A Short Introduction to Squirrel Girl
For those not in the know, Squirrel Girl is one of the Marvel Universe’s most powerful superheroes, ironically. Where heroes like the Fantastic 4, the X-Men, and even the Avengers may take a few issues to even get a scratch in on their villains, Squirrel Girl solves her fights with ease. She’s defeated Deadpool, Wolverine, MODOK, Fin Fang Foom, and even the actual Doctor Doom. Not a Doombot, the actual, in the
flesh metal Doctor Doom. How does she accomplish this? Through the power of creativity and squirrels.
Squirrel Girl was originally created by Will Murray in the 1990s in reaction to the “Edgelord” phase comics were going through at the time. Yeah, sure, some good comics did spring up. But it was still super serious. She has the powers of a squirrel, can command an army of squirrels, and even has the tail of a squirrel. In essence, she’s a very silly concept. Her stories lend themselves to comedy and doing things most comics I know wouldn’t do. There was even a story where she befriended Galactus ala Steven Universe and convinced him to leave earth. Through all of this, it’s apparent that despite being a screwball comedy, it’s still full of heart. It’s one of the most earnest comics I’ve read.
This is Squirrel Girl #15: The Mighty Mewnir. This issue of Squirrel Girl concerns the escapades of Doreen’s friend Nancy’s cat, Mew.
Mew is trying to chase down a mouse. She fails. She then dreams in comic form, not unlike the Sunday comic strips.
Unfortunately, Taskmaster barges in just as she gets up. The rest of the issue has her trying to get out of the way of Taskmaster and his fight with both Squirrel Girl and the Avengers. She eventually meets up with a dog. They both use their animal abilities to help Squirrel Girl take down Taskmaster. Then Mew goes back home and cuddles with some mice.
If your main purpose is to be a comedy, you need to be funny. Simple to know, but hard to follow. Squirrel Girl knows how to follow this. One of the ways its comedy works is through quick jabs of well-timed reactions or wordplay about the situation. Mew’s Facepalmtail, Squirrel Girl hitting Taskmaster with her tail, the dog hitting taskmaster with its tail.
Other vehicles of comedy are Mew’s adventures through dreamland. The perpetual energy machine that gives her and the mouse money, the existential bizarre world, the endless hair. These short moments are ingenious yet still manage to hit the story beat easily and without fuss. It’s a weird structure that never happens in other comics. I could go on on how unforced, sincere, and earnest Squirrel Girl’s comedy is. It never felt awkward reading it. Suffice it to say: with excellent timing, clever situations, and interesting ideas, Squirrel Girl comes through.
The issue’s plot isn’t deep or complex. There aren’t dramatic story lines filled with intense themes about intersectional feminism and the nature of sociopolitical class structures. But Squirrel Girl isn’t trying to be that. She’s a comedy first or foremost. Fortunately, the comedy brought to the table is excellent.
Next Issue: It’s Squirrel Girl’s 25th anniversary!
Written by Ryan North
Art and Cover by Erica Henderson
All Images Courtesy of Marvel