A My Little Pony series from IDW Publishing based on Friendship is Magic, and part of the overall My Little Pony G4 universe. With the popularity of their main pony comic, it was only a matter of time before they did a spotlight series like they do with their other licensed franchises.
Each issue focused on a different pony, starting with the Mane Six. Each issue also had a different creative team, and as such were more stand-alone, Slice of Life stories as opposed to the heavier Story Arcs of the main series.
The original plan was to only do the Mane Six, but, since My Little Pony has been such a hot seller for IDW, the series was extended for another four issues — the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Princess Celestia, Spike, and Princess Luna. After the micro-series ended, another series called My Little Pony: Friends Forever took its place alongside the main comic.
The first six comics have been bundled into a single volume Pony Tales: Vol. 1, and the last four in Pony Tales: Vol. 2.
Shares a Shout Out page with the main comic series.
This series provides examples of these tropes (for more, please also visit the character guide):
- A Day In The Lime Light: Like IDW's other Micro Series, the issues focus on a particular pony (or group of ponies in the case of the Cutie Mark Crusaders), starting with the Mane Six and moving on from there.
- Lighter and Softer: The Micro Series has a more Slice of Life feel and is generally lighthearted compared to the main books (Particularly in light of how dark the first two arcs in the main series are).
Tropes applying to Individual Issues:
- Written & Drawn by Thom Zahler
Princess Celestia sends Twilight Sparkle to the Royal Archives to help its librarian, Summer Mane, who has since injured a forehoof, to help shelve books. Summer Mane refuses to accept help until Twilight lies to her, claiming she will be replaced if she doesn't accept her help. Summer Mane has strict demands on Twilight's shelving duties, and orders her not to enter her office. The two develop an awkward relationship, as both share a love of books, including an interest in Jade Singer, an author that disappeared years earlier after writing a highly successful book. But their other interests, such as musical taste, conflict.
One day, Summer Mane heads into town for shopping, leaving Twilight to shelve. Twilight's curiosity gets to her and she peeks into Summer's office, seeing a typewriter and numerous other writing tools pointing to Jade Singer, just as Summer Mane returns having forgotten her checkbook. She orders Twilight to leave, but Twilight reveals that she had figured out that Summer is Jade Singer several days before from her other mannerisms. Twilight admits to having lied to her about being replaced. Jade reveals that she had been worried on trying to live in the light of her previous success fearing she would disappoint others, but Twilight explains her own situation, having to be Princess Celestia's student, but supported by her friends in Ponyville. Twilight's advice allows Jade to overcome her fears, and releases her second book to great praise. Twilight later gets a letter from Celestia, thanking her for helping Jade overcome her fears and reuniting her with her friend.
- Artist Disillusionment: In-Universe with Jade, who felt she couldn't top her last work novel. Though subverted a bit, as it's revealed that she's still writing. Just lacking the courage to continue, least till Twilight's visit.
- Beat Panel: Two separate pages of these, indicating the awkward silence between Jade and Twilight during their meals.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Jade is initially very distant and rude towards Twilight, but Twilight's positive attitude and love of reading eventually brings them closer together.
- Fair-Play Whodunnit: All the clues that Twilight picked up on revealing Jade's identity are shown to the reader prior to her explanation - though not explained at that time they are shown. A big clue is a smudged cutie mark. However, some of the clues required a priori knowledge of Jade Singer — like her glasses and love of swing music - which are only brought up in connection to her when Twilight explains them.
- Forbidden Fruit: Jade's office which she makes very clear to Twilight not to enter. Naturally Twilight can't help but sneak a peek when Jade goes off to run an errand.
- Intergenerational Friendship: Their age difference is never specifically mentioned, but its clear that Twilight and Jade learn to appreciate each other across a generational gap. Jade and Princess Celestia are also old friends, and Celestia is at least a thousand years old.
- Istanbul (Not Constantinople): averted with the "Brussels sprouts".
- Grumpy Old Man: Jade.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: ''I Have No Snout Yet I Must Whinny'' gets mentioned.
- Malicious Misnaming: Jade keeps getting Twilight's name wrong, calling her things like "Try-right" and "Spotlight". She's apparently doing it on purpose, as when she finds Twilight with her muzzle in a book, she calls Twilight by her proper name to get her attention.
- Meaningful Name: Jade as in "Jaded" since she's become a "Jaded Artist". Singer hints at her love her swing music. It is also a reference to J.D. Salinger, the famously reclusive author.
- Mundane Made Awesome: Jade's love of swing music.
- Not So Different: Twilight says that she can sympathies with Jade Singer having to live with extremely high expectations, since being the princess' personal students puts similarly high expectations on her.
- Off-Model: Jade Singer's horn is missing in a few frames.
- Porn Stash: Poked at on Cover A, where Twilight has a Fanfiction Stash in the corner. The words "Spike Keep Out!!!" are written on the box, and Spike is reading one of them in the other corner with a cheeky grin on his face.
- Strange Minds Think Alike: When Twilight reveals she had lied about Celestia threatening to replace her if she turned Twilight away from assisting her. Jade actually laughs and reveals that's how she got the job of looking over the library in the first place.
- Super OCD: Just a notch by Twilight, shelving a book by its introductory subtitle rather than the larger-font main title, to Jade's annoyance.
- Later, Twilight gets caught up in reading a book she was meant to be shelving, but Jade also admits that she gets that way, hence why the library is cluttered with unshelved books.
- Take That!: "[You read] Probably just comic books, or maybe that silly series with the vampire pony."
- Wham Line: Interestingly it wasn't "I'm Jade Singer" but rather Twilight's response of "I know." The story provides a neat twist on the typical "bitter old celebrity who has gone into seclusion" plot and plays with the readers who can tell where the story is heading from early on.
- You Got Spunk: Word for word by Jade of Twilight. Of course followed quickly with "I hate spunk."
- Written by Ryan Lindsay, Drawn by Tony Fleecs
A nasty stormcloud moves in during the Summerfell Festival at Ponyville, but when Rainbow Dash tries to dispel it, she finds it occupied by two nasty Cloud Gremlins that taunt her and toss her away, injuring her wings. The cloud remains over Ponyville for a month, darkening the spirits of the ponies there. Once Rainbow can fly, she tries other less dangerous attempts to get rid of the Gremlins but they continue to overpower her while Applejack and Tank try to provide moral support. She realizes that the Gremlins are feeding off the sad feelings the rest of town has and figures that she needs to inspire and cheer up the town to break the Gremlins' spell. She risks her life to pull off a "Sonic Double Rainboom", making everypony happy and making short work of the Gremlins' spell. However, this takes its toll on Rainbow, damaging her wings. Two months later, Rainbow Dash still hasn't taken to the skies, reluctant to hurt herself. Applejack comes by to get her to help sell a special batch of apples that were infused with flavor from the Double Rainboom, and manages to trick her into her normal flying routines, proving that she's healed.
- Ascended Meme:
- The 20% cooler meme is referenced in the beginning when Rainbow goes 20% faster after doing a Sonic Rainboom.
- Rainbow gives Tank a "brohoof".
- Rainbow pulls off a Sonic Double Rainboom. There has been a fan-made full length episode entitled "Double Rainboom" that's been in the works for a while and teased. Whether this inspired the comic's term is unclear, though its most likely a reference to the old Double Rainbow meme from YouTube (which many bronies naturally associate Rainbow Dash with).
- Badass Boast: Much of Dash's and the Cloud Gremlins' dialogue consists of this.Rainbow Dash: I don't know if you've noticed, but I'm pretty awesome. I'm Pony Newman's Hickory-Infused Awesomesauce[tm].
- Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: The Sonic Double Rainboom certainly defeats the gremlins, but completely paralyzes Dash's wings for two months.
- Carnivore Confusion: Applejack uses "Pork chops and applesauce!" as an exclamation of surprise.
- Call-Back: The Double Rainboom causes a crop of Applejack's apples to become rainbow-colored and extremely tasty, akin to Zap Apples, though AJ doesn't call them out as such.
- Continuity Cameo: Besides Applejack's supporting role, Twilight Sparkle, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy also appear towards the end. Scootaloo, Spitfire, Big McIntosh, Derpy, Lyra Heartstrings, Berry Punch, and some other background ponies also make brief appearances throughout the comic.
- Determinator: Rainbow's refusal to give up is specifically mentioned by a pony reporter at the end of the comic.
- Emotion Eater: Like the Windigoes, the Gremlins feed off negative feelings, and use weather to continually instill these negative emotions in a perpetuating cycle.
- Empathy Pet: Tank, even just holding his flag to cheer on Rainbow when the rest of town has given up hope.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Rainbow does a Sonic Double Rainboom to help inspire everypony in Equestria and dispel the gremlins' cloud. However, doing so leaves her unable to fly for two months. Even more this trope is the fact Rainbow believed full well that the Sonic Double Rainboom could make her unable to ever fly again.
- It's All About Me: Inverted. In the end, Rainbow realizes that turning her own attitude around isn't enough; she needs to instill happiness and inspiration in everypony else.
- Large Ham: Rainbow Dash, the Cloud Gremlins, and the TV news anchorpony.
- Last Request: "Tell Tank to polish my trophies every year on my birthday and never forget me. Never... forget..."
- Mythology Gag: The emo/goth pony during the news interview montage? She's actually the 2011 Comic Con Special Edition Pony!
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Rainbow's attempts at stopping the gremlins by herself just feed the gremlins.
- Schizo Tech: There's a TV news crew, but we never see anypony actually watching TV.
- The Trickster: Cloud Gremlins. Doesn't help their quoting the appropriate Shakespeare play too.
- Tomboy with a Girly Streak: Dash's vision of a Cool Bike includes "streamers and a boss pink basket on the front".
- Unsound Effect: All over the place, including "FAIL", "FACE", "ROPE", "BROHOOF", and "SCOWL!".
- Willfully Weak: Rainbow Dash spends much of the comic holding herself back after her initial encounter with the Gremlins for fear of hurting her wings again.
- Written by Katie Cook, Drawn by Andy Price, Colored by Heather Breckel
After a successful fashion show in Ponyville as a precursor to a big show in Canterlot the following week, Rarity is exhausted. Applejack arranges her a trip to a rural spa that she had read about to allow her to recover in time for the event. The spa - more of a communal farm run by a Hippie couple called Flax Seed and Wheat Grass - is far below Rarity's usual standards, and she reluctantly helps in dirty, tiring manual labor around the farm, hoping that things will get better... eventually.
At the end of every (tiring) day, her temper and disappointment are placated by the different "Goops For Stuff" the Hippie ponies leave in her "luxury suite" (actually a broken down barn) which Rarity finds to be excellent health and beauty products. However, after several days, her patience finally runs out and announces she's leaving, asking for a partial money refund.
It's then that Rarity learns that Wheat and Flax are indebted to Flim and Flam, and if they don't pay them off, they will lose the farm to the brothers, who will sell their land to Filthy Rich so he can build a new Filthy Rich megastore. Rarity decides to stay and help the naïve Hippies to to commercialize their "Goops for Stuff", using her business savvy to boost production and market the product. After a first failed attempt to sell the merch on a roadside stand that's only visited twice a week by the pony express (Derpy Hooves, to be exact) Rarity decides to take everyone, products and all, to Canterlot.
The product premieres alongside her Canterlot fashion show with great acceptation, allowing Wheat and Flax to make enough money to save their farm (and even pay other bills), so the whole ordeal ends with success. Perhaps too much, as Rarity is left behind as Wheat and Flax are whisked away by the Canterlot elite, but she consoles herself by thinking that at least the hippie ponies are happy and her own fashion show was a roaring success too. (Plus, the lifetime supply of plum & pears withers cream she got from the grateful hippies isn't shabby either.)
- Actor Allusion: As a nod to the show, Rarity's first fashion show is held at the Kazumi Theater, referencing her singer Kazumi Evans. The fashion show in Canterlot is called The Art of the Dress.
- Bee Afraid: One of the activities Rarity does in the hippie farm is helping Flax Seed to collect honey. She thinks ahead and puts a protective suit on, but the angry bees reduce it to shreds and at the end of the day, Rarity is covered in bee stings.
- Bittersweet Ending: Rarity is of course upset at high society paying attention to her hippie friends and ignoring her, but she consoles herself that at least her new friends are happy and have given her a lifetime supply of their product in gratitude of her help, while Twilight points out that her own fashion show was a big success itself with a slew of new commissions for her business.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: At the end of the story, both Flax Seed and Rarity pull this.Flax Seed: Like, the end!
Rarity: (Appearing from behind a rolled up comic page) Peace out!
- Brick Joke: During the honey harvesting, Rarity complains about Flax Seed using "like" every other word. The comic ends with Wheat Grass calling him out on it.Flax Seed: Whoa! Anger.
- Buffy Speak: Rarity refers to a hammer as a "whack-a-nail-into-the-wall thingy".
- The Hippie Ponies refer to their all-natural health and beauty products as "Goops For Stuff"
- The Cameo: The Observer Pony can be seen at Canterlot's fashion show (he's in every issue Andy draws).
- Chekhov's Armoury: Pretty much everything behind the wellness center and what Rarity uses to save it is shown as background images (the "Goops For Stuff" stand, the waving Filthy Rich billboard) or seemingly dropped in in dialog.
- Continuity Cameo: All of the Mane Six & Spike show up. In addition to some supporting/background ponies, we get a surprise appearance from Trixie during the after-party.
- Filthy Rich (Diamond Tiara's father) is pictured on a billboard overlooking Wheat and Flax's farm.
- Flim and Flam are mentioned as the unseen antagonists in the story.
- Derpy Hooves appears as the mailmare the hippie ponies talked about. She's promptly creeped at the hippies (plus Rarity's) anxious looks and passes by without making her habitual stop.
- Fleur De Lis, Photo Finish, and Hoity Toity all show up at the fashion show in Canterlot.
- Continuity Nod: Twilight mentions that after the events of Lesson Zero, she of all ponies knows how too much work stress can make a pony snap.
- When Rarity first leaves for her retreat, Pinkie tells her to not forget to write while glaring at Rainbow Dash, with Dash sheepishly stating that she meant to.
- Luna appears in Rarity's dreams, singing "Hush now, quiet now".
- Flax considers their process of making Goops "organized chaos", the same that Rarity called her workroom in "Sisterhooves Social".
- The line "The pony everypony should know" (from "Sweet and Elite") is repeated a few times when Flax and Wheat are whisked off by the Elite.
- The cover of the magazine AJ is reading at the start features the cleaned-up Hayseed Turnip Truck, from the 2-page short at the end of the comic (see section below).
- Cordon Bleugh Chef: Wheat Grass is a terrible cook, but she manages to disguise her disasters by passing them off as "Health food". Rarity doesn't realize this until the very end of the story.
- Crazy-Prepared: Packing away a huge supply of creativity products despite it being a vacation for her pays off for Rarity and her new friends in the end.
- Creator Cameo: The ponies based on Katie Cook, Andy Price, and his wife from Issue #1 of the ongoing series return. Katie can be seen playing cards during the after-party, while Andy and his wife are at the second fashion show.
- Sleepy Skies, the OC of Cat Whitney who is a close friend of storyboardist Sabrina Alberghetti, appears in one shot.
- Tara Strong's ponysona (the unicorn with the toga and heart-on-microphone cutie mark) appears during the second fashion show. An odd cameo, seeing as this issue doesn't focus on Twilight.
- Epic Fail: Once she learns about the hippies' predicament, Rarity does her best to ensure that the production of "Goops For Stuff" is maximized to its limit, to ensure the product remains 100% natural, is made in a way that nobody gets their hooves dirty anymore and most important, that not even a drop of it is wasted. She also gives the product a complete makeover to make it more attractive, and finally instructs the hippies about how to sell their products in a more efficient (and profitable) way so they could save their farm. After all of that hard work, the hippies and Rarity proceed to accidentally scare off their only potential customer.
- Furry Reminder: Rarity is prepared to discuss the matter of branding their new health products. Wheat and Flax are quick to cover their flanks, crying out that they already have their cutie marks.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Let's be honest, with their shrunken/dilated irises, erratic behavior and thin, consumed frames it's blatantly obvious that the hippie ponies (especially Flax Seed) are higher than the Stars and Stripes on the 4th of July. Word of God on the matter is basically "I can't say that he's high all the time, but he totally is."
- Flax Seed even keeps forgetting what he was going to say and is convinced that Filthy Rich's billboard portrait is always watching him. On top of that, he stares at the sky at random moments and stays like that with a vacant expression.
- The party after Rarity's fashion show included ponies gambling and blatantly drunk (especially Rainbow Dash) plus Sweetcream Scoops is making passes at Big McIntosh while two stallions are trying to seduce (a very uncomfortable) Fluttershy.
- Pinkie Pie is peeking into the stallions dressing room with Rainbow Dash on the first page while Fluttershy watches in something between horror and embarrassment.
- Gilligan Cut: Several times, typically Rarity commenting on how the next day can't be any worse before she goes to bed and finding out the next panel it is much worse.
- Hard-Work Montage: Rarity doesn't realize it until later, but all the various jobs she does around the farm help the hippie ponies create their beauty products.
- Karma Houdini: Flim and Flam trick the Hippie Ponies into owing them a large sum of money and losing their farm (so they could sell the land to Filthy Rich) unless the ponies could pay the debt. Thanks to Rarity's help, the Hippie Ponies can make enough money to pay their debt and save their farm... which means Flim and Flam still managed to win a large sum of money out of their shady deal and nothing bad happened to them.
- Lampshade Hanging:
- When Twilight asks Spike to take a letter, he immediately objects since they're in Canterlot and Princess Celestia is literally 40 feet away. Twilight justifies the letter because it can be saved and properly indexed. Celestia comments, when reading the letter, that she was just right there and they could have told her then.
- When Rarity comments that the Hippie Ponies leave a mess during the bottling proccess of their beauty products, Flax Seed says that's because filling tiny bottles is really hard when you don't have thumbs.
- As Rarity starts to explain business principles to the crew, one comments to another that this would be a perfect place for a montage. The other replies that "Uncle Montage" left years ago.
- Lampshade Wearing: Daisy, at the fashion show after-party.
- Like Is, Like, a Comma: Flax Seed always says "like" every other word. It's even lampshaded by Rarity and an irate Wheat Grass.
- Meaningful Name: The four named ponies, Wheat Grass, Flax Seed, Tofu, and Tempeh, all are names of products that would be otherwise considered highly organic or part of a natural way of lifestyle. Moreso, Tempeh continues to go on and on about soy products, which is apt, as tempeh is a foodstuff made from soybeans.
- New-Age Retro Hippie: The Hippie ponies fit this trope like a glove, including the (implied) use of drugs.
- Running Gag: Flax Seed and his obsession with Filthy Rich's billboard.Flax Seed: I always, like, feel like he's watching me. His eyes move with me. Always watching... never sleeping...
- Super OCD: See Lampshade Hanging above.
- Verbal Tic: Like, see Like Is, Like, a Comma above.
- Wacky Frat Boy Hijinx: During Rarity's after party, involving a stallion with Bluto's likeness, (he even has Delta Tau Chi as his cutie mark), Lyra Heartstrings, Octavia, and Pinkie.
- Waxing Lyrical: Hoity Toity joyously proclaims Flax Seed is the next pony every pony should know at the Canterlot fashion show.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: Despite Pinkie Pie making a big deal about not forgetting to send letters to Rarity (and Rainbow Dash sheepishly claiming she will not forget) Rarity isn't being shown writing or receiving any letter to/from her friends.
- Fridge Brilliance can explain it as the hippie farm only being visited twice a week by the pony express, and then Derpy Hooves being scared away before she could pick or deliver any mail.
- Women Are Wiser: When it comes to Flax & Wheat.
- Written by Barbara Kesel, Art by Tony Fleecs, Coloring by Amy Mebberson
Fluttershy finds that Princess Celestia is offering an "Extreme Art Contest" in Canterlot. She hurriedly returns home and escorts Angel Bunny to her "Chamber of Extreme Knitting", revealing that she has quite the skill in knitting but one she is scared sharing with her friends or others for fear of her work being criticized. Angel Bunny gives her enough encouragement to enter the contest.
Fluttershy takes her knitted sculpture - a larger-than-life version of herself surrounded by hundreds of butterflies - to Canterlot, but wears bulky clothes to disguise herself. Art critic Praiser Pan along with several of the Canterlot elite and Rarity, survey the entries and consider them all to be poor excuses for art. When they say the same of Fluttershy's, she tries to defend her work as something that she loves, but Praiser still ridicules the work as "craft" and not art. Rarity realizes that it is Fluttershy behind the disguise, and tells her to be proud of her work, but Fluttershy still is hurt by the harsh criticism and is ready to destroy it. Just then, Princess Celestia arrives and praises Fluttershy's entry, awarding her one of the top prizes in the show. Praiser and most of the rest of the elite quickly sing a different tune and appreciate Fluttershy's entry. On returning to Ponyville, Fluttershy is happy to share her works of knitted art with her friends.
- Adaptational Villainy: Fancypants in "Sweet and Elite" was one of the few of the Canterlot elite to be tolerable towards non-elites and wasn't as concerned with following the crowd. Here, however, he has a constant look of disdain and appears to more or less agree with much of Praiser Pan's criticisms.
- Bookcase Passage: Direct from Fluttershy's main room to her Chamber.
- Caustic Critic: Praiser Pan.
- Continuity Nod: Fluttershy's knitting knowledge is not surprising given her sewing ability from "Dress for Success".
- A knitted version of one of the Cloud Gremlins from the Rainbow Dash micro series appears in Fluttershy's Chamber of Extreme Knitting.
- Several of the elite from the episode "Sweet and Elite" appear, including Fancypants, Fleur Dis Lee, Gavel, and Upper Crust.
- Also from "Sweet and Elite", Rarity has learned to take the Canterlot Elite's criticism in stride, and she encourages Fluttershy to do the same. Likewise, most of the critics immediately do a 180 as soon as Princess Celestia starts praising Fluttershy's work.
- When Fluttershy is considering destroying her work, her "You're going to LOVE ME!" Flutterage face makes a brief return.
- Empathy Pet: Angel Bunny is on his sympathetic side this time around, and actually helps Fluttershy get past her fears.
- Expospeak Gag: Fluttershy's description of her knitted sculpture.Fluttershy: I hope Princess Celestia will appreciate the symbolism inherent in the chaotic juxtaposition of my Cutie Mark melded into a transformative spiral representing the process of personal maturation as experienced by an introverted artisan!
Angel Bunny: ???
Fluttershy: I mean that I hope she likes my art, because it's all about me learning to be brave.
- Full-Body Disguise: Fluttershy wears one in order to attend Princess Celestia's exhibit, since she would be too afraid to attend otherwise. Also qualifies as a Paper-Thin Disguise considering it doesn't hide her tail and Rarity is able to deduce the butterfly theme and her meek voice.
- Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Praiser Pan is interrupted as he calls out "This isn't art, it's cr--", and finishes statement as "craft".
- Hidden Depths: Fluttershy's freaky obsessive-compulsive fascination with knitting.
- Large Ham: Fluttershy, believe it or not, in the two-page spread.Fluttershy: Just imagine if they knew the truth... what I do here in my CHAMBER OF EXTREME KNITTING! I've also considered calling it... THE PALACE OF FRIENDLY PONY GROTESQUERIES! ...but I thought that might be a bit too much.
- Mundane Made Awesome:
- Princess Celestia is offering an "Extreme Art Contest".
- Fluttershy's Chamber of Extreme Knitting. And her excitement of being in it.
- Meaningful Name: Praiser Pan works both as an art critic (an appraiser) and one that rarely gives positive praise for the work (panning it).
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: "Pinto-Picasso".
- Super Senses: Rarity's "Couture Sizing Sense", which allows her to identify Fluttershy.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Angel is all heart in this one.
- Written by Ted Anderson, Art by Ben Bates
Pinkie Pie has won tickets to see her inspiration, the great pony clown Ponyacci, and invites Twilight along. While waiting in line, Pinkie tries to cheer up a depressed older pony, even offering her ticket to him, but he politely refuses and walks off. Pinkie and Twilight enjoy the show, one of Ponyacci's best performances, and Pinkie insists on going to find him after the show. The two are surprised when they find Ponyacci is none other than the old pony they met earlier. Pinkie is heartbroken to hear that this was Ponyacci's last show, as while he still enjoys entertaining others, he is simply too old to perform any more.
Back in Ponyville, Pinkie is still in a slump from hearing of Ponyacci's retirement, but while talking to Twilight and Spike, comes up with an idea to convince Ponyacci to keep performing. She performs a song and dance number for the clown with all of her gusto, but is surprised when Ponyacci remains unconvinced to return. Instead, he offers a fair critical appraisal of her performance, leading Pinkie to an even better idea: to have Ponyacci teach other ponies to be clowns. Ponyacci quickly warms up to the idea, and soon afterwards, "Ponyacci's School of Clowning, Japes, and Baffoonery" has already drawn new students under his mentorship. In a letter to Princess Celestia, Pinkie recounts that one is never too old to be involved in something they love, and that helping others to fulfill their dreams is just as good as fulfilling one's own.
- Bad Vibrations: Pretty much the standard Jurassic Park reference.
- Bland-Name Product: "Colta-Cola".
- Blue with Shock: Pinkie after her performance doesn't convince Ponyacci to return to clowning.
- Call-Back: Pinkie's party cannon appears again. And according to Ponyacci, those things are mass produced.Ponyacci: "Is that a Z & R model party cannon?"
- Chekhov's Gunman: The old depressed pony, whose cutie mark remains conspicuously unseen to the reader (though close examination of his eyes and ears shows that they match that of Ponyacci), and remarks that not even Ponyacci can cheer him up. He's not going to be important at all, no way no how.
- Clown School: Pinkie's suggests Ponyacci teaches in one of these as a compromise.
- Cool Old Guy: Ponyacci claims to be too old to perform anymore. He says this after performing a routine that involved juggling a bowling ball, a walrus and a 1-Ton weight. Using his hind legs. While performing a stand on one of his forelegs.
- The Comically Serious: Twilight during Pinkie's song:Ponyacci: "I suppose you're trying to convince me not to quit, too?"
Twilight: "No, I'm just handling props and background music."
- Also is an example of Left the Background Music On. Since it's Pinkie Pie, you'd expect the music to come from out of nowhere, but not this time!
- Creator Cameo: 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".
- Eureka Moment: When Ponyacci starts offering some constructive criticism of Pinkie Pie's muscial number, Pinkie gets the idea for him to open a school for clowns.
- Mistaken for Quake: Twilight asks if an earthquake was scheduled for today. It turns out to be Pinkie Pie, who's just had 315 bottles of soda.
- Never Say "Die":Twilight "I think maybe you're overreacting a little. It's not like Ponyacci is going away. He's just not performing anymore"
- Orphaned Punchline:Ponyacci: "...so I said 'Alligator? I thought you meant bagpipes!'"
- Painful Rhyme: "Last"/"laugh". Lampshaded in Ponyacci's critique of Pinkie's song.
- The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Pinkie Pie.
- Written by Bobby Curnow, Art by Brenda Hickey
As Hearth Warming Eve approaches on Sweet Apple Acres, the Apple family is hard at work preparing lots of apple-based goods to sell to others. One night, some of their apple crop is replaced by squashes, and Granny Smith points to the legendary Sass Squash, a monster she had encountered once before as a filly, that changes apples to squashes. Fearing they'll lose sales and potentially the farm with the creature around, the family sets into motion to capture it, but Applejack insists she do this herself. Applejack tries a number of methods to lure the Sass Squash into a trap, but the creature seems to be one-up on her, and despite the other family members insisting on helping, Applejack continues to capture it on her own. But she ultimately gives in, realizing the creature is too elusive for her. She tells the bad news to the family, but is surprised when they all offer that they should work together now to capture it.
Soon after, their combined plan is set in motion: Granny runs into the forest banging on pots and pans to annoy the Sass Squash, Apple Bloom plays her fiddle to soothe the creature, and Big McIntosh traps it with a net when it falls in a small pit they dug earlier. Applejack, Apple Bloom, and Big McIntosh are then surprised when the creature takes off its head to reveal Granny Smith. The "creature" is really a large suit Granny made years ago, and planned on using it to help bring the Apples together as a family as a break of their hard work during the Hearths Warming Eve season. The family is relieved that the monster doesn't exist, and Applejack writes a letter to Princess Celestia about the importance of taking a break from work to spend time with your loved ones. As she looks through Granny's photo album, Applejack is surprised to see a picture of a younger Granny and the real Sass Squash together. Elsewhere, Granny delivers a fresh baked apple pie to the middle of the forest, thanking the Sass Squash for its hard work and wishing it a happy Hearths Warming Eve.
- Always Someone Better: The Sass Squash. Justified; Granny Smith is secretly a Spanner in the Works.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: The Sass Squash.
- Continuity Nod:
- The events in the comic are around the Hearth's Warning Eve holiday.
- Big McIntosh still has Smarty Pants.
- Granny Smith plans to use noise from pots and pans to scare away the Sass Squash, the same trick she used for the Timber Wolves. Further, young Granny Smith in the flashback and photographs is dressed similarly to how her younger self was depicted from the same episode.
- Cringe Comedy: Applejack tries to place herself in the mindset of the Sass Squash, and starts acting all goofy in mimicking the creature. Cut to the other Apples looking on with some shock and horror, much to AJ's embarrassment.
- Failure Is the Only Option: Applejack's plans to capture the Sass Squash alone end in failure.
- Hall of Mirrors: One of the traps Applejack tries is to arrange a number of mirrors so she can strategically watch for Sass Squash's approach. Unfortunately, Big McIntosh takes a moment to admire himself, distracting AJ long enough for the Sass Squash to make his swap.
- Impossible Thief: The Sass Squash only needs a small distraction to steal Applejac's stuff and replace it with his squashes.
- Punny Name: The Sass Squash, a sasquatch that's also an anthropomorphic squash.
- Written by Ted Anderson, Art by Ben Bates
While exploring outside of Ponyville, the CMC accidentally fall into an underground cave. Safely recovering, they find a rather strange gemstone which they take back to Rarity, who is currently helping to fit a dress for Twilight, to see if she can identify it. Rarity realizes it is a gem she's never seen before, but Twilight solves the mystery by determining it to be a young Mimicker, a creature that can take the form of any non-pony object. Realizing the Mimicker hasn't found her own form, the CMC decide it is like them not having yet gotten their cutie marks, and quickly induct Imp (the name they give her) into the CMC.
Imp proves more than capable of duplicating any object the three challenge her, though tires our after numerous changes. Curious as to Imp's abilities and believing they are helping it to practice her shapeshifting abilities, they have her try harder forms, such as a jet-powered apple cart or completing some of Rarity's "dangerously impractical" dresses. This gives the fillies even more ideas for extremely complex objects, such as a skate park for Scootaloo. Imp, realizing what they are asking her, suddenly flies away. The CMC try to follow, frantically searching through the Ponyville Flea Market and Twilight's library, but can't find Imp anywhere. As they search, they start to realize that they had asked Imp to do only stuff they wanted and never considered what Imp wanted and wish they could apologize. At that, Imp literally falls into their laps, and the fillies quickly make amends. They return Imp to the underground cave, realizing that maybe they can be friends after they matured a little. As they leave, the last panel shows Imp happily rejoined with a much larger Mimicker.
- Art Shift: Ben Bates uses a different coloring style this issue, going with a painted water-color look as opposed to the flat show-accurate colors of the Pinkie Pie issue he previously worked on.
- Call-Back: Changelings are brought up again, and at least this time, Apple Bloom and Scootaloo immediately panic at the thought.
- One of the toys that the CMC have is a Ponyacci doll, from the Pinkie Pie microcomic. Another is a stuffed Ursa Minor bear.
- Canis Latinicus: Twilight's book names the species as "Globulus Improbulus" (loosely translated, "defiant globule").
- Funny Background Event: In the flea market, you can spot a sick pony sneezing into a vegetable vendor's stand, much to the merchant's displeasure. There's also a pickpocket pony (with a Domino Mask cutie mark) stealing a piece of jewelry from another pony, with a sneer.
- In-Series Nickname: The Mimicker is given the name "Imp" based on the species' scientific name, Globulus Improbulus.
- My God, What Have I Done?: The CMC do this upon realizing they were abusing the privilege with Imp's abilities and caused her to run away.
- Pet Baby Wild Animal: The CMC's attempt to adopt Imp and tend to forget she is a sentient creature.
- Schizo Tech: The jet engine that Imp includes in her version of an apple cart. The CMC also apparently have power tools lying about their clubhouse for Imp to practice on.
- Shapeshifting: Mimickers have the ability to transform into just about anything from chairs to capes to dogs.
- It should be noted that the comic makes a clear distinction between Mimickers and the previously introduced shape-shifting race, the Changelings, in that Changelings can turn into ponies (and most of the animals in Fluttershy's cottage) while Mimickers can turn into anything except ponies.
- Shown Their Work: Rarity wants to get her sclerometer to analyze what they think is a gem; A sclerometer is a real instrument used to measure the hardness of a solid (specifically its resistance to scratching, which for a gemstone would be rather important).
- Starfish Language: Imp (and the larger Mimicker) communicates through musical notes.
- Written by Georgia Ball, Art by Amy Mebberson
Parents and fillies gather for the annual High Tea event at Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns, but as the banquet starts, a magical mishap in the fillies' hall causes the food to come alive. Princess Celestia steps in to try to reverse the spell but she is interrupted by Inkwell, an aged professor at the school, who uses a more powerful magic spell that scares the fillies even more. Led by the haughty Floribunda, the president of the Pony-Teacher's committee, the other parents complain about the senile antics of Inkwell and demand Princess Celestia force her to retire. Celestia hears their concerns but fears for her old friend, who had helped stop an attack on Canterlot many moons ago, and whose whimsical tales elevated the students' spirits. Celestia takes a by-the-book approach, discovering a bylaw of the school, and arranges to have a disbarring meeting for Inkwell the next day.
At the meeting, Celestia challenges Inkwell to demonstrate her competency to teach, and by the by-laws, personally selecting the test: to turn an ugly toad into something beautiful. The parents are shocked when Inkwell considers the toad already beautiful and refuses to cast any magic on it. Floribunda begins to complain, but Princess Celestia is quick to point out that Inkwell did the same for Floribunda when she was just an awkward filly at the school, using her magic to cheer her up. Celestia says the same for nearly all the other parents gathered, that Inkwell helped to boost their confidence at their lowest point when they were students. However, as Celestia says Inkwell failed her test and still must disbar her, Floribunda and the other parents step in and withdraw their disbarring request, apologizing to Inkwell and the Princess.
- Batman Gambit: Celestia's plan hinges on both Inkwell and the parents reacting as they did. Celestia's plan to convince Inkwell to teach at the school also rests on Inkwell warming up to telling her tales to fillies.
- Big Damn Heroes: In the flashback, Inkwell is one of the first ponies to come to Celestia's aid when she becomes overwhelmed fighting off the enemy forces by herself.
- Bittersweet Ending: Inkwell may need to retire soon but it'll be on her own terms. However, there's also the fact that Inkwell may not have much time left and Celestia will have to come to grips with it.
- Break the Haughty: Many of the ponies who had been pushing for Inkwell's retirement, especially Floribunda, realize that she's done more for them than just teach them magic.
- Expy: A Gordan Ramsay lookalike is in the background of three panels, and each time he's Symbol Swearing.
- A trio of foals in one panel during the food fight look remarkably like Harry, Hermione, and Ron. Naturally, Hermione is following Celestia's lead in zapping the food back to normal.
- Floribunda's daughter Honey Sweet also seem to bear a suspicious resemblance to Honey Boo Boo, right down to the flower in her hair.
- There's also a set of young unicorn triplets who resemble Huey, Dewey, and Louie from DuckTales (1987) and various Scrooge McDuck comic books.
- Eye Scream: Inkwell's eye was injured while fighting shadow creatures, which we see in quite shocking detail.
- Food Fight: A tea banquet in the filly's hall descends into one — though where the food is actually fighting back.
- Henpecked Husband: Chance.
- Jerkass Realization: Floribunda has one when she remembers how Inkwell cheered her up when she was young and embarrassed about wearing braces.
- Loophole Abuse: Celestia finds the one part of the school's bylaws that allows her to pick the test to proof Inkwell's competency, and selects one that Inkwell would likely fail, but can be used to show the parents that Inkwell means a lot to the school so they will withdraw their disbarring request.
- MayflyDecember Friendship: Princess Celestia has been alive for thousands of years without any signs of wear. Inkwell seems to be approaching the end of her life.
- Mythology Gag: A young Firefly, Glory, and Surprise visit Inkwell to hear one of her stories in a flashback sequence.
- During the attempted invasion on Canterlot, Gusty is shown to be one of the ponies helping to repel the attackers.
- Scars Are Forever: Inkwell is shown to have her left eye injured in the flashback sequence during the siege of Canterlot, and which never healed fully through the present.
- Supporting Protagonist: Ultimately, though Celestia's thoughts on the situation is given a lot of focus, the story itself is more about Inkwell than Celestia.
- Written by Rob Anderson, Art by Agnes Garbowska
Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy are getting ready to take Owlowiscious and Angel to a pet show, leaving Spike somewhat upset he doesn't have a pet. He spots an advertisement for "Sea Beasts" in a comic he is reading, and races off to order them, hoping to have his own entry for the show. He gets a giant aquarium and when the Beasts finally arrive, he follows the instructions to drop them into the aquarium. To his disappointment, even after waiting the three hours, the Beasts remain quite tiny.
As Twilight goes off to the show, Spike decides to make a recipe from a magic book to feed to the creatures to make them grow. The magical formula works, and the creatures do grow. Spike is thrilled and starts to teach them tricks, rewarding them with more of the magic food. This has an unintenteded side effect as the creatures start to reproduce asexually, and soon the tank is near fill with the creatures. When Spike runs off to find a larger tank, the Beasts gain arms and legs and leave the tank, and start to use the books of the library to make homes. Spike returns, both amazed and panicked, and quickly cleans up the mess, leaving him exhausted and upset at the Beasts, as they've torn up the pages of the book where he got the recipe from which would have told him how to undo the growth. Spike takes a nap, during which the Beasts start to build more complicated structures and nearly break out into war before Spike can stop them.
Spike tries to figure out how he can control the beasts, and spots a mare teaching her young colt outside, and is inspired to do the same. He starts to teach the Beasts from all the books, but soon is exhausted again, and falls asleep. The Beasts, entranced by Spike's lessons, start to read the books themselves. Spike is awakened when Twilight and Fluttershy return from the pet show, but all three are shocked to find the Beasts are now of high intelligence, ready to embark into the world to learn more. They thank Spike for his help before they leave, and while Twilight suggests that Spike write the letter to Celestia this week, Spike is more proud to think he raised the best pets ever.
- An Aesop: There's no short cuts for growing up.
- But Now I Must Go: The Sea Beast leave the library because they must seek further enlightment in the world.
- Call-Back: Spike still miss Pee Wee whom he had to bring to its parents back after an ice cream incident.
- Cool Pet: The Sea Beasts.
- Continuity Cameo: Spike is reading a Daring Do comic.
- Angel strikes a "Hoity Toity" pose.
- Eureka Moment: A mother unicorn telling her child "there's no short cuts for growing up" makes Spike realize he needs to take a more hands-on approach to raising the now-intelligent Sea Beasts.
- Noodle Incident: The ice cream incident.
- Promotion to Parent: Spike discovers he will need to become a father figure for his quickly evolving Sea Beasts. After a rough start, he ends up doing an awesome job.
- Uplifted Animal: The Sea Beasts.
- Silly Reason for War: The Sea Beasts end up dividing into two tribes, the "Vase People" and the "Table People", and nearly go to war over the drawings they make on the walls/floor of the library.
- Verbal Tic: The Sea Beasts drag their vowels when talking and tend to say "Ahhhh" at the end of their phrases, reeeesuuuulting in aaaa speeeech paaattern liiike thiiis ahhhhh...
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Spike and the Sea Beasts.
- Written by Katie Cook, Art by Andy Price
As morning breaks in Canterlot, Luna discusses some of the mundane events that happened the night before to Celestia. Celestia comments on how these are trivial compared to her duties during the day, and Luna challenges Celestia that she can handle the day shift just as well as Celestia. Celestia slyly gives her this chance, putting Luna into the hooves of her trusted planner, Kibitz, while she later sneaks out to a secret spa for a day of pampering.
Kibitz keeps Luna to the tight schedule, meeting with the Royal Guards and then delegates from the Crystal Empire, events Luna quickly wearies of. Even by lunchtime, Luna is exhausted both from lack of sleep and the dullness of the tasks. When Kibitz has to step away while they attend a garden party, Luna challenges Fancypants to a game of chess, but ends up using the guests as pieces on a living board. Kibitz intervenes to stop Luna and then drags her off to another meeting, this time for discussing the torch lighting ceremony. When the ceremony planner wants to demonstrates the ceremony to Luna, Kibitz points out that time is running short in the day and they decide to run the ceremony, a flower show, and a Wonderbolts derby at the same time to save time. Luna finally breaks down, and throws out Kibitz' carefully planned schedule, and takes to running her duties at her own pace. As the day closes, Celestia returns, and a relieved Luna admits that Celestia's job is much harder than her own. After a bit of sisterly bonding, Celestia heads off to bed, leaving a sleep-deprived Luna to take back over her night duty.
- Aerith and Bob: In addition to Luna, Celestia, Flash Sentry, etc., we have The Cameo of a Night Guard named Ralph and a Day Guard named Sam.
- Aluminum Christmas Trees: Using living people as chess pieces? That kind of thing actually happened. 
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Luna chased off a manticore, fought an owlbear, and saw a family of raccoons in a trashcan.
- Badass Bureaucrat: Kibitz, period. He keeps up with Luna from morning to night without showing any fatigue despite his old age, keeps all paperwork running fine despite Luna's inexperience and not even flinches when Luna threatens him with physical harm.
- Berserk Button: When Kibitz is worried that he would be banished to the moon for Luna's actions, Luna is clearly not thrilled and asks him not to allude to that again.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: In the last panel Luna's opossum, with a sign, thanks the readers on behalf of everyone who worked on the Micro Series.
- Brick Joke: On the cover we see Luna hopped up on coffee, exclaiming she "can do anything, maybe even fly"note . It's in the latter part of the comic that we find out that she doesn't sleep at night (what with her taking the night shift) and is so horribly sleep deprived that she resorted to drinking mountains of coffee to stay awake. When she finally admits to Celestia about not wanting the day shift anymore, Celestia complies and then heads to bed, reminding Luna that her Exact Words were to take the night shift, and the day has just ended. Presumably the comic cover is the day after, where Luna had to take in even more coffee to power through the night shift.
- Continuity Cameo: Flash Sentry (as a pony) appears as one of the royal guards.
- We also see one of the bat-winged Night Guards in one panel.
- Flim and Flam, as well as Wheat Grass and Flax Seed, show up in the dispute resolution section.
- Fancy Pants is at the garden party Luna attends. They play chess. With actual ponies.
- Continuity Porn: This issue seems to go all out to nod to all of the Cook/Price issues from both series to date:
- The presence of Wheat Grass and Flax Seed, from the Rarity micro, for one.
- Fleetfoot is getting an award for protecting Ponyville from out-of-control fireworks, from issues #9-10.
- Luna's Expressive Shirt from Issue #9 is something you can buy off the rack.
- During one of the endless planning meetings one of the ponies mentions the brand new dance craze, the Navigator.
- Cool Pet: Luna apparently has a pet opossum, which follows her around throughout the issue. (Cook's 2 page short names it "Tiberius").
- Fish out of Temporal Water: Luna again, given as she refers to the regular ponies of Equestria as "peasantry" before Celestia's assistant corrects her. After trying "serfs" and "peons", they decide to settle on civilians.
- Genki Girl: Luna is very excited about the day shift at first. Her enthusiasm soon wanes.
- Hating on Monday: "I Hate Mondays" can be seen on Celestia's mug.
- Heroes Gone Fishing: Kibitz assures Luna that Celestia is probably sneaking around the castle keeping an eye on her. We cut to Celestia asleep at the spa with cucumber slices and a magazine.
- Judgment of Solomon: Luna uses this a few times, first to determine the wrongdoers in the case of a cart that Flim & Flam swindled out of Wheat Grass and Flax Seed. The process repeats itself with a flock of sheep — it's implied that Flim & Flam are involved with as many property disputes as there are ponies in the courtroom — though Kibitz steps in before Luna can start working out her morbid fractions.
- Manchild: Luna behaves like this during the first part of the story, then slides a bit to Psychopathic Manchild after she threatens Kibitz with hurting him out of frustration, and then claiming that the guests in the castle are at her disposal to do as she pleases with them.
- Mythology Gag: Believe it or not this is not the first time Celestia has gone incognito in a old brown cloak!
- Noodle Incident: We don't see most of Luna's exploits from the night, like her encounter with a Manticore and her fight with an owlbear. However, the short in the comic does show how the opossum shows up.
- Schedule Fanatic: Apparently Celestia is just as big on scheduling as Twilight, if not more so.
- Judging by her reactions, Kibitz is more the schedule freak, while Celestia appreciates his help to keep her daily routines in order, and is more calm about making sure things get done.
- Schizo Tech: When Luna gets dragged back inside the castle, we can see an electrical outlet on the wall. Usable electricity and a means to deliver it exists in Equestria.
- Title Drop: Celestia does this early on after introducing her scheduling advisor Kibitz to Luna.Celestia: Luna has decreed that she can handle things for the day. Show her the ropes of the "Day Shift".
Tropes applying to Short Stories:
- Story and Art by Katie Cook
- Book-Ends: Hayseed's face at being heartbroken after initially meeting Rarity is matched at the end when Spike claims Rarity's taken.
- Continuity Nod: The story makes a direct reference to Hayseed's brief scene in Sweet and Elite.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Spike, noticing Hayseed's enamor for Rarity, claims she has a fiance and breaks Hayseed's heart.
- Kick the Dog: Spike, doing this to Hayseed.
- Lonely at the Top: Hayseed Turnip becomes a rich man, but he's still alone and unhappy.
- Love Makes You Dumb: The root of Hayseed Turnip's problems, as every time he faces Rarity he ends up doing or saying annoying things that upset her, much for his dismay.Hayseed Turnip Truck: She was a vision... The most perfect pony I'd ever seen... and I blew it.
- Lower-Deck Episode: Focusing on Hayseed Turnip Truck.
- Rags to Riches: Hayseed Turnip Truck grinds himself up until he becomes a successful businessstallion.
- Synchronous Episodes: Hayseed attempts to woo Rarity a second time right before the big Canterlot show from the main story, as Rarity is in the same dress and preparing for the show.
- Story and Art by Katie Cook
- Biting-the-Hand Humor: Luna basically makes fun of her status as a character in a Merchandise-Driven franchise.Luna: One, that if a figure of action was to be made of me, could be sold as an adoring accompaniment that holds an accessory for my brushable mane.
- Continuity Nod: Fluttershy has a picture of Jim the cave troll, introduced in the main series issue #2.
- Cutaway Gag: As Luna is mulling and then declaring that she must "find a pet!", a panel cuts to Fluttershy, her "spidey senses" tingling until she realizes it's just one of her pet spiders nearby.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: Well, not so much anything risque, but the fact that both Katie and Andy were amazed that Hasbro didn't ask for any changes from this short suggests they were definitely trying to bite the hand.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
- At one point, Luna fantasizes about having action figures with brushable manes and associated accessories made of her — like the kind that's sold of her in real life, essentially.
- Also, Luna dismisses an owlbear as a pet due to "copyright issues". Owlbears are an original creature that was created for the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons, although, technically, the property's transfer from TSR to Wizards of the Coast means that they're now under the Hasbro umbrella.
- Prequel: Specifically written to lead into the events of the main story of the Luna micro.