Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Comic Con Questions: My Little Pony

Having booked my front row seat for the Cos-play Parade already, I am left with the difficult task of deciding how to spend my wandering hours around the three spaces.  Apart from going up to various creators to apologise for those cheeky mistakes that I always seem to slip into my articles (a prize for each one, eagle-eyed readers), I am working on as series of questions for the writers and artists to explore my concept of sequential art dramaturgy.

Oddly enough, it is artists who work on comics that I don’t necessarily read who have piqued my interest. Take Emma Vieceli: she does My Little Pony and I am not one of those guys who dress up as Princess Luna. My interest in comics designed for young girls extends as far as noticing how the bright colours suggest a Bollywood aesthetic.  However, Vieceli’s clean lines also evoke that Jack Kirby tradition that I love (a style that I trace back to the illustrations of William Blake, which encouraged me to read a whole MLP story.

My question for Vieceli is how far she is able to bring her own style to her work on a tightly controlled franchise – and this extends to Simon Furman, who does Transformers (probably best known for the unwatchable movies), Denise Mina when she adapts The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (not quite a franchise in the same sense, although you probably can buy action figures based on the novel by now), Leah Moore and John Reppion for Sherlock Holmes and… and… well, anyone who does the whole Marvel thing.

My Little Pony strikes me as especially interesting though. Unlike a superhero franchise, which has different versions of each hero and offer an author the chance to apply their own enthusiasms (look at how Pete Milligan used X-Force to study celebrity)? Even the colour scheme is pretty set and although the target market might define the necessity for a simple artistic style, MLP fetishises the form, making it more significant than the content.

That might explain the weird sexualisation of the Bronies. Seriously, if you don’t know them, don’t search for them. It might also explain the weird fan fiction on the Ponies, which has them eating each other and all sorts.

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