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 My Little Pony

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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Posted in My Little Pony

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 My Little Pony

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 The Famous Five

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

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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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: The Revolt of Paradise Estate (S01E45-46)

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

Title: The Revolt of Paradise Estate (Part 1-2)

Summary: The Ponies are terrible slobs and fail to do any upkeep or property improvement on their vast land holdings, so Paradise Estate (and its contents) rise up again their equine oppressors. There’s some kind of magic paint involved and yet another character who wants to steal the Ponies’ home. Wash, rinse, repeat.

Grade: F—————————–

Initial Thoughts:

OH MY GOD. I DID IT. I SUCCESSFULLY SURVIVED SEASON ONE OF G1 MY LITTLE PONY. HOLY FRICKIN’ COW, I AM FREE. FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!

[Dove: Really? It feels like the recap equivalent of being at Newark Airport. I know that eventually it will end, but I’ve no illusions it’ll be any time soon. (Dove is very bitter, in the space of two layovers, she spent 30 hours there.)]

Well, okay, as soon as this damn recap is completed, then I am free. Until we start season two. Which, from memory, is awful, possibly worse than season one.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesBut holy shit I am celebrating now, because this has been a very long slog. How many years ago did we start this, Dove? How much have we aged and how bitter and more jaded have we become, due to this cartoon?

Honestly, it’s been an honour to suffer (alongside Dove) through what seems like hundreds of hours of bad plots, terrible writing, subpar animation, insufferable Ponies, cartoon teen girls with white savior complexes, MAGIC THAT HAS NO EXPLANATION WHAT SO EVER, and then there was that episode with the red ball. God, I’m never going to get over that particular nightmare.

Throw in some heavy handed topics like drug use and predatory grooming, plus all the times the writers botched the moral messages… it’s amazing Dove and I didn’t give up. (Dove still has two episodes to go, appropriately entitled “Through the Door”.)

Okay, focusing in on this final installment, this is one I partially remember, at least in concept. I kind of don’t want to say anything because it is a wild concept — just look at the title — and leave it all for a surprise for those that haven’t seen it. I will, however, leave you with a cartoon from The Far Side (which I read constantly as a child and probably explains some things) which has always reminded me of this particular episode:

The Far Side - Gary Larson
This pretty much sums up this episode better than you know.

[Dove: This is the one episode I actually remember. Well, except for the one where the travelling fair comes to town and… something happens. In my games, a witch stole everyone’s magic and symbols and the ponies were so upset, they couldn’t bear to look at themselves without their beautiful symbols, so they wore robes to hide them (a nice scarf my mum never wore, cut up rather roughly with her best dog trimming scissors). Eventually Strawberry Fair saved the day with super Mary Sue powers. But that never happened in the show.

Anyway, back to this episode. I seem to remember this being a fun idea in concept, but since it’s MLP, it’s bound to be terrible in execution.]

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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: Baby, It’s Cold Outside (S01E41-42)

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

Title: Baby, It’s Cold Outside (Episodes 1-2)

Summary: Climate change has finally hit Dream Valley! [Dove: “Fake news!” says Megan.] Er, Ponyland? Where ever the hell this cartoon takes place. And, oh wait, it’s not actually climate changing. It’s the work of an evil… penguin? Well, I’ve lived to see dolphins take over Springfield; I guess a maniacal penguin king destroying the Ponies with magic blizzards isn’t that much of a stretch.

Grade: F+

Initial Thoughts:

;pwegwpaffebryku;nbbnprbnwpnphwf;avms’a;kdsg;sndg;wn;ynsseradvwwqghh.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesTranslation of the above: WELCOME AGAIN TO THIS NIGHTMARE CARTOON HELL. Yes, I’m back again, so soon after that very special after-school episode starring Spike. I’m really unhappy to have to write another recap so soon — that last one was absolutely shite and taxed me greatly — but this recap puts us less than four episodes away from the completion of Season 1. Seriously, if Dove and I were in the same country, we’d probably drink in celebration. I suppose the fact we’re separated by the Atlantic ocean and several time zones won’t stop us from drinking in celebration, it would just be more fun it we were together. [Dove: Agreed. And there would be drink!]

Really, honestly, we have this series set up and divided equally so we finish this freaking nightmare by the end of 2019. Can you see it, Dove? THE END IS ALMOST IN SIGHT. [Dove: I knew we were finishing season 1 soon, I didn’t realise we’d finish the whole show before the end of the year. I feel better. Then a bit worse, because there are more MLP shows neither of us know anything about, but have agreed to torture ourselves with.]

I think we have stopped caring about the grading. These are all poorly written episodes and the plot lines are hackneyed and it’s become clear that everyone was “omg how are we going to fill these last four slots on the board?? TODD WRITE US SOMETHING, STAT!” because, truly, Dove and I could write better fanfic than what’s being churned out in these scripts. (No, I am not going to write MLP fanfic. Ask Dove for hers.) [Dove: We did briefly consider trying to rewrite series 1 so that there would be some plot, that magic rules were consistent, and the characters actually had, y’know, character, but we quickly realised we’d be deleting all but the first three entries of the show (movie, Catrina, Nightmare/Midnight Castle). Ain’t nobody got time for that.]

Glancing at the plot summary, this sounds almost like some sort of rip off of the Care Bears’ 1984 television special. Which I know I’ve watched, maybe not in two decades, but you can damn well be sure the Care Bears were something I loved at the age of 3. There also might be a bit of Snow Miser mixed in but those Rankin/Bass specials have always upset something in my brain so I am far less familiar with The Year Without a Santa Claus. (I hate that one with the big-eared Baby New Year.)

Okay let’s just get this crap over with. Then I get a nice long break until mid-July, when my final recap of Season 1 will go up. I’m so excited about Season 1 being finished. I want a goddamn participation ribbon for making it all the way through. [Dove: What we could do is go through our collections, list duplicates and have a swapsies if anything seems suitable? That would be like a prize for dealing with this nonsense.]

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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: The Would Be Dragonslayer (S01E40)

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

Title: The Would Be Dragonslayer

Summary: In what is a rather random rip off of both Sleeping Beauty and The Sword in the Stone, the Ponies befriend a human boy who just wants to become a knight but must “do a good deed” before that will happen. Join the damn Boy Scouts, moron.

Grade: F

Initial Thoughts:

Hi-ho, bat here, ready to sit through another soul-sucking episode of My Little Pony & Friends and complain my way through it. The misadventures of Woebegone was bad but…

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesYet again I get a one-shot filler that’s probably going to have a failed “moral” at its core and just my luck (because it can’t hold out forever) MEGAN AND SPIKE ARE IN THIS ONE. Ugh. My first complaint and I haven’t even started watching the episode!

At least this episode is only ten minutes, which means it won’t take an eternity to recap. Which means I can get back to mourning(?) the loss of Game of Thrones. (Here’s an unpopular opinion: I thought the ending was fine.)

[Dove: I’m actually with you re GoT, but then, I was doing the “partner-watch” thing. I’d been kind of into it to begin with, but had become progressively bored as the seasons went on (the bits with the Ironborn were particularly snoozy – except Reek) and I was only there to keep my husband company, so I was at least glad that things happened. Oh, wait, that’s not what we’re here to talk about. We’re talking about this dire filler episode of MLP. My initial thoughts were correct: 1) it’s a one-shot, so at least it’s short; 2) it’s a one-shot, so it’ll be awful.]

 

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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: Woe is Me – Parts 1-2 (S01E36-37)

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

Title: Woe is Me [Dove: So. Fucking. True.]

Summary: A hobo with horrible luck takes shelter with the Ponies. Disaster and destruction of various play sets follows. Buy our merch so your little brother can destroy it, says Hasbro.

Grade: D+

Initial Thoughts:

I’m back! I mean, did I ever really leave? No, I just got a break from this utter nonsense. Turned a year older, clearly not all that wiser, since I’ve returned with another recap of a very stupid episode — actually, it’s probably easier to list the decent episode(s?) of MLP instead of the stupid, since the stupid ones are a dime a dozen — and Game of Thrones is on its way out the door into history so I need a distraction from all that.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesThis episode is one I have vague memories of, in that I remember the… would you even call it a “guest star”, I mean it’s clearly the “insert character of the week” who shows up so the Ponies have something to do / solve / torture. Just like in the giant random puppy episode, there is no Megan in this installment, so the Ponies have to use their tiny brains and think for themselves how to get out of this mess. No white girl savior tropes this week!

Shall I repeat that? THERE IS NO STUPID MEGAN THIS WEEK WHICH IS A GIFT TO ME!!

Better get into this before I get entirely too happy over that turn of events, because you know nature abhors a vacuum, thus something will fill that vapid hole where Megan is missing…

[Dove: I never thought about it until you mentioned it, but how unimaginative must the writers be if the basic plot of the unverse is: “There are multicoloured ponies living in a magic land, some do magic, some fly, some don’t. Run with it.” And their first act is “Welp. Let’s get a human. And if she’s not around, we’d better write in extra characters, because otherwise, WE HAVE NO PLOT.”]

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