• INTERVIEW: David Lumsdon on writing the My Little Pony: The Manga from Seven Seas Entertainment

    In advance of the June 18th, 2019 release of My Little Pony: The Manga from Seven Seas Entertainment, Equestria Daily had the chance to interview the author David Lumsdon and ask him all sorts of questions about it!

    Details about this Original English Language Manga have insanely hard to come by (aside from the Seven Seas Entertainment webpage for it).

    And let me tell you, he was not an easy person to get in contact with… my google-fu was put to the test finding his contact info.

    And it's a good thing I did because the interview with David has to be one of the best we've ever done on the site. Don't believe me? There's an answer in this interview which will convince you to buy this book in just four words (pre-order on Amazon.com).

    As always, you can check out the whole thing for yourself after the break.

    The Illustrious Q: Hello David. First I want to say it is an honor to be able to sit down and be interviewed for Equestria Daily. As a comic professional, I know you have a busy schedule, so it means a lot that you agreed to take time away from that to talk about your new book. So to start things off, I think I'll start with an easy question(which is also traditional for an EQD interview): who is your favorite MLP Character? 

    David Lumsdon: Applejack, no question. Both because I like her and the whole apple family on the show and that we go way back. She was the only pony whose name I remember from the original TV special back in the 80's (Oof... I'm showing my age here, lol) and a girl who was babysat with me after school had an original Applejack toy.

    I know I wasn't the right demographic for the original TV special, but man did I love that thing back in the day. An evil wizard kidnapping ponies and turning them into vicious dragons? That was the most metal MLP ever got.

    Does that make me an O.G. Brony?

    TIQ: For those who haven't spent a good amount of time researching your previous writing credits, would you please tell us a little bit about yourself, your background in comics, and what were some of the things which drew you to the medium?

    DL: Lessee... I guess I'm best known for my webcomics work which include 3 series I co-write with the talented Gisele Lagace: Menage a 3, Eerie Cuties and Pixie Trix Comics, and I have full-writing credits on Sandra on the Rocks, Dangerously Chloe and Magic Chicks (all can be found at pixietrixcomix.com viewer discretion is advised as some of the series are for grown-up ponies only.) And recently I wrote a 4 page backup story in Street Fighter VS Darkstalkers #4 which was very fun to do.

    TIQ: Since My Little Pony has been a internet phenomenon for the past decade, dear god I just realized the 4 year olds who this show was made for are now 14 years old, it's fairly safe to say that just about everyone on the internet has been in contact with it at some point. How did you first encounter My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic?

    DL: Technically speaking... my first encounter was when Hasbro announced their now-defunct TV channel "The HUB" and there was an image of various characters from the shows they were going to premiere, and the two that stood out to me were Bumblebee from Transformers Prime (full disclosure: I'm a life long Transformers fan) and Rainbow Dash from MLP:FIM and I remember thinking to myself "Is it wrong that I like the look of My Little Pony over Transformers, now?"

    As for my first contact with the show, shortly after it started airing and it became a big thing, one of my friends kept telling me, "Dave, you've GOT to watch this show!" And I was like "Sure, fine... I'll get around to it some day." But she was persistent so I said, "Fine! I'll watch MLP IF you watch the show I keep telling you to watch." (Doctor Who with Matt Smith). So I did and became hooked instantly, it was just such a great show.

    Of course my friend never did hold up her end of the bargain, lol.

    TIQ: Assuming you aren't already a part of the herd, when did you become aware of the Brony Fanbase that follows the show?

    DL: It was 2011 on the internet... there was no escaping it, it was EVERYWHERE! The transformers message board I frequent had to create its own MLP subforum dedicated to it called the "The Allsparkle"

    TIQ: Considering that this is the first MLP original comic property to be published in the US with no involvement from IDW, how does it feel to be THE comic writer to launch the Original English Language MLP Manga?

    DL: Hm, I hadn't thought about it that way. I guess it's quite the honor and I hope I live up to everypony's expectations.

    TIQ: I know I'm not the only one who was caught completely by surprise when this was announced, so do you happen to know the story of how My Little Pony: The Manga - A Day in the Life of Equestria came to be? Did Seven Seas Entertainment approach Hasbro with an idea for a book? Did Hasbro approach them?

    DL: I'm a little sketchy on the details, but I believe it was Seven Seas that approached Hasbro and got the license to do a black and white manga-style book.

    TIQ: Could you tell us the story of how you ended up involved with the comic?

    DL: Well, I got an e-mail from Adam Arnold from Seven Seas one day asking me how much of a Brony I was. I had done several manga adaptations for them at the time (re-writing translated scripts to sound less translated-ese) and had assumed that Seven Seas got the license for that full-color MLP manga I saw floating around a few years back. So I told him I knew the characters, watched several of the episodes, went with a friend to see a live show at a mall and that Applejack is best pony.

    To my surprise Adam told me that they were planning to publish an original MLP manga and asked me if I was interested in auditioning as they were thinking on splitting the writing duties between 2 writers. So I wrote a six-page tryout that at first I tried too hard to make it exactly like the TV show, eventually I realized that I shouldn't write it how I think someone else would write it and more how I would go about it.

    So I wrote a crazy story about Twilight Sparkle finding a mysterious vortex in the middle of Sweet Apple Acres and her attempts to seal it off caused crazier and crazier things to spill out (G1 Twilight and Spike, an ocean of Derpys, real off the wall stuff...)

    Long story short, after submitting the tryout Adam got back to me and said that what I wrote was exactly the direction he and Jason DeAngelis were looking for and I was offered full-writing credits on the project.

    TIQ: What are some of the things which attracted you to My Little Pony?

    DL: Well, when you get right down to it, it's just a good show. Great writing, good art, endearing characters. There's very little not to like.

    TIQ: After nearly 10 years on the air, with numerous tie-in media, the MLP:FiM universe is pretty massive. What were some of the challenges you ran into while writing the script for the book?

    DL: Given that there were still a few holes in my MLP binge watch when I started writing volume 1, I was always afraid I'd write a story that resembled too much something that had already been done. But Hasbro sent helpful notes in that regard, I think there was only one chapter I had to change because it resembled a plot of a season 9 episode that hadn't aired yet.

    But in truth my biggest challenge was finding rhymes for Zecora's dialogue... I am NOT a poet.

    TIQ: From My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, the controversial Reflections arc (Mirror Universe Equestria) from IDW Publishing, and Twilight's misadventures trying to Stop Sunset Shimmer from altering the timeline alternate realities is something that is fairly familiar to the My Little Pony universe. What is the one aspect of your take on the subject that makes it stand apart from the others which have come before it?

    DL: 4 words:





    Without giving too much away, in the last chapter we really embrace the fact that this is a MLP manga and take things in a lot of fun directions. Truth be told I would love to be able to revisit these concepts if given the opportunity.

    Mmmmmmaybe in book 3.

    TIQ: Could you please tell us about some of the possible alternate realities Pinkie Pie and company might end up finding themselves in? Shiei's art really made some of hijinks in the story look like a ton of fun!

    DL: Marvel! at the glamorous spectacle that is Rarity world!

    Stand in awe! of a pastry that defies the laws of time and space!

    Shudder in fear! at the sight of the terrifying zombie a-clop-olypse!

    TIQ: From the previews photos Seven Seas tossed out on twitter, which I think those were yours and Shiei's photos, revealed that unlike the comic offerings from IDW, this comic will be in Black and White. This is actually a first for the MLP Franchise since even the 2016 official Japanese MLP Manga マイリトルポニー コミック&クイズ (ぷっちぐみベスト!!) (Translation: My Little Pony comic & quiz (Putchigumi best !!)) from Putchigumi was published in color. What sorts of challenges did you run into as a writer when keeping in mind the fact this book will not be in color to make stuff stand out?

    DL: The majority of my comics work has been in black and white so its pretty much second nature to me. Best you can do is not call too much attention to it...

    Which is, of course, THE EXACT OPPOSITE of what I did, as at one point Pinkie Pie notes there's a distinct lack of color in Ponyville.

    TIQ: It's kind of surprising to see how little of the artwork of the book has been revealed outside of the cover and a handful of photos. Having looked into Shiei's previous titles, her artwork is incredible. What was it like working with Shiei on this book?

    DL: Working with Shiei was a dream. As a writer, when you see the pages you wrote turn out even better than how you imagined them in your head is quite gratifying. She really put her whole heart into the art and you can tell that on every page.

    Unfortunately I only found out after I turned in the script that her favorite pony is Fluttershy, that's when a sinking feeling came over me...


    "Oh no..."

    "I had Fluttershy hiding behind a door for a good part of her chapter..."

    "Noooooooo... Forgive me, Shieiiiiiiiiiiiiii!!!"

    TIQ: She sounds like an amazing person. I hope to be able to meet her in person one day. Speaking of meeting in person, what would be your thoughts on attending a dedicated My Little Pony convention in the future?

    DL: I say bring it on! I'd love to get out there and clop hooves with my brony brethren. Those MLP conventions sound like a lot of fun.

    TIQ: Would it surprise you to learn that a second volume of My Little Pony: The Manga has already been listed on Amazon with a release date of March 2020? And that you and Shiei are once again listed as the creative team?

    DL: We are? Ohhh... so that's why they have me writing more scripts.

    TIQ: Is there anything you might be able to tease Equestria Daily's readers about the second volume?

    DL: Hmmm... Unlike Vol 1 it will be a continuous story from beginning to end. Although there is connectivity from chapter to chapter in vol 1 there are a few chapters that can be read as standalones. Vol 2 will pay homage to one of my favorite anime movies "Urusei Yatsura: Beautiful Dreamer" in which Pinkie Pie will have to solve the mystery of why every day is always "the day before the festival."

    TIQ: What is the one thing you hope readers of this Manga will take away from it?

    DL: Well, at its core this book was meant to appeal to younger readers and have a second level that bronies can enjoy, so I hope both groups can take away what they need from it.

    TIQ: Is there anything else you want to say to the readers of Equestria Daily?

    DL: I certainly hope you'll all check this little book of ours, it was a labor of love and great fun to work on. If you do I hope you'll enjoy reading it and above all I hope it makes you laugh, because that means I did my job right.