• INTERVIEW: Ian Flynn on Writing "Feats of Friendship"

    Are you all excited or Feats of Friendship? You are! That's fantastic! Have you ordered the comic through your local comic shop?

    What do you mean you haven't? The Final Order Cut-Off Date for the first issue is on June 30, 2019. Which is exactly one week from today! If you're going to order the comic, you have 7 days to get it done!

    Diamond Order Code for issue 1 is JUN190642. Bring that number to your Local Comic Shop so they can order it for you.

    If you happen to be on the fence about ordering this comic, or just happen to like reading interviews with IDW's MLP Comic Staff, Equestria Daily has a treat for you!

    I recently interviewed Ian Flynn, best known for writing Archie's and IDW's Sonic the Hedgehog comic series, about his work for the upcoming Feats of Friendship series.

    You're in for a treat. One you can check that out for yourself after the break!

    The Illustrious Q: Ian, first of all I want to say thank you for agreeing to sit down and be interviewed by Equestria Daily for your new MLP comic mini-series. It really is an honor to ask you a few questions about your work. Man we haven't done a QnA session since you stopped doing Ask Ian on the defunct Bumbleking forums. You don't suppose this could be considered a sort of revival of "Ask Ian" between a couple of Bumbleking veterans?

    Ian Flynn: Think of it more as a special, exclusive pass to the Q&A portion of my podcast, the BumbleKast. (www.BumbleKing.com/BumbleKast)

    TIQ: Anyways, to really start off this interview proper, Ian could you tell us a little bit about yourself and some of the other comic works the readers on Equestria Daily may or may not know you from?

    IF: I’m best known for twelve nearly uninterrupted years of writing for Sonic the Hedgehog comics. I also had a lengthy run writing Mega Man, have dabbled in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and worked in television and videogames. You can find my entire body of work on my website, www.BumbleKing.com. (I think I’ve gotten all the shameless plugs out of my system now)

    TIQ: Speaking of the fastest thing alive, you've also got a Sonic the Hedgehog comic coming out this August, which is the finale of the "Crisis City" storyline, but not the "Metal Virus Saga." So, to start, how does it feel to be writing some intricate storylines after laying the foundation for IDW Sonic during the first year?

    IF: The “Metal Virus Saga” spread out of my control in a way. With IDW’s Sonic the Hedgehog I’ve tried a more focused, concise approach to plotting the overarching storylines. But as things progressed the stakes kept getting higher and new opportunities grew out of them.

    TIQ: Sonic is still dealing with his medical condition of "Gotta Go Fast." Which one would think wouldn't be a problem for a character who is all about speed. Have their been any unexpected surprises in Sonic's attitude because of this illness which caught you off guard while he had to deal with Crisis City?

    IF: This is one of the rare times where Sonic’s usual way of solving the issue – running in fast and smashing it with his face – just will not work. That physicality has become a liability now that his touch is infectious. Sonic has been put in a uniquely powerless position and he’ll have to deal with that.

    TIQ: Is there anything you would like to say about the finale for "Crisis City" to the readers of Equestria Daily?

    IF: A summation of this arc is: “and then it got worse.” So while you may find “Crisis City” shocking, know that it isn’t the end. Far from it.

    TIQ: Now for the meat and potatoes of this interview: The Ponies. Here at Equestria Daily we have a traditional first question we ask all of our first time interviewees. And I see no reason not to continue that tradition now. So to begin, who is your favorite My Little Pony character?

    IF: Not an easy pick, but I think I can settle on Spike. He’s a good guy, he works hard, and he cracks me up.

    TIQ: This next question is actually hilarious, at least from my point of view. I don't know if you're actually aware of this, but the entire reason why I got into My Little Pony in the first place is because of you. It was back in 2011, I think it was during your Ask Ian thread for February, where one of our fellow Bumbleking alumnus ask you for your thoughts on the MLP: FiM cartoon.

    You had said that you had watched the first episode and had LOVED it, and specifically that you were a sucker for character building and different stories of creation. That endorsement was enough to get me to check out the series and as they say the rest is history.

    So I have a two part question for you. The first part, how did you first encounter the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic cartoon? The second, did you end up rediscovering the show after your first encounter and how has your view of the franchise changed over the last 9 years?

    IF: I watched it around the same time as everyone else. I had fond memories of the original cartoons and still remember going to the theater to watch the movie. (and now “Nothing Can Stop the Smooze” is stuck in my head. Thanks.) So I gave it a shot and was very happy the show runners put in so much love and passion into what could’ve easily been a half-baked cash-grab.

    I fell behind somewhere around the end of Season One and have been keeping tabs on it here and there. I wasn’t a complete novice when I began researching for “Feats of Friendship,” thankfully.

    TIQ: At this point, would you call yourself a fan of My Little Pony?

    IF: A casual fan, sure. Not the hardest of hardcore, but definitely appreciative of the series.

    TIQ: Could you please tell us a little bit about how you got the opportunity to write a My Little Pony comic?

    IF: I’ve had a good time working with Sonic the Hedgehog’s Associate Editor Megan Brown, who also works on My Little Pony. She invited me to pitch for both the main series and for a mini-series.

    TIQ: With the first issue set to come out in August, what has it been like working with MLP Comic veteran Tony Fleecs?

    IF: He’s super chill and easy to work with, which is grand when I ask for yet another complicated splash panel. He’s also done art for a story I wrote for Star Wars Adventures #23.

    TIQ: I know every comic writer has a different process for writing in a new comic property. And I know from your excellent work on Sonic and TMNT that you definitely do your homework when it comes to research. But I am curious, when preparing to write for the Young/Student Six in this series, how much research did you do for the characters, the world of Equestria, and the lore the franchise has built over the last 9 years? Did you just draw form the TV show? Or did you do a deep dive and plunge into the tie in novels, the previous IDW Comics, and official yet supplementary info which can be found online?

    IF: I did a deep-dive on a few Wikis to get started. From there I hunted down certain episodes and comics to get first-hand knowledge of what I’d read up on. I know the fandom is passionate about the rich lore of the series, so I hope they find my contributions to the mythos acceptable.

    TIQ: I ask this because unlike the Mane 6, the Young 6 are made up of 6 different sentient species found in the world of Equestria. Which in turn a massive challenge for writing these characters. Gallus is a Griffin, Yona is a Yak, Ocellus is a reformed Changeling, Silverstream is a hippogriff/seapony, Smolder is a dragon, and Sandbar is the only pony in the group, Each of those species has their own established lore and history. How did you manage to keep all of that baggage straight while writing these characters for the book?

    IF: Their diversity is one of the key components of “Feats of Friendship.” You have a mixing of many different cultures, and most of the Young Six are living very far from the comforts of home and their regular societies. How their collective friendship deals with all that will be something we explore.

    TIQ: What are some of the biggest differences you have found when it comes to writing MLP as compared to STH or TMNT?

    IF: Not too much, honestly. You have these bright, colorful characters in fantastic circumstances. They live in their world and take it seriously, and I try to approach that with respect. One nice thing is magic is readily accepted as part of the Pony world, which makes it readily available to use narratively.

    TIQ: The "Feats of Friendship" sounds like a wonderful friendly sporting competition. Could you tell us a little bit about how the idea of having a sports themed event in Equestria came about?

    IF: Everything hinges on the concept behind the new character, Swift Foot. Explaining it this early on will give everything away. But organized sports have been used to bring together people from all walks of life, and those idea of community and togetherness are inherent to Friendship is Magic.

    TIQ: Also, in universe was this Rainbow Dash's idea? I swear if anypony would think of making intermural sports into a friendship event it would probably be her.

    IF: It’s actually Twilight Sparkle’s brainchild, with the Young Six specifically in mind.

    TIQ: So part of the story involves introducing a brand new character to a school of Friendship! An exchange student no less! What went into the creative process for Swift Wind and did you draw upon any of your experiences writing Sonic while creating her?

    IF: As I said earlier, who Swift Foot is and where she comes from are major parts of the story that I can’t even hint at. Her relationship to the concept of “friendship” and to Equestria itself are major parts of the story.

    TIQ: I know there is one moment in this story where you cannot wait to see how the audience will react to it. What can you tell us about that moment without spoiling it?

    IF: I think once readers get a sense of what’s going on they’ll be on edge for the whole ride. There are a few highlight moments, but if I tell you where they are, folks will figure it out too soon.

    TIQ: Is there anything else you would like to tell the readers of Equestria Daily about?

    IF: I’d love to go on-and-on about “Feats of Friendship,” but I want you to be surprised and intrigued. So for now I’m going to button my lip and try to be patient while I wait for y’all to enjoy the mini.