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: 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 My Little Pony

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 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: Mish Mash Melee (S01E35)

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

Title: Mish Mash Melee

Summary: After a magical mishap, Fizzy, Shady, Wind Whistler, and Gusty must live each other’s lives until they can restore the balance of nature.

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesInitial Thoughts

As I type this, bat is gleefully tweeting about Game of Thrones. I resent her for watching much better TV than me. [bat: I SPENT A HOUR AND A HALF STABBING 778 THUMB TACKS INTO A FOAM EGG! I HAVE A PROPER DRAGON EGG NOW!! And I am still stuck in season 5, this rewatch is taking forever. Don’t worry; I already watched the season 8 premiere. I know what’s a’happenin’ in Westeros.] Raven is playing Grand Theft Auto, and while I’m more of a puckish rogue myself, I resent him for having more fun than me.

I don’t actually know what this episode is about, but they’ve been quite bad recently. On the plus side, it’s short. Yay. [bat: Unfortunately, in the world of recaps “short good”.]

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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: The Magic Coins – Parts 3-4 (S01E33-34)

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

Title: The Magic Coins (Parts 3-4)

Summary: The baby Sea Ponies find a chest full of coins that turn out to grant wishes. They start out harmlessly, by wishing for food and a gigantic bubble (MLP means never having to give context… it won’t help), but then our favourite spoiled brat, Baby Lickety-Split, wishes for it to never rain ever again. And Ponyland dries up. Sadly, the lack of ponds for the (apparently fresh water) “sea” ponies doesn’t stop them SHOO-BE-DOO-ing at everyone.

While they still have coins left to make wishes on, there is a new mechanic in place which means the picture on the coin has to match the wish. Oddly, this wasn’t in place when Baby Lickety-Split made the world-destroying wish. So Team Good Guy have to find Niblick, a troll who apparently owns the coins, to set things right. On their way, they meet an irritation in humanoid form, named Puck.

They find Niblick tormenting a prince and taking his crown as payment for crossing a bridge, and the idiotic Team Good can’t see any harm in blurting out they’ve spent all of his magic coins. The episode ends with him pulling up the drawbridge, leaving Team Good clinging to the edge of it by their fingertips. (Honestly not sure why they didn’t just slide down it, but y’know, TENSION.)

Initial Thoughts:

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesI seem to remember this as being one of the better episodes, though my brain led me to believe that there would be more wishes and more going wrong, so I think once again, we’re at “pretty good concept, pretty terrible execution”. But who knows? These final two episodes might change my mind. It seems unlikely.

I realised as I started this recap that we only have 9 stories to go (18 episodes) in Season 1. I got very excited about this. It feels like we’re finally getting somewhere. 50 episodes is a lot. And that’s just season 1. Despite the loathing for the plotting in most cases, and Megan in every case, I’m still really enjoying working with bat on this. (In other news, I grew up in an emotionally manipulative household, and the previous statement could well be my way of saying, “bat, please don’t leave me alone with MLP.”) [bat: I’m not leaving. I’m in this for the long haul, with you, Dove!]

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Posted in My Little Pony

My Little Pony: The Magic Coins – Parts 1-2 (S01E31-32)

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

Title: The Magic Coins – Parts 1-2

Summary: Those crafty Baby Sea Ponies give the …land?… Ponies a chest full of cursed magic coins which grant the Ponies wishes! But, without much explanation, the magic comes at a cost. This is basically the plot of Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl but… without… pirates and Johnny Depp. Oh, no it isn’t. Unless that’s Johnny Depp voicing the Moochick?

Grade: C

Initial Thoughts:

This will be fun!“, we said. “Look how much fun we’ll have reliving our favorite childhood cartoon!” WE FUCKING LIED TO OURSELVES, PEOPLE. DOVE AND I HAD NO IDEA WE’D END UP IN A CANDY-COLOURED CARTOON HELLSCAPE FULL OF TALKING PONIES LED BY A WHITE GIRL SAVIOR TROPE. [Dove: We chose this. Why would we do that?]

My Little Pony: The Epic Recap SeriesHello and welcome back to yet another installment of sheer torture My Little Pony and Friends, the 80s cartoon that did not deserve 50 episodes for a first season but my god, it was so popular in 1986, that’s what it got. I’m pretty sure that last entry gave me some brain damage (probably that and the antibiotics, ugh) and coupled with the fact that the way we planned this out (to equalize our suffering) it’s my turn for the back-to-back-to-nearly-back recap run. Literally anything that follows that goddamn nightmare of imagination games has to be better, right?

Probably not. This is My Little Pony for cripes sake, a show with no show bible, where magic has zero rules, Ponies can’t save themselves from anything, and rely on a human to do all their thinking and there’s so many villains who want to “rule” Pony Land for… pick a reason. It won’t matter. Megan always wins. [Dove: ♫ Evil may be powerful, but Megan always wins]

I always confuse The Magic Coins for the Golden Horseshoes for some stupid reason (the titles aren’t even remotely similar?) so at first I was excited then remembered I was thinking of the wrong episode arc. Oh well. I’M JUST GOING TO SPOIL THIS NOW: THIS IS THE LAST TIME WE EVER SEE MOLLY. SHE IS GONE FROM THE SERIES AFTER THESE FOUR EPISODES! (Sorry, Dove, for stealing that. But it just made me so happy. It’s given me reason to get through this recap!) [Dove: That’s not spoilers. That’s on par with “Hey, Dove, did you know it’s Christmas (or any other enjoyable day in the year that comes with a day off work) tomorrow?” That is excellent news that needs to be shared.] [bat: HEY DOVE, HAPPY CHRISTMAS! IT’S YOUR BIRTHDAY!]

No more of Molly’s redundant anxiety and whinging. This is a gift. It’s not Megan but I’ll take it.

Anyway, I’ll just get on to recapping this. It’s that or go back to watching Annie. The 1982 version. Which is terrible. But Tim Curry! (TBH, that film is so over-produced, it’s ridiculous. And the bridge chase at the end still upsets me; it terrified me as a child, so some of that is residual. But, and 37-year-old-spoilers ahoy, the fact that they’re trying to throw Annie in the river so she’ll drown is almost so fitting for an 80s movie, since those “children/family” films scarred the crap out of my generation.) [Dove: Pretty much everyone I know was traumatised by Return to Oz. I was traumatised by some random anime (I don’t remember the name) where a bunch of birds killed a little boy by pecking his head. He then turned into an old man telling a story and both old him and the little boy died. Or something. I was very confused and upset over it for days.]

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