5 things I learned at M.A. Larson’s autograph table at Whinny City Pony Con 2018

M.A. Larson
Writer M.A. Larson signs items for fans at Whinny City Pony Con 2018 (photo: Mare Swallow)

Season 8 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is well underway, and the Brony fandom shows no signs of slowing down. At Whinny City Pony Con 2018, I chatted with screenwriter M.A. Larson as he signed autographs. Here’s what I learned about him, his fans, and the show.

1. The Monopoly dog made him a writer


For a high school writing assignment, Larson wrote a Hero’s Journey story from the point of view of the Monopoly dog playing piece. His paper got an “A.” A writer was born.

2. Fan adore and shower him with gifts

M.A. Larson
An example of the many kinds of gifts M.A. Larson fans shower on him. (photo: Mare Swallow)

During the hour I sat with Larson, fans lavished gifts on him, especially chocolate. The tally: Reese’s peanut butter eggs, bars of dark chocolate, Gatorade Energy Chews, jelly beans, a giant Hershey’s kiss, Hershey’s miniatures, a cookie featuring Larson’s OC, a Rarity figurine with a homemade pillow, hand sanitizer, and a box of industrial Sharpies.

3. Fans tease him

M.A. Larson Whinny City Pony Con
A fan calling himself “Philadelphia Eagles” shows off his plush collection before meeting writer M.A. Larson. (photo: Mare Swallow)

Larson, a Minnesota native, was at Super Bowl LII to see his beloved Vikings fall to the Philadelphia Eagles. The first fan to greet Larson showed up wearing an Eagles jersey and a “Super Bowl Champions” baseball hat. This fan called himself “Philadelphia Eagles.” Another fan showed up with a badge that read “N.A. Larson” – meaning, “Not Actually Larson.” He takes all of this with good humor, though. More than the teasing, Larson’s fans gushed about their favorite episodes, quoting lines he wrote. He finds it all very gratifying.

4. He’ll sign anything

Contributor Mare Swallow gets her arm signed by M.A. Larson, known for his willingness to sign anything. (photo: Mare Swallow)

Elevator in a Baltimore hotel? Your arm? A pie? Larson has signed all these things, and more. He’s famous for autographing anything you put in front of him. A Brony dressed as Tree Hugger asked Larson to sign the bandana covering his dreads. He did. Before signing his autograph, Larson always asks, “Who’s your favorite pony?” He includes a line he wrote for the pony along with his signature.

5. Animators, not writers, control the backgrounds

A scene from the “Slice of Life” episode of ‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.’ It is one of the episodes that, along with the “Cutie Pox” episode, the Big Lebowski ponies make an appearance in. (Hasbro Studios)

I talked with Larson about the beloved background jokes and characters. Turns out the writers don’t create those. Derpy’s first appearance? Animators put her in. The Big Lebowski characters in “The Cutie Pox”? That was the animators.

See more photos from Whinny City 2018 on our Facebook page.

About Mare Swallow

Mare Swallow
Mare Swallow is the Founder of the Chicago Writers Conference and author of 21 Ways to Engage Your Audience. She is a professional speaker, and writes non-fiction. She is working on an in-depth project about subcultures. On most nights you can find her sharing her stories at one of Chicago's many Lit events. She has been named to New City’s (Chicago) Lit 50 list twice. She lives in Chicago and is a complete gin snob.