• Comic Followup: Neigh Anything (Issue #11)

    Man, high school. Back when I was a sophomore, there was this one googly-lookin' guy with one working eye and a penchant for really short shorts who was friends with... everyone. As I was the new kid in town, I couldn't understand why he made all the girls laugh while I sat out on the front steps of the school, eating my lowest-bidder lunchtime chicken nuggets alone.

    We're now really good friends.

    Somehow, I doubt things'll work out the same way in this latest arc offering from the dream team of Cook, Price, and Breckel, so hit the break for a spoiler-heavy followup of all the nifty things that happened in Issue #11.

    You really should take a moment and savor all the little details in the "A" cover for this issue. In addition to all the future Ponyville transplants we see on the Juniors' page, we get a nifty callback to "Call of the Cutie" with Cheerilee's outfit. I wish acquiring a wardrobe these days were as easy as burglarizing my nearest NASCAR-themed restaurant. And I'm certain Shining's outfit here is a reference to something, but I have no idea where to begin looking.

    Nice of Mr. Price to tell us when he graduated, too.

    Say, that mare back there is kind of familiar. It's almost like she's sick of hearing how her customers fell in love and wants to go find some for herself.

    ... Naaaaaaah. If Pinkie Pie is throwing shade on your accommodations, you've every right to feel gloomy.

    Sit down, Pinkie Pie. Best horse is trying to tie some stories together.

    I don't need to say anything else about how super 80's this story arc is, right?

    From left to right: Poindexter, ha ha, ah ha ha, and oh my God...

    Seriously. Poindexter.

    Okay, okay, the name's not that funny. But I've always been taught that laughing at yourself is healthy, and I have so much in common with this horse. Our mutual war on P. acnes infestations is one of our exceedingly few redeeming qualities.

    I'd also like to point out that black and orange were my high school's colors way back when, so I already have a bunch of reasons to call Buck's fashion choices into question.

    Whatcha looking at? If you're like me, you were looking at the panel dividers! Andy Price whips up page layouts like no other artist on the MLP comic roster, and these pencils and books would naturally be everywhere after last page's pony pileup.

    For everyone else with an "off" setting for their "embarrass self before others needlessly" switch, enjoy some Shining Armor crit-failing his speech checks.

    Adorkability must run in the family.

    I've only played a tabletop game once in my life. My 3 HP, level 1 halfling ranger died to the first enemy attack in the campaign, and the rest of my party took ten rounds trying to frag a rat.

    What I'm trying to say here is that I couldn't agree with Gaffer more. Also, move over, bat-ponies. There's a new subspecies in the realm.

    8-Bit is either a nickname, or else his parents must really hate him. How could they have known he was going to get a Space Invaders cutie mark when he emerged squalling into the world?

    You're twenty years too late to be channeling Flax Seed, Shining, but I'll give you a pass because staring off into space and rambling is funny to me.

    DMs, can you qualify what makes for a "successful" campaign? Maybe you're horrible people with control issues who won't be satisfied until y'all get your weekly TPK, or maybe y'all are liars. Either way, I'm not certain this will end well for our hero.

    8-Bit sure knows how to close a gap, 'cause shoot

    And he knows how to talk with stuff in his mouth, too! That, and he looks a lot like Thunderlane, who keeps getting creepy letters about his rump from the internet.

    Can anyone check up on Night Light for a moment? No one seems to notice how his armchair's eating him alive.

    We're just going to take the pancreas-vaporizing cuteness of Twilight Sparkle as a filly for granted and keep moving along. Haha, she said words. Isn't that just the darndest?

    "Good to see you again, Cadance"? Oooooh, I wonder how those two know each other already. Quick! Everyone make a big deal about how a horde of headcanons are approaching without advancing any of your own.

    Adorability intensifies.

    This brother/sister dynamic is perfect. I'm honestly starting to question how Twilight and Shining Armor never got into fights as they were growing up if--WAIT A MINUTE


    Holy camel armpits, does Andy make those bleed margins bleed. I had to rescan this because the edges of these pages keep getting cut off. That's an author of the year award next to a framed picture of Twilight and Shining's mother, all above a writing desk.

    There you have it. The blind bags have told us for forever that Twilight's mom loves writing adventure stories, not to mention that Twilight has a good reason for owning the entire Daring Do series.

    Well,  he certainly doesn't lack for confidence.

    I really like seeing this side of Shining, where he runs around unburdened by doubts and that pesky thing called reality. 

    Good goddamn game, Katie. People gave me funny looks on the bus when I hit this panel reading it for the first time.

    So float-making is a thing in Equestria, to the degree that high-schoolers (neigh, fillies) can throw them together in a day or so. Is that like a feat ponies get at character creation, or...?

    That high school nemesis I was telling you about earlier got me into playing for his scratch band a couple of times, too. We called ourselves "Modern Algebra" because he really liked math.

    If you haven't already, go out and play in a band for one gig. It's a bucket list thing. The experience does wonders for whatever pretensions of self-respect you may still hold for yourself.

    You might be interested to know where the stadium gets its name from.

    As you'll soon see, Shining's adamant about pulling this show off for Cadance.

    Mr. Price confirms that the script for this spread began as follows: "Andy... Don't kill me... I have children."

    Stuck on a project? Unsure of what you can do? Don't worry about whether it's "good enough." Get it on and show the hell off. Andy and Heather absolutely outdid themselves with this spread, and it's more than enough of a reason for you to support them and Katie with a purchase off iTunes, Comixology, or your local comic shop.

    There's a lot going on here. Shining and crew have adapted a song that'll leave you with a lot to explain about your search history when CPS comes knocking, and the fellas rock it so hard that they jam little Vinyl Scratch through puberty. Poindexter's buttons also suggest the attendance of a lovably roguish slacker at Canterlot Academy.

    Finally, you've got an Observer pony out there on the right, and he's not even trying to hide by now. Again, when you're showing off, you don't care about things like subtlety.

    "Of course Cadance would like it," you say. "The story demands it." And you're right, but I'm gonna hit this with more in a minute.

    This is about how most of my gigs with high school nemesis wound up ending, fires and block letters included.

    Buck and his crony were pretty quick to turn the tides on Shining's performance, and this POV shot is absolutely brutal. This was another page I had to rescan 'cause Andy pushed the bleed so much. The Geeks have 0 points -- my scanner's really weird. 

    Pun aside, look at Cadance up there. She's popular, but she's totally ignored by her peers in these two panels. I'm not going to say that this happens to people in her social position all the time, and Shining Armor still doesn't know her well enough to award his intentions a medal of honor, but it's easy to imagine how much ponies would take for granted in Cadance. That moment when she started clapping for Shining after his performance was probably the first time in a really long while that someone tried to make her feel special over being sought as a trophy.

    Wow. I guess this was a period-appropriate reference, too.

    What is this exchange from? I can't remember and it's driving me nuts.

    The moral of the story isn't that you'll find your love after putting on a cheesy 80's pop music performance. It's that you should really befriend an artist so they'll draw your OC a lot. Go, Wild Fire!

    So Shining didn't catch on to the changeling invasion that happened later on in his life. Well, that's what they're kind of good at. Notice how he takes the lead here and has the sitrep handled, only for 8-Bit to 8-Blow the whole thing and get the snowball rolling for Buck. This was a neat bit of awareness in Shining's character that I missed on my first read-through.

    I realize pointing out how I found a Looney Tunes gag or two to be funny is the rhetorical equivalent of a self-professed "foodie" praising the complimentary chips and salsa at a Tex-Mex restaurant, but I got into this show because Pinkie Pie channeled Pepe Le Pew in "Griffon the Brush Off". These things resonate, man.

    Now if only Manehattan had punched the gold out of Buck's hair, my reference itch would have been well and truly scratched.

    Took the words right outta my brain, Shining.

    Who's gonna be first and venture a guess 'bout who's holding up that foam hand? Go ahead, my moon cannon awaits prey.

    Speaking in comma splices is bad for your hair, Shining.

    I'm just kidding. Your hair's always pretty.

    Raise your hand if you noticed that Cadance never actually tells Buck she'll go to the dance with him.

    Raise another hand if you think putting stars in Buck's eyes throughout the comic was a nifty touch. I've seen fan artists draw heart-shaped eye shines before, and we have the angular highlights of the crystal ponies, too. Does this mean bat-ponies should have little Bat-Signals on their foveas at all times?

    If you look closely...

    What kind of world invents the kinetoscope after the video game? You can't explain that.

    Also -- hey, what's Big Mac doing back there?

    Nice, Pinkie! Way to pull the story back from the future! I'm actually serious -- it was a pretty good save. Who knows what kind of time loop shenaniganery would have occurred if we tied this arc and the previous one together?

    I honestly do not recall seeing this side of Cadance in the show -- the one capable of teasing and prodding her friends and loved ones. It's awesome. She's always so nice and heartfelt otherwise.

    It probably doesn't help that two friends of mine came up from Portland last weekend for a photoshoot in their Shining Armor and Cadance cosplays, and they pretty much speak like this to each other all the time.

    Rainbow Dash loses 100 cool points with me for not respecting the love of the 80's. It's not like us Millennials have much to nostalgia over. I'm gonna duck and cover right now because hundreds of you will set out to prove me wrong, but all I'm saying is that 90's boy bands made the contributing difference in my life and you can't make me forget their lyrics.

    It's painful that Issue #12 is still more than three weeks away from now. These two-part arcs have done an astounding job of condensing the action and comedy into a critical mass while having enough room to tell a slightly longer story so far. Much as I'm looking forward to the advent of PIRATES in November, these slice-of-life stories are pretty much the episodes we haven't been getting in the season hiatus, and they're definitely worth the time and money to pick up.

    Bonus image:

    Don't take it too hard, author. Equestria Daily is always accepting your high-quality fanfiction for publication!