a girl.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: Issue #1's Third Eye Comics variant Cover RE, featuring Spitfire and Soarin'.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Some of the variant covers prominently feature popular background ponies like Derpy, Time Turner, and DJ Pon-3. The main cover for Issue #10 has nothing but background ponies.
    • Most of the covers for the 2013 annual feature Human!Twilight Sparkle very prominently. She doesn't appear in the actual comic at all.
    • Hot Topic's covers tend to have zero to do with the actual story but feature popular background characters, commonly Trixie. Issues #21 and #22 feature Season 4 fan favorites Maud Pie and Cheese Sandwich, respectively.

Alternative Title(s):

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic