Tuesday, March 1, 2016

"Can she climb up a tree? Yes she can, easily." Why I love The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (and why you may, too!)

I never grew up reading comic books, aside from borrowing the occasional Tintin from friends. So, I am not well-versed in the realm of comic book lore. I do own a very small collection of comic books now (which mainly consists of Batman '66), and I enjoy perusing comic book stores. When I recently heard about The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl from a friend, I grew very intrigued, and wanted to learn more. I found that Squirrel Girl is a Marvel superhero who was introduced in the 1990s with the Great Lakes Avengers (she also worked as a nanny for Luke Cage & Jessica Jones' child). 

However, in 2014, a new series dedicated to Squirrel Girl was announced! I had birthday money to spend, and I was excited to learn more about this hero, so I eagerly ordered Volume 1 (Squirrel Power). After speeding through Volumes 1 and 2 (inter-library loan of Volume 2 from the library for the win!), I've decided to share a couple thoughts with all of you. I think everyone needs to hear about this awesome superhero! 

[Keep in mind that I am not even close to being literate in the language of "comic book," so my grasp of this hero is coming solely from the two volumes that I have read.] 

From buzzfeed.
1. The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is wholesome and hilarious, which is a winning combination! 
While reading these volumes, I spontaneously burst out laughing several times! These stories are lighthearted and fun, with lots of humor injected into the situations, dialogue, and pictures. When you inevitably pick up The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, just let the stress and heaviness of life roll away. Laugh and enjoy the awkward, hilarious adventures of Doreen and her friends! This comic is wholesome, which is also quite wonderful.  When stories use humor that draws laughs from being inappropriate or crude, I'm not a fan. When a story can be legitimately hilarious in appropriate, non-crude ways, I get pretty excited! The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is something that a 5-year-old, a college kid, and a middle-aged adult can all enjoy thoroughly. 

2. Squirrel Girl a.k.a. Doreen Green, is a normal girl...as normal as you can get, when you have squirrel blood!
Erica Henderson, the artist for this series, does a wonderful job creating a believable, ditzy, awkward, normal young woman. Some people have criticized the derpy look that Doreen's face often has, but it really fits her well. Going off to college as a "normal" student of Computer Science, Doreen has plenty of awkward moments trying to navigate campus life, new friendships, and superhero adventures. She also looks so normal and appropriate, which makes her really relatable to people. Her outfit is cute (and not skin or cleavage baring, which is great!), and her body weight and figure are normal! Squirrel Girl is the "girl from next door" that you can hang out with on campus, and aside from her habit of chatting with squirrels, she's really quite normal.  

3. Squirrel Girl has the humility to ask for help when she needs it-which makes for some fun appearances by other awesome heroes.
I'm trying to keep this post as spoiler-free as possible, so that I don't wreck your fun, but I will tell you that quite possibly in Volume 2, there is an incident which is very bad, and Doreen knows (possibly-this is strictly hypothetical) that she needs the help and assistance of a certain powerful Avenger...so said Avenger possibly gets involved in some awesome scenes. I should also mention that, quite possibly, in Squirrel Girl's first appearance in the '90s (that comic is included in Volume 1) she tries to team up with another powerful Avenger. Squirrel Girl sees the importance of community, through her fellow superheroes and her squirrel friends, which is quite refreshing! Squirrel Girl doesn't just want to go off and save the world alone; she wants to bring you right along with her! 

4. Not only is Doreen great, but we get to know her fabulous roommate, Nancy Whitehead.
Nancy knits, obsesses over her cat, and writes cat-superhero fan fiction. What's not to love? Since Nancy has no superpowers (that we know of), she shows us what it's like to be a legitimately normal person with a superhero friend whose schemes you somehow wind up involved in many times. 

5. Squirrel Girl fights for justice...and understanding. 
She battles villains with her hordes of squirrel friends, and she knows that sometimes, fighting is the best option. However, Squirrel Girl doesn't just mindlessly rampage; she stops and thinks about the best course of action. And, she realizes that at times, this can involve achieving a mutual understanding, which brings about a personal transformation. For example, when Squirrel Girl has a run-in with Hippo the Hippo as he's attempting to rob the bank, she starts talking to him, finds common ground to agree on, and helps him re-evaluate his life choices. As Koi Boi (a fellow superhero) remarks, 
"Who would've thought that the only thing my fists of justice couldn't punch...was his heart?" 

This comic series is rollicking, enjoyable, and full of fun. From the "Deadpool's Guide to Super Villains" trading cards that Squirrel Girl carries around to her superhero sidekick Tippy-Toe the Squirrel, so many small elements enrich the pages and create a fabulous story. Volume 2 even has a segment where various citizens are explaining who they think Squirrel Girl is, which results in widely exaggerated and false stories. It's quite hilarious, especially when another Avenger pops up in one of the stories! I really enjoyed immersing myself in Doreen's world, and I am so excited to see what adventures are in store for this fun hero! 


  1. I'm tempted to comment on Charles Schulz's Peanuts, but will wait awhile to put something together about him and his kite etal.