I imagine that most people read articles about comic book sales in a darkened room, in a enclosed and private space – perhaps curtained off – so nobody can see their shame. But comics sales aren’t just for predicting cancellations – in the case of IDW’s forthcoming My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the sales are a way to celebrate the superiority of ponies to everything else.

Pre-order estimations for the first issue of this new series, written by Katie Cook and drawn by Andy Price, are currently sitting at around 90,000. That makes the book one of the most successful books of the year — during a time when DC have their New 52, Walking Dead has a TV series, and Marvel NOW is launching. It’s also great news, because My Little Pony is an all-ages title which actually lives up to the ideal that all ages can read it. Whereas the other top-selling comics of the year so far feature baseball bat bludgeoning and brain stealing (which has it’s place in comics! I’m not saying it’s bad!), My Little Pony is a book where characters learn about friendship and have a great time doing so. And are ponies.

So hurray for a comic that does that! That’s the first thing I’m celebrating. Hurray for a comic with a good nature doing well. Also hurray for an IDW title stepping into the spotlight. The main story for this year has been Image’s rise to match DC and Marvel, but now we’re seeing IDW push themselves into the public eye alongside their competitors. It can only be good for the comic book industry that we have strong competition at the top of the sales charts, and the early success of this title is a promising sign that readers are still interested in a diverse range of titles, from a range of different companies. IDW are surely going to be thrilled by the gigantic early sales for their new series.

Much has been made of the “Brony” culture, but just as important is the original demographic for My Little Pony: young girls and their mothers, who buy the toys and watch the TV series. There’s no way yet of knowing how exactly the IDW sales break down in terms of age or gender, but every new reader picking up the series is a new person becoming a fan of comics. If that spark of interest then flickers over to, say, Snarked, Takio, Bravest Warriors, or any other all-ages comics, then suddenly going to the comic-book store becomes a weekly fixture for new fans. And that’s without taking into account the doubtlessly huge digital interest in the series, which has not yet been measured.

My Little Pony: over 90,000 copies sold. Katie Cook: now best-selling author Katie Cook. Ponies: ruling the world.

Success all round, you guys!


  1. Meanwhile, Adventure Time is selling a respectable 20K a month.

    I wonder how Ape is doing with their Kidzoic titles?

  2. I ordered it for my 5-year-old daughter, who loves the show.

    She also loves Wonder Woman, Supergirl and Batgirl, but other than the SBFF shorts on the DC Nation block (which apparently isn’t returning until January), DC isn’t putting out a lot of things featuring those characters that are appropriate for her age group.

  3. Chad – I saw some DC superhero title in the bookstore the other day that, I guess, was for kids, but it looked like it was drawn BY kids. I didn’t like that stuff when I was a kid and my nephew and younger cousins don’t like it, either. What’s the deal? Is it hard to put together a kid’s line that doesn’t look “kiddie-fied?”

  4. Aaron — what you’ve come to see as a “kiddie-fied” art style is actually an evolution of decades of experimenting with children’s entertainment. Appealing, simple character designs are critical for grabbing and holding the attention of young readers, so it’s not as bad as it may seem at first.

  5. Okay, so is this 90,000 via the direct market, or 90,000 including a ton of promo tie-ins that will go inside My Little Pony toy packages or whatever? Either way, it’s awesome that a comic can do numbers like this, but I have to question just how and where the numbers are coming from. For example, I’m sure the Avengers Season One graphic novel “sold” a lot of copies, but that’s because Disney technically pre-ordered a bunch of copies to bundle with the Avengers DVD. Not trying to be negative or overly skeptical, just wondering about what sort of a victory we’re talking about here.

  6. @Aaron: I’m guessing you might be talking about the work of Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani, the team behind Tiny Titans and now, Superman Family Adventures. Baltazar’s artwork is simplified, for sure, but my kids LOVE his work. In fact, I have yet to meet a kid who doesn’t love Tiny Titans once they’re exposed to it. Different strokes and all, but how old are your nephew and younger cousins?

    Back to the topic at hand: I’m really happy that my daughter will be able to enjoy a comic based on her favorite cartoon, and if it took tens of thousands of bronies buying copies to get there, I’m thankful they exist.

  7. I’ve been writing DC SuperHeroes chapter books for Stone Arch Books since 2009, and I’m SO GLAD to see comics like IDW’s “My Little Pony” (I want to WRITE that!!) and DC’s Tiny Titans. There’s a niche for younger readers that should get more attention in our super-hero-specific industry.

  8. From what I’ve heard in the brony community’s news grapevine over the last several weeks, this is entirely from direct market orders. Nobody’s done promo tie-ins with these comics yet like what you’re describing there. Given the behavior of the brony community in general towards any new Friendship Is Magic merch, this kind of figure for direct sales doesn’t surprise me a bit.

  9. Chad, Aaron:

    Most likely that was Tiny Titans.

    It has been popular, lasting fifty issues without any cartoon support.
    It would still be published, but DC decided to launch a Superman title instead by the same creators. The artwork works well with the humorous stories.

    Myself, I thought TT had too many inside jokes.
    Superman is a bit better, and fun.
    Otherwise: http://dcnationcomics.kidswb.com/

    If you want something fun from DC Comics, I recommend “Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the Eighth Grade”. The first issue is free to read on the above website. It has been collected into a trade paperback.

    DC doesn’t have a strong kids line, currently offering:

    DC tends to cancel a series as soon as the cartoon series has ended, regardless of sales or fan following. My recommendation: Haunt the back issue bins for copies of Teen Titans Go!, any Batman cartoon tie-in, or Justice League title. They are all single-issue stories.

    Otherwise, visit your local library. There are hundreds of great graphic novels being published for kids!

  10. The 90,000 figure is nice, but the journalism behind the figure is suspect. The IDW tweet linked to a Bleeding Cool piece on MY LITTLE PONY #1, which included:

    I understand that advance orders for the first issue of the My Little Pony comic from IDW, all of it’s covers (including the box set of six covers) , have come in.

    Who else but IDW would have provided the figures to Bleeding Cool’s Johnston? And should a boxed set be lumped in with sales of individual copies?


  11. Is that really any different from the big two’s strategy of goosing sales by offering variants that require shop owners to buy a lot of copies in order to get the “rare” cover?

  12. I realize there is a lot of resistance and skepticism hearing that a comic about a purple pony is selling so well. But I really don’t see a downside.

  13. The multi-cover promotion is brilliant and this is great new for IDW. The problem is that kids don’t want stuff for kids, Art and Franco’s books are the only thing my girlfriend’s six year old will read. If they want to increase readership then those books should be sitting next to the candy and soda in supermarkets and gas stations.

  14. There aren’t many /b/tards that like mlp, that’s why there’s a separate board for them. Learn your facts.

  15. Kids–and adults–who like the “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” cartoon would probably also enjoy Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue’s “Guinea Pig: Pet Shop Private Eye” series of graphic novels, which have a similar mix of appealing and well-developed characters with amusingly absurd plots and witty dialogue. Actually, I found the humor in “Guinea Pig P.I.” more consistently funny than that in “My Little Pony.” This is largely due to Yue’s expressive illustrations of excitable hamster sidekick Hamisher’s dramatic reactions to everything, as well as the running gags about things like a bowl of goldfish so airheaded that they keep getting confused about what their own names are and making triumphant observations like “I’m breathing water!”

    The main characters are a smart but somewhat grumpy–at least at first–guinea pig named Sasspants (who all the other pet shop residents soon begin calling Detective Pants) and Hamisher, the hyperactively enthusiastic hamster who keeps nagging Sasspants into solving various minor mysteries that arise at the pet shop. Sass likes mysteries, but she loves reading more, and in the first couple of volumes she resists Hamisher’s efforts to get her involved in allegedly real-life puzzles because she thinks he’s making it up and she’d rather not be distracted from her book.

    The series is set at the world’s wackiest pet shop, with a well-intentioned but perpetually confused owner who behaves as if he’s from some Alice in Wonderland-type dimension where chinchillas are easily confused with chimney sweeps and rabbits with zebras. (Thanks to Mr. Venezi’s habit of repeatedly labeling the cages wrong, at the start of the series Hamisher is under the impression that he and his fellow hamsters are koalas. After reading some of Sasspants’ books, he decides that he’d rather be a dragon–although Hamisher is a lot better than Mr. Venezi at distinguishing reality from his more exotic imaginings.)

    The series is published by Graphic Universe/Lerner Publishing Group at a cover price of $6.95, but Lerner sells them–and the rest of their paperback line–for $5 each at local shows like NYCC and MoCCA.

  16. YAY!! I’m definitely not a briny, but I am a HUGE supporter of all ages comics!! This is such exciting news!!

  17. And guess who was behind both the My Little Pony reboot *and* SBFF? :3

    All hail Faust, saviour of all-ages entertainment!

  18. How is 90K gigantic?? 1 million would be gigantic. Could the book have sold more if it weren’t $3.99?

  19. 1 million sales would be “stonking”, not “gigantic”. There’s a specific cutoff sales point which separates “gigantic” from firstly “staggering”, and then “stonking”. I’m not allowed to divulge where these cutoff points are, sorry.

  20. Given the comments in the article (and the other reports I’ve read about this), 90k preorders for a comic book is pretty huge relative to how most comic books have been doing lately. The figure may not look that big on its own, but I guess that means that comic books haven’t been doing so hot compared to other entertainment media.
    And I think the book would have still sold if it were more than $3.99, given what I know about the brony community. (These people threw over $300k at the Kickstarter for John DeLancie’s Bronycon documentary in the space of about two months. They’re willing to spend money to get cool Pony stuff.)

  21. To sell to newsstands (which includes gas stations and supermarkets), you generally need to print/ship three copies for every one copy you sell. The unsold copies? The covers get ripped off and sent in for credit, the rest gets recycled/trashed.

    That’s IF the newsstands carry them. Space is at a premium, and even the magazine-sized comics like DC Nation or The Muppets rarely get shelved. Drug stores in NYC don’t sell comics. Sidewalk news vendors don’t sell comics. The subway newsstands don’t sell comics (except for the adult Mexican Historietas).

    The check out aisle is the most valuable real estate in a supermarket for impulse purchases, so companies have to pay a premium to have items sold there.

    Digital is the new newsstand. That’s where kids will go to get the comic. Or they’ll go to the comics shop with their older cousins, parents, or cool uncles/aunts.

  22. Fact one: It’s a licensed comic. Not big sellers in today’s market, but the fanbase is there to keep them going.

    Fact two: It’s a kids comic. Kids comics are hard to sell in paper, as the mass market does not exist, and many shops do not know how to market to young readers or parents.

    Fact three: It is published by a company which is not Marvel or DC.

    10,000 copies would be excellent.
    20,000 would be exceptional (see Adventure Time)
    50,000 would be impressive.
    100,000 … given the above three factors? That’s like the Obama issue of Spider-Man selling 350,000 copies.

  23. Comics do sell at drugstores, sidewalk news vendors and subway newsstands (I actually buy most of my superhero titles from the dude in the subway).

    Generally speaking, a regular-format saddle-stitched comic can be expected to sell at least an equal amount of copies in the newsstand as they do in the Direct Market (often more), and a digest or something otherwise pay-to-play (like those check out aisle racks) will boost circulation up to 200,000 copies. Newsstand is nowhere near as dead as people like to think! :)

  24. There isn’t a down side. But there are a lot of comic fans whose conception of the medium is limited to superheroes and direct market. The fact that kids comics are selling so well–and they really are–is something that is so difficult to reconcile with their understanding of how things ‘really’ work that they refuse to accept it.

  25. It looks like it was colored with colored pencils because that’s a style of drawing that is appealing to a comic book of this type. It’s a wonderful way to express the kind of creativity that has been put into it.

  26. I preordered a slipcase set and all the covers individually. My Little Pony is a good, fun show.

    In my daily life, I teach computer classes to blue-collar adults. A couple years ago, I started to use “My Little Pony” as a sort of substitute for any number of somewhat inappropriate topics that might come up during a discussion of, say, computer security. During one particular class, that resulted in a room full of steelworkers watching an entire episode of MLP on Youtube on my classroom projector.

    It’s kind of been a joke for me for a while.

    At C2E2, I bought a pony hat. Wearing that hat labeled me as part of the “brony” fraternity, whether or not I wanted to be there, but the end result was a lot of completely random, positive interactions with strangers that really made the phenomenon real rather than ironic to me.

    And as a community, these people are real and sincere and I’m glad that there is something in common that brought all of them together, even if it was a pony cartoon meant for little girls.

  27. Welcome to the antibrony, people who refuse to accept the simple truth simply because they can’t comprehend a reason for it to be true. We don’t hate them for it, we know it’s not their fault or even their choice, and we don’t condemn them for it either. We simply do our best to provide the reasons such things are true, and hope that they accept such reasons. That is all we can do.

  28. I agree. Henry, look up “Derpy Bubbles” on YouTube.com if you wish to know what bronies are all about.

  29. A brony is not a person who watches a show for little girls. A brony is a person who appreciates and understands that such a thing is neither bad nor wrong. More important, you are who and what you choose to be. Rock on my friend.

  30. I wish to set your mind at ease. The My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic television show was not meant to be seen by only little girls. In truth, the point of the person who was responsible for making the show what it is, Lauren Faust, was to make a show that adults could watch and enjoy as well as children. In other words, the show was made for adults. And children. But it was made for adults. See where I’m going with this? The brony community is proof of this.

  31. Aaron, it’s not hard at all to put out a comic out that doesn’t looks (or reads) Like it’s “kiddie-fied”. It’s not a question about “if it can be done” but rather about if the editors and creators are willing to do so.

  32. I don’t get this either.

    The worst part of it appears to be male demographic of other Hasbro brands (Transformers, GI Joe) jumping on board.

    Fricken’ sick

  33. The more chances we get to get kids into all ages stuff the better off the industry will be. But I’ll just suggest MORE TAKIO on a personal level.

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