Bronies: An Introduction by Kevin Clay by Kevin Clay - Read Online

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Bronies - Kevin Clay

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The idea to write this book was conceived by a conversation with a friend in a class we shared. I had been writing brony-related articles and after informing her that I felt I was leaving out too much information, she told me, well, it’s not like you’re writing a book, stuff is going to get left out.

Hence, this work you see before you.

With all the documentaries that have been created within the past several years, it seems redundant to also write a book. Knowing that said documentaries were viewed by myself and others, the need for a bridge to fill in the gaps created by missing information forged the necessity for written clarification. It is yet another means through which to share the who and what of bronies.

My hope for this book is to explain the creation and formation of the brony fandom and provide my opinion on such subjects. Bronies are simply fans of the TV show My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and this book shall explain them. The material covered will explain the history of the My Little Pony brand, the evolution of the fandom – and, specifically, the subgroup known as bronies  the world response, aspects of the business surrounding the brand, and bronies in action.

This book would not have been made possible if it were not for the following people.

Jenna Bohn, for the talent and creativity seen on the cover of this work.

Matthew Price, is an individual who played a prominent role in some material that was cut from the book.

Tim Tung, a friend who both introduced me into the fandom and also was more than willing to respond to my comments of frustration at times when writing. His quick witted response and willingness to listen ensured that the book was written, and I was not pushed off any ledges; be it physically or metaphorically speaking

Chris Ridsdale, the man who kept me sane as I wrote. His name nearly deserves to be on the author credit as well.

Rebecca Wright, an editor of this book. Her willingness to not throttle me over silly mistakes is most welcome. It should be noted that she still wants to throttle me for my inconsistent use of periods in my subsection headings.

Hannah Conrad, an editor of this book, and Tatiana Aramayo, her one time co-editor, and are the most awesome Texans ever. Ever. Hannah’s sarcastic comments will live on in infamy.

Daniel Domingo (link to work:, who did original work for the book that was unable to be used.

K. Wright, who did original art for the book that was used. (fig 1. and fig 2.)

As a disclaimer, all of the My Little Pony brand, licenses, and all copyright claims are owned by Hasbro Inc. I own nothing but my thoughts and hours of work put into the creation of this book.

The History of The Brand

The story of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic may have begun with Lauren Faust, but the concept and creation of My Little Pony, started with the humorous card-creator-turned-toy-inventor, Bonnie D. Zacherle.

Zacherle, along with Rhode Island sculptor Charles Muenchinger and General Manager of Research and Development at Hasbro Steve D'Aguanno, created the first pony model. The patent was filed on August 31, 1981, officially received on August 2, 1983 and allowing for a 14 year control and ownership of the brand/concept

At first, Hasbro wasn’t keen on the idea of doing toy horses, but Zacherle, who had been employed by Hasbro since 1980, persisted in her presentation to the Research and Development team. The concept appealed to her due to her own childhood dream of owning a pony, thus she believed it was a profitable idea that would attract all children who had the same dream. Eventually in 1981, the ten-inch-tall pony figurines were originally named My Pretty Pony proved to be a success. In 1983 the brand was relabeled My Little Pony, and continued to sell well. Zacherle left Hasbro for an opportunity with Parker Brothers, but just before she left she worked on what would become the brand’s  defining marker: symbols on the ponies' flanks, later dubbed named cutie marks in 2007. Liz Knight was her successor, and went on to become the Vice President of Design at Hasbro.

As part of Hasbro’s media strategy, several popular toy franchises were turned into TV shows. Two half-hour long pilot episodes aired in 1984 and 1985. This was followed by a film in 1986. The television series was not released until six months after the film. The film was relatively successful in its target demographic, with its basic good verses evil plotline, easily understandable story, and straightforward characters.  However, critics such as New York Times’ Nina Darnton described the characters as being like those pastel heart candies that have little messages on them such as 'I luv you.' You can eat a few, but too many make you sick. Darnton went on to say that their world is so saccharine sweet, so made of plastic that when the witch wants to wipe it out, it may be hard for some adults not to sympathize. Regardless, the television series aired successfully 1986 to 1987 for a total of 65 episodes. Thus forging Generation One.

Generation One

Reviews of Generation One are difficult to find, if only because it came out at a time when no one was paying attention to a children's TV show based off a toy line. It was not anything new, or particularly good. However, as My Little Pony has been recreated into something popular, those who watched the early seasons are starting to come to light. Reviewer and graphic artist Chad Rocco was one of the early watchers of the original cartoon. In a video entitled My Little Pony Retrospective Part 1, on the popular website, Rocco does not say anything favourable towards the show, but he does come to its defense saying that really, it wasn’t any more vapid or preachy then the Care Bears or Captain Planet. In an original documentary, done for a college class, an individual known best within the community as Saberspark also reviewed generation one. Posted to YouTube on December 11th, 2011, the video was called Ballad of the Brony: A Documentary on Bronies and Friendship is Magic. In it, Saberspark describes Generation One as being more mythical, and the film decent. He does, however, mention that the film’s villains had a 1980s aura about them.

Quite often, the ponies and other inhabitants of the world live in a primarily agrarian society; it is a fantasy world of few buildings. However, being a television show geared to market toys, it also allowed for a creative focus. There exist episodes with characters who may never be seen again, but given the barest level of personality or defining trait. This created the foundation of a show aimed to sell toys, as well as offering a creative platform to inspire children to play with the product

This generation introduced several things to the series: the debut of the brand to the television screen and the inclusion of the three pony races - unicorn, pegasus, and earth-pony. A notable feature of the series were three humans who frequently appear in the land of the ponies in order to help solve problems (human ex machina).

Generation Two

Generation Two, as a TV show, started in 1992, but would not begin producing its coinciding toy branch until 1997. The television show and the toy line ultimately seem to exist in the same universe, but not at the same time. This has sparked debate regarding Generation Two’s TV show, My Little Pony Tales, is its own generation. Regardless, the TV show is marked by new alterations to the franchise. First, nearly all the voice actors