• SDCC INTERVIEW: Bobby Curnow on the Past, Present, and Future of My Little Pony Comics

    Almost a solid month after SDCC and I finally have a moment to post this I did with IDW My Little Pony Comic Editor Bobby Curnow at SDCC!

    It has been a busy month. To put mildly.

    I hope everyone likes Marvel, Teenage Mutant Turtles, me making a fool of myself, and My Little Pony, because we go over just about everything in this interview. Which you can check out for yourself after the break!

    The Illustrious Q: First of all, Bobby, thank you so, so much for agreeing to sit down during your very, very busy schedule here at San Diego Comic Con, to be interviewed by Equestria Daily. As always, it's an absolute honor to interview you for the site.

    Bobby Curnow: You guys have been so wonderful to us, it's a pleasure. Thank you very much for taking your time, too.

    TIQ: Thank you, thank you. So, how's everything been going with you, with TMNT? Especially, with the 100th issue. So, tell us about that.

    BC: It's real exciting. We've had a long form story, so things build on each other. It's all the same continuity. So, this is really the culmination of eight plus years worth of work. It's a little terrifying, but it's also really gratifying and exciting. We've had some big surprises just recently, in the book, but we've got more coming. So, it's going to be really cool to see how people respond to that.

    TIQ: Big surprises like a fifth turtle?

    BC: That's right. Jennika just mutated into a turtle a couple weeks ago in issue 95. We thought that'd get a reaction, but we've been blown away by how much people have responded to that.

    TIQ: Awesome. I can't wait to see what ends up happening with her in the future. Is there anything you can possibly tease about that?

    BC: She's going to be ... We're not de-mutating her, she's going to be around. But in terms of what's actually going to be happening with her story, you're going to have to read the comic to find out.

    TIQ: That's awesome, Bobby. Now, I know that since you've been promoted to ... is it senior, or group, editor?

    BC: Group editor.

    TIQ: Since you've been promoted to group editor, that your responsibilities have increased exponentially, and you're overseeing more than just My Little Pony and TMNT, anymore. Could you tell us a little bit about some of your other projects you've been working on? Like, Marvel, for instance.

    BC: Sure. We were doing a whole line of Marvel ages book, called Marvel Action. My co-worker, and other group editor, Den Tipton heads Black Panther, and Spider-Man, and I've got Avengers, and Captain Marvel, which we've got a nice image of, that folks can't see, but we're looking at, here in the booth.

    TIQ: It is absolutely glorious for those who can't see it. But I'll be sure to snap a picture of it to put in here. [Editor's Note: Q forgot to take the pictureWhat can you tell us that's different about the Marvel Action line of comics that's different from the regular Marvel line of comics?

    BC: I think the biggest thing ... It is intended for all ages, so maybe the violence, or the language isn't quite there, that you might find in the normal Marvel line. But the main thing for us, is to make it accessible. Obviously Marvel has many decades of continuity, and they do a great job of jumping on points, but it could be a little bit impenetrable for newer, younger readers.

    So, the goal with Marvel Action is to create a line of books that you can just jump right into, and understand the characters, and have a fun adventure, and not be bogged down by all the many, many years of history. So, trying to get to the core of the characters, and having really fun adventures with them.

    TIQ: So, it allows for a fresh, brand new take on these classic characters? Sort of like the Marvel Ultimate Universe was?

    BC: Yeah, yeah. For kids. Ultimate for kids. Yeah, exactly.

    TIQ: So, no potential for Ultimatum?

    BC: Probably not going to have the Blob eat the Wasp. Yeah, it's probably not going to happen in our books.

    TIQ: Yeah, that'd be bad. So, let's actually get down to the meat and potatoes of this interview, and actually start talking about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I can't believe that we're in the 80 count for the issues so far. What goes through your mind when you think about how the book has managed to last this freaking long?

    BC: You know, it all kind of becomes a blur, to be honest. I'm supremely happy that the series has lasted this long, and done this well. Obviously, I'm proud of the work that I've done, and the work that our creators have done. But, there's one reason why the book has lasted as long as it has, and that's because of the fans. The amazing Pony fandom that is so supportive, and ...

    If you would have told me five years ago that we'd still be going, I'd be like, "That'd be great, but I don't know about that." I think it's just a real testament to how wonderful this iteration of Pony's is, how great Friendship of Magic is, and the dedication and support of the fandom.

    TIQ: That's awesome, that's awesome. So, next year, if I do my math right, we should be coming up to the milestone issue 100, for My Little Pony. [Editor's Note: Q did his mental math wrong. Issue 100 is tentatively on track for March 2021]

    BC: Yeah, just about.

    TIQ: So, what can you think about My Little Pony, an all ages book that was originally meant for little girls, lasting to that mega milestone?

    BC: It's fantastic, it's really great. I think it speaks a lot to just how flexible the world is, of Equestria in the show, and how strong the characters are. That they're multifaceted, that they ... they've grown, too. I think if the characters would have stayed static, which is something Hasbro could have very easily done, it just would have died off.

    But, you had Twilight becoming a princess, and opening the Friendship school. They keep growing, and evolving as characters, and becoming more deep, and more complex, still in an accessible way. The characters have grown, but they still remain their core, too. So, if you started as a Fluttershy fan, maybe you've now evolved into a Rarity fan, but you're still allowed to love Fluttershy, because Fluttershy's still the same wonderful individual that she's always been.

    So, yeah, I just think it speaks to the strength of the characters, more than anything else.

    TIQ: That's fantastic, Bobby. Speaking of character growth, and change. There happens to be a new mini series coming out next month, from brand new writer to the series, Ian Flynn. Could you tell us a little bit of what it was like actually bringing in Ian Flynn to work on Feats of Friendship?

    BC: Yeah. My co-editor, Megan Brown, who's sort of taken on the day to day of My Little Pony, could probably speak to that better. But I've worked with Ian on Ninja Turtles, and obviously he does the Sonic comics for us, and he's just killed everything he's ever been given. He's real professional, he creates scripts on time ... he's just got a knack for licensed characters. I'm sure he's got a knack for other types of writing, too. But he's got a knack for finding the hearts of characters, and then also finding something new. Kind of uncovering different facets of their personalities, and impacting that into a really interesting story.

    Feats of Friendship, I think, is kind of our biggest exploration yet of the young six, these new characters that have come in and entered into Twilight's School of Friendship. They all come from different species, they're all different types of creatures, and so it's a great way to explore the larger world of Equestria, too, through them. We're going to be introducing a new character called Swiftfoot, who we don't know anything about at the start, she's a member of the school, a new student. So, it's going to be interesting to find out what her deal is, and how she's going to affect this group of friends.

    TIQ: So, the fact that she's called Swiftfoot, and she's currently being written by this writer for Sonic the Hedgehog, I'm sure there was absolutely no ... I'm sure of the fact that her name is kind of related to speed, that's absolutely no relation to the fact that Ian writes Sonic.

    BC: It's actually Sonic in disguise. Last issue, spoiler ... Swiftfoot's going to take off her pony costume, and Sonic inside. No, I don't know, that's obviously not true, although I think that's actually a good idea. Maybe we'll try and make that happen. I don't know, I can't tell you where the name came from, you'll have to talk to Ian about that.

    TIQ: Hopefully I'll be able to do that. This is actually the second or third time that Ian's actually been teamed up with Tony Fleece on a comic book. I know one of the more recent times is actually on Star Wars Adventures.

    BC: Yeah, I didn't know that, actually. I didn't know that. I'm personally not working on Star Wars Adventures anymore. I knew Tony was, I didn't know they were paired together, so that's great. It seemed like they understood each other immediately, and what they were going for, so that's not surprising. But that's great.

    TIQ: I would believe that the exclusive for Star Wars Adventures is actually the book that they did.

    BC: Yeah, that's great. That's awesome.

    TIQ: So, there's a couple of other books that are coming out, later on, for My Little Pony, including this one here from Tom Zahler. What can you tell us about issue 81?

    BC: So, it's about the Wonderbolts. You get a little insight into the history of the Wonderbolts, and how there's actually an Earth pony who was able to become a Wonderbolt. So the big question, "How is that possible? Earth ponies don't fly." So, you find that outside history, and that impacts one of the characters in the present day.

    I love the Legends of Magic, I love getting into the history of Equestria, it's a rich history. I'm always a nerd for being able to dive into the backstory of either characters or institutions, like the Wonderbolts.

    TIQ: That's fantastic. Especially since it looks like the older Wonderbolt on this cover here appears to be well, his uniform's definitely evoking the US Marines. What are your thoughts on the idea that Rainbow Dash is pretty much the only member of the main six who has actually become a member of Equestria's version of the US military.

    BC: I don't know if I've ever really thought about Wonderbolt's in that way. I mean, it's a way for Dash to pursue one of her great passions, which is flying, and speed. The Wonderbolt's has a story and wonderful history, and there's something that I think most of Equestria looks up to, so I think it was a big important moment when Dash became a Wonderbolt. She's now using some of the things she's learned, and passing that onto the next generation. Which I think is great to see a character, who is kind of known to be impulsive, and not a long term thinker, starting to evolve and mature, in a lot of ways.

    TIQ: That sounds fantastic. So, with the end of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic TV series coming out later on this year, with the mid-season hiatus starting back up in August, could you tell us possibly what IDW plans to do with the My Little Pony comics after the series comes to an end?

    BC: I will not. I cannot. I can't talk about it yet, but there are plans in the works that I think is going to be real exciting for both fans of our comics, and fans of the show. That's all I can really say about it now, but I hope we can talk more about it when we're ready to talk about it, because it's pretty exciting.

    TIQ: Oh, there are plans. I like plans. Plans within plans, that's always good. It's just ... It's been amazing that this book here has been going on for so, so long. When you go back, and think back to working on the series, when it was just first announced, and you were busy trying to find talent for it, when you look at how it's come now, what sort of thoughts go through your mind when you think about that?

    BC: One, I struggle to remember that far back, because it has been awhile now. I guess it's been at least six years, maybe seven? Right about there. But it's great. I saw Katie Cook this morning when I was walking through Artist's Alley, and gave her a big hug. What's kind of ironic is what I ... I'm really proud of the book that we've done, I think we've told some great stories. But what I've gotten the most out of it is, ironically, friendship with a lot of the creators that have been involved in the books for all of these years. Agnes, I saw Agnes, I saw Tony, too, today. I mean, it brings a smile to my face when I see them. I think they feel the same way about Pony, it's really had a huge impact on their careers. It's impacted who I am as a person, and it's just been something truly special.

    TIQ: That's awesome. Is there anything else you'd like to talk to the readers of Equestria Daily about?

    BC: Just, again, thank you for reading our books, and I hope you stick around for what's next. Hope to see you at a comic convention soon.

    TIQ: All right. Thank you so much, Bobby.

    BC: Okay. Awesome. Thank you so much.