• Equestria Daily Interview Series: Interview with IDW Writer Christina Rice

    Decade: 1930s. City: Los Angeles. Neighborhood: Hollywood! There are very few places and times in history that would love to take a trip back in time to visit, but that place and that decade tops the list. Unfortunately, time travel is restricted for old men with either Blue Police Call Boxes or a sports car from 1983 with gullwing doors.

    Fortunately, the next best thing is sitting down and chatting with a film history buff. Which is exactly what I had the distinct honor of doing when I interviewed IDW MLP Comic Writer Christina Rice!

    Christina was kind enough to take time out of a very rare Saturday day off to talk about her comics, her book on Hollywood’s forgotten rebel, and how she went from Biographer to Comic Writer.

    You can check out the whole interview after the break!

    Christina, who is your favorite pony? Both your personal favorite and your favorite to write, assuming they are different?

    Christina Rice: My favorite is Twilight Sparkle because I am a librarian by profession so just by default I feel like I'm obligated to like Twilight! *laughs* I think she's so sincere and she's so passionate and she's so neurotic that I feel like I can relate to her in a lot of ways. I like that she's the leader and holds it together, but doesn't always.

    To write, let's see… Granny. I had a lot of fun writing Granny because she's just so cranky and she reminds me of me dearly departed grandma. I've only written Granny once, but I had a lot of fun with her.

    To think, that was your debut issue too. You did a great job on her. 

    CR: Thank you! You know, actually that was not the first issue I wrote.

    It’s not?! 

    CR: The first issue I wrote was Rarity and the Cakes.


    CR: Which just came out! I wrote that a year and a half ago! *laughs*

    That's good to know for future references.

    CR: Yeah.

    Well, I certainly know Twilight Sparkle would be incredibly proud of your achievement in obtaining your Masters of Library Information Sciences from the San Jose University. 

    CR: Oh, look at you! You did research. *laughs*

    Yes I did! *laughs* I have to ask before we get to that particular educational achievement, where and what did you study for your undergraduate degree? 

    CR: For my undergrad I started off as a journalism major. From the time I was in, probably, junior high my goal was to be a music journalist, so my goal in life to write for, I don't know if you remember, RIP Magazine. It was a heavy metal magazine and so my goal was to write for RIP Magazine and then I was going to interview Slash and Guns N'Roses and just drop dead. That was my life plan. Then once I got into college, I had hung out in the Hollywood scene a little bit and decided it wasn't quite for me.

    I took my first journalism class and hated it, so I switched over to being a film major because I've always loved movies and have been obsessed with classic films since I was really young. I figured that since I like movies, why don't I just major in film. I got my undergrad in communications with an emphasis on television and film.


    CR: Yeah. Then my last semester I did an internship at a talent agency and learned I didn't want to work in the film industry, so that paved the way for library school.

    Well, that answers my next two questions right away. 

    CR: I'm sorry. *laughs*

    While you were studying film, did that in turn lead to your fascination with United States history? Specifically the time periods of the 30s and 50s? 

    CR: No, I'd always been fascinated with United States history from the time I was really young. Especially the Civil War. When I was six years old my mom made me watch Gone With the Wind very much against my will. Gone With the Wind was on broadcast TV. That's how old I am, where we just watched our movies on broadcast TV! Took me about two minutes to be completely hooked. I absolutely loved it! That was my introduction to the Civil War and I had absolutely no idea what was going on. *laughs*

    I loved the movie, but was very confused by what I was seeing. That launched a lifetime fascination with American history, particularly with the Civil War.

    Aww. People nowadays really should see Gone With the Wind. When accounted for inflation, it's still the number one highest grossing movie of all time. So for those you reading this go see it please. Go see it! 

    CR: Go see it. Yes! *laughs* It’s just a wonderful film. My daughter's five years old and she has seen it.

    You're already raising her to be a film critic. Excellent. 

    CR: Yeah, she has no choice in the matter.

    Aside from being a librarian you've also written a couple of books. 

    CR: One book really that I consider having written.

    Ah you consider the book that you actually wrote as your book as opposed to How We Worked, How We Played, The Inseparables, or Defining Their Identity. No, the one book you're talking about is Ann Dvorak: Hollywood's Forgotten Rebel. 

    CR: Yeah, that is the book that I wrote. The other ones you mentioned are photo books that I helped put together.

    Why don't you tell us a little bit about it? 

    CR:  I'm assuming people don't who Ann Dvorak is. She was an actress in the 30s and 40s and was positioned to be a pretty big star. She was in the original 1932 Scarface with Paul Muni—yes, there was an original Scarface. She was slated to be the huge breakout start. She was under contract to Warner Bros. and was going to be the next big thing. But then she fell in love with one of her co-stars. They eloped and then she walked out on her contract. Back in the day actors were under these long term contracts to the studios who owned them body and soul. Ann walked out on hers to go on an eight month honeymoon and that torpedoed her career.

    She is a really fascinating individual and I became really interested in her. When I was in college I saw one of her films and couldn't find out a lot about her, and so I eventually decided if nobody was going to write about her then it should be me.

    Which in turn led you to becoming to the nation's leading expert on Ann Dvorak?

    CR: I think it's fair to say that I'm not the nation's leading expert. I think I am the universes' leading expert on Ann Dvorak! *laughs* The book ended up taking fifteen years to research and write.

    Wow, that's a lot of work put into that book. 

    CR: Yeah. A lot of it was when I first discovered her—I was at college in my early 20s—and decided I'm going to be her biographer I had no idea what I was doing. That's one of the reasons why it took so long. I started at the early dawn of the internet for mass consumption, so I had to do a lot of old school research.

    Dig around the libraries, going through the card catalogs and all that fun stuff. 

    CR: There weren't card catalogs. I'm not that old! *laughs* By the time I started searching Ann, the card catalogs were gone, but yeah! Even today—if I can just put my librarian hat on—not everything is on the internet kids. Sometimes you do still need to do that old school research.

    Especially when you're getting to stuff that's from the early 30s. Not all of that's available online. Now, in your research with Ann, what were some of the more interesting facts about her life that you discovered?

    CR: Well, one of my favorite aspects about researching her was that in the 40s during World War II her husband was a British citizen. He enlisted in the Royal Navy in 1940 and went overseas. She couldn't bear to be away from him and actually followed him. In December of 1940 she obtained passage on a freighter, traveled through hostile waters with the risk of being bombed at any second, went to Lisbon and was stranded in Lisbon for about a month before she finally got to London to be near him.

    She spent about two and a half years in England. During the war she drove an ambulance, did camp show tours, and she was part of the land army. So she was out in the country plowing that land. I think it's fascinating just what she was involved with. A lot of the movie stars here would go and do camp shows overseas—or back here at home they would raise money for war bonds—but she really was putting her life on the line. She flew into London during the blitz. It's absolutely fascinating.

    When she came back home, she certainly suffered from post-traumatic stress. I often think: ‘I love my husband madly but man would I go to a war zone to be near him?’ I don't know. Then after she retired in the late 1960s, she was living in Hawaii and wrote a multi-volume history of the world which she then recorded herself reading it to market to universities. I don't know when the first non-fiction audio book was, but I think Ann had to have created one of the first audio books. Unfortunately it was too ahead of its time and nobody took her seriously.

    [Interviewer’s note: It was also incredibly cost prohibitive before the introduction of the Compact Cassette Tape in 1964. Prior to that, audio recordings were extremely limited in physical medium and duration.]

    Wow. Sounds like her life would actually make a great Hollywood blockbuster.

    CR: I don't know. The problem with Ann though is that it doesn't end great for her, and everybody likes a happy ending.

    You could always just stop at a certain point in her story and then leave the rest for everyone else to look up. 

    CR: There you go. Then they could see how sad it is. One other thing that's really interesting about her is that in 1936 she actually took Warner Bros. to court to get out of her contract. She was at Warner Bros. with Bette Davis and James Cagney—who were both huge stars—and both of them also took Warner Bros. to court. Their court cases still get talked about. Ann actually filed her court case first. . She was unsuccessful, but she was one of the first ones to actually battle a major studio in court. I think she really deserves recognition for that.

    Wow. It's not easy going up against your boss. 

    CR: Especially if your boss is Jack Warner.

    Yeah. He was certainly a character. That's for sure.

    On another note, much like Ted Anderson, the My Little Pony comic book series is your first professional comic book writing credit. Also, like Ted Anderson, you had to be a librarian. Is it possible that Ted Anderson is really the pen name of Christina Rice?! The world needs to know! *laughs*

    CR: Ted is a librarian?

    Yes, he is. 

    CR: *laughs* I had no idea! I had absolutely no idea.

    Yeah, he's a librarian at a middle school.

    CR: You're kidding!


    CR: Librarians at public schools have to have their teaching credentials, so he did way more work than I did to get there.


    CR: But to get back to your question, actually I did write a comic before My Little Pony. There's a book called Colonial Comics—which is a compilation of short graphic stories from the colonial period—and I wrote a short story for that. It was published after Ponies, but that was actually the first comic thing that I wrote.

    I was tasked with writing something about the Boston public school system. Before that I hadn't ever actually considered writing comics. Then when I was asked to contribute to that it blew me away! I had so much fun with it that!

    Speaking of Ponies, how did you end up writing for My Little Pony? 

    CR: So my husband [Joshua Hale Fialkov] is a comic book writer and after the Ann Dvorak book came out in November of 2013 —I've been with Ann Dvorak longer than I've been with my husband and he only witnessed the second half my working on it—I definitely wanted to continue writing. I think he wanted to prevent me from launching another equally insane project as Ann. *laughs*

    We happened to be down in La Jolla vacationing. He's written for IDW before and so we wanted to stop by the offices to say hi—because he's friends with some of them—and as we were going there he said, “Well what do you think? Would you want to write My Little Pony?” Well, yeah of course! Who wouldn't?

    I was already a huge fan of the show, and so when we went to the offices I sat down with Bobby [Curnow] and had a conversation with him. He said he was willing to let me pitch, and so I sent him some pitches and it was off and running.

    Nice. Well, I have to say it certainly feels like you've been on this comic for a long time. 

    CR: Yeah, it does! *laughs*

    And I was absolutely floored when I realized you've only written seven issues for the series. It feels like it's been more than that.

    CR: It does. I think because I've had an issue come out, I think, every month for the last five months, so I'm sure you all are just probably sick of me now.

    No, what's there to be sick of from such a brilliant writer. 

    CR: Thank you! *laughs*

    I have to ask. How does your daughter feel about you writing for My Little Pony?

    CR: Way more impressed than Ann Dvorak. *laughs* When the Ann Dvorak book came out— she was only three—she humored me and she let me read to her the first five chapters of that then stopped. With the Ponies she's much much more impressed with that. The first couple of issues that came out she took them to school and did show-and-tell to show everyone! I just loved the show before I started writing it, but that it's something that my daughter can look at and think “mom's kind of cool” is certainly an incentive for me to writing them!

    Do you read the comics to her at night or does she read them by herself? 

    CR: At this point her reading has taken off so she's able to read on her own. Sometimes we'll read them, sometimes we won't. She'll usually look at them and if I feel like there's something I can talk to her about—like there’s a lesson in the comic— we'll sometimes talk about if she is getting something out of this. This goes not just for mine but for all of them. She reads all of the Pony comics.

    How did you come up with the idea to have Granny Smith and the Flim Flam Brothers team up in your debut published story?

    CR: Well, part of that stems from the fact that my first one published wasn't the first one I wrote. I'd written Rarity and the Cakes [Friends Forever #19] and I think Rarity and Applejack [Friends Forever #8] might have already been in the pipeline. I don't know, maybe it came after and Bobby decided to go with that one. Anyways, I realized that that first issue that I wrote wasn't going to come out for a long time, mainly because there were already Rarity stories in the pipeline. I just really wanted to get something published and so I went and thought: “what are two characters nobody has touched at all?” Who can I pair up to guarantee that I'll get an issue published? That ended up being Granny and the Flim Flam Brothers.

    I think a lot of people commented that it was out of left field, but the two episodes that the Flim Flam brothers have in have been very Apple-centric. While I was waiting for approval from Hasbro on that issue was when the second Flim Flam brothers episode ran. When I saw that it was going to run and that it was with Granny I thought: “Oh my God! They're not going to let me write it and whatever goes on in this episode is just going to negate everything.” I was just completely paranoid. Then the episode ran and I thought: “Oh no this just makes my story make a little bit more sense. Hooray!”

    Hooray for coincidences. 

    CR: Yeah! I really love the Flim Flam brothers. They're not super evil they're just obnoxious. I just love that they're influenced by The Music Man, so there's that old movie tie to it. That might actually be my favorite issue that I've written so far.

    Nothing wrong with referencing old movies that's for sure. 

    CR: Exactly! *laughs*

    Especially when they're classic movies like The Music Man. 

    CR: Exactly… or Carrie.

    *laughs* We'll be getting to her in a minute. 

    CR: *laughs* Okay!

    The whole story with Granny Smith and the Flim Flam brothers definitely gave off the vibe of being a parody of the comic convention scene, especially the waiting in long lines part to purchase exclusive merchandise. Any particular convention you were referencing or was that just a convention scene in general? 

    CR: That was Comic-Con. That was very specifically [San Diego] Comic-Con. Although I wrote the majority of that issue while I was sitting at a table at C2E2!

    You had all the references right there! *laughs*

    CR: It was right there. I started going to Comic-Con in 2006. It was already crazy by then, but I constantly would hear people talk about “oh it was better back then. Back before these movie and TV people were here.” Which was Granny complaining about the oranges taking over.

    It was just, “eh TVs and movies don't belong in comic book world. Get out of here even though I pay you millions and millions of dollars to watch your stuff. “

    CR: Exactly! At the time that I wrote that one there was a book that had just come out that talked about the orange being used as a promotional tool in Southern California. This happened during the first half of the 20th century. There were these huge booster efforts to get people to move from cold climates to Southern California because it was the land of paradise. The orange became a huge symbol of that, and so the orange really did cut into the apple industry. There was a huge real life campaign. In that issue one of the spoofs says something like, “you won't find a worm in an orange.” That was actually a campaign slogan that one of the orange growers had come up with.


    CR: Yeah, so it was something that was recently on my radar. There used to be huge agricultural conventions in Los Angeles. There would just be these crazy huge conventions to promote all the different types of agriculture. They would create giant life sized elephants made out of walnuts and all this crazy stuff to promote the prosperity of Southern California! So that was where the orange pavilion in the issue comes from.

    I'm a librarian but I'm also a photo archivist of the library’s photo collection. I sent Tony [Fleecs] pictures of these trade shows from the collection I oversee, so that was what influenced the background of the orange pavilion. That's another reason why I love that issue! For me, there was a little bit of Los Angeles history subtly infused there.

    Nice. What part of the story would you say is the moment you're most proud of? 

    CR: The moment I'm most proud of is when Granny's grousing about how awful the convention has gotten, at one point she called it “miserable and ridiculous” which was kind of a catch phrase of my dearly departed grandma. Granny kind of reminded of her because my grandma was cranky. She was sweet and lovable and generous and super cranky. So anything that even mildly irritated her she referred to as “miserable and ridiculous.”

    I handed the issue to my mom to read, and she started reading it. All of a sudden I look over and my mom is sobbing. It was because of “miserable and ridiculous.” That was my proudest moment.

    That's brilliant. That really is brilliant. All right, that's another one checked off the bucket list. Then the next issue that came out was Iron Will and Fluttershy. How did you come up with that idea? 

    CR: I think that was another one just trying to come up with a pairing that hadn't been explored. For me, I like Iron Will because he's just so bombastic and ridiculous. So I thought it would be fun just to revisit him and turn the tables by having him seek Fluttershy for help with finding his inner pony. I didn't think anybody was going to write about him, so it was another way to get something published.

    Was it your idea to have his wife kick him out of the maze and was that idea based on a personal experience involving your husband and the couch? 

    CR: *laughs* No, not at all! He's just this big gruff guy and the thought of him back home in the maze actually not wearing the pants in the family was kind of funny. My husband and I actually have a really fantastic relationship. I've never kicked him onto the couch. Although there was one time I went to sleep on the couch.

    The biggest fight we had, this is so ridiculous, was really early on in our relationship. He was a big Buffy [the Vampire Slayer] fan and I had seen episodes here and there but wasn't that familiar with it. So the first episode he made me watch was the musical episode. Which when watched out of context makes absolutely no sense! I was so irritated. Like “why would you make me watch that?!” Now I love the Buffy musical, but at the time it—for some reason—just really set me off. That would be the closest he ever came to getting kicked out of the maze. Making me watch the Buffy musical out of context. *laughs*

    Well, yeah you don't exactly watch those type of episodes right off the bat. You have to start at the beginning and work your way to them.

    CR: Oh yeah, you've got to get eased into that thing. Once he convinced me to watch Buffy from the beginning I was like: “Oh okay. Now I get it. Sorry, sorry for getting so irrationally mad at you five years ago!” *laughs*

    Have you ever consider pitching a story where Angel Bunny is the star? I know Jeremy Whitley’s already done the Silent Pets issue, but every single writer seems to know how to write Angel Bunny perfectly. His interaction with Iron Will had me busting a gut.

    CR: I actually did pitch a story with him and Spike. For whatever reason, I guess it just hasn't meshed with the timeline of other stories. We just haven't done that one, so I may have to go back and revisit it.

    It could very well be that it could be for reasons relating to a previous episode of My Little Pony, with Spike maybe pet sitting everyone. 

    CR: No. I think the first time I pitched that one was right around the time that the pets issue was going to come out and so we just moved on. But maybe I can go back and revisit that. I would love to do an issue with Angel.

    Yes, the demon rabbit. 

    CR: Yep. *laughs*

    Is there any chance that we might see more of Iron Will, his son and The Misses as he put her in an upcoming story?

    CR: As of now no. I hadn't had any plans for that now.

    Well, here's to hoping you end up getting the chance to revisit your next issue that was published. What inspired you to write about Tirek as a teenager? 

    CR: He's such a punk ass in general that I figured maybe he was always like that. I have a lot of deep set fears about being the mother of a teenager—which is not in my eminent future but it's coming at some point. It's coming from being a mother of a teenager at some point. I wanted with that issue—since we already saw—that he went to Equestria and we know that he was there to tap into the power of the unicorns—to figure out at what point he would decide to do something like that. For some reason I like the idea of showing this really big bad guy as a more vulnerable, confused in a lot of ways teenager.

    Fair enough. Out of all the FIENDship is Magic stories Tirek's is the one that created the most lore for the series. 

    CR: Did it?

    Pretty much. We got a complete—or as complete as twenty-two pages can get—culture  for the gargoyles and centaurs.  An entire royal court. Christina, can you please tell us more about this part of the MLP world that we only got a small glimpse of in your story?

    CR: Yeah. Well, I thought of Equestria as a place where's a lot of magic because the unicorns are there inhabiting it. I saw Tirek's land as a place rather devoid of magic, which is why him and Sendak are these anomalies. They're feared in a way. Clearly King Vorak fears his son. He doesn't understand magic— fears it actually—and doesn't try to foster it at all, but instead pushes an intense distrust of his son. The son's supposed to replace him on the throne. That's the cause of a lot of this tension, mistrust, and borderline hate between the two of them, which has led to a great deal of fear and anger and all of that in Tirek.

    Yeah. It's almost like a heavy metal world. Which I think Tony captured that perfectly. I had written it as such kind of a barren place, and so rocky, I was fearful that it would look kind of bland. When I saw what Heather [Breckel] did with it in terms of colors, I was blown away because it's gorgeous.

    Out of all the FIENDship is Magic issues, quite easily the Tirek issue is the best looking of the bunch.

    CR: Thank you and I had nothing to do with that! *laughs* Yeah, when I saw that I was absolutely blown away. I just wanted to reach out and just hug both of them.

    I've never seen Tony's art look anywhere near as good as it does in that comic.

    CR: Yeah, it was impressive!

    Absolutely amazing. Speaking of amazing, the fandom wants to know, what was the name of the awesomely designed unicorn? 

    CR: Oh, I didn't name the unicorn.

    …You didn't?! 

    CR: No. I did not. *laughs* It’s just a generic unicorn.

    A generic unicorn with a kick ass design.

    CR: Yeah, like in the script it was just “unicorn.” Tony and I had the discussion for designing him. I always pictured it as a male unicorn but no I never him named. Sorry. *laughs*

    Well it just means that the fandom now gets to name him. 

    CR: Sure, I'm totally open for that. It will be like when the fans picked Joan Crawford's name, because they did.

    They’ve picked so many names. Some of them have actually made it onto the show. Like Lyra and Bon Bon for instance. 

    CR: Oh really, those are fan ones?

    Yeah, they were. 

    CR: Oh, there you go.

    Yep. Was Discord being in the throne room your idea or Tony's?

    CR: That was Tony. I didn't know he was doing that until I saw it.

    It does end up raising the number of story possibilities should you ever go back. 

    CR: Oh it does. Once he did it in the comic, man that's so cool. I wish I'd have thought of that. That's Tony.

    Tirek's story definitely reads as a very beginning of a much larger and longer story. Do you have any ideas stored away for where the story will go next and if so do you think will be any chance of revisiting this part of the world soon? 

    CR: I'm not sure. I haven't discussed that with Bobby, but I would love to. I love him as a character. For me it's obvious what happens because we know where he ends up. I didn't want to retell the story that we already saw part of in the episode.

    We know that that he will overtake Vorak, and over take his land. We know he goes to Equestria to get the unicorn magic. Maybe it's not obvious, I don't know. We know where he ends up, but if Bobby would let me I would totally revisit and fill in those events between points A and B. I'd be more than happy to, but we've not discussed it yet.

    Well, here's something for a revisit of FIENDship is Magic sometime in the future.

    CR: Yeah. I also, in that one, I got to pay tribute to Ann Dvorak.

    I noticed. When you spoke his name I was like, “Oh so that's how you say the king's name.”

    CR: It's Dvorak.


    CR: Yeah, and then for Queen Haydon, Haydon is the last name of one of Ann Dvorak's characters.

    Right there in big bold letters, comic writer is a huge Ann Dvorak fan! 

    CR: Yes, but I do love that I was able to pay tribute to Ann Dvorak in a My Little Pony comic. That makes me so just stupidly giddy! *laughs*

    You had your OC drawn into the comic during, for the Granny Smith issue. You're allowed to be giddy. 

    CR: Thank you!

    Following your very, very dark story for Tirek in FIENDship is Magic, by pure coincidence that comic series got a semi spiritual extension by the way of having Diamond Tiara be the star of the very next Friends Forever issue that came out and also the catalyst for all the trouble that occurs in Ponyville Days. What are your thoughts on that little happenstance? 

    CR: Well, it's purely coincidental. I do like the Diamond Tiara-centric issue, but I had no idea that was going to happen. I think she's a great catalyst for mischief because she's such a snit!

    *laughs* Yes, she is. Definitely a strong Veruca right there. 

    CR: Oh yeah.

    Was this comic written in reaction to the criticisms that the last couple of My Little Pony comics, before FIENDship, not making a whole lot of sense because Princess Twilight Sparkle should have logically been able to solve the problem they were dealing with in five seconds?

    CR: No, because we write these things way in advance. That was me writing something that combined my fascination with the Civil War and historic walking tours.

    That's right! In the second Pinkie Pie was giving a walking tour.

    CR: Yeah!

    And getting all the information wrong. *laughs*

    CR: *laughs* I used to give walking tours of the historic theaters in downtown Los Angeles and so me and the other docents would periodically realize that we had been given wrong information at some point or we had taken information and morphed it into something wrong. Also, at the library I work at, I work in a historic building and we have docents that will give tours. So I'll be on the reference desk and a docent will walk by and just say something completely insane that is so inaccurate. I thought, “Pinkie would do that. Pinkie would totally do that!”

    Yes she would!

    CR: I was really giddy just to have Pinkie conducting walking tours. I would love to take a tour led by Pinkie.

    “Here was have Canterlot Castle. Did you know this castle is actually made out of ice cream?”

    CR: Yeah! That’s fantastic! *laughs*

    Was it your idea or Agnes Garbowska's to pie Diamond Tiara in the face?

    CR: That was Agnes. That's another one of those things where I saw it and I'm like, oh yeah I wish I'd have thought of that! *laughs* Which goes to show that working on this book is an absolute collaboration. I'm giving them the script with these basic beats and some gags, but the artist just contributes so much. I have to give Agnes complete credit for that.

    Well, in a way they are the director of the story. 

    CR: I never thought of it that way, but you're right!

    Normally when Twilight gives out friendship lessons that's the end of the story, everyone makes up, all of hurt feelings go away, but that wasn't the case with the end of part one of this little two part tale. For the first time in the entire the Friendship is Magic franchise in general we see a friendship lesson denied! What gave you the idea to buck the trend of the show and go down that particular rabbit hole? 

    CR: Well, a lot of that stems from my daughter. She is in school and she'll come home at the end of the day and if there was a big blow up between two kids over the most ridiculously stupid thing,  I have to be sympathetic. That was why in the issue, we had this incredibly silly thing escalating, but I felt that this time it was so deep and there was so much pie and so much ugly fabric thrown around that it wasn't something that everybody was going to recover from that quickly. Twilight couldn't just show up at the end and fix it, so I felt that they needed to gradually come to a resolution.

    Which of course led to Twilight Sparkle trying to force said resolution to occur by going to each and every single pony in Ponyville and getting them signed up for Ponyville Days again. Of course this was the absolute smartest idea that she’s ever had. Did you always intend for Twi's plan to blow up in her face? 

    CR: Oh yeah, absolutely! *laughs* I had the most fun writing  part two of that story. That was something that was fully formed in my brain and I was able to just write it! I like all the chaos and I like Mayor Mare bowling. My favorite little bit that she's high fiving Walter and The Dude while bowling! Twilight  definitely played the part in getting them back together, but it was something that was much more gradual other than them going, “friendship is magic.” Although it is.

    Yes it is. Yes it is. Speaking of Friendship is Magic, with the hundredth episode of the series out now, does it give your one panel joke with Gummy a whole new light?

    CR: *laughs* We should always just build on Gummy and see everything in an all new light with Gummy!

    Yes, like you're writing these one page gags, but in your mind you're writing these huge expositions on life, like the universe and everything. *laughs*

    CR: Well that's what's going on in Gummy's head, come on! *laughs*

    Yes it is. We need a comic written about that. A whole comic of what's going on in Gummy's head while the absolutely most mundane things possible happen. Or better, yet it's a huge adventure. Who knows? It's Gummy! *laughs*

    CR: Who knows? The possibilities are limitless with Gummy. I don't think Bobby would ever approve that though.

    Oh well. We'll see. Following that two part main arc in the main series the completely obvious and hindsight team up of Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy Friends Forever was released. What gave you the idea to delve into this particular friendship? 

    CR: I don't know. When I pitch to Bobby I'll send him three or four pitches at once and out of those there's one that he'll like. I hadn't written Rainbow Dash— at some point I'd like to write all of them— and I was trying to think of something and it just became really obvious. I have to say, my single proudest moment since I've been writing these books is when that pitch was sent to Hasbro about them going to the Flight Camp reunion, the response that came back was, “Gee we wish we would have thought of that.” That is by far my proudest moment writing these books.

    That's high praise right there. 

    CR: Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

    Who came up with the design for Sirus Cloud? Did you come up with it and write down lots of notes to tie it into with the Carrie nightmare sequence or did Jay Fosgitt just design what came naturally to him?

    CR: No, it was a combination. I described her as looking like Wendy O. Williams from the Plasmatics. That was how I pictured her, and then he took that and ran with it.


    CR: Yeah, we always pictured her looking punk rock.

    How did you decide to reference Stephen King in a My Little Pony comic? 

    CR: When I was writing it, it just seemed that Fluttershy has this absolute fear and paranoia about what might happen at this school reunion setting. To me, what would be going through her mind would be the prom scene in Carrie. It just seems completely natural and obvious to me.

    Yeah, yeah it really does. 

    CR: I wasn't sure. I didn't know if they would let me do it or not, but I could just be hypersensitive. So, I don't know. *laughs*

    Well, Jay managed to pull it off, which I think was a big shock for most of the fandom since they were like, “oh Jay draws these absolutely cutesy, wootsy little ponies” and they saw it and were like, "What the BLEEP?! Where did this come from?!"

    CR: Heather's coloring on that sequence is fantastic.

    Oh yes, absolutely. Heather just brings a whole new dimension of life to the stories.

    CR: Exactly.

    It really is collaboration between everyone on these books. 

    CR: Absolutely.

    I'm just going to take a shot in the dark here by guessing that Carrie, that the Carrie scene is the part that you're most proud of in that particular issue. 

    CR: I actually like the under the table conversation. The Carrie stuff is cool, don't get me wrong, but I like when Rainbow Dash has these revelations and gets it—and can show a softer side—because she doesn't always do that. No, I really liked the end of the table scene. It's very sweet.

    Yes it is. 

    CR: It is, and Fluttershy! Just want to squeeze her!

    I think a lot of people want to squeeze her too. Just give her a nice little hug. 

    CR: Yeah. Looking at Jay's drawing of her right now and I just want to hug my computer screen!

    She's just too adorable. Yeah, you would probably just have to settle for a Fluttershy plushie when it comes out. 

    CR: We have our Build-a-Bear Fluttershy. I'm going to go hug her after this interview. *laughs*

    Just give her a nice long hug. 

    I think a good argument can be made for Rarity having the second largest ego in Ponyville—behind Rainbow Dash of course. An ego which you use to great effect in her team up with the Cakes, so we've talked about this briefly, but what inspired you to have these two different business ponies work together? 

    CR: I looked at some of the issues that had already been written and so when I was pitching to Bobby I just wanted to go for characters that hadn't really gotten as much exposure. Again it seemed natural that these two would go into business together just by what they do and definitely not their personalities. The Cakes having this wonderful bake shop and Rarity has that the whole wedding thing. It seemed that chaos could ensue, because the Cakes are so low key and Rarity's fabulous.

    Fabulous darling. She's absolutely fabulous. 

    CR: She is! *laughs*

    One of the criticisms about this issue is that the story at times feels like a retread of Suited for Success and Sweet and Elite. To me it felt like you were drawing upon those particular episodes to create a new story that's similar but still very different. Your thoughts.?

    CR: I have seen all of the episodes of the show. When I saw that  pointed out and I looked back at the episode I was like, “oh yeah that part does make sense.” But no. It was just what made sense to me and what made sense in terms of Rarity's characterization, so I wasn't consciously retreading. Maybe I was subconsciously, I don't know. I'm sorry. Don't hate me. Don't hate me! *laughs*

    Don't apologize. I thought it was a brilliant spin with a brilliant story. 

    CR: Well, thank you. I appreciate it. I wasn't sure because it was the first one that I'd written and it had been written so long ago. My husband read it and he's like, oh okay you've become a better writer since this.

    I know Touring Wind is inspired by someone, but for the life of me I can't figure out who, so who is she based on? 

    CR: Oh, Anna Wintour is Touring Wind… who apparently also inspired Photo Finish. I didn't realize that until Brenda [Hickey] started drawing it. I'm like, “I think Photo Finish is based on Ann Wintour too,” and she goes, “yeah so I’ll just make her look different.”

    I guess that's what happens when you have multiple people working on the same franchise. Inspiration comes from the same sources.

    CR: Yeah, exactly! At this point my brain can only maintain so much. I try to go back and research the episodes before I write, but it's not all in there. Stuff has definitely leaked out of my head.

    What was the one moment that you were most proud of from this particular story? 

    CR:  I like that the Cakes come to the rescue at the end in only the way a parent could. As a parent, you have so much unexpected chaos in your life that you never thought you would be dealing with. Once you deal with things as a parent, other things seem like nothing. It was nice that something serious like an allergic reaction that this pony is passed out on the floor had them like “Nah, no problem! We've got that under control. We deal with that all the time.” I liked that they were able to come to the rescue in very subtle Cake like ways.

    Ways that only a parent would be able to understand. 

    CR: Exactly. Parents of twins to boot. I can't even imagine.

    Just imagine when those two are teenagers. They'll have two in the house at once. 

    CR: Yeah, I can't even go there. I can't even mentally go there. It's too much to think about. *laughs*

    Or better yet, just imagine them looking for their cutie marks. I don't know which would be worse. 

    CR: I have to say, the episode of the show where they referenced Trainspotting [Baby Cakes] is one of my favorite isolated moments in the entire show! That's just spectacular.

    Nice. So, you've worked with Tony Fleecs, Agnes Garbowska, Jay Fosgitt, and Brenda Hickey on your comics.

    CR: Yes!

    What are your thoughts on working with all these different artists on the series? 

    CR: It's incredible! I worked with Tony first—and I've known Tony for a decade—so it was really fantastic that I was able to work with somebody that I knew very well. When I got paired up with a different artist the second time I was, “oh man I just want to work with Tony!” But Agnes is amazing. The first time I met her I knew she was drawing the Fluttershy/Iron Will issue and it turned out she was working on it during Comic-Con last year. So I went up to her table and was like, “oh hey I'm the writer on this book.” And she was, “oh my God!” and she hugged me! She's so sweet, so amazing, and pulled out pages! It was incredible!

    Then with the Cakes issue, I didn't even know Brenda was working on it until she tweeted a panel and I saw. I'm like, “Wait a second… that looks like Rarity and a basket of strawberries!” So I had to message her. I'm like, “Hey I think you’re drawing this thing I wrote.” She was just so sweet and wonderful and the book was awesome! It was the same with Jay. He started sending me pages! All of them have completely different styles, but they're all just wonderful people to work with.

    Instead of being apprehensive about working with a new artist or somebody I don't know, I actually really look forward to it. Then when I end up having to go back and work with them a second or third time it's really cool.

    Because you've gotten to know them and you've made a new friendship. 

    CR: Exactly. And Friendship is Magic! *laughs*

    Yes it is. 

    CR: That joke just doesn't get old!

    No, it does not. After all it's been five years since the joke was first told. 

    CR: Exactly. On the Ann Dvorak book—that's a three hundred plus page book—it was this very isolated lonely experience whereas working on these it's an absolute collaboration. It's cool to look at a panel or a page. Sometimes a panel will be drawn exactly how I pictured it in my head and it's like, “Wow I really was able to convey this.” Other times the panel looks so much better than what I was picturing in my head! It's like, “Wow this person is awesome!” For me it's just a joy to be able to hand something over to a professional artist and see what they're able to do with it. It's so exciting!


    CR: I'll turn in the script and be like, “I guess it's okay.” Then I'll see the book I'm like, “Oh man this is really good because this artist made it really good!” *laughs*

    Hindsight is always 20/20. Especially when it's like, “Gee I think this is going to look good” but then it's like, “Oh it’s brilliant! I'm a brilliant writer! Thank you artist for making me a brilliant writer!”

    CR: That's how I think about Tirek’s issue. I thought it was going to look boring and it didn't!

    No it didn't at all. 

    What advice do you have to give to those who are looking to break into writing comics professionally? 

    CR: Even though I didn't start off as a comic writer I've been writing for years and years in different formats. You need to write and you need to practice. I'll admit it was probably a little bit easier for me just because of my connections, but just write.

    My husband came into the comic industry cold and he busted his butt for years and years. The first thing he ever did was a web comic that he drew himself—he's not an artist— called Poorly Drawn Animal. He just started developing a name for himself and then he met up with other artists, and formed connections, which is also so important. So I think you just keep doing it and you just keep getting better. Or in my case, you write a book on an obscure movie star.

    And away you go. 

    CR: Yeah, somehow, yeah. The thing is just write. Just work at it. I have lots of other projects that I work on that some of them might go somewhere and some of them don't. I'm always working on something and I'm always trying to improve myself and get better at it. If there's something that you really want to do, just do it and just keep doing it.

    Just one more question. Do you have anything that you'd like to say to the readers of Equestria Daily? 

    CR: Thank for reading! It's nice that I get paid to write Pony comics, but it's also a really big honor. To actually contribute something to the Pony Universe that I am a huge fan of *squee*! I watch the show religiously as the episodes come out and I think it's a really cool fandom to be included in!

    All right! Well, thank you Christina.

    CR: Thank you!

    You can find Christina Rice on:

    The Web: http://www.anndvorak.com/cms/ 
    Twitter: https://twitter.com/christinarice