(Header Art Credit: @PinipyEqD)
Comic collecting is a hobby of mine.
*looks at mountain of receipts next to computer desk*
Okay, maybe more than a hobby.
*stack of unread comics falls from place on top of dresser and lands on head*
Ouch! Alright! It's a passion of mine!
*collection of Discord merchandise chuckles amusingly*
Okay… well that wasn't creepy… or ominous… at all.
Right. Part of the comic collecting hobby—once you've reached the point in your collection where all you're doing is keeping up with the most recent releases—is to start collecting various pieces of merchandise that tie into the comic series you are collecting. For a comic property like the one's Marvel produces, allow me to point you to that ocean of merchandise that exists in Amazon, Toy's R Us, your local comic book shop, and the basement of the parents of some guy named Chuck.
For the IDW My Little Pony Comics, it's a different situation. The comic is licensed from Hasbro to help promote both the toy line and the cartoon show that also exists to promote the toy line. Creating tie-in merchandise for a licensed product is not something that happens very often. Archie's Sonic the Hedgehog Comic Series has lasted for nearly 25 years and outside of a few desktop wall papers there's been no merchandise created that has been inspired by that comic line.
However, as we all know, My Little Pony is a different beast entirely. As such, the licensed comics have had a small, and yet steady release of tie in merchandise featuring the art from the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Comic Series. The most recent of which was just announced by Integrity Toys.
Now, before Guardians of Harmony launches and we have a plethora of toys and other memorabilia tying directly into an IDW My Little Pony Comic Line, I figured it would fun to take a look back at some of the more interesting—and nowadays obscure—merchandise that's tied into the comics over the last few years.
You'll be able to find that—and an exclusive reveal for a variant cover to My Little Pony: Art is Magic—after the break!
Hot Topic Exclusive MLP Comic T-Shirts
Back during the early days of the fandom—when Sethisto and his partner in blogging Cereal Velocity road velociraptors to their computer desks each morning—There were two primary sources of My Little Pony T-Shirts. Namely a small online licensed print on demand t-shirt company called WeLoveFine and what you could draw on a white t-shirt with crayons. Mind you this was for everyone: fans and businesses alike.
WeLoveFine has three T-shirt designs listed on their website that feature art from the My Little Pony Comics—those are found here, here, and here. However, with Hot Topic being the store dedicated to keeping their thumb on the pulse of pop culture, those aren't the only comic shirts to exist.
During 2013—when a solid quarter of the floor space in their stores were dedicated to the MLP craze—Hot Topic commissioned WeLoveFine for a series of exclusive T-shirts. Most of these were simplified versions of WeLoveFine's more elaborate pieces, but a handful of designs were created lifted straight out of the MLP Comics published by IDW.
For a time, these shirts were plentiful—I've heard tales that you couldn't walk around an MLP convention without seeing at least a dozen of these shirts—but eventually they all sold out. Since then finding them at all, let alone in your size, has become an exclusive exercise in exploring eBay or your local Goodwill/Savers/Salvation Army.
Some shirts are more common than others and thus are easier to find on the second hand market. If you're looking to get your hands on one, like I am, it's worth giving it a shot for something from the early days of the fandom.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 Hot Topic Exclusive Cover Merchandise
The shirt technically falls under the above item listing, but it bares the the most successful and prolific image from the IDW MLP Comics, and as such falls under this mini line of Hot Topic Merchandise. Considering that no other image got this much love an attention from Hot Topic, that speaks volumes about their opinion of this cover.
The line consists of the comic itself, a massive poster, a fleece blanket, a T-shirt, and a reusable shopping bag that was used as part of a grab bag of MLP goodies a few years back. Only one of these items can be found easily online, the rest you're going to have to try your luck with the second hand market to see what you can find.
I wouldn't be surprised at all if there are more officially licensed products out there featuring this cover of everyone's favorite Time Pony and Muffin Loving companion. The existence of the blanket only came to my attention about a year ago, and the bag I spotted for the first time at this year's Boston Comic Con.
Though if you do find more officially licensed stuff featuring this piece of Tony Fleecs's art please do let him know on his twitter account (@tonyfleecs).
Jo-Ann Fabric & Craft Stores Exclusive My Little Pony Comic Patterned Fabrics
The biggest thing though is that this creativity is not exclusive to this fandom. Arts and crafts have been a part of human nature almost as long as humanity has been in existence. I mean, we do have entire stores dedicated to supplying artists with the raw materials they need to create. Some of those raw materials are fabric. A surprisingly large number of those fabrics have prints on them.
Unsurprisingly some of the patterns on those prints are licensed from popular franchises like My Little Pony.
2015 was an interesting year for licensed fabrics. In that Jo-Ann's Fabric's released not one but two different My Little Pony Comic Pattern designed fabrics. The first was a cotton fabric that was discontinued shortly after it was introduced. The second was a fleece fabric featuring artwork from Tony Fleecs.
I think they discontinued the first fabric to go with the pun. It's Tony Fleecs on a fleece!
That sounds like a good advertising slogan…
Anyways, craft supplies are one of the last places you'd expect comic related collectibles to show up, and the fact that the supplies of these are finite makes them more difficult to track down. However, the materials are still out there. So keep an eye out for what your fellow Bronies might create with it.
My Little Pony: Art is Magic—San Diego Comic Art Gallery Exclusive Blank Sketch Variant Cover
(EQD Exclusive Cover Reveal—special thanks to our friends at IDW Publishing!)
What do you call a variant cover that has never been advertised to exist for a published art book? While you ponder that question, I'm going to inform you that IDW Publishing did exactly that with the Blank Sketch Cover for My Little Pony: Art is Magic.
The cover in question was created in 2015 as a San Diego Comic Art Gallery Exclusive for one of their signing events involving local MLP Comic Cover Artist Sara Richard. While the books were produced, for one reason or another they never showed up during one of Sara's signing events.
I have spoken to Sara about this several times and she has never seen the sketch variant.
However, somehow Amazon.com got their hands on an allotment of these variants. The problem is that Amazon has not listed these variant covers separately from the rest of the normal stock. Which means that you're playing Russian Roulette with every order of Art is Magic from Amazon. That has understandably resulted in some low reviews when their customers got a completely different book cover than they were expecting.
For me, I won my copy at Everfree Northwest's Charity Auction. A friend of mine won the pony lottery and got his off of Amazon. Who knows, maybe you will too.
PonyTHshop (Thailand) Exclusive MLP Comic T-Shirts
What if I told you that exclusive merchandise is not something unique to the good old U.S.A.?
Put down the pitchforks and torches and let me explain!
There is a store in Thailand known as PonyTHshop. The store specializes in selling My Little Pony merchandise. I kid you not. My Little Pony has the equivalent of the Lego Store in Thailand. Apparently they were doing well enough to open a second location somewhere in the country. But to truly make their store standout, they got a license from the Hasbro's Thailand division to produce two exclusive to the store T-shirts. And wouldn't you know it, the designs that they used for the shirts have nothing but art lifted straight from the My Little Pony Comics.
When I found these by complete accident on eBay, it was not hard to place the order and have it shipped to the states. A bit of time has passed by since then, and when I checked their eBay page they didn't have anything listed for sale. It is unknown if the store is even still in business, but one never knows. So it probably wouldn't hurt to check up on these every once in a while.
Though if you're worried about wearing a t-shirt produced in Thailand, I recommend checking the dresser drawer you have dedicated to t-shirts. Odds are they don't say "Made in USA."
BronyCon 2015 Program Guide
For the first time ever in comics history—and I do mean comics history and not just MLP Comics History—a fan convention and a comic book had connecting covers. The My Little Pony Friendship is Magic #32 BronyCon 2015 "Baltimore Variant" Exclusive Cover from Jetpack Comics featured the Mane 6 in Ponyville doing something that doesn't become clear until you place the cover right next to the BronyCon Program guide. The whole image, as drawn by Tony Fleecs, presents an epic battle for the ages between spacing invading crabs against the combined power of the Mane 6 and the BronyCon Mascots over the city of Baltimare.
Furthermore, the image is cut in such a way the covers feature either the BronyCon Mascots or the Mane 6 with little to no overlap. It's a really clever solution to quite possibly a huge number of copyright issues. So, why is this piece of awesome obscure? Well, BronyCon did not advertise this. At all. I am not joking.
Whether it was because BronyCon wanted it to be a surprise for the con attendees to discover on their own or someone royally messed up in their marketing department will remain forever shrouded in mystery. But the end result is the same. To get the completed connecting cover image comic collectors need to track down something that quite a number of attendees (and probably the con itself) threw away.
If you do manage to find it, well just remember the old saying about trash being treasure.
Bravest Warriors/My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #2 Hot Topic Exclusive Cover SDCC 2013 Over-sized Tote Bag
(Photo Credit: Pen Stroke)
If you go to a Brony Convention someone has this bag. Usually several someones. And if WeLoveFine is present—which in and of itself is becoming a rare event—one logically assumes that the bag must have come from there. And thus the masses descend upon the booth only to be told that they only have Kiss Hello Kitty/Adventure Time Tote Bags in stock.
The bag in question was an SDCC exclusive from WeLoveFine back in 2013. For those for you who don't know, 2013 was the year DJ PON-3 was the My Little Pony Exclusive "Adult Collectible"—it says it right on the box—from Hasbro. WeLoveFine, being for fans and by fans, had created not one but two different My Little Pony Tote Bags to tie in with the Hasbro Exclusive. One of those two bags ended up being a straight up reuse of the Hot Topic Exclusive Cover for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #2.
After the convention the tote bag was randomly included with a qualifying order from WeLoveFine. This was back when WeLoveFine's orders had bonuses items unlocked for when you spent a set amount of money. The tote bag eventually went completely out of stock from WeLoveFine. Furthermore the existence of this tote bag, or really any of WeLoveFine's tote bags outside of the first one to come out, haven't been particularly well documented. Which means that information about this item was incredible hard to come by, let alone finding the item itself.
NYCC 2013 IDW/comiXology Signed MLP Art Cards
You ever try to order an item that's only available during a specific time of day and is only available once before it's gone forever? If you've tried ordering Adel tickets, you know exactly what I am talking about. These Signed MLP Art Cards were like that.
Prior to the start of NYCC 2013, ComiXology announced that they were gong to hold two different signing sessions for My Little Pony—one for Sara Richard and one for Katie Cook. Signing sessions for Comic Staff outside of their artist alley tables is not something new to the big conventions, so initially I was going to ignore the event and enjoy the con as I usually do—alone, sitting on a tiled floor near the exit to the con, and eating my extremely overpriced hot dog.
However I did read the print on their announcement. As it turned out, for the event they partnered with IDW to create two limited edition art cards that would be given out for free to the first 100 people in line. Keep in mind that this was before I became a part of EQD's staff, and unfortunately these cards were never posted as news for the con.
The postcard sized cards each featured one clean cover from the IDW Comic Series. There was no My Little Pony or IDW Publishing Logos anywhere to be seen on the front of the cards. Those are on the back. The cards were only available during those signing sessions and unfortunately if you didn't know about the signing or you weren't able to attend then unfortunately you missed out. However, if you have either one of these two cards, you really have something special in your collection.
Original My Little Pony Comic Art
There is rare. There is obscure. And then there is unique. Which is a whole different ballgame in terms of collectability. The original pages for comic book art are by definition one of a kind. They are the original, the master from which all the copies—which every single comic published is a sequential collection copied pages—were produced. The value of these can range from as little as $50.00 USD to $2,000.00+ USD depending on the page, the comic, and who the artist is that drew it.
As such pricing the art is a difficult art in and of itself. But one fact above everything else remains. The number of original art pages for any page in a comic is one. If you really liked a page in a new comic you read, you had best contact the artist who drew it ASAP. Comic Art dealers will buy these pieces up in an instant (depending on what it is) and will generally at a zero to the end of whatever price they paid the artist for it. Or if a private collector (a.k.a. a fan) purchases the work, then you will most likely not see that piece again for at least twenty years.
When original comic art goes into a private collection, it is gone. You will never see it again. And yet there are a lot of people who still aren't buying them. Whether it's because of lack of knowledge or just lack of interest, the basic point remains that oftentimes artists are left holding onto something that they know they could sell to the right person in a heartbeat in their closet until their eventual estate sale.
It takes a super collector who is really motivated to go after these items. Most comic readers will never see an original art part. And yet every page is official. Some were even altered post submission to IDW for further refinement. You want to talk about obscure and official merch, you can't get much more on both counts than the original comic art pages.
My Little Pony: Micro Series #5 Botcon 2013 Exclusive Cover IDW Limited Lithograph
When one thinks of My Little Pony, and especially obscure collectibles related to the MLP Comic, a Transformer Fan Convention is most definitely the last place anyone would look. And yet in a strange sense of irony, that's exactly where this lithograph showed up.
Back before Botcon moved to Chicago—then ultimately shut down—IDW Publishing was one of the major attendees at the event. Considering that they've published every single modern Transformers comic on the planet for the last decade, having them there was like putting peanut butter on a jelly sandwich. They were also just an hour car ride away from Los Angeles. It just made sense.
2013 was also around the height of popularity for My Little Pony. So in a rather unique sense of humor IDW had two exclusives for that year's Botcon. The first being the My Little Pony: Micro Series #5 Botcon Exclusive Cover and the second being an IDW Limited Lithograph of said cover.
One was highly advertised. The only was not. And yet the Lithograph still managed to sell out and then be tossed up onto eBay. Heck, that's how I found it. I was looking for the Botcon cover when I came across it and knew I had to get it otherwise I would never see it again.
So far I've been proven right. It's the rarest My Little Pony poster ever produced. And unless you spotted it either at the con or nabbed it on ebay shortly there after, odds are you're not going to find this one.
So folks, what do you think? Do you agree with this list? Is there something that I missed. After all, I may be an expert in the subject, but even I know there are nuggets of information that I haven't come across yet. Or even possible collectibles that I may have missed.
Be sure to discuss your thoughts and opinions in the comment section below!
Twitter: The Illustrious Q