My Little Pony is invading the printed world, with books of all kinds for you to pick up. From comics to novellas, there’s something for everybody. Today we’ve got two particular examples of printed pony. One is the Elements of Harmony Guidebook, and the other is a IDW Limited Comicfolio. Both target fans, and they’re something new and different. Are these worth your hard earned dollars to pick up? Find out behind the cut.
IDW Limited Comicfolios
Introduced back in March, IDW Limited’s comicfolios are a way for people to get a special limited product without having to break the bank on their Red, Black, and Blue label releases. At $25 a piece, the comicfolios are affordable in comparison. The Comicfolio includes a special edition of a comic book, a limited print of the comic’s cover, and a special hard-bound portfolio to contain them all.
The portfolio itself is constructed of a heavy material that is reminiscent of some form of wood, though I’d wager it’s more of a multilayered, very thick cardboard. It’s akin to a standard hardcover book, with a glossy, glitter-encrusted paper covering that is very, very pink. The die-cut hole in the shape of the MLP logo might be an area of concern in terms of durability, given its angles and corners. Handle this with care. However, there is what I consider to be a fairly major flaw in the construction of the portfolio case, and that’s the spine. It’s way too thin, giving the portfolio a bowing effect if you try to hold it closed because the thickness of the comic book and print holder exceed the spine’s thickness, resulting in a very uneven covering. Be very mindful of this, lest you put a permanent bend into your folio.
Inside the portfolio are two items: a special variant printing of the Micro Series comic of choice and a lithograph of the cover. The book is a standard release of the comic, except it has a special cover designed to show through the punch-out in the slip case and marking it as an IDW Limited exclusive on the back. The cover is missing all of the standard IDW badging and MLP branding, allowing you to enjoy the cover without distractions. Inside is a first printing (in the case of Rarity) edition of said Micro Series book, and the quality is standard for IDW’s comics. It’s not done on special stock, so do not expect anything different here.
Each pony’s comicfolio includes a special lithograph printing of one of the covers, and in Rarity’s case it uses Amy Mebberson’s Cover A. I have no complaints about the print quality; the image is printed on high quality stock with a very fine line screen and a varnish covering to protect the image. If you intend on displaying this by itself, it deserves to be framed. There is no numbering on the print to let you know where in the edition it stands, so you’ll just have to take the backprint that says it’s limited to its word.
Unfortunately, if you’re looking for a Twilight Sparkle or a Rainbow Dash, they’re out of print as of this writing. That’s the rub with limited products: at some point, they run out. If you want a Fluttershy or Rarity, you should order it before it’s too late. The IDW Limited folios get a Four Rarities out of Five in terms of fabulosity. Given that you’d spend about $25 at a convention for a copy of the comic, print, and a collectible case, the value proposition is fair enough, though it will still be on the high side if you just want a book to collect.
The Elements of Harmony: The MLP: FiM Official Guidebook
Written by Brandon T. Snider, the Elements of Harmony aims to be a tome that collects all the information you could want to know about the show. Over 250 pages in length, the hardcover bound book can be had for a fairly low price of around twelve bucks on Amazon as of this writing. Bound in a stylized hardcover that matches Twilight’s book in the pilot episode, the Elements of Harmony starts the reader with a basic introduction to the show, fandom, and lore by repeating the fable from the pilot. It’s a nice touch.
For the hardcore fan, the biggest draws will be the concept artwork, interview with Lauren Faust, and some tidbits from various production crew. As usual, Lauren’s words are pretty illuminating and manage to go through some subjects that haven’t been covered too much by the fandom. This alone is worth the price of admission, but the concept art is also beautiful to look at. Some unknown-until-now tidbits like Princess Luna originally being named Princess Selena are revealed, along with now presumed canonical names for several background ponies.
Over two-thirds of the page count of the book is dedicated to the episode summary section and song lyric compilation, which may make for a handy reference guide, but if you’re familiar with all the episodes, you won’t learn much as they tend to be more of the summary type instead of “did you know” trivia compilations or analyses. In terms of print quality and readability, the book makes good use of the by-now well familiar FiM packaging style, with all of the fonts and colors you’re used to seeing. You’re not getting a cheaply made book by any sense of the word, even though the price is fairly low.
How useful or informative this book will be depends upon the reader. The average reader of this site (or its forum) may not find it very helpful because you’ve probably watched the episodes several times over. As a piece of memorabilia, it’s certainly inexpensive enough to have, especially if you want to use it as a prop. It would also be a decent introduction to the series for a complete newbie or someone who has just started, as it is a fairly reasonable way to deliver a lot of information about Equestria and the world of ponies without being boring or hard to read. For a younger fan, I imagine they will love the book and all the information it contains since they may not have seen every episode or know a lot of the background information that an older fan might. So if you’re interested in this book, pick it up, read it, and pass it on to someone you know in the target demographic. Encouraging reading is always a good thing, and if it’s about ponies, then even better. ■