• Opinion Editorial: Here's Why Duo Cartoonist Should Quit Pony

    For those who missed it, Duo Cartoonist, one of the most popular animation duo in the fandom announced that they will be stepping away from animating anything MLP related. As sad as it is to see another creative outlet of the fandom stop drawing the ponies that we all love, I’m here to explain why that’s a good idea. Let’s continue after the break.

    We are all hobbyists. I think that’s fair to say. Some take the hobby to the extreme and sell their talents, whether that be art or animation, or the all-too-popular Patreon. All of our MLP conventions are filled to the brim with wonderful pony art. The drawfriends are enough of an example of the massive amount of talent that our fandom has. But eventually, that talent can be put on hold, for any of a number of ways. Burnout after making your life pony for years can force you to take a break, much like I have. Your own interest in the fandom or subject matter might be waning, no matter how long you’ve been in it. Or the final reason could be that demand is dropping.

    Now, I’m not here to say the sky is falling, but I’d like to imagine that I can point out the obvious. The fandom has peaked. My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has had a long run, and that run is continuing, since we have a whole new season up on the horizon. We also have a movie waiting to plummet me into a despair where all my fanfics have been rendered obsolete. Although Sia is in it, and that’s cool. But we have hit the drop, and now we’re riding the rollercoaster as long as it will take us.

    Yes, this was at Bronycon.

    But I digress. You know what else is at MLP conventions? Art and merchandise of other fandoms. Bronycon a while ago announced that they were going to integrate other shows into their convention. Naturally, this was met with pushback from fans who think that these conventions are 100% no-pulp pony. And maybe they were in the first few seasons. I wouldn’t know since I came in during season 2, and didn’t become relevant until… I’ll get back to you on that. Walk down an aisle in a convention and you’ll fill a notebook with the number of other fandoms and references that artists and merch tables have absorbed. And these pieces aren’t gathering dust. They’re selling.

    These artists are selling art of Pokemon or Steven Universe or Zelda in a My Little Pony convention. And guess what? These fans are also bonding over these other fandoms, much like they did when they first stumbled upon pony and bought that Bronycon/Everfree Northwest/Babscon ticket. And that’s not even mentioning the sub-fandoms that MLP has created. I’ve seen dozens of artists drawing in unison, helping each other out and providing tips. Our very own Allyster Black even convinced me to draw, and you’ll never find those abominations.

    I don’t have any contact with Duo Cartoonist, so take my comments with a grain of salt. But I’d imagine that artists would want to diversify what they can draw, both on a challenge and an economic level. You know what’s harder than drawing a pony? Hands. Environments. Multiple characters. The Triforce. D.Va’s mech. And that’s not even touching animation, which is Duo Cartoonist’s main attraction to its Patreon.

    Creators have to deal with a lot to bring us horses sometimes, especially when they are very popular...

    Sure, there are a lot of artists at conventions that only sell pony merch, but a whole lot more of them have 3 or 4 fandoms of merch. And each Bronycon that I attend, that diversity grows. Meanwhile, the MLP writers that we know and love have their own ideas and ventures that they are pursuing. M.A. Larson is the author of a well-received series called Pennyroyal Academy, and his experience writing with My Little Pony helped him craft his own world. While her experience with Hasbro wasn’t exactly the best according to her interview at EQLA 2015, Lauren Faust moved onto other well-written projects such as Super Best Friends Forever, Wander Over Yonder, and provided characters for These Fightin Herds. Finally, one of the most popular fanfic writers in our fandom, Pen Stroke, wrote for an original game called "Nevermind" that is now on Steam, with mostly positive reviews.

    However one of the problems with a fandom is that not everyone follows you to your original ideas. I understand that. We’re all here for the magical talking horses. But a fandom’s hesitance to give non-fandom things a try creates an echo chamber of expectation among content creators. Creators grow afraid to differentiate from the fandom that made them popular, because you’re risking a lower view count or Patreon total every time you draw something that isn’t a horse. And just like that, you’re stuck between needing to draw the same thing to stay relevant, or differentiating to get that muse back while also risking the loss of fans who only wanted horses. Take a guess on which causes burnout?

    Duo Cartoonist should stop doing pony because… quite simply… they don’t want to anymore. Far be it from me or EQD to give them permission to animate or draw what they want, but if this hobby isn’t fun, you shouldn’t force passion. And if anyone who’s reading this is feeling the same way, then I’d recommend taking a break. Look into another fandom, or change something up in your life to keep that desire going. Pick up a non-media related hobby to get that brain pumping or those fingers moving.

    Keep it up, Pinkie, and you might paint over the Fourth Wall one day.

    Pony is not the end of anyone’s creative talents. None of the fandoms that Duo (or you) joins will be an end. Only a beginning. And all of you as fans can do us fellow creators a favor by following us and just giving our original ideas a chance. You don’t have to like them. Don’t force yourself to like what we make. But if you have a spare ten minutes, read a non-pony comic. Let us know what you think. Play a non-pony game. Ask the creators that left a while ago if they’re up to anything new. And for the love of Celestia listen to their music.

    It’s very hard to make this kind of transition, especially when creators know that their primary fan base is from pony. If enough of us encourage new ideas or encourage creators to simply create, we can invest in the best fandom of all: the fandom of creation. Thank you for reading. ABagOVicodin out. Tweet any complaints or disagreements to @ABagOfVicodin.