Shout Out: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW)
Much like its parent show
, the comic has a ton of little nods. Seriously, it's like IDW is in some kind of competition with DHX to see how many Shout Outs
they can cram in a single issue/episode! Shout outs from the main series, the Micro series
, and the ''Friends Forever'' series
are covered here.
open/close all folders
- Fringe references abound in issues drawn by Andy Price, due to the artist's love for the show.
- One of the freed ponies in Issue #1 is a Pony Observer - the grey hairless one, in a fedora and grey suit with a set of binoculars for a cutie mark - as confirmed by Price as part of his self-stated appreciation of the show.
- In spirit of the Once per Episode, "Where's Waldo?"-like appearance of the Observer in Fringe, an (the?) Observer pony has appeared in every story drawn by Price, including the two micro-series he did (Rarity and Luna), and the Sunset Shimmer short. All known sightings are logged here◊.
- The Observer pony has even crossed over to stories with Amy Mebberson's art, appearing in one panel in Issue #15.
- One poster in the Rarity micro-comic is for "Velvet Sedan Chair", a band within the fiction of Fringe.
- The Sunset Shimmer short, given that it deals with her discovering about parallel worlds, has no fewer than five Fringe references on page 5: the books Shimmer read include "The First Ponies", "ZFT", "The Observers", "There is more than one of everything" and "Crossing Over by Bell & Bishop". It's probably some kind of record.
- The "Reflections" arc (Issues #17-20) is basically a love letter to Fringe by Andy, given that the basic plot involves two separate universes, a key theme of Fringe:
- The first page of #17, the Observer actually speaks to Twilight and Spike, warning them "There is more than one of everything", and then disappears about as mysteriously as the Observed did on Fringe.
- The Observer pony appears very much front and center on the Price variant for #18◊, part of an arc involving alternate universes. No way he's out of place here. In addition, his cover of Issue #19, which mirrors #18◊, give yet another title drop to the Fringe episode, "There's More Than One of Everything", and the two sides use the blue/red color scheme that Fringe associated with the two different universes. Issue #18's title is "Back To Where You've Never Been Before", another Fringe episode title.
- A flashback to Star Swirl's laboratory in #18 shows one book called "Cortexiphan Studies".
- "Over there" King Sombra's wall of study in #19 shows several differences between the two universes and other theories, many relating to Fringe, such as Manehattan being spelling with one "T", the lack of sugar or avacados in the "over there" and the lack of coffee in the main 'verse, the concept of amber, the double-F Fringe Division badge used "over there", and a "Resist" poster similar to the one used in Fringes 5th season.
- Pinkie and Spike discuss how to name the evil versions of Celestia and Luna, a task that Fringe fans had done when the alternative versions of the main characters were revealed. One suggested by Pinkie, "Fauxlestia", follows with what became the canon name of the alternate Olivia, "Fauxlivia".
- Twilight's plans for how they will face the evil Celestia and Luna include a piece of paper with "ZFT" on it.
- The conclusion of the "Reflections" arc ends with the concept of the two universes merging and subsequently destroying each other to make way for a new one, which was an ultimate goal by William Bell's character (well, one of him) in Fringe. A splash page in issue #20, where the fate of both universes loom, show a numerous number of characters from both sides reacting to a dangerous explosion; the background for each set of characters is blue (the prime universe ones) or red (Good Sombra's universe), which mimics the blue/red used for Fringe. Further, in addition to the Observer pony, ponified versions of the main Olivia Dunham, Walter Bishop (with a white tulip cutie mark), and Peter Bishop, and the alternate universe versions of Olivia ("Fauxlivia") and Secretary Walter Bishop can be seen.
- Similarly, works drawn by Amy Mebberson will typically nod to the Sailor Moon series and fandom for the same reasons. All five Sailor Scouts appear in the Nightmare Forces arc, and the Chibi versions in the Celestia micro-series comic.
- The Ascended Meme character of Doctor Whooves, playing on Doctor Who, reappears several times in the series. The canon Doctor Whooves character (that is said to be the Tenth, David Tennant, version) has appeared several times, but there has also been nods to the First (Harnell), Fourth (Baker), Eleventh (Smith), and the War Doctor (John Hurt) by both Price and Mebberson.
- The comic book series has a map with a location labeled as "Rocinante Hills". Rocinante was Don Quijote's horse.
The Return of Queen Chrysalis (Issue 1)
- The first issue's third page has a Dan Fogelberg shout-out in the form of a sign for the "Run for the Roses" cider house.
- "The Run for the Roses" is also the nickname for the Kentucky Derby.
- Page 3 of Issue 1, there are two blue ponies in dapper suits and nice sunglasses.
- One of the Changeling zombies, upon noticing the Mane Six, points his hoof at them and makes a hideous face◊ in imitation of Donald Sutherland's infamous final scene◊ in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There's also a book in Twilight's Library titled "Incident at Santa Mira".
- Some of the other books in Twilight's library include "To Serve Ponies" and "How I Did It".
- Good thing she's got that second one, too. An earlier panel features a jar; the label is partly covered by Pinkie, but it's easy to make out that it should be 'Hans Delbrook'. Wonder what else Twilight's experimenting with.
- Pinkie showing the girls and Spike how to act like zombies resembles Dianne's Zombie Acting 101 to her friends in Shaun of the Dead.
- Rainbow Dash gets ready for "Clobbering Time"
- During the fight, Rainbow Dash tells Fluttershy that she needs to be nice, until it's time to not be nice.
- The comet Twilight mentions early on is named after one of the most famous real life horses, Secretariat. Some fans have noted the Comet of Doom plot sounds similar to a plot used in Avatar: The Last Airbender, which is probably intentional.
- Rarity tries to get everyone to agree not touch the hair in a fight, and then comments after the same fight: "Well... that escalated quickly..."
- "Oh this would be the best party ever if we weren't about to be turned into pod ponies."
The Return of Queen Chrysalis II (Issue 2)
- Issue #2, which has the ponies going through the Diamond Dogs' abandoned mines, is suitably replete with David Bowie references, including statues named Ziggy and Stardust, another one that looks like Aladdin Sane, and multiple lyrical quotations on signs and carved into stone, including lines from "Golden Years", "Cat People", and the song "Diamond Dogs" itself.
- "Sashay on the Boardwalk, Scurry to the ditch", directions to the emerald mines. Lyrics From Diamond Dogs.
- "Red like Jungle Burning Bright" Lyrics from Cat People (Putting out Fire).
- "Never Look Back, Walk Tall Act Fine" inscription on the cave exit, lyrics to Golden Years.
- On the map, a quip about poachers called "Diamond Dogs"(also refers to lyrics from Diamond Dogs
- Pinkie picks up a skull and calls it Mr. Bones. More apt considering that the skull has a hairpiece that matches a certain other "Bones".
- Also relating to Star Trek, in the map at the end of the issue, a gray obelisk is clearly depicted. This obelisk is very similar in appearance to Obelisks left by Preservers◊, Ancient galactic beings who rescued cultures and species at risk of extinction and transplanted them to more hospitable planets. Since IDW also prints a Star Trek series, the implications are very interesting.
- Calling the skull Mr. Bones could also be a shout-out to a very popular fan-made roller coaster on Roller Coaster Tycoon called Mr. Bones' Wild Ride. (NOTE: for safety, consider this link NSFW. It is an archived 4Chan thread, after all.)
- A cave troll living in the mine in issue 2 resembles the trolls from the film adaptation of The Lord of the Rings, and has a collection of various "toys", including a damaged Optimus Prime and a Rubik's Cube.
- Chrysalis' pose on her couch is based on one of the changing portraits at the Haunted Mansion in Disneyland, as confirmed by Andy Price.
- The sound effect the spiders make while shooting web is very familiar.
- One of the spiders in issue #2 steals Applejack's hat and says "Imma cowboy! Howdy, howdy, howdy!"
- On the forest map in issue #2 is Silver and Scout Meadow.
- At the end of issue #2, Rainbow Dash panics when Twilight leaves them without a map and Pinkie responds: "Where we're going, we don't need no stinkin' map!"
- The whole of issue #2 suspiciously resembles the Moria segment of The Lord of the Rings.
- The map at the end of Issue 2 has a mansion in a swamp called the Old Mansion the surrounding properties are listed as "Gracey's Swamp", "The Forests of Leota" and "Hatchaway Falls"
- The Rocinante Cliffs is a nod to the horse of Don Quixote.
The Return of Queen Chrysalis III (Issue 3)
The Return of Queen Chrysalis IV (Issue 4)
Issue # 5
- Spike is carrying a white cup with a green logo that looks suspiciously like that of Starbucks.
- Two mares talking in the background of page #2 look suspiciously like Sailors Moon and Jupiter.
- In Rarity's nightmare, she imagines her friends replacing her with a pony that looks similar to Mabel, including having the name Maybelle. Even the creator of Gravity Falls took notice of the Shout-Out when a preview of the comic was published.
- Rarity's capture at the hands of the Nightmare Forces seems to mirror a particular Tsukihime pic◊. This is apparently a coincidence though.
Issue # 6
Issue # 7
- Two different regenerations of Doctor Whooves appear next to each other (Ten and Eleven, the latter wearing a bowtie and a fez) as the citizens of Ponyville are preparing themselves for the oncoming storm. Ten's expression looks deadpan serious to boot as he glances at Eleven's fez incredulously.
- Nightmare Rarity chastises the Mane Six for thinking this is a Sligh Stallion film.
- Fluttershy tends to a wounded bunny in the nightmare landscape, and calls it "Buffy" (considering that we already have Spike and Angel...)
- It's not even a coincidence. After meeting "Buffy" the first thing she does is mention Spike.
Issue # 8
- When the Nightmare Forces first start their invasion of Ponyville, there are once again two Doctor Whooves regenerations next to each other. In this case, it's Four and Ten. Ten is even shown in the ensuing battle either bewildered about how to use his Sonic Screwdriver with hooves, or simply shaking a malfunctioning Sonic Screwdriver.
- One page features a pony who seems to be modeled after Benedict Cumberbatch's depiction of Sherlock Holmes.
- Granny Smith beats a (literal) cartful of Nightmares using what she called "The Kamikazi Karate Clop Of Eldery Respect" She says it while striking a Karate Kid pose and her Grandson Big McIntosh says "By the mane of Miyagi!" on amazement.
- Amy Mebberson included mare versions of Sailor Mars, Mercury, and Venus to go along with the cameos of Moon and Jupiter. She also included a cameo of the pony version of the woman who runs the Key of Nik blog on tumblr, which has been doing liveblog recaps of Sailor Moon episodes. The recap of the Sailor Moon based cameos can be found here.
Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair (Issue #9)
- The title of the two-issue arc "Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair", calls to the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.
- Big Mac's toolbox has a sticker reading "Binford", a reference to the manufacturer in the TV series Home Improvement.
- One pony on the splash page with Big Mac entering the fair has a cutie mark that is the same as the Green Lantern symbol.
- Time Turner is freaking while holding his fob watch, claiming that "This watch is me!", which is a direct shoutout to the Doctor Who episodes "Human Nature" and "The Family of Blood".
- A pair of fillies are dressed like Michelangelo and Donatello from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
- Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's advice booth is a shout out to Lucy's psychiatry booth from Peanuts. Both even adopt suspiciously similar poses in one panel.
- May also be intentional that Diamond Tiara is running the booth, since she behaves... somewhat similar to Lucy.
- A few panels later in the same scene is a kite stuck up in a tree, another related shoutout.
- Silver Spoon asks about Bic Mac's yoke in a very Seinfeld-ish way and pose.
- Vinyl is singing along to a song that parodies The Beatles' "Drive My Car".
- One of the stalls is "Bluth's Frozen Banana". Further, the stallion running it has a very dark blue coat, matching that used by the Blue Man Group 's makeup, referencing the Tobias Funke "I blue myself" joke.
- A banner between two stalls directs the way to "Plasmids & Vigors".
- The Tom Selleck-like Magnum, P.I. pony, seen in Issue #1, returns as Rarity is talking to him and her parents.
- Big Mac takes a very meandering path through the fairgrounds on one splash page.
- The Imagine Spot splash page panel of Fleetfoot falling for Big Mac (also used as the Comics World Retail Incentive cover for the issue) uses a number of nods to Superman: Fleetfoot's retirement from the Wonderbolts is announced in "The Derby Planet" (a parody of the Daily Planet), and Fleetfoot takes Big Mac for a flight, a flip of the roles during the "Can You Read My Mind?" love theme during the first Superman film, the title stated on a banner that highlights the page.
- Luna's Expressive Shirt displays the emblem of the Starfleet during the race, and the Batman emblem later on.
- The teams in the tug of war are named Hawkeye's Yellow Blackbirds and BJ's Pink Elephants.
- One of the trophies that Luna and Big Mac win appears to be the Stanley Cup.
- "Hay's Hardware" is a play on real-life chain Ace Hardware, including the use of a similar font style.
- One the the stands is "Chuckle Hut and Laugh Factory", a reference to a combination pork-rendering plant/comedy club from 30 Rock.
- A tent is seen advertising "Plasmids and Vigors", a reference to Bioshock Infinite's power-granting substances of the same names.
Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair II (Issue #10)
- The carnival busker pony is dressed as Steve Martin's character in The Jerk during its carnival scene.
- Some of the stuffed animal prizes at the game booth resemble Totoro.
- When Big Mac is hit by the CMC, his reaction is yet another references to Peanuts, which Charlie Brown would be knocked off the pitcher's mound by a baseball.
- One of Fleetfoot's stalking poses is similar to Snoopy's "vulture" pose.
- There's also a bird that looks suspiciously like Woodstock above Spike's figurine booth.
- One of the exhibits is the The Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Tiki Room.
- Two ponies that resemble Captain Kirk and Spock are being welcomed to the festival.
- There is a Floyd's barbershop in Ponyville.
- The logo on one of the floats is a variation on the Dead Man's Hand (a full house of aces over eights instead of an aces/eights two pair).
- Two mares watching the parade are ponified versions of Fairchild and Freefall from Gen 13. This one was added in by the colorist, Heather Breckel, after seeing the two ponies' resemblance to the characters.
- One of the floats is similar to that used by Delta House at the end of Animal House.
- Sapphire's song is "Cart Wash", a parody of Rose Royce's "Car Wash".
- DJ P0N-3 is playing a record from Candle Light Orchestra.
- When Big Mac crashes into hello with Tealove, she has a similar Imagine Spot as Fleetfoot, this time around the general James Bond genre, with specific call outs to For Your Eyes Only, You Only Live Twice and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, as well as a more distant one to Thunderball (scuba-diving) and Casino Royale (Mac blowing up an embassy). There's even a ponified Dr. Blofeld with a white cat as a cutie mark, and a pony-pulled Aston Martin. Price stated that having to do a similar panel as the Fleetfoot one from #9, he considered that Tealove sounds like a British name, the rest followed from there.
- Cheerilee is apparently Lugnut's father's sister's cousin's former roommate.
- Pinkie leads the Mane 6 and Spike in doing the Bump.
- Another pair of ponies appear as Jack Skellington and Sally.
- The log flume ride advertizes itself as "Come On And Get Your Log".
- The hardware store is on Gandolfini Lane, a reference to the late actor James Gandolfini, and its proprietor Lugnut somewhat resembles him as well.
- In the two page-spread ending, drawn by Katie Cook:
- As Rarity fits Fleetfoot for a dress, the caption is labeled "Fleetfoot Mac".
- In the Cakes' saddlebags is a plush designed after the eponymous character of Cook's "Gronk" webcomic.
- Look at the record Vinyl is playing - it's Candle Light Orchestra.
Neigh Anything (Issue #11)
- The title of the two-issue arc is a callout in both name and story to Say Anything (as confirmed by Katie Cook). One of the alternate covers is a parody of the film's poster.
- A banner at Canterlot Academy reads "Ruin Rydell".
- Later, one of the Acme Products they attempt to use on Buck is "Grease", as written with the musical's distinctive cursive style.
- One of Shining's friends at school, named 8-Bit has a cutie mark based on an enemy from the arcade game Space Invaders.
- Shining and his friends play "Oubliettes and Ogres". They are also drinking "Honey Dew" drinks.
- Among the posters in the basement room include posters for Star Trot II, Haylander, and Bridle Runner.
- The school stadium is named after Bonnie Zacherle, the original creator of the My Little Pony line.
- The Ark of the Covenant appears to be in the school's storage building.
- One of the other floats for the rally is a swan float sponsored by Leeman Furniture, a reference to the movie Drop Dead Gorgeous.
- For their song, Shining Armor is dressed as Adam Ant, Poindexter as Boy George from Culture Club, 8-Bit as a member of Devo, and Gaffer as a member of Oingo Boingo. They even name their band based on Oingo Boingo's name they used in films, "The Mystic Knights of the Electric Stable", and the song lyrics parody the band's song "Little Girls". The other sticker on Poindexter's soundboard, "Who cares what Frankie says?" is based on a promotional campaign for the band Frankie Goes To Hollywood.
- One of the signs seen at school and at the game is "M*A*S*H the Manticores"
- The image of a despondent Shining Armor is captioned with "No wedding day smiles, no walk down the aisle, no flowers, no wedding dress," a quote from Bruce Springsteen's song "The River".
- The map featured in the Oubliettes & Orges two page story in the back of the issue features "Laputa", some sort of Castle in the Sky, Rohirrim, a reference to a Lord of the Rings race, and the Larping Fields.
Neigh Anything (Issue #12)
- The Fall of Sunset Shimmer (previously released in the SDCC #9 Variant)
- Equestria Girls
- One of the outfits that AJ tries on over the two-page spread resembles the yellow jumpsuit from Kill Bill.
- The issue as a whole has a couple subtle nods to Citizen Kane. The framing device of having an unseen interviewer (in the comic, secretly Sunset Shimmer) asking the various characters about their relationships was the same as in the film. And the interviewer's line "I thought it would be fun to write for a newspaper" is, according to the writer, a deliberate nod to Kane's line, "I thought it would be fun to run a newspaper."
My Little Pirate: Friendship Ahoy (Issue #13)
- Captain Hoofbeard is pretty much Captain Jack Sparrow ponified.
- Fluttershy's fish Gil appears as a Moorish idol, a parallel to Gill in Finding Nemo. In fact, Fluttershy's drive to be a pirate is to find her lost fish.
- Ponified versions of One Piece 's Luffy, Nami, Zoro, and Sanji appear (the former two in the background on the balcony and the latter two in the foreground of the panel). There's also a much clearer shot of Luffy when Pinkie does her song during the bar fight.
- Rainbow swings on a chandlier, shouting "Hey yoou guuuys!", a reference to Sloth from The Goonies.
- As Twilight convinces the pirates to help them, Rainbow and Pinkie remark that "You wouldn't like her when she's angry".
My Little Pirate: Friendship Ahoy (Issue #14)
- The plot involving Hoofbeard and Jewel definitely brings to mind The Little Mermaid.
- A ponified Mona Lisa is in the giant crab's treasure hoard.
Issue # 15
Issue # 16
- When Pinkie starts narrating their new story, Rainbow Dash asks, "Hey! Who nominted her as story queen?!" Well, Pinkie is holding a conch shell...
- The stories the four imagine themselves into from the white void is a send up of The Lord of the Rings, including being called "One Worm To Fool Them All". Pinkie takes the place of Gandalf, while Rainbow is Frodo, Rarity is Legolas, and Twilight as Gimli. They are also heed to "Mt. Worm" which has a setting similar to Mt. Doom from the movies.
- When Pinkie brings a zombie army to chase then, Rainbow really doesn't want anypony to use the "zed" word in naming the creatures.
- The zombies themselves are based more on A Game of Thrones, as per Word of God.
- Rainbow's imagination drops them straight onto the pony version of Star Trek: The Original Series. Naturally, she's Kirk, Twilight is Spock, and Rarity is Uhura. There's also a pony version of Yeoman Rand in the background of one shot.
- Additional fictional creatures let loose into Ponyville include a Snoopy-like dog, Kaa the Snake from The Jungle Book, the White Witch from The Chronicles of Narnia, a Tyrannosaurus rex that probably represents Jurassic Park, and Daenerys Targaryen from A Game of Thrones.
- A ponified version of the War Doctor appears.
Reflections I (Issue #17)
- Signs in the caverns below Canterlot Castle include directions to "Stellar Cartography" and "Jeffries Tubes".
- Star Swirl's spell for opening the dimensional portal is written in the Vulcan language: spirals clustered around vertical lines.
- Mirror!Big McIntosh sports a goatee like Mirror!Spock.
- The Mane 6 pass the large skeletal remains of a hydra. Pinkie Pie notes it is "pining for the fjords".
- While waiting for the Mane 6 to return, Luna and Spike play games similar to Scrabble, Mousetrap and Monopoly. For some reason, Spike does really well at the latter.
- Much of Star Swirl's library can be taken as a shout out to Batman's Batcave, with its cave-like formation and collection of odds and ends. One predominate prop is what appears to be a giant penny (including a ponified version of Abraham Lincoln), an element introduced in the original comics and used in Batman: The Animated Series. A shortcut from Star Swirl's library to the castle is revealed by hitting a button hidden within a bust of a pony that looks like William Shakespeare, as to reveal two sliding poles.
- Likewise, the entrance to the secret part of the library has slides. That and an earlier shot of Celestia and Starswirl in labcoats appears to also be a shoutout to the way Izma and Kronk entered their secret laboratory.
- One of the props in Star Swirl's cave is the disassembled parts of Scaramanga's golden gun.
- Another prop, during the flashback, is the Helmet of Neigh-bu.
- One of the items that Star Swirl and Celestia bring back is a Hyde Potion.
- On the same page, they appear to be replicating Dr. Frankenstein's experiment.
- Rainbow Dash, at one point, is seen reading from Dracula.
- The concept of opening portals into alternate worlds, and in some cases, "borrowing" their technology - aided by the image of Celestia and Star Swirled in turn-of-the-century period pieces - brings to mind several similarities to BioShock Infinite.
Reflections II (Issue #18)
Reflections III (Issue #19)
Reflections IV (Issue #20)
- The Observer pony shows up yet again while the walls between the realms are collapsing.
- "Sir Discord" is seen changing into his heroic persona "Captain Goodguy" in a manner similar to Superman.
- "Let the Sunshine In" might have been a Shout-Out to the musical Hair, which includes a song by that title.
- Crossing over with Fandom Nod, one of the things Pinkie has failed at is Underwater Basket Weaving, a specialty of Princess Woona in Moonstuck. She probably didn't take it too seriously.
- The safe's combination is a Mythology Gag to the air-date of the first MLP special, Rescue at Midnight Castle.
- Hard to spot, but the name of the director of Carneighie Hall is "Clyde Giddyap", a play on the name of the current director of Carnegie Hall, Clive Gillinson, per WordOfGod.
- The Ostlerheimer Diamond is a play on the Oppenheimer Diamond.
- Five ponified characters from Peanuts are present across two panels (during Winona's attempt at distraction) - Charlie Brown (with a baseball cutie mark), Sally, Linus (complete with his security blanket), Peppermint Patty, and Lucy (with a "5 cents" cutie mark).
- One of the brainwashed ponies is a green mare with freckles and orange-red hair done up in two braided pigtails. Do you wanna knock a dam down~?
- For general shoutouts to the Power Ponies themselves, see the recap.
- Balkham Asylum is a clear expy for Batman's Arkham Asylum; in one panel, one can also see a pony based on the classic look of Commissioner Gordon. Pharoah Phetlocks is inspired by the 60's Batman villain, King Tut.
- The Maretropolis mayor, Mayor Blossom, shares similar designs with Townsville's mayor. (The name also hints at this)
- The headquarters of the Power Ponies is very similar to the high rise of both Tony Stark's and the Teen Titans, with the building capped by giant "PP" letting
- Long-Face is drawn and given dialog that closely resembles that of Sandman.
- Also, his use of "sadness gas" is similar to the use of fear gas by the Scarecrow.
- Long-Face's name refers to an old "Guy walks into a bar" joke.
Issue # 24
- Needless to say, the references to Doctor Who are through the roof (to the point that Discord has to kick Doctor Whooves out of his time machine due to a reference overload). Discord dons a bow-tie and fez for most of the story, uses a time machine that is "smaller on the inside", and avoids telling the ponies about the future (including Cyberponies) under the claim of "Spoilers!"
- Discord's arrival rings of when Aladdin released Genie from the lamp for the first time.
- Discord pulls out a number of board game for them to play, including "Parasprite Trap" (Mouse Trap), "Hazard" (Risk), "Hint" (Clue or Cluedo), and "Friendship: The Gathering" (Magic: The Gathering).
- Discord uses a very Sailor Moon-esque transformation sequence when appearing in the filly scout uniform, even ending with the "victory" pose.
- Discord commands the CMC to "roll out".
Issue # 25
- One of Canter Creek's citizens is Blazing Saddle, and a signpost on the first page of the comic points to "Rock Ridge". In the short, Tumbleweed mentions he got his cutie mark from visiting "Sheriff Bart."
- One of the scene transition panels includes the phrase "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."
- Spike wins first place in a cosplay contest by dressing as Kirk surrounded by tribbles (parasprites) from "The Trouble With Tribbles".
Issue # 26
- The plot to move the Rustlers' camp piece by piece off the ranch's property is highly reminiscent of the plan from Blazing Saddles.
Issue # 27
- Twilight Sparkle (Issue #1):
- Jade Singer is a take on the author J. D. Salinger, a reclusive author as well. Jade's first book is "Canter in the Sky", a play on Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye.
- Jade thinks Twilight is interested in that "silly series with the vampire pony".
- Other books mentioned by title include "Ponies and Prejudice", "The Horseback of Notre Dame", "How To Train Your Baby Dragon", "Mare About You", and "I Have No Snout Yet I Must Whinney".
- In a likely Take That, another book to shelve is the "The Official Handbook of the Marble Universe: Your Guide To Everyone's Favorite Metamorphic Rock".
- Jade comments that Twilight "has spunk" (see You Got Spunk, below).
- Twilight sings a song with lyrics matching Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe".
- Jade counters this with a swing tune, "The Boogie Woogie Pony Boy of Stable C".
- Jade recommends an author named "Cesium Grande". This possibly could point to C. S. Lewis, a more prolific author. (Cesium's chemical symbol is Cs, as a hint to that).
- Jade's typewriter brand is a Lipizzaner, a name of a breed of show horses.
- Twilight is buying Jade's new book at a "Barns and No Bell" (Barnes & Noble) store.
- Rainbow Dash (Issue #2):
- Rarity (Issue #3):
- The title of the main story is ""How Rarity Got Her Groovy Back".
- Raritys' fashion show is set at the "Kazumi Theater", referencing Kazumi Evans, the singer for Rarity on the show.
- The guests at Pinkie's party include ponified versions of Bluto from Animal House, the Festrunk Brothers ("two wild and crazy guys!") from Saturday Night Live, and BJ and Hawkeye from M*A*S*H.
- Rarity's luggage includes a sticker that is nearly the same as the original emblem for the United Federation of Planets.
- One of the ponies at the natural spa (specifically a pony named Tofu) looks very similar to Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
- At the first breakfast scene, a green pony looking at the reader suspiciously resembles Charles Manson. (You know, for kids!).
- There's an old poster saying "Celestia Superstar" which is an obvious reference to the famous musical Jesus Christ Superstar. Another poster is for a musical group, the "Babboons", a parody of The Monkees (also apt for the theme of the issue).
- Another shot has a poster for Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Saddle, and a poster for Violet Sedan Chair, a fictional 70s band from the TV show Fringe.
- Yet another shot, among other pop-art and hippie culture phrases, includes Mane the Musical and a nod to Robert Crumb's famous comic in "Keep on Trottin'".
- When Rarity is explaining running a business to the others, there are ponies of Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap from WKRP in Cincinnati.
- At the "Art of the Dress" fashion show, the theater in the background is playing a film called "See You Next Wednesday", a recurring motif in films produced by John Landis (including Animal House and The Blues Brothers, both previously referenced by the comic book.)
- Fluttershy (Issue #4):
- When Fluttershy is fretting about her art, and Angel is trying to help, he's shown in front of three different paintings. The last two include Pablo Picasso's "Mandolin and Guitar", and Salvador Dali's "The Persistence of Memory". Angel even emphasizes this last one, suddenly sporting a vest and a mustache similar to Dali's own style.
- Most of the other paintings used in background shots of the contest hall are highly abstracted versions of other cover art from both the main and micro MLPFIM series.
- Pinkie Pie (Issue #5):
- The first page includes the standard Bad Vibrations joke from Jurassic Park as Pinkie rushes Twilight at the library.
- Pinkie wins tickets (from a contest hosted by "Colta-Cola" to see a clown named "Poniacci".
- There are further references to the opera: in Pinkie's song, she uses lines from "Vesti la Giubba", the famous aria.
- Though the joke is not told explicitly, Twilight repeats some elements of the Pagliacci joke from Watchmen (which is where the more youthful readers will likely recognize the name).
- One of the salesponies in the market is a stallion with blue spiked hair/mane, a cream-colored coat, and bright green eyes. Considering the artist is Ben Bates and his resume, this could be Sonic the Hedgehog in pony form.
- One of the students that Ponyacci takes on is named "Trollo Lollo", similar to the "Trololo" (the Russian Rickroll) meme.
- Pinkie's party cannon is described as a "Z&R model" cannon. This is a reference to the comic artist and writer Zander Cannon, who's a friend of the writer and helped him get the gig at IDW.
- The pony OC of webcomic artist Magnolia Porter appears during one of the market scene panels, as shown here. It's also a Visual Pun: the pony, Couch Potato, is carrying saddlebags full of magnolias, making her a "magnolia porter."
- Applejack (Issue #6):
- The main antagonist is the "Sass Squash", a play on the Sasquatch/Bigfoot legend. Granny's book even has a photo that spoofs the famous blurred photo that is used over on that trope page.
- As they prepare to go out to capture Sass Squash, Apple Bloom asks "Magnets, how do they work?", an Internet meme based on the Insane Clown Posse's song "Miracles".
- Cutie Mark Crusaders (Issue #7):
- One of Rarity's "dangerously impractical" dresses that the CMC have Imp try to recreate is one based on elements from Mystery Science Theater 3000; Sweetie Belle even comments "It stinks!", a riff popularized in show in the "Pod People" episode.
- A Where's Waldo? pony is among the large 2-page flea market spread, as are ponies based off Ponyta and Keldeo & Starlite.
- A Godzilla toy is in the CMC's clubhouse.
- Princess Celestia (Issue #8):
- Harry Potter anypony? (This is a school of magic, naturally...)
- Pony versions of Draco, Lucius, and Narcissa Malfoy are entering the banquet.
- Mrs. Weasley is leading Ron into the banquet.
- Pony versions of Snape and Trelawney are seen at the table later. Professor McGonagall is also seen in a later panel.
- The pony trio of Harry, Ron, and Hermonie can be seen as the banquet goes wrong.
- Inkwell herself is basically a ponified version of Alastor "Mad-Eye" Moody.
- A ponified Gordon Ramsay is helping to set up the banquet. He even swears!
- A young, somewhat odd looking filly who's mother Floribunda is proud to have her starring in the play is named Honey Sweet.
- Chance is named after the same character from the Peter Sellers film, Being There and even has a rake as a cutie mark, a reference to Chance being a gardener, as confirmed by Georgia Ball.
- Inkwell is speaking to a set of unicorn colt triplets wearing colored baseball hats. In fact, the matchup to Huey, Dewey, and Louie follows with their cutie marks and hat/eye colors: the one is red has a silhouette of Baby ''Huey'', the one in blue has a book (representing the Dewey Decimal system), and the one in green has a trumpet, the signature instrument of ''Louie'' Armstrong.
- Also seated at Celestia's table is a ponified Mr. Kotter.
- A ponified Hotaru and Chibi-Usa are among the ponies in the fray when the banquet food comes to life.
- Sailor Pluto, Uranus, and Neptune all feature in Princess Celestia's flashback.
- Among the fillies that Celestia brings to Inkwell, along with the G1 ponies, is a ponified Tintin.
- Also present in the flashback is the First Doctor.
- Susan, Barbara, and Ian are present at the disbarment meeting.
- Inkwell cheers up a young Floribunda by turning into Napoleon Dynamite.
- Pony versions of Don Draper, Peggy Olsen, and Pete Campbell are at the meeting.
- Spike (Issue #9):
- The Sea Beasts are a spin on the fad of Sea Monkeys.
- The Beasts, before they can speak the same language as Spike, use the same symbolic language as the Martians in the IDW Mars Attacks! comics.
- Princess Luna (Issue #10):
- At one point, a Night Guard and one of Celestia's Royal Guard walk by each other and respectively refer to the other as Sam and Ralph.
- Luna inspects the Royal Guards outside of the 12th Precinct.
- Luna wonders whether ponies would come to court at night.
- Luna has trouble walking two Corgis.
- She'd rather take on a full grown owlbear than do Celestia's work for another day.
- In the large 2-page spread of several activities running simultaneously:
- When Luna finally has had it with Kibitz' schedule, she rears up and threatens the ponies around her, surrounded by bats and in pose similar to another hero of the night.
- Luna and Applebloom talk at a walk very similar to the typical tableau for Peanuts.
- The two-page short reveals the opossum's name as Tiberius, a nod to either James Tiberius Kirk or Emperor Tiberius Nero.
- Fluttershy's spidey-senses tingle when Luna's thinking about finding a pet, though it turns out just because there was a spider nearby.
- Issue #1: Pinkie Pie and Applejack
- Blade Sparxx is easily a ponified Guy Fieri.
- When Pinkie begins losing it, Milk and Cheese appear.
- As AJ considers a plan to help Toffee, she asks Pinkie "You thinking what I'm thinking?" Pinkie responds "I think so, Brain!".
- Issue 2: CMC and Discord
- Apple Bloom's joke during their attempt at stand-up comedy is straight out of a Seinfeld routine.
- Discord's experimentation with flavored apples is very similar to what a certain candy maker had tried before. Discord even considers a snozzberry-flavored apple.
- Among the various scenarios that Discord puts the CMC through include:
- The equivalent of a NASCAR race, using steam-powered wagons.
- A full-on take of Star Trek: The Next Generation, including an Actor Allusion to Discord's inspiration, Q.
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders as Power Rangers//Super Sentai. Their "Mega Pony" robot bears a resemblance to Jetfire (or the Macross//Robotech mecha that developed into Jetfire, but IDW has the Transformers liscense, so Jetfire himself seems more likely). The monsterized version of Gummy they wind up fighting is blatantly based on Godzilla.
- A variant of Power Ponies, with Sweetie Belle as a robot! Not to mention Scootaloo's superhero outfit bears a striking resemblance to Hawkman (or Hawkgirl).
- The CMC as cops being chewed out by their police supervisor. According to Tony Fleecs at EFNW '14, Scootaloo is meant to dressed as Axel Foley in this.
- A take on The Lord of the Rings, with Star Swirl the Bearded as Gandalf.
- Issue 3: Celestia and Spike
- The pair are captured by anthropomorphic stone lobsters living in the mountains, aka "Rock Lobsters".
- Duke Silversaddle, who appears on the first page, is a reference to Hot In Cleveland, which had a brony character in a couple episodes. For the local nerd convention, he dressed up as "Prince Silversaddle".
- As with Anderson's Pinkie Pie issue, there's a Watchmen reference: Spike's line about how Celestia could have saved them easily is almost a word-for-word quote of something the Comedian says to Dr. Manhattan in the Vietnam flashback.
- Issue 4: Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor
- Issue 5: Fluttershy and Zecora:
- Zecora refers to a staff as a Jaffa stick.
- Zecora gives Fluttershy a word-association test: she says "hip", and Fluttershy responds with "square".
- Issue 6: Rainbow Dash and Trixie:
- Issue 7: Princess Luna and Pinkie Pie:
- One of the comedy routines Celestia is shown doing is smashing watermelons with a giant mallet.
- Yo, TV Tropes, I'm gonna interrupt you, I'm gonna let you finish, but Luna gives a Kanye West nod at the end.
- A group of delegates that Pinkie helps Luna to prank have uniforms similar to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (their cutie marks that are visible, a pine tree and a mountain, also allude to this).
- Fancy Shmancy is a ponificiation of Eustace Tilley, the dandy of The New Yorker.
- Issue 8: Applejack and Rarity
- The title of the story is "Reins, Trains, and Carts with Wheels", a parody of the movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Not to mention the Whole Plot Reference (with AJ as Steve Martin's character, and Rarity as Jon Candy's).
- Three frames lead off comic with the title. The middle frame mimics the poster art for Planes, Trains and Automobiles, while the right frame on the title page is a ponified version of when the lead characters take a selfie from Thelma & Louise.
- Rarity wants to visit Whinney Land.
- A few random National Lampoon's Vacation references:
- A sign as they leave Salt Lick City is for "Griswald's World of Matching Shoes and Belts".
- A sign with Jim the Troll near Mount Monument advertises "Holiday Road", the movie's theme song.
- The Salt Lick City "Biggest Ball of Yarn in Equestria" is based on the real world attraction, the Biggest Ball of Twine, located in Minnesota. However, the actual ball is much smaller than that in the comic; the comic's representation is actually much closer - including the restaurant at the top of the ball - to that in Sam & Max Hit the Road.
- The Seaddle Pony Barlett Water-Skiing show is based on a long-standing attraction at the Wisconson Dells, Tommy Barlett's Water-skiing Show.
- The "Reverend" Jim pony from the Sunshine Cab Co. appears again.
- Getting into the plane, AJ dons a flight cap with United Airlines' logo, "Fly the Friendly Skies" on it.
- They crash into Mount Monument, a direct take on Mount Rushmore. As such, imagery from North By Northwest appear on these pages.
- The Stranger, the stallion that pulls their stagecoach, is a ponification of Sam Elliot from Ghost Rider.
- The names of the Cattle Ruslters include direct references to historical western figures (Doc Holstein / Doc Holiday , Buffalo Bull / Buffalo Bill) or otherwise to the name of cow/bull steeds.
- When they get to Applewood, the town is a clear parody of Hollywood -there is the Applewood sign on the hill and Rodeo Drive, among similar sights of Beverly Hills.
- Ponified versions of the Marx Brothers are seen in Applewood.
- Whinney Land is indeed based on Disney Land , but like in Vacation, also a parody of Wally World in terms of its mascots (which spoof, in clothing, Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck)
- One panel has a statue that resembles a ponified Walt Disney.
- One ride is "Nightmare Moon Mountain" (a take off on Space Mountain); another building in a background shot is fashioned after the Haunted Mansion.
- Areas within are compared to those in Disney Land, like "It's a Wee Land" (It's a Small World) and "Sploosh Hill" (Splash Mountain). Specific attractions include parodies of the Haunted Mansion (which Cook and Price have referenced lots before), The Country Bears, The Jungle Tour, and Pirates of the Caribbean
- The comic ends on a double parody: the title "Dancin' across Equestria" and the use of photos is based on the end credits of National Lampoon's Vacation (its closing theme was "Dancin' across the USA", and the explanation of the various fates of the characters is a nod to Animal House.
- One of the souvenirs on the final page is a card for Chapin Taxi Service, "Taxi" being one of Harry Chapin's biggest hits.
- Issue 9: Granny Smith and Flim and Flam
- On the two page spread overlooking the apple convention, besides a zillion cameos and callbacks to the comics:
- As Granny walks through the con, she passes four ponies dressed as certain pieces of fruit.
- Slash, the famous guitarist for Guns N' Roses, is ponified in one panel.
- Extending from the original The Music Man inspiration of Flim and Flam from "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000", the brothers end up angry at the other after they both fail to vie for the love of Marian the Librarian. The pony version of Marian is even similarly dressed to the 1962 film version of the character.
- Issue 10: Fluttershy and Iron Will
- Issue 11: Rainbow Dash and Spitfire
- Issue 12: Twilight Sparkle and Pinkie Pie
- Ponified versions of Ryuko and Mako are at one of the snack carts, and also appear in a later panel.
- Twilight's censored swearing is covered by a panel saying "Cheezburger", matching the font and letter play of the site. Previously, Pinkie said "I can has noms if I escape??" at the top of the same page.
- Once Twilight has discovered the joys of PheNOMNOMenons, she and Pinkie go at them like a Pac-Man game.
- As Pinkie is trying to show self-restraint, one panel gives her head the appearance of the film poster of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
- Issue 13: Rarity and Babs Seed
- The tickets Rarity gets are from "Ticketmule", a parody of the Ticketmaster event ticketing chain.
- The roller derby pony with the performance name "Snowpain" looks suspiciously like Elsa with braids and snowflakes adorning her suit.
- One of the derby team numbers is 416, which is the area code for Toronto, artist Agnes Garbowski's hometown, often used as a "Toronto Represent 416" catchphrase. Some of the pony skaters are ponified versions of members of GTA Roller Girls, a non-profit roller derby league in the Toronto area.
- The fanon connection between the Time Turner/Doctor Whooves and Doctor Who gets a lot of play on the covers. While IDW also has the license for the Doctor Who comics and can probably get away with some of this, Bobby Curnow for IDW has stated they simply consider these are parodies under fair use allowances.
- Time Turner (whose Fan Nickname is Dr. Whooves) is seen saying "Spoilers" on the Pony Beat magazine on the Lone Star Comics Cover RE for Issue #1◊.
- A Hot Topic variant for Issue #1 throws subtly to the wind and flat out has Time Turner with a TARDIS and sonic screwdriver, complete with Derpy as a companion!
- Another variant cover for Issue #2 has Time Turner wearing Tom Baker's iconic scarf, holding a fob watch, standing by a streetlamp that's suspiciously TARDIS-shaped, with a statue of a pegasus covering her eyes ala a Weeping Angel.
- Hot Topic's #10 variant◊ has the Other Mane 6 (Derpy, Time Turner, Lyra, Bon-Bon, Vinyl, and Octavia) in fancy garb; Time Turner is holding a pocket watch which has markings very close to that of what the new Doctor Who series uses for the written Gallifreyan language◊.
- Amy Mebberson's CMC micro variant has Apple Bloom playing dress-up with a bow-tie (11th), fez (10th/11th), and bohemian scarf (4th).
- The Hot Topic variant for #14◊ is direct nod to The Snowmen.
- In the mirror universe pairing of Andy Price's covers for issues #18 and #19, the regular Doctor Whooves character in the mirror universe becomes one based on the Fourth Doctor.
- Issue #24 involves Discord and time travelling; naturally Discord on the cover is show in a fez and red bow tie.
- Main Series:
- On the Andy Price's Applejack cover for Issue #1, There is a record cover of a band called "The Hoof Beats"
- Issue #3's Midtown variant gets a bit stylish...
- You shall not pass up Hot Topic's #5 variant cover.
- Fleecs' exclusive cover for the 2013 SDCC issue #9 is a nod to the Abbey Road Crossing.
- Andy Price's #9 Variant cover for IDW for SDCC◊ includes album covers from bands The Beach Colts (visually, appearing like the "Pet Sounds"◊ album cover), The Baboons (parodying their "Headquarters"◊ as "Stables"), and The Galloping Stones (parodying the "Some Girls"◊ as "Some Fillies").
- Another variant for #9 has Big Mac climbing up the side of building with the CMC and the Cake Twins in tow, a parody of the poster for Adventures in Babysitting.
- Price's variant for #10◊ is a direct homage to the cover of Justice League #1◊, confirmed by Price himself.
- Cook's #10 variant◊ includes ponified versions of Calvin and Hobbes and Jughead, and another The Catcher in the Rye nod.
- The Larry/Jetpack combo for Issue #10 has Vinyl and Octavia in TRON-inspired outfits.
- Andy Price's cover for #11◊ includes references to Bruce Springsteen and his "Born in the USA", and Men Without Hats. There's also a picture of one mare (Meadow Song) in a "HOSS" shirt styled after the band KISS, and Katie Cook's pony OC (the second on the bottom row) in a shirt parodying the original Star Wars.
- The Hot Topic◊ variant for Issue #11 doesn't do much to hide the fact that the arc, "Neigh Anything", is a parody of Say Anything.
- Andy Price's cover for #12 features Shining Armor carrying around a "Monstrous Manual II" and a bag of dice. NEEEEEERD.
- The main cover by Amy Mebberson for issue #16 has some of the Mane 6 in costumes of books from fiction facing against the story's giant bookworm. Rainbow is dressed as Daring Do (of course), Rarity is in a standard princess motif, while meaning Twilight has on Hogwart robes and Pinkie is one of the Gumbys.
- Katie Cook's variant for Issue #17◊ is a homage to Muppet Babies.
- Agnes Garbowska's Hartford Comic Con variant for Issue #19◊ is a element-for-element take on the cover of Issue #1 of The Walking Dead, with Applejack preparing to fight a horde of changelings.
- Katie Cook's Botcon exclusive cover variant for Issue #19◊ features Starscream of G1 Transformers fame who fought her on Death Battle.
- Tony Fleecs' variant for Issue #22 is a element-for-element parody of The Incredible Hulk #1.
- Amy Mebberson's Hot Topic variant cover for #22 featuring Cheese Sandwich makes nods to "Weird Al" Yankovic's "Beverly Hillbillies/Money For Nothing", "Eat It", "Like a Surgeon" , and "Weird Al In 3-D" songs and albums.
- Amy's variant for #24 (a story involving time travel) is a full-on parody of the poster for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.
- Amy's Hot Topic variant for #25 has the Mane 6 in various pop culture cowboy-themed outfits: AJ is The Man With No Name, Twilight is Marty McFly, Pinkie is Quick Draw McGraw, Rarity is Jessie, Rainbow Dash as The Lone Ranger, and Fluttershy as Dale Evans.
- Amy's Hot Topic variant for #26 is a homage to the holiday specials of Rankin/Bass Productions (particularly Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer)
- Micro Series
- Friends Forever
- Fiendship Is Magic