Saturday, January 14, 2017

Squirrel Girl Celebrates Her 25th Anniversary in UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #16!

Hard to believe that it's been 25 years since Squirrel Girl made her debut in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES WINTER SPECIAL #8. I actually remember leafing through that comic book when it was first published. It was in the magazine rack at my hometown pharmacy, where I used to purchase most of my comic books back in the day. I honestly don't remember if I bought the comic book. It was pretty expensive for the time -- though much cheaper than pretty much any comic book that's published these days.

But I distinctly remember reading and enjoying that story by Will Murray and Steve Ditko. Iron Man teamed up with newbie superhero Squirrel Girl and her army of squirrels to defeat the dastardly Doctor Doom!

Back then, Squirrel Girl was a mutant character. More recently, she's been retconned into something undefined, but clearly not a mutant. She's still as lovable as she is unbeatable!

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #16 honored her 25th anniversary by highlighting her birthdays every five years from Day One to Age Five to Age 10 to Age 15 to Age 20 (now) to age 25 (the future!). Honestly, isn't newborn Doreen just adorable?? And yes, she was born with a tail.

Doreen was always an outsider. She struggled during her early years to connect with her peers and to accept herself. But a chance encounter with her first sidekick Monkey Joe on her 10th birthday helped her envision herself as a future hero. And a chance encounter with the Hulk and the Abomination on her 15th birthday initiated her first costumed adventure as Squirrel Girl.

She would have met Iron Man shortly after that. Which would have led to her stint with the Great Lakes Avengers. Which would have led to her being hired as nanny for the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. Which led to the launch of her new comic book. Which led to her joining the New Avengers. Which led to the launch of her second new comic book. Which led to her upcoming role in the US Avengers.

I love Doreen's 20th birthday pic up above. Not only is she joined by her mother and best friend and c-list super hero friends (Brain Drain, Chipmunk Hunk, and Koi Boi), but her birthday is celebrated by honored heroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man, both Thors, Black Widow. Even Loki managed to show up for the festivities!

That's what I love about Squirrel Girl. She connects emotionally with so many different types of characters. Plus, more often than not, she defeats her enemies with something more than fists. She problem-solves and helps the villains to discover better ways to meeting their goals than villainy. Except on those occasions when she defeats them with her fists.

THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #16 features story by Ryan North, story by co-creator Will Murray (during the 15-year-old sequence), art by Erica Henderson, additional art by Steve Ditko (Doreen's costume drawing), colors by Rico Renzi, and letters by Travis Lanham. Seriously guys. Go get this title if you're not already reading it. It's great stuff.

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