• Equestria Daily Interview Series: Interview with IDW Editor Bobby Curnow Part 4 or 5

    We now continue our interview with IDW Editor Bobby Curnow.

    This time exploring we explore how the Friends Forever comic series came to be. How Mr. Curnow ended up writing the issue starring Mayor Mare and Applejack. What is the possibility of an ongoing Equestria Girls Comic. And, most importantl of all, how he's managed to not go insane dealing with over 300 different comic covers.

    The answers may surprise you, and you can find them all after the break!

    When did the idea for the My Little Pony: Friends Forever team-up series come about?

    We could have continued the micro-series for a while—certainly there’s plenty more characters that could sustain their own spotlight. But that route did seem to automatically lead down a path of diminishing returns, as we go to less and less well-known characters (and yes, I am very aware that some would love nothing more than a Lyra or Cranky Doodle micro!) So when we completed issues 7-10 of the micro-series, which filled a TPB, I started to think about a format that could keep things fresh, and allow for more central characters to play a role. With the idea of friendship being so central to the MLP universe, it made sense to utilize a “team-up” approach. The possibilities are endless, and each story has the potential to be fresh and interesting.

    Is there any chance of a Friends Forever story lasting more than a single issue?

    I suppose it’s possible, but the idea hasn’t come up, either from myself or any of the writers.

    How did you come up with the idea for teaming up Applejack with Mayor Mare?

    It seemed like a good opportunity for conflict. When I think about Applejack, I think of a very pragmatic, goal-oriented, level-headed character. So I started thinking of situations where those qualities would be challenged, or at odds with the status quo. I think anyone who has dealt with bureaucracy, either in the office place or government, can know how maddening it can be. So that seemed like a good foil for AJ. Then, we have a relatively un-explored character in Mayor Mare—who is the head of that bureaucracy, but also so seemingly chipper and pleasant. It felt like an interesting combination. We’ll see how it turns out!

    What sort of teasers can you give us with regards to that issue?

    Ponyville City Hall is full of weirdos—it’s a fun environment to explore, as it’s been right there in the show from the start, but never examined in depth. So expect to see a little light shown on all of the peculiar nooks and cranies of pony [local] government!

    What brought about the first annual issue?

    Hasbro asked if we had any interest in exploring the Equestria Girls universe. The success of MLP in general made it so we could experiment a bit. An annual, 48-page sized issue, allowed us dip our toes in that universe, while still be able to tell a larger story.

    Did the success of that issue lead to both a second annual issue and the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Holiday Special? 

    In short… yes!

    Could you potentially see an ongoing My Little Pony: Equestria Girls monthly comic series surviving in the current comic market?

    It’s possible, but I’d be hesitant. It’d be nice to have the “support” of a regular animated series to go along with it. That’s why I think the Annual/special approach works well—it matches the nature of the EG movies. Little events that come out every year or so.

    The success of the My Little Pony comic line has resulted in several experiments from IDW with different types of publications. Namely the art gallery, the cover gallery, the portfolio, and the Micro Fun Pack. Have those experiments been successful, and does the possibility exist for follow ups on those?

    By and large they've been successful, and I imagine we’ll see more projects of that nature.

    Has it proven to be easier to edit the comics as the number of retailer exclusive covers declined over the last two years? I know that the number of different covers for the entire line hovered at about the twenty cover mark for a vast majority of the run.

    With that many covers, it basically adds up to a whole other book’s worth of pages, so it does add to the work load. That being said, my first project at IDW was managing the Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters retail exclusive cover program, where comic shops could have their stores depicted as being stepped on by Godzilla. That proved a huge success, with almost 100 covers. So I got dropped in the deep end of the cover variant pool early on, and learned the organization skills needed to manage it. So while it is more work, I felt comfortable going into it with MLP.

    Were you surprised that the high number of retailer exclusive covers lasted as long as they did?

    That was the most surprising thing, yes. I recall MLP #9 having something over 12 covers, which I’d be curious to see if any other comic has done for that long.

    What are your thoughts of My Little Pony having over different 300 covers? Good? Bad? Way too much work? 

    As mentioned before, it’s a lot of work, but ultimately it means there’s a demand, which is a good thing.

    How do you take in feedback/criticism/complaints from the readers who purchase the comic?

    Always try with an open mind. It’s a tricky thing, because taken en masse, there are always a lot of really good opinions, and then there are some that are not. That’s just the nature of comics, and of any fandom. You can’t please everyone, so it’s tricky to recognize and value that, while still looking for those legitimate points that really have a lot of validity to them. At the end of the day, we want these comics to be the best they can be.

    Well Folks, tomorrow's installment will conclude Equestria Daily's interview with Bobby Curnow. Till then, he can be found on IDW Publishing's Friendship is Magic Forums.

    Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4 / Part 5