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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #74
Comic issue 74 cover A
Issue №: 74
Published: January 23, 2019
Writer: Ted Anderson
Artist: Kate Sherron
Colorist: Heather Breckel
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Megan Brown
Bobby Curnow
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My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #74 is the seventy-fourth issue of IDW Publishing's Friendship is Magic comic series. In the issue, Fluttershy's brother Zephyr Breeze attends the All-Equestria Mane Styling Conference.

Summary

At the School of Friendship, the Student Six enter Fluttershy's classroom for class, but Silverstream, Yona, and Sandbar greet Fluttershy with very messy manes. Fluttershy takes the three students to the "Mane Event" hair salon where her brother Zephyr Breeze works as a mane stylist. Using his mane styling expertise, Zephyr quickly figures out how to fix the students' messy manes.

Fluttershy is impressed by Zephyr's mane styling skills, and Zephyr is glad to have finally found enjoyable work and a place for himself. But he still suffers from frequent self-esteem issues and worries about humiliating himself and failing as a mane stylist. As Zephyr wonders if he truly belongs in the mane styling world, Sandbar suggests going to a mane styling conference to meet other stylists. Zephyr decides to attend the All-Equestria Manestyling Conference being held that weekend, and Fluttershy encourages her students to accompany him so that they can observe friendships in a professional environment.

Days later, Fluttershy, Zephyr Breeze, and the students go to the Manestyling Conference—"ManeCon" for short—where ponies, dragons, griffons, and numerous other creatures passionate about hairstyling are in attendance. On the center demonstration stage, a stylist pony demonstrates her mane styling for a panel of judges. When they judge her styling harshly, Zephyr refuses to go on stage out of fear of humiliating himself.

As he walks away from the stage area, Zephyr bumps into another mane stylist named Pixie Cut. The two strike up a conversation, during which Pixie says she was also very nervous when she first started out as a stylist and offers words of encouragement for the insecure Zephyr. When Zephyr meets up again with Fluttershy and her students, Silverstream says she signed Zephyr up to do a mane styling demonstration on the center stage to help him overcome his lack of self-esteem. Unfortunately, this sends Zephyr spiraling into an anxiety attack, and he runs away into the conference crowd.

While wandering the conference floor, Zephyr succumbs to self-doubt and continues to put himself down before he winds up right back near the demonstration stage. There, he watches Pixie Cut put on her own mane styling demonstration, and her on-stage confidence and grace impresses the judges. After the demonstration, Zephyr goes backstage to congratulate Pixie and finds her having a panic attack as severe as the ones he is also plagued by. She explains to Zephyr that her on-stage composure is just an act and that everyone gets nervous and doubts themselves sometimes, no matter how much experience they have. Inspired by Pixie Cut's courage, Zephyr decides to go through with his own demonstration.

On the ManeCon demonstration stage, Zephyr Breeze nervously demonstrates his mane styling for the judges and conference attendees. While the judges have some constructive criticism for Zephyr's novice skills, they are largely impressed and offer mostly congratulatory praise. Zephyr feels incredibly proud of himself, and his sister, her students, and Pixie Cut are also proud of him. Zephyr thanks Pixie for her encouragement and advice, forgives Silverstream for signing him up for a demonstration without his permission, and treats everyone to burgers at the conference snack bar.

Quotes

Silverstream: I'm having kind of a bad mane day.
Yona: Yona, too.
Sandbar: And me!
Zephyr Breeze: Well, now, this is a surprise! My baby sister Fluttershy, coming in to get her mane styled!
Fluttershy: Nice—oof!—to see you too, Zephyr Breeze.
Zephyr Breeze: This job is great! My coworkers are great, my boss is nice, I like the work... It's the best job I ever had! At first I was a little worried about working here, since I don't have much experience... so I thought maybe I wouldn't be any good! Maybe I would mess up! And then I wouldn't have the job anymore! Maybe I only think I'm good at this job! Maybe I actually stink! Maybe I'm going to be fired any minute because everypony is laughing at me behind my back!
Zephyr Breeze: I don't suppose Rainbow Dash could come along, too?
Fluttershy: Don't push your luck, brother.
Griffon Judge: Really, though, you should use less pomade on the back with this sort of cut.
Pony Judge: The trim on the front is rather uneven.
Dragon Judge: And just where did you learn to comb?!
Zephyr Breeze: Eesh... Going up and demonstrating a manecut in front of a bunch of experts? I'll pass, thanks!
Pixie Cut: I think it's really easy to get wrapped up in your own head. When you worry so much about yourself, you start to think everypony else is worried about you, too. And other creatures will judge you sometimes, it's true! But never as harshly as you judge yourself.
Zephyr Breeze: Oh no... No no no no no! I can't do this! I'm freaking oooouuuuut!
Fluttershy: Zephyr, wait! Oh, no... He was just like this at Rainbow Dash's eighth birthday party.
Pixie Cut: It's scary to stand up on that stage. It's scary thinking that everypony will judge me, or laugh at me behind my back. I need to face that fear! Trying to do something is scary because you might fail. But if you never try, then you'll never succeed, either!
Zephyr Breeze: ...You're right. I'm not going to let myself be paralyzed by fear!
Griffon Judge: Impressive work, Mr. Breeze!
Pony Judge: Yes, quite impressive! Your edges are a bit uneven...
Dragon Judge: And you could use a coarser blade on your clippers... But I suppose you've made it work.
Griffon Judge: Fine work for a talented manestylist who's just starting out! I think you've got a bright future ahead of you!
Zephyr Breeze: Really? I mean, thank you!
Zephyr Breeze: Thanks for the pep talk, Pixie. It helped a lot.
Pixie Cut: No problem! Just remember: If you ever get too trapped in your own head... look for a friend to pull you out.