Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Spike’s Search (S02E05)

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

Title: Spike’s Search

Summary: Spike suffers from an inferiority complex when his “flame” is “too small”. Megan makes things worse by telling Spike, it’s not the size of the flame, it’s how you use it. Spike runs off to find more dragons with Danny for accompaniment. WAIT, WHY IS DANNY BACK??

Grade: (a big fat) F

Initial Thoughts:

Welcome back to yet another recap in which Dove and I chronicle our descent into the 17th circle of hell that is known as My Little Pony and Friends. [Dove: Actually, it’s ‘n Friends. The apostrophe makes it cool.] At this point, can you even find differences in our recaps? Excluding the title changes, they’re practically the same.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesThis show sucks but we’re not quitters. We fight the good fight and continue to sit through this dreck, slowly losing our minds. We will be different people by the end of this nightmare, but stronger and more wary of taking on complicated recap projects, perhaps. (I say this as I’ve already committed myself to at least two other cartoon recap series that are non-MLP related. I’m stupid, what can I say.)

If I didn’t hate Spike already, I get the “very special Spike-centric” episode to recap. Didn’t I already do one? You know, I shouldn’t have felt sorry for that plastic toy Spike that got thrown away by my babysitter, seriously, I manage one act of (strange) kindness (compassion? empathy??) and I’m cursed by a fucking little purple dragon for the rest of my life.

Oh well. I’m already nauseated by the fact I am stuffed to the gills with antibiotics, why not make myself feel even worse by tacking this recap?! [Dove: I’m coming at this after a two-day buying binge at PonyCon, followed by watching the final episode of FiM. I’m utterly broken. I suspect I’m going to be very bitter throughout this recap. (If you didn’t well up during the final few episodes of season 9, you’re probably made of stone.)] [bat: I am 9 episodes behind AND they have not aired the final three episodes in the States yet. So I am clueless as to what happens.] [Dove: Note from the future, the above was true for half the recap, but life intervened and we both were away from this recap (which can only be a good thing) for a few weeks. So if anything seems to not match the PonyCon/season finale timeline, that’s why. Also, bat has now watched the finale. She has a heart of stone. I ugly cried. All three times I watched it.] [bat: I CRIED AT THE FLUTTERSHY PART! My heart is only 2/3rds stone.]

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Posted in X-Men

Generation X Holiday Special by Joe Harris and Adam Pollina

Generation X Holiday Special Cover by Adam Pollina
Generation X Holiday Special Cover by Adam Pollina

Title: Generation X Holiday Special – “Yes, Jubilee, there IS a Santa Claus,” a.k.a. “The Nanny & Orphan-Maker Christmas Kidnapping Extravaganza”

Writer: Joseph “Joe” Harris

Penciller: Adam Pollina

Inkers: Morales, Faber, Leigh, Wong and Wiacek

Colorist: Paul Tutrone

Letterer: RS/Comicraft/Liz

Editor: Frank Pittarese

Editor-In-Chief: Bob Harras (Boooooooooo! Boooooo on you sir!)

Summary:

A mutant boy named Matthew has trouble with bullies, who torment him until he uses his powers to repell them and they call him even more of a freak than before. You may say he’s “special,” but he’d probably disagree.

Matthew thinks kidnapping Santa Claus will solve all his problems, but the truth is his real problem is with Orphan-Maker and Nanny, who want to celebrate their Christmas tradition of making a mutant child into an orphan. Luckily, Generation X and Santa put a stop to their plans.

Initial Thoughts

For the holiday season it’s time to talk about one of my favorite X-Men teams created by one of my least favorite writers of all time.

Before Marvel sold the movie rights to the X-Men and ended up ruining everything with “House of M” and “Decimation,” they developed at least one teen X-Men group for each decade. Starting in the 1980s, there were the New Mutants, the 90s had Generation X, and the early 2000s started off with Academy X until Marvel stupidly depowered 98% of their mutant characters. From the mid 2000s to this year they burned through several different young X-Men groups that were lucky if they ever managed to make it to double digit issues before getting cancelled. Hopefully, Jonathan Hickman’s “Dawn of X” titles will finally fix the damage.

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Posted in TV

Jude’s Guide to Christmas Episode Identification

Best Christmas Specials
Best Christmas Specials

OH IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AND IT’S CHRISTMASTIME AND IT’S CHRISTMAS-CHRISTMAS-CHRISTMASTIIIIIIIIIME!!!!

It’s my favorite time of year again and for Nostalgic Bookshelf I’ve started this article that turned into something a bit different from what I originally planned.

The Christmas episode, that one special episode a franchise usually creates in time for the holiday season. Sometimes they may be twice as long as a usual episode which means they don’t normally air in regular syndication, but if they’re normal length the stations won’t care enough to pull them from rotation.

You also have commonly retold Christmas stories such as “Frosty the Snowman,” “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” and “The Nutcracker” whose plots are so specific they tend to simply be re-adapted as their own tales instead of being used as the basis for an episode.

Sitcoms and cartoons have plenty of stock plots for easy episodes, “Two Dates At The Same Time,” “Miscommunication = Cheating Partner,” “Character Gets Drunk With Power,” “New Job Causes New Problems,” but none are as predictable as Christmas episodes. It can take a lot of effort to breathe new life into these ideas, and sometimes you have to either be really, REALLY funny or willing to make things really, REALLY bleak to stand out from the crowd.

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Posted in Superman

Superman Vol.2 Annual #6: The Feral Man of Steel by Darren Vincenzo

Superman_Annual_Vol_2_6
Superman Annual #6 Cover Artwork by Mike Mignola

Title: Superman Annual #6 – The Feral Man of Steel, a.k.a. “The Super Necessities”

Writer: Darren Vincenzo

Penciller: Frank Fosco

Inker: Stan Woch

Colorist: Darren Vicenzo

Letterer: Albert DeGuzman

Editor: Mark Carlin, Chris Duffy, and Frank Pittarese

Cover Artist: Mike Mignola

Summary

Initial Thoughts

Once upon a time, DC Comics used to tell stories outside of their regular continuity. They called these “Imaginary Stories.” Unfortunately, the variety was a bit lacking as many of them were simply stories about who Superman would marry or who Batman would marry.

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #12: Claire Can’t Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #12: Claire Can't Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #12: Claire Can’t Lose by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Claire Can’t Lose

Front Blurb: Zoey still can’t choose between Aaron and Lucas, so Aaron asks Claire’s advice on how to win Zoey’s heart for good. But Claire wants Aaron for herself. If he’s crazy enough to follow her advice then… Claire Can’t Lose.

Back Blurb: Claire can’t lose in the game of love. For once she’s found her soulmate—a manipulative schemer just like herself. And she’ll do whatever it takes to make Aaron forget Zoey forever.

 

 

 

 

Initial thoughts:

These books are blurring into one. I remember the vague storylines, but what happens in specific books is very fuzzy. The titles and blurbs don’t really help either. I guess it must still be the Christmas break and we’re carrying on the love-square of Claire-Aaron-Zoey-Lucas. Yay.

[Dove: Same. I think we can all agree that it’s basically a soap opera right now and each book is not a contained story, but a single episode in an ongoing saga. Which was really frustrating to read as a teenager. Especially when you remember that I bought the books piecemeal and not in order.]

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (S02E03-4)

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

Title: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (Parts 3-4)

Summary: A bunch of mean girl Princess Ponies can’t figure out who should be their queen, and the villain of the week steals their magic. You know, I’d call that problem solved, but the writers don’t agree, so behold the next thrilling instalment and two completely off-key songs.

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesI only remember the end of this, not what went on before, and that’s not really a good thing.

My most important thought is: NINE EPISODES TO GO! [bat: Amen.]

I’ve really loved the experience of having shared pain with bat. I feel like our friendship is now utterly fireproof. This is a trauma we have endured together. I’ve also really liked the feeling of having recapped the MLP episodes, because nobody else has.

I’m also well aware of why that is. They suck. I genuinely believed that the series would be fairly mediocre, with a few highlights. And I suppose I was right. I just didn’t realise the song “Nothing Can Stop the Smooze” was one of three highlights (the other two were the specials, Catrina and Nightmare/Midnight Castle) and “fairly mediocre” is a bar that is way out of the writers’ reach.

Basically, I am fed up with this stupid show, and I can’t wait to reach the end.

On the other hand, the princess ponies are so cute. And I do love the Bushwoolies.

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Posted in Making Out

Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)
Making Out #11: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate (and Michael Grant)

Title: Ben Takes a Chance by Katherine Applegate

Summary: Aisha found out first and she told Nina who had to tell Zoey, who let it slip to Lucas. Now Ben’s big secret isn’t a secret any more and they’re all waiting to see what will happen when…

Initial Thoughts

Ben in the title and it opens with a Zoey entry. We’ll all be lucky if I don’t break into bullet points within the first 50 pages. Or maybe we’ll be lucky if I do.

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (S02E01-2)

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

Title: The Quest of the Princess Ponies (Part 1-2)

Summary: “Look! It’s Malibu Stacey! And she’s wearing a new hat!” When your merch begins to drive your story lines, you have a problem. Speaking of, look! There’s Princess Ponies! And they all wear hats! And each has a Bushwoolie slave servant! I don’t even care what the plot line is at this point. BUY OUR MERCH! [Dove: Literally the best summary of this show I’ve ever seen.]

Grade: D

Initial Thoughts:

I’m back.

My break from the land ‘o Ponies wasn’t long enough but what can one do, especially when one is so very much wanting to be free of this series yet there’s still *checks notes* 13 episodes to recap? (Yeah, see there’s technically 15 but Dove and I already recapped Escape From Catrina in the order in which the specials aired, because tacking the specials onto the ends of the seasons was bullshit.)

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap Series

Yeah. So. 13. Normally that’s my family’s lucky number but this just feels… the opposite.

Let’s see, 13 is a huge drop in episodes, down from the 48 “original content” episodes in that first season. Y’know, that was just a godawful amount of episodes. Dove and I are still traumatized by that 10-part “the movie flopped so here’s an entirely rehashed account of it” Flutter Valley nightmare. There is nothing that epic in season 2. Nope. Mostly two-part episodes. I can’t say any of them are any good; I only remember some of the titles and that doesn’t mean I remember plots.

I can, however, say that I clearly remember when the Princess Ponies were released as toys. Oh my god, that was huge. They had tinsel in their manes and tails, they had resin wands, they had pointy damsel hats that princesses wear, raised metallic cutie marks, and (in the US at least) they came with the first physical incarnation of the Bushwoolies! I specifically remember when my mom and I came across them in Toys-R-Us and she was liked Princess Tiffany the most. Until the Carousel Ponies came along, these were my mom’s favorite release. I also had Princess Serena from the first release, and when the second wave of Princess Ponies was released, I got Princesses Moondust and Pristina. Those little crown/tiara clips were one of my favorite accessories.

TIL that the UK got baby dragons with their Princesses, which explains why Dove never had Bushwoolie figures.

[Dove: We not only got different slaves/companions for the ponies, our ponies had completely different names too. I can’t be bothered to look them all up, but I remember that Princess Tiffany is Princess Pearl over here. I have no idea why. Also, it’s fairly easy to get Bushwoolies in the UK, but people will fight to the death over the dragon pals – I’ve seen them go for over £50 per dragon. (But, to be fair, I’ve seen the same dragon sell for half that in the same week, so part of that is people who can’t walk away from a bidding war.) I don’t actually remember these guys being released over here. Looking at the years, I know I was still young enough to unashamedly stand in the MLP section of a toy shop for hours, thinking about which pony I wanted next. So either: they didn’t get a huge release in the UK; or they did, but a large amount of shops in Kent never bothered to buy them in. Maybe the latter, because I had Strawberry Fair (or Sugarberry, to the US audience), who was released the same year, and she was the most beloved and cherished of all of my ponies ever. Behold my obsession. So yeah, tl;dr: I don’t remember these ponies being around at all.]

Now that I’ve been reminded that the Princess Ponies each had wands, I can foresee a lot of MAGIC: HOW DOES IT WORK ranting in my future. You’ve been warned. Also, wait, if Majesty was a queen… HOW DOES THE ROYALTY SYSTEM WORK IN PONYLAND??? I don’t even know if MLP:FiM ever addressed that. Dove? Did it? [Dove: Not exactly, but the most recent season seems to imply that it’s not a bloodline royalty, but a title bestowed on the most worthy candidate, chosen by the current monarch. Possibly in reaction to Majesty being superbly absent, and the Princess Ponies being incapable of thought?]

Already this shaping up to be a fucking nightmare. What did I expect…

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Posted in The Famous Five

The Famous Five #10: Five on a Hike Together by Enid Blyton

Famous Five 10: Five on a Hike Together by Enid Blyton

Title: Famous Five #10: Five on a Hike Together

Summary: When Dick is woken by a light flashing through his window, he is puzzled. Is someone trying to send him a coded message? And when the Famous Five hear of an escaped convict in the area, they are on red alert. The police won’t help, so the Five have no choice. Yet again, they’ll be solving this mystery by themselves… [Wing: Does anyone else ever solve a mystery? Ever?] [Dove: Adults are useless. Where have you been?]

Initial Thoughts

At last I have returned from the war! The war known as life. I’m certain the dear Famous Five have changed not one whit and will be as precocious and fun and sometimes assholey as ever I’m looking at you Julian.

(I love how the cover shows them actually on a raft and not hiking at all.)

Onward to adventure. And probably some hatred of Julian.

[Dove: I figured this would be helpful: For reference, the kids’ ages should be roughly: Anne: 14; George and Dick 15; Julian 16. I have a spreadsheet that figures out their ages, because I’m pretty sure Blyton couldn’t be bothered.]

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Posted in My Little Pony ‘n Friends

My Little Pony: Through the Door (S01E47-48)

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

Title: Through the Door (Parts 1-2)

Summary: A door is opened to the world of fairy tales, and the ponies meet legends such as Robin Hood, Aladdin’s genie and Hercules.

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesI dimly remember watching this. Not as a kid, but when I first got hold of this series. It stuck in my mind, but not in a good or bad way. Just in a weird way. Why on earth does Ponyland have the same fairy tales as us? Perhaps my question will be answered in the episode. But given that bat asks every single week “how does magic work?”, I don’t hold much hope.

[bat: I don’t remember this at all. Which isn’t surprising. Why bother to come up with anything original when you can steal borrow copyright-free characters and shove them into Ponyland at will!]

On the plus side, this is the final episode of season 1. This is a real milestone. bat and I have lasted this far.

[bat: I am proud of us. We may never be the same again but we have survived.]

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