She’s not the joke you think she is.
You hear the name “Squirrel Girl” and you think “oh, cute joke,” right? You wouldn’t be out of line in assuming that even ironically, with a tongue in her cheek, this character has to be scraping the bottom of the super hero barrel.
But if that’s how you’re thinking about this hero, simply because her name and super-spirit animal, might I draw you attention to a similar character, going by the equally silly name of Ant-Man? We’re in an age right now where a couple of geniuses are singling out superheroes with the silliest names and the tiniest powers, and creating genuinely great content. Don’t underestimate the sillily-named. You will be proven wrong.
She’s a lover AND a fighter.
You probably hear the name Squirrel Girl and think there’s no way she can be an actual butt-kicking hero, right? Well, wrong. Very, very, so, so wrong. This girl has taken down Thanos, for crying out loud. She has actual badass powers, worthy of the (New) Avengers, of which she is a proud member; and combined with her ever-battle-ready squirrel army waiting for her call to stop eating nuts and start kicking butts, she deserves a whole lot more of your respect.
But even though she could easily kick all the butts, most of her fights are resolved other ways. It sounds like a stereotype of young, bright-eyed and literally bushy-tailed female characters to say that she solves her problems with feeling, rather than fists. But knowing that she could and usually would solve problems with the latter, earns a lot less judgement when she chooses the former. Or, to be fair, the former usually chooses her. How cool is it for a hero to head into battle, only to actually hear her opponent’s story, and to— without selling herself short— embrace her ability to refocus on her opponent’s health and needs, working with them, rather than punching them into space? (EVEN IF SHE IS TOTALLY ABLE AND WILLING TO PUNCH THEM INTO SPACE.)
So many of Squirrel Girl’s battles end with her helping her opponent, rather than crushing them. If you see that as a weakness or a liability, maybe that’s on you to recalibrate that view.
You are this book’s target demographic.
Yes, you. You may think that this is a woman’s book, or a girl’s book, or a something else book. But if you like kick-ass super heroes in well-written, beautifully drawn, and consistently hilarious books, this one is for you. Doreen Green (AKA Squirrel Girl) is an awesome role model for girls and young women, but older women, boys, men, seriously anyone who likes good, smart, funny, action-packed things is going to love this series. That is you, right?
They’ve built you a strong, visible, highly adorable community.
Audiences are coming around to recognizing the brilliance of Squirrel Girl, but it’s still in enough of a fledgling stage that the Q&As included at the end of each issue will make you feel like part of a special, secret club. Writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson answer questions monthly from squirrel enthusiasts, comics aficionados, and people with all manner of adorable photos. Seriously, if you need a dose of cute, every issue ends with readers’ Squirrel Girl-inspired costumes, animal appreciation, and various pictures of child-based cuteness.
There’s a whole re-read worth of hidden jokes
The post-issue Q&A is just the start of the supplemental material. The book’s previously-on recaps are done in the style of characters’ Twitter feeds (and those accounts exist IRL, and are actually tweeting and followable, by the way), and bring in Iron Man, Hulk, and other ostensibly out-of-this-book’s-league characters on the regular. Also, nearly every page is chock-full of bonus jokes, puns, and carefully crafted theme songs that skyrocket the title’s rate jokes-per-page ratio far beyond that of probably any other book currently on the market.
You want to be in on the casting conversation, don’t you?
The rumors and requests for a Squirrel Girl movie have been increasing lately, and we’ve finally gotten word that Marvel and ABC Studios have a New Warriors TV show in the works that would feature our favorite rodent woman. Which means you’re going to want to be in on the dream casting (and eventual actual casting) conversation.
The thing is, Anna Kendrick, along with any number of other superficially perfect suggestions, is the perfect choice only (or at least primarily) for fans of a book they haven’t yet read. If all you knew about the character were her name, there are some obvious characteristics that would pop into your brain. Let me tell you, WE WERE WRONG.
While Doreen is, yes, a squirrel-girl, she is more than an adorable face and chipper voice. She’s super hard to pin down, being an outsider figure with incredible self-esteem. She’s a computer sciences student, a bit awkward, but totally personable. Additionally, she very deliberately doesn’t have the typical Anna Kendrick body type, and yet never for a second doesn’t totally love herself to the extreme. It seems like an erasure of a major part of her character to ignore that in casting.
If you see the character as being perfectly personified by Anna Kendrick, awesome. If you’ve been following Shannon Purser’s (AKA Barb’s) campaign for the role, and think she’d be perfect, or maybe if you took my advice and watched Dramaworld on Netflix and now agree with me that Liv Hewson is the perfect fit for this character— any of these are valid choices. I just STRONGLY recommend that you actually read the book and get to know this fantastic character before you commit to your favored dreamcasting choice.
It’s quite possibly the best Marvel comic out right now.
The world is going to catch on pretty quick, and you don’t want to be late to the love, do you? She’s way, WAY more than the adorable gimmick most uninitiated readers think she is. This book is hilarious, brilliant and heart-piercingly sharp. Doreen is a role model, but she’s also just an awesome character, not looking to be looked up to, but more than worthy of the status. Given everything mentioned above, from the humor to the action, I can’t think of a single thing that you’d be looking for in your hypothetical Favorite Comic Book that this doesn’t have in excess. Which is why it will probably be your actual Favorite Comic Book, once you give over to its undeniable awesomeness.