Ignoring the fact that I’m already a day behind on my daily Christmas blogging, let us instead take a look at a Marvel comics character who typically garners strange looks when mentioned in public: Squirrel Girl! I actually refused to read the Squirrel Girl comics until a friend mailed me the first volume several weeks ago. Ironically enough, said friend was also the reason I refused to even consider the character when I began reading graphic novels in college. His love for and impassioned defenses of the character were so strong that default mockery and steadfast refusal to acknowledge Squirrel Girl’s mighty power were guaranteed to troll him into horrendously hilarious rants. Turns out this was my loss.
Doreen Green is starting college. She is also Squirrel Girl, superheroine with a long bushy tail and general squirrel powers. She can speak the range of squirrel dialects, has the proportional strength of a squirrel and sharp claws for climbing and window cutting, plus nimble agility gymnastic ability. And if the skill to fit her tail into pants isn’t a superpower, nothing is. Basically she’s Ant-Man, but with arboreal rodents instead of picnic-loving insects and without the size-changing, and it so much more awesome and bizarre than you would think. With her trusty squirrel sidekick Tippy-Toe, who seems impressively tapped in to the squirrel information network, Squirrel Girl takes on the struggle of navigating college orientation and sassing villains while trying to avert global destruction.
Writer Ryan North, artist Erica Henderson, and color artist Rico Renzi have created a visually distinctive and unique character in superheroics. While Doreen Green has all the fighting spirit and spunk that’s expected from a young superhero, she is just as likely to talk villains into a different course of action as she is to enter full-on beat-em-up mode. In a pop culture infused with action-adventure heroes, Squirrel Girl is a refreshing take on the superhero archetype and shows what people can accomplish when they think outside the box. Furthermore, the tone of the book and Doreen’s personality are endearing, entertaining, and just plain fun. Doreen’s combination of confidence and self-consciousness should strike a chord with young readers all the way up to a college-aged audience trying to establish themselves in the world.
The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl debuted earlier this year as an ongoing Marvel series. The first volume, collecting #s 1-4 and her original comic debut from way back in 1990, released in September, while Volume 2 arrives for the last-minute Christmas rush in a few days on December 8. Either volume could make an excellent gift for the superhero enthusiasts in your life!