Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Prince and the Ponies (S02E13)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Prince and the Ponies

Summary: The Ponies recieve a mysterious invite to a party at a palace. Without question, they attend. The writers then commence a story about enslavement and product placement, in this series finale.

Grade: A big fat fuckin’ F. Because F is for finale, kids.

Initial Thoughts:

*cues up appropriate song*

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend
The end

Welcome, friends, to the last ever Season 2 and utterly worthless series finale episode of My Little Pony ‘N Friends. Yes, it seems fitting that I be the part of the duo that closes this chapter of our lives. Dove started this whole project with her review of My Little Pony and Friends: The Movie, although it was posted third in the series, after I explained Rescue/Escape From Midnight Castle was *technically* the originator of this Pandora’s box of stupid.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesWe have survived so much stupidity I’m not sure either of us will ever be the same. From white girl savior tropes, cages/nets, baybee twak, crab cops [Dove: The JOHN CENAs of Ponyland.], a whole menagerie of fantasy creatures and talking animals/bees, oodles of poorly written villains/villainesses, buy our merch, SHOO-BEE-DOO, Danny, Spike, super bad animation, continuity errors, plot says so, smash cuts, and everything in between.

Of course, I would be remiss if I didn’t point out that I STILL DO NOT KNOW HOW MAGIC WORKS IN PONYLAND.

I feel like I have a lot to say but I also feel like it deserves to be written at the end of the recap, or in a final “very special” post where Dove and I chat about how this series has turned our brains to mush and disillusioned us of the very toys that once (and in some cases, still do) made us happy.

So, let me set the scene. It’s the final episode of the series. Hasbro has already co-opted several episodes in order to shill new toys in a stable-but-starting-to-fade toy line. They had one last shot at shilling two new types of Pony: New Born Twins and First Tooth Baby Ponies.

We’ve already shilled Princess Ponies, Big Brother Ponies, and now New Born Twins with a slight rehash of Baby Pony but NOW WITH A FIRST TOOTH. As for the New Born Twins I remember these, very well, and I’m 99% my first set was Milkweed and Tumbleweed. I think, if they weren’t, then it was Doodles and Noodles. These are all terrible names. [Dove: Especially because either Snuggles or Snookums had already been used as a name, so that’s confusing.] Anyway, I remember my mother loved these because they were a different, smaller mould than the standard Baby Pony mould and they came with different kinds of accessories than the Baby Ponies. We all hated the Baby Pony diapers, though. Those fucking things were nightmares and the stupid Velcro tabs always ripped, just like real diapers.

The First Tooth Baby Ponies? That implies that the Baby Ponies are running around gumming everything or at best have their baby teeth. Either way it is not… a pretty picture. Besides, if the Baby Ponies are magic mirror’d clones of the Adult Ponies, why wouldn’t they have teeth? I HAVE QUESTIONS AND I HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED THE DAMN RECAP.

I guess it’s something that Hasbro went with different Baby Ponies, giving us (potential clones of) Tic-Tac-Toe and Quackers and Fifi, oh and I mustn’t forget North Star and Lickety-Split. I know for certain First Tooth Baby Fifi was my first from that series. [Dove: But why is her mum so-soft when Baby Fifi isn’t? EXPLAIN THAT, BAT?!] [bat: MARKETING’S FAULT!] I think I have all of them except Baby Bouncy. I know I wanted Baby Graffiti but I have no idea why. I think it was just the name. I’m not sure I ever got her.

Moving on, there is a titular prince in this episode. Remember how, waaaaaaay back when, during Escape From Midnight Castle, Spike was semi-protected by Scorpan? Who, at the end of the special (sorry, 30+ year old spoiler ahoy) was turned back into a human prince?? He’s literally shown wearing a… tiara? A gold chain of office, and a robe edge in ermine. I mean, hello! What a prime opportunity to bring the show FULL FUCKING CIRCLE, am I right?

It ain’t happening. I’m allowing you to have full disappointment early on.

But, one of the show’s very favorite special topics does come up: enslavement! Because that’s the trope it wants to go out on!

Without further adieu, let us begin the very final episode of My Little Pony ‘N Friends.

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Somnambula (S02E11-12)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Somnambula

Summary: BIG BROTHER PONIES ARE BACK, A’RIGHT! For not knowing they existed, the Ponies sure missed them. Oh, but an evil sorceress has other plans for the Ponies. And not a Megan in sight to save everypony. But there’s cages, literal and metaphorical!

Grade: C+ (I know. I’m shocked, too.)

Initial Thoughts:

Ahhhhhh. It’s been a lovely vacation from Ponyland, apart from adding commentary to Dove’s recaps because it wouldn’t be fun to recap if we didn’t have a partner to suffer through this miserable series with. But anyway, I liked my break and now we get to the episode I’ve been excited about (yeah, I know, I’m shocked, too, again): Somnambula!

[Present bat: Oh god, of course I wrote all that before Covid-19 hit and the world immediately went to hell in a hand basket. Believe me, I did enjoy not having to write recaps and just kicking back to write commentary. Otherwise, my “vacation” has not been that enjoyable.]

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesFirstly, I’m going to tear into that title. “Somnambula” is not an actual word. Just like 99% of this cartoon is entirely implausible, even the non-magical stuff like Megan riding the Ponies, it’s not a legit word. I have researched words before that have come out of the MLP universe so why would this be a different case? After Google was no help, I turned to the dictionary, which suggested “somnambulate” as “somnambula” (as it is spelled) is a made up nonsense word.

Or is it?

Let’s go with… someone on the writers team deciding that no 5 year old will understand there’s titles of these episodes, let alone that the titles mean anything. I honestly, for many many years, did not know episodic television had episode titles. I just referred to them as “that one with Gusty” or “the time Bart went to a Shelbyville because of a lemon tree”. It wasn’t until I started collecting DVDs of television shows that, oh my god, there’s actual titles for these episodes?!

It’s weird because the episode titles are clearly shown on My Little Pony ‘n Friends but I’ll be damned if I remember anything clearly beyond “Escape from Catrina”.

I digress. So, let’s investigate “somnambulate”. By definition it is a verb that means “to walk during sleep; sleepwalk.” Somn(us) is Latin for sleep and ambulate means walking, so I’m right there with you, dictionary. But what the hell does this have to do with this episode? Did the writers actually come up with a storyline that will dazzle me and make up up for the other failures? Will they yet again botch their own concept and misuse a word they’ve also mangled into a fake word that won’t remotely convey their goal? Let’s find out!

Oh, and this episode features the Big Brother Ponies. Never mentioned before and, seemingly, never mentioned nor seen again. I’ve always been partial to draft horses – Clydesdales particularly (I got to sit on the wagon at a county faire when the Budweiser Clydesdales were on hand when I was ~4 or so, freaked my mom out because I was so high up, there’s a photo somewhere) – and I grew up around open farmland where just down the road were a couple of pairs of (generic) draft horses that spent their days in open fields looking quite majestic. So anyway, I was super excited when Hasbro threw the Big Brothers toy line into the mix.

FWIW, Salty is my A-#1 favorite Big Brother, followed by Barnacle and Wigwam in the second spot, and Tex at #3. I think it’s because they had hats? I dunno. I’ve always been more partial to hats then hair ribbons. OH AND THE BANDANAS OH MY GOD YESSSSSS. I never had any of the UK Mountain Boy (…I never understood that name, Dove, explain?) Ponies, though I’ve always wanted an Ice Crystal. A woman can dream, though. [Dove: Tex was the first Big Brother I bought – I love yellow ponies, and I like to believe he’s related to Floater, and possibly distantly related to G4’s Applejack. I do have Ice Crystal, he was my first purchase that announced I had moved from “I have a few ponies” to “I am a Collector with a capital C”. One day I’ll see him for a good price again and bat will have her dream.] [bat: Some day the secondary market on Ponies will bottom out and I can foresee Dove swooping in all “THAT’S FOR BAT HANDS OFF!” And I will treasure it forever.]

[Dove: As for actual initial thoughts, this is the only episode I definitely remember seeing as a child. I watched the hell out of the movie but the TV show didn’t really air over here (or if it did, it was on sky, not regular TV), and despite the overwhelming popularity of the toy line, it wasn’t a video you saw often. TV shows on VHS weren’t very popular because all the mums agreed (I remember hearing this conversation over and over) that it was a rip-off to rent or buy a tape with only one or two episodes on. But I did rent the show at least once and it was this episode. This episode inspired a lot of my storylines when I played, and because Strawberry Fair (Sugarberry outside the UK) was my favourite, she got to be the lead role. This led me to thinking she was in this episode. The disappointment is crushing. Even now. Also, who doesn’t love a theme park episode?]

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Ice Cream Wars (S02E10)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Ice Cream Wars

Summary: The First Tooth Baby Ponies are put in charge of the Newborn Twins: Sniffles & Snookums and Milkweed & Tumbleweed. The unruly twins are temporarily subdued with the promise of ice cream, but first the First Tooth Baby Ponies must reunite the feuding ice cream makers Rocky Ripple and Fudgy McSwain, who have cut off Ponyland’s ice cream supply.

Initial Thoughts:

I remember nothing of this. I can’t believe the newborn twins are in this, but no sign of Twice as Fancy. strangebat pretends that she rates the TaF ponies as highly as I do, and supports me when I rage that they’re not on the show. I love her for that.

Also, isn’t Baby Lickety-Split a first tooth pony? After the events of the movie, I wouldn’t trust her with a cardboard box, much less other babies. (more…)

Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Flight to Cloud Castle (S02E08-09)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: Flight to Cloud Castle

Summary: Heartthrob, Locket, and Twilight help a young elf (gnome, actually) called Garf (said Garth, just to be confusing) rescue his true love Ariel from an enchanted castle, while facing many dangers on the way.

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesThe only initial thoughts I have is: wow. It’s been a long time.

For some reason, I fell behind on this recap. I can’t explain why, because it even pre-dates lockdown, and sure, I did have major anxiety about that, but this should have been done in January and published in February. And then my anxiety should have kicked in in March. [bat: Well, we’re still in March, Dove. It’s just been 30 weeks long this year.]

All I can assume is that I feel behind for some reason, and then lockdown happened, and I’ve been putting this off because I assumed we had billions of episodes left. We don’t. We have six, three each, including the double-episode you’re reading right now.

Yeah.

[bat: Maybe you were accounting for all the future cartoon episodes to recap from the other generations of MLP incarnations, Dove? I dunno. I can say that for a time the opposite happened here and I became ridiculously productive with recaps. That’s kind of ended now, but only because I am facing surgery and counting the days until it finally happens.]

In other news, bat is now called strangebat, due to me mis-reading someone saying, “Doctor Strange, bat” to her and my adopting that as her full name. Though I’ve dropped the Doctor part to make it fit the Batman theme better. (Admit it, you’re humming it.) [bat: Actually, this is now stuck in my head.]

Ok, enough dawdling. Let’s get this done.

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Posted in Spider-Man

Spider-Man and Power Pack

Spider-Man and Power Pack Cover
Spider-Man and Power Pack Cover Artwork

Title: Spider-Man and Power Pack

Writers: Jim Salicrup and Louise Simonson

Pencillers: Jim Mooney and Mary Wilshire

Layouts: June Brigman

Inker: Mike Esposito

Finisher: Bob Wiacek

Letterers: L.P. Gregory and Joe Rosen

Colorists: Ken Feduniewicz and Glynis Wein

Editors: Jim Shooter and Jim Salicrup

Editor-In-Chief: Jim Shooter

Original Idea: Nancy Allen

Initial Thoughts

Hi, I’m Jude Deluca and this is Nostalgic Bookshelf. You know, we like to have a good laugh on this site, but you know what’s not funny? This opening joke, because it’s totally not appropriate at all.

If I hadn’t found this comic at the store, I don’t know if I would’ve had the idea to do this recap. As Wing knows, I’ve been struggling to finish a recap of Richard Peck’s ”Are You In The House Alone?” for Point Horror. Not because of the content, I just haven’t had the energy to complete the draft.

This was made with help from the National Committee For Prevention Of Child Abuse back in 1984. It’s a rather small comic with only two stories, featuring Marvel’s Spider-Man and the Power Pack. I’m guessing most of you know Spider-Man, but for those who haven’t heard of Power Pack a brief explanation.

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Posted in Baby-Sitters Club

The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Claudia and the Phantom Phone Calls (s01e02)

Baby-Sitters Club 2020 tv show title image

Summary: The spooky spirit of Halloween sweeps through Stoneybrook. Meanwhile, Claudia explores budding romance and struggles to connect with her parents.

This is one of my favourite books in the series, they’re so silly and sweet and spooky all at the same time, and I’m thrilled to see it in this adorable show. Fingers crossed that I love it as much as I do the book. 

Also: Claudia narration? CLAUDIA NARRATION!

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Posted in Baby-Sitters Club

The Baby-Sitters Club (2020): Kristy’s Great Idea (s01e01)

Baby-Sitters Club 2020 tv show title image

Say hello to your friends!

But this is not that show, as cheesy and wonderful as it was, so let’s get started with the actual show.

Summary: A creative concept comes to life as Kristy starts a club with her best friends — and a new classmate. But is she ready to be a team leader?

Uh, that summary sounds terribly boring. I know they tend to be short, but good lord, that is dry as fuck.

While we recap the books (the first 9 have been done so far) and we will recap the older tv show and the movie, I will not be recapping this tv show, mostly because it seems like the plots align pretty closely to the books. HOWEVER, I have looked forward to this show so damn much, and since this is where I bring my BSC nostalgia, I am going to share my thoughts. Written in real-time, edited only for spelling, adding information like actor names, and formatting for the site.

I AM SO DAMN EXCITED, Y’ALL! IT’S FINALLY HERE! I CANNOT WAIT TO BEGIN.

No more waiting. Let’s do this.

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Posted in Other Comics

Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils #1 by Steve Gerber

SJNSD Cover by Amanda Conner
SJNSD Cover by Amanda Conner

Title: Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils – “Jagged Image”

Writer: Steve Gerber

Pencils: Amanda Conner

Inks: Jeff Albrecht

Colors: Michael Higgins

Letters: Janice Chiang

Editor: Terry Kavanagh

Editor-In-Chief: Tom DeFalco

Summary: A group of suburban ninjas must face a demonic threat in New Jersey.

Initial Thoughts

With the American Girl recaps finally done, I can freely focus on doing 90s comic recaps without feeling guilt. This particular recap’s been left unfinished since 2018.

Suburban Jersey Ninja She-Devils is one of my favorite one-shot comics from the 90s, and it is bizarre as the title leads you to believe. Its two immediate claims to fame are being written by Steve Gerber and penciled by Amanda Conner. Gerber’s famous for co-creating Man-Thing and Howard the Duck, while Conner would go on to be recognized as THE Power Girl artist and one-half of the modern day creative team behind the current Harley Quinn mythos (alongside her husband Jimmy Palmiotti). It’s a little weird, because you can recognize Conner’s artwork but this is back when she had more of an adult Archie Comics vibe (well before Riverdale and the rebooted line).

The title immediately brings to mind Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, being published in 1991 (two years before Saban adapted Zyuranger for American audiences), I’m led to believe TMNT was the main source of parody for this book. Not surprising, as a LOT of people enjoyed doing parodies of the TMNT concept. This makes sense since the original TMNT comics were meant as a joke.

Despite being a Marvel comic, the story doesn’t really have anything to do with the Marvel Universe. Gerber throws in a couple of references but not enough to really give a sense these women operate in the same realm as the Avengers, X-Men, and Spider-Man. After publication, the title’s never been referenced again and I’m not even sure you can buy it on Comixology or Marvel Unlimited. I stumbled upon this comic several years ago among a collection of stuff someone brought to the store. It’s an obscure comic, but not obscure to the point it goes for $25 on eBay.

I’m not sure if the reason the book’s never mentioned in the Marvel Universe was due to Gerber’s wishes, or no one particularly cares enough TO reference it. It sucks they didn’t get picked as part of the 50 State Initiative in the post-Civil War status quo, or get referenced during the 2010s Secret Wars event. So once again it’s up to me to bring some cultural to your sad, sorry lives.

One last thing before we begin. Whatever happens in this comic, remember, JUST GO WITH IT.

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Posted in American Girls

Molly Book #6: Changes For Molly by Valerie Tripp

Changes for Molly Cover
Changes for Molly Cover

Title: Changes For Molly

Author: Valerie Tripp

Illustrator: Nick Bakes

Summary: Molly can hardly wait for Dad to come home! She’s especially excited because he’ll arrive in time to see her dance the part of Miss Victory in the big Red Cross show. Molly isn’t worried about her tap dancing because she’s the best in Miss LaVonda’s dance class. But she wants to look sophisticated so Dad will know how much she’s grown up while he’s been away at war. Unfortunately, Molly’s hair is all wrong. When Jill finally finds a way to give Molly glorious curls, everything seems to be perfect. Then Molly gets sick. Things couldn’t be worse – until the doctor comes just in time.

Initial Thoughts

Why the hell did I agonize about putting this off for so long when that back summary gave away nearly the entire book?

Seriously though, this project shouldn’t have taken as long as it did for me to complete. That’s all on me, but, I think maybe it’s for the best I did wait until now to finish this recap. Things right now are a nightmare because of the coronavirus pandemic. People are dying and this country’s healthcare system’s finally been exposed as the joke it is. Unemployment’s on the rise and toilet paper’s being hoarded like gold. [Wing: This recap has been waiting awhile for me to comment on it, and I want to recognise the ongoing violence against Black people, including the extrajudicial murder of so many by a corrupt, over-powered, unchecked police force. This is not new, of course, but the wide-spread coverage is bringing light to a problem that Black people deal with daily. I hope the protests and demands bring actual, practical change. The Nostalgic Bookshelf family of recap sites have made donations to various bail funds and community support systems, but there is so much more fighting to do. Here is one potential resource, a Google doc, of things people in the USA can do; it also links to a Google spreadsheet with more.]

Right now both my stadium and census jobs have been delayed and my biggest fear’s losing the comic shop. My sibling works at a Trader Joe’s and my dad’s a security guard at a nursing home, so both of them are dealing with worse shit. In fact, my grandpa’s staying at the very same home and the virus has gotten into the building. Thank God he’s okay for now, but my dad doesn’t feel well and he doesn’t know if it’s the virus or not.

So, re-reading this book, it talks about the way life changes during a time of crisis. This isn’t a war we’re dealing with, but it feels like it. This also talks about doing what you can in similar situations, which makes me realize I need to do more writing for myself and others. I’m not sure how much these recaps can help, but if they put a smile on at least one person’s face that’ll be worth it.

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Golden Horseshoes (S02E06-07)

My Little Pony (Gen 1)
My Little Pony (Gen 1)

Title: The Golden Horseshoes

Summary: Mimic comes down with a MYSTERY DISEASE so Megan & the Ponies lie, cheat, and steal their way to collecting 4 MAJIKAL GOLDEN HORSE SHOES that will “save” Mimic. The usual nonsense happens. Stop expecting amazing shit to happen. Set your bar right on the ground because that’s where it belongs.

Grade: It’s complicated. See “Final Thoughts” for reasoning.

Initial Thoughts:

Back to back recaps are killers, you know. Yes, welcome, again, to another one of my miserable attempts to recap My Little Pony ‘n Friends, because either you’re a sadist or a masochist. I’m probably a little bit both, tbh. Dove escapes yet again with just commentary. Lucky, lucky Dove.

No, I mustn’t lie; I asked to recap The Golden Horseshoes because it was one I (seemingly) remember watching when it initially aired. What have I learned on this journey? That my memory is shitty when it comes to this cartoon. Honestly, the only thing I remembered for certain was the hot take on child abuse/endangerment in the entertainment industry, aka Night Shade and his Tale of Woe.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesSo whatever really happens in this episode, I specifically asked to watch it and suffer through it, all based on this particular memory: the deification of Mimic.

Back in the Stone Age of G1 Pony toys, for those too young to remember buying them brand new in Toys’R’Us or KayBee Toys in a mall, Mimic’s toy was released in Y5 as one of the Twinkle-Eyed Ponies, second wave. There were six Ponies in that wave and I can tell you right now, six year old me was not having it with the colours the designers picked. I think I was still very much in my “I wish I was girly but I’m too much of a fucking tomboy” phase and I have always been a very visceral person (part of that is having an artsy brain, part of that is being a Taurus) so the only one of the six I wanted was Locket. Granted, down the line I would come to own Tic-Tac-Toe (I think through a garage sale or something) but I don’t remember ever gaining the others from that set for my collection.

Then this episode of the cartoon happened and I wanted a fucking Mimic.

At that point, finding her was hard. I don’t think, based on the colours, these were very popular with girls. I don’t think they were produced in near the same numbers as the original TE Ponies. Face it, initially, you’re going to see a pea green Pony with a red Macaw as her cutie mark and think “wtf was the designer smoking?” Plus they chose a mold with a pose that was notoriously difficult to make stand on its own. Great going, Hasbro!

Anyway, fast forward some 15 years or so and eBay exists now and someone figures out there’s a ton of collectors who still want a Mimic. So they charge outrageous up-marked prices for theirs, in whatever shape they may be in, and they manage to sell them, because MIMIC. Honestly, I can’t go that far back in my emails (or can I?) (actually, no, I can’t, boo) but it seems I came into possession of a “slightly trimmed mane and tail” Mimic toy somewhere in 20??, uh, early 2000-something. I think I thought paying $25 (or was it $50?) for Mimic was outrageous but 2000-whatever me had not yet met 2010 me, who paid $600 for a piece of nice paper with artwork screen-printed on it, even if it was only 1 of 10 ever made. Whatever, we do what we do to get the things we collect. (I happen to truly love that goddamn expensive piece of paper, where as I’m not sure where Mimic has ended up. I think I last saw her in my garage. My, how fickle I am about Mimic now.)

[Dove: When I first began collecting, my innocent little brain decided that Mimic was the pinnacle of a collection. She was the one that signified that you were one of the powerhouses in the collection community. She proved you would lay down seriously money to collect. And when I got her, I thought I had arrived. And then I realised all I’d done was leave the “vague hobbyist” arena and step on to the entry level tier for collectors. It was quite humbling to step into the bidding war with a brand new credit card attempting to buy an Argentina Sugarberry, only to find the starting bid was above my credit limit. I don’t know how Raven found such a beautiful version of her, but she really is perfect. Her hair is soooo soft. I also have a “Dark Mimic” which I bought at PonyCon 2018. I would love to credit the creator, but unfortunately I didn’t keep a record – if you made her, please leave a comment.]

[bat: Ooo, that Dark Mimic is pretty. Nice find!]

And none of that has anything to do with the recap except to give you context about why I remember this 2-part episode. I mean, I could totally be watching the last three episodes of The Witcher instead but nope, here I am, trying to remember why I liked this episode, beyond MIMIC.

Without further adieu, and more rambling, let’s get to the recap.

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