Hey everyone! As most of you know, the My Little Pony Micro-Series comes to a close this week with Princess Luna. What’s the good news? It’s going to be replaced with a new Ongoing called Friends Forever. The fact that’s it’s going to be Ongoing and not just a mini-series is awesome enough, but how about the concept? You’ll be seeing team-ups! Think Marvel Team-Up or The Brave and the Bold, with ponies. Issue One releases next month, the one you’re going to be hearing about today is Issue Two, which goes on sale in February. Here I talk with the comic’s writer, Jeremy Whitley, best known for his creator-owned series Princeless. We go over the comic and MLP in general.
UTF: So first I’d like to ask about MLP in general. Did you know/like the show at all before doing this comic? What is your favorite episode and favorite pony of the Mane Six?
Jeremy Whitley: Absolutely. It’s one of the few shows that I and my 2 year old daughter can agree on. so we’ve been through the first three seasons a few times now.
As for my favorite episodes, they’re pretty easy to pick out from the stories I’ve written. I love “The Return of Harmony” because I love Discord, but I also love “Party of One” which is pretty heavily referenced in the next story I’m writing for IDW..
As for my favorite of the Mane 6, it’s really hard to say. My favorite episodes usually involve Pinkie Pie or Fluttershy, but I have an undeniable love for Applejack as a character. There just aren’t enough characters like her in cartoons, especially ones aimed at girls. That said, the woman I married is definitely a Twilight Sparkle, for whatever that’s worth.
UTF: Onto the comic. Were you approached by IDW or the other way around?
Jeremy Whitley: Well, it was kind of a weird circular thing. I had approached IDW about writing something though I had never asked about MLP specifically. However, my timing was bad and they hadn’t had anything open at the time. Then, this last year at Denver Comic Con I got to chat with Tony Fleecs, who to my surprise was already a fan of my work from my creator owned series “Princeless”. He asked if I had ever thought about working on MLP and I told him how much I loved the series. He took that back to editorial and this time I was lucky enough to hit right as they were looking into launching the new series. Bobby invited me to throw some team-up ideas his way and off we went.
UTF: So obviously Discord and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are an interesting pairing. Is this something you personally came up with or something IDW tossed around?
Jeremy Whitley: Oh, this one was all my idea. Discord had been off limits to the comic series for a while. As watchers of the show will know, his status has been somewhat in flux and the comic doesn’t want to step on the show’s toes, so he was kind of in a holding pattern. When I took the idea to Bobby, he warned me that Hasbro may or may not go for it, but as the story is very mindful of the recent developments in Discord’s character, we took a shot at it. To our surprise, Hasbro not only accepted it but didn’t even have any changes to request.
Discord is a big favorite of mine and while we’ve seen quite a bit of his interaction with the Mane 6, I wanted to pair him up with someone who is a force for chaos in their own way as well. And as I know first hand, children are little tiny gods of chaos.
UTF: What can people expect from the story tone wise? A full on comedy, adventure, or something different?
Jeremy Whitley: I strived to hit that tone that the show does so well. It’s a comedy/adventure, but hopefully one with a lot of heart at its core. I think it’s comedy first and foremost, but there are certainly some nailbiting moments in there.
UTF: Discord! Did you find writing him a challenge? Especially since this is his first comic book appearance and a huge fan favorite.
Jeremy Whitley: Oh, I love writing Discord. He’s just so much fun to write and I can hear John De Lancie’s voice in my head when I’m doing it. I know people have a lot of love for him, but I’m not worried because I do too.
UTF: Who was your favorite of the Cutie Mark Crusaders to write?
Jeremy Whitley: Sweetie Belle, hands down. I love writing Apple Bloom’s accent, but with Sweetie Belle I never once had to ask myself “What would she say?”. I just knew. Sweetie Belle reacts to things in the most honest and guilless way. Sometimes it comes across as dumb, but it really just feels pure and honest to me.
UTF: And finally, any parting comments on the comic and if you would be interested in writing another MLP story down the road.
Jeremy Whitley: It was a pleasure to get a chance to play in such an amazing world. Hasbro and IDW could not have been any easier to work with. I already have another story waiting for approval from Hasbro and I’m working out the pitches for a few more, so I am absolutely interested in working on some more stories with MLP! Right now I even have a pitch I’m hoping to get into the main series and if they let me do that one, I think it’s one that will get fans talking!
Well it looks like Mr. Whitley has some really cool plans for the MLP comics! And here’s one more question I had almost forgot to ask…
UTF: What do you think of the Brony phenomenon?
Jeremy Whitley: You know, my only real problem with the Brony phenomenon is one of impression. For the large part, in my experience, Bronies are respectful, intelligent, and insightful fans that really love a great show. There is a vocal minority which has colored the perception of the group as being entitled fanboys, but that contingent exists in any fandom.
People have a hard time understanding how an adult man could connect to a show designed for young girls, but those people haven’t actually watched the show. Talking magical ponies are really no more ridiculous than a two-hearted alien who travels through time in a phone booth. Both those shows were designed for kids and are appreciated by adults. When you break it down that way, the only real question is one of gendered entertainment, which is something we’re supposed to be trying to overcome, right?
That concludes this interview, I just want to give a big thanks to Jeremy Whitley for taking the time to answer all these questions. And of course you’ll definitely want to pick up My Little Pony Friends Forever #2 on February 12th!