Tuesday, March 17, 2015

CBR The Coming of... Squirrel Girl!

Squirrel Girl, Squirrel Girl! She's a human and also squirrel!

Tippy-Toe says: Read these reviews!

Comic title: "The Coming of... Squirrel Girl!" from Marvel Super-Heroes (1992) #8 "Winter Special"
Written & illustrated by Steve Ditko
Original script by Will Murray

Published by Marvel Comics 
From 1992
Lineup Squirrel Girl
Format: Issue collected in the trade paperback GLA: Missassembled.

Here's another special review, before I properly take on the 2005 Great Lakes Avengers mini-series by Dan Slott.

Let's review a vintage issue, Marvel Super-Heroes (vol. 2) #8. Also known as the Marvel Super-Heroes Winter Special from 1992.

The original issue is a pretty pricey hard-to-find collector, this is the reprint collected in the GLA: Misassembled TPB!

This series was an anthology book that featured several short stories around the Marvel Universe. This specific issue contained a tale where the X-Men faced Abomination and a half-Sentinel/human hybrid. A Namor story. But to this day this issue is mostly remembered as the book that introduced the unbeatable Squirrel Girl originally!

The most memorable feature, famous for being one of comic book legend Steve Ditko's last Marvel creation.

The Squirrel Girl feature was written and drawn by Steve Ditko himself, while the original concept was originally scripted by Will Murray.

To better put the story in context, you have to remember that the medium was at the time invaded by over-the-top gritty and violent back in the 1990s.

Squirrel Girl was born from the authors wanting to cut loose from all the serious business and drama you had in books such as X-Men at Marvel. She's a voluntary throwback to good ol' lighthearted Silver Age comics.

She made her debut in the tale "The Coming of ... Squirrel Girl".

Squirrel Girl is an amalgam and parody of everything that made older superheroes fun. Her real name is Doreen Green. Just like the likes of Spider-Man, she has the "proportional strength and abilities" of a squirrel. Whatever that means. In this case, she can jump pretty high, love to eat nuts and can even talk to said rodents! Oh, and did I mention she's always enthusiast and cheerful. DC and Marvel could totally use heroes with the same attitude these days, if you ask me.

It all began one day, in Central Park. Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, was testing a new collision avoidance guidance-detection system in his suit. Because he's Iron Man, and Iron Man can do whatever he wants. (To put this in perspective, Iron Man was having some drinking problems at the time in his own title.)

When Tony is suddenly ambushed and jumped on by this wannabe super heroine!

She calls herself Squirrel Girl and wants to become Iron Man's sidekick!!

But Iron Man thinks she's way too young to put herself in danger like this. Plus he doesn't consider her that seriously. I mean, squirrels!?

When suddenly - Doctor Doom appears out of nowhere! Actually, Squirrel Girl kind of attacked him earlier when she was looking for Iron Man near Stark Enterprises. Doom is able to kidnap both our heroes easily.

Aboard the spacecraft Squirrel Girl is able to free Iron Man and sneaks a thousand little squirrels on board. They critters overwhelm Doom and humiliate the villain!

This 14 years old girl just defeated the real Doctor Doom - not a Doombot!

All thanks to this squirrel she named Monkey Joe.

Iron Man recognizes how strong this goofy heroine really is. She's still way too young to play superhero, but she definitively proved herself.

Who's ever gonna believe this!?

With this silly little short story Will Murray originally meant to make a fun little throwback at old Ditko-era fun superheroes. In fact, Tom Morgan was supposed to draw the book. But then Steve Ditko came along and he really liked script. They able to get Steve Ditko himself!!

Ditko would in fact came up with lots of idea that weren't originally in the script, and write the finished story.

This first Squirrel Girl appearance basically established all the important traits that would be the basis for Squirrel Girl. And it is such a great funny idea. It made certain Squirrel Girl would go on to become the most powerful being in Marvel Universe right from the start!

To help her backstory, she's simply a mutant with random squirrel-like super powers. She has a giant squirrel tail and can talk to squirrels. Ditko came up with the silly Wolverine-style "knuckle spikes" as a parody to the X-Man (which were kinda forgotten over the years). SG having.enhanced proportional strength of a squirrel. And even a "nut sack" (yikes!) utility belt (haaaa!) with completely useless purpose (except feeding the squirrels).

Our heroine would go on to become Marvel's most badass undefeated protagonist, having singlehandedly the most impressive huge roster of villains of the Marvel U (and not all off-panels!). From Doctor Doom to MODOK, and Thanos, Deadpool and many more! Including Wolverine not that long ago.

Right from the go, she was funny not-that-serious bizarre nonsensical superhero. And for some reason... she just seems to work. She's such a really fun lovable heroine.

She was made on purpose as a fun throwback to good old silly character, in fact she wasn't even meant to stand the test of time... more less be received to such a good reaction from the audience over the years.

It was a fun absurd little tale, made to look like an old school forgotten comic on purpose. Ditko was apparently just having a blast doing it.

A running joke would develop over the years, allowing Squirrel Girl to beat stronger and stronger foes, most times off-screen.

I'm sure Doom fans keep wishing it was just a "Doombot". Steve Ditko made this comic pretty late in his career. Squirrel Girl would soon fade out into obscurity... until she was brought to the forefront about a decade later! This is as canon as it gets, not only did this comic come from Ditko but this early appearance was never rectonned to have been simply a Doombot in-story!

Apart from a few cameos, the character would pretty much disappear from comics after this first issue.. Fabian Nicieza wanted to bring her back as part of his New Warriors, but it never got the occasion to do so before he ended up leaving Marvel.

That is... until Dan Slott wrote a four-issue miniseries several years later.

Overall, this is a pretty fun debut for a long forgotten hero. Thankfully, this story always received a special place for fans which helped Marvel bring the character back eventually.

A Recommended read if you're a fan of the character or simply good comic. She is probably the best thing to ever come out from Marvel that entire decade.

A modern "Silver Age" comic. The unforgettable introduction to one of Marvel's most powerful and cheerful young heroine! And it's totally canon, yo!

The one and only! And let's not forget, also one of the last and most memorable random quirky Steve Ditko's creation. My all-time favorite comic book creator, just plain having fun with comics!

It was always meant to have an intentionally Ditko-esque retro style, just helping sell this totally out of place character published in the age of modern grim 'n' gritty comics. Trying to recapture a time where vintage comics also meant silliness and fun.

The character would sadly disappear into complete obscurity the following years. Utill Dan Slott brought her back as part of the memorable Great Lakes Avengers revival. Squirrel Girl joined the GLA during the "Great Lakes Avengers: Misassemble" mini-series which parodied grim and gritty comics once more. She became an instant hit (alongside Monkey Joe, and his post-humous replacement Tippy Toe), breaking the fourth wall and providing meta-commentaries on comics. She became pretty much part of the GLA and appeared alongside her new teammates over the next years in the one shot specials Deadpool/GLI Summer Fun Spectacular, GLX-Mas Special, etc.

Squirrel would be next found as the to Danielle Cage, the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones in the pages of the Brian Bendis-penned New Avengers series.

Despite being a fairly obscure character, she always proved popular enough amongst Marvel writers, that's why Bendis decided to use her on his book. Even then-Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada himself always liked the character and always wanted to launch a Squirrel Girl miniseries or something.

Finally last year in 2014 Marvel finally announced the on-going series the world always needed. Squirrel Girl would finally be getting her own series for the first time, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. This new series just recently started and it is written by Dinosaur Comics and Adventure Time writer Ryan North and drawn by Erica Henderson.

I give it:
2 / 3 Howards!

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