Monday, August 12, 2013


I have stared directly into the maw of multi-tinted, multi-accessorized, multi-scented MY LITTLE PONY fandom, and yet live!

No, that's not me in the center there, but an amazing simulation.

Right from the time I learned that the sixth BronyCon was being held in Baltimore and expressed an interest in attending, Nicky insisted on coming with me.  Not because she's experienced a "pony epiphany" -- I'm still trying to sell her on the virtues of DuckTales and Kimba the White Lion (without much success).  No, she was concerned about "how it would look" for me to be attending a convention devoted to a pop-culture phenomenon "meant for little girls" without a (grown) female companion at the very least.  I gave her the whole spiel about the show's adult fan base (for some reason, I forgot to pull the Star Trek card and tell her of the role that John "Q/Discord" De Lancie has played in encouraging the fandom) and said that I wanted to attend for just one day, on Sunday when most of the youngsters would probably have gone home and most of the attendees would be adults.  This seemed to satisfy her, so we purchased our one-day tix.
As luck would have it, Sunday's activities included the one thing I definitely wanted to see -- the panel featuring the main talents behind the MY LITTLE PONY comic.  Better yet, the panel occurred right around lunchtime, so we could take our time getting down to the Inner Harbor area via the Metro and get some lunch at Jimmy John's before braving the "mane" crowd inside the Convention Center.  It was a great day for people-watching: in addition to the colorful MLP crowd, baseball fans were walking to Camden Yards for an Orioles game, and there was a seminar for "female entrepreneurs" (Rebecca Cunningham, BE JEALOUS!) in the hotel where we picked up our Con badges and ditty bags.  Said bags contained a program (the cover of which is shown above), a lanyard, and a pair of purple sunglasses with a unicorn horn attached to the temple.  Nicky wouldn't let me wear the latter, potential temporary acquisition of Twilight Sparkle's magical powers be damned.

BAGS, man!

The comic-book panel took place in a gigantic room, which made the attendance seem smaller than it actually was.  (Having attended San Diego on a number of occasions, I had a familiar feeling.)  We sat mid-room and so didn't get any good pictures of the panelists themselves.  I imagine that if you search on the Internet long enough, you'll find a copy or transcription of the panel.  Not that all that much was revealed -- Andy Price and Katie Cook spent most of the time talking about how awesome it was to be working on the comic, about their working methods, and so forth.  I was pleased to hear that Hasbro has been ruling over the MLP franchise, including the comics, with a relatively light hand; would that Disney had followed that policy consistently with its TV-animation properties.  The creators also refuse to look at any of the massive mess of MLP fanfic, partly for legal reasons (not wanting to inadvertently steal others' original characters) but also because they prefer to extrapolate from the TV series itself.  Maybe they'll look at some fic "when they've retired," which will hopefully not be for a long time.

We had made tentative plans to attend a second panel run by a guy who is doing a Ph.D. thesis on the whole "brony" phenomenon, but the comic-book panel ran a bit late, and the panel's (much smaller) room was packed when we got there.  Judging by the pretentiousness of the subtitles on the first PowerPoint slide, it was probably all for the best that we adjourned downstairs to the vendors' room.  I had planned to get some little figurines of the "Mane 6" to add to my extensive figurine collection, but the cheapest ones I could find started at $20 (!!).  Most of the other collectibles on display were priced in a manner that helped me to understand why one of the panels earlier in the weekend was entitled "Brony on a Budget."  You'd almost have to be on one, in self-defense if nothing else.

An amazingly large number of people in the vendor hall were toting pony plushies, which you could buy ready- or custom-made.  Thankfully, the hall wasn't that crowded, so we didn't have to worry too much about unauthorized plushy whackage.  The most unusual vendor billed herself as "The Sudsy Squirrel" and was selling anthropomorphic soap (that's soap in the shape of animals, as opposed to soap that is sentient).  We couldn't help but notice that no one was stopping to look at her wares, which was unfortunate, because some people in the crowd... well, smelled as if they had been bunking with real ponies of late.  We even had to wait for a minute before examining a table of figurines, simply because the guy who was there before us reeked so badly.  He also made some sort of loud proclamation to the proprietor that might have held some pony-related significance to certain people but otherwise creeped us out.  Apart from that, and one oddball making random cackling sounds in the line to get into the comic-book panel, the attendees were well-behaved.  It probably helped that there were relatively few children running hither and thither; these were the hardcore fans, including the "reverse macho male fans" (as in: Are you man enough to love MLP?), and a good number of them were all business, dropping serious coin to acquire some pony bling.

The rumor is that BronyCon 2014 will be held in "Baltimare" (yes, they did "officially" call it that) as well.  Next time, I think that I might try to attend at least one additional day, perhaps to see some of the voice-actor panels and the like.

1 comment:

Pan MiluĊ› said...

Yaaaay! I'm a Brony myself :D