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365 Reasons to Love Comics #185

Happy Fourth of July to all our American readers! It’s the final day of DITKO WEEK– and what better way to celebrate the independence of a country than by taking a look at everyone’s favorite Ditko-created, animal-themed superheroine? Alright, so it has nothing to do with July 4th. What can I say? It’s a nutty column.

Be sure to visit the archive for all your Reasons-to-Love-Comics-y needs.

(Updated 7/7/07)

7/4/07

185. Squirrel Girl

Squirrel Girl 1.jpg

Squirrel Girl, derided for years as Ditko’s worst creation, is actually quite awesome. Her first appearance was in Marvel Super-Heroes #8, in which she tries to impress Iron Man. She demonstrates her ability to communicate with squirrels, her knuckle spike, her amazing agility, and her wood-chewing teeth! She used these powers to defeat Dr. Doom, of all people, in the same story. Yes, truly she’s a force to be reckoned with. One would think this story would catapult Squirrel Girl to stardom, but she pretty much disappeared after that.

A few years ago, Squirrel Girl would’ve won the award for “most obscure Marvel superheroine ever,” but then Dan Slott came into the picture. He brought our favorite squirrel-related character back in GLA (Great Lakes Avengers), and had her join the team of misfit superheroes. She’s been a member ever since, even as the team became the Great Lakes X-Men, the Great Lakes Champions, and the Great Lakes Initiative. Yep– she’s registered. And yep, she’s a mutant. That’s right, Squirrel Girl survived the Decimation. Hurray! She’s one of my favorite mutants, along with Eye-Scream.

Squirrel Girl 2.jpgSquirrel Girl 3.jpg

Squirrel Girl (real name: Doreen Green) is just a terrifically fun character. Yeah, she’s got some silly powers, hangs out with wacky heroes, and gets into crazy adventures, but that’s what makes her great. And yes, in addition to besting Doom, she’s also defeated MODOK, Thanos, the Mandarin, and more! Even the world’s greatest villains can’t stop Squirrel Girl. I’ve also been informed that she had a cameo appearance in the latest Fantastic Four animated series. Nice!

Another fun thing to note is that her first kiss was with Speedball. If only those two crazy Ditko kids could’ve made something of it. Oh well. I’d love to see her meet up with Penance. That’d be a weird scene to write.

Oh, wait, here’s what she thinks of it, apparently:

Squirrel Girl 4.gif

Despite all the deaths or dark transformations of Ditko characters, Squirrel Girl perseveres, still fun and chipper as ever. She even recovered after the death of her beloved smart squirrel sidekick, Monkey Joe. Now she’s got a new partner, Tippy-Toe, a cheery little squirrel of the female persuasion. So hey, I guess sometimes, characters can survive without doom and gloom. Then again, she’s only had a handful of appearances. Do terrible things wait around the corner for Squirrel Girl? I sure hope not.

For more on Squirrel Girl, visit the Marvel Appendix, or this old Squirrel Girl site, or maybe the Wiki. Or you can look at Chris Sims’ pleasantly derisive look at Squirrel Girl, telling us how she’s both lame and awesome at the same time. You can also view images there of her defeat of Doom and MODOK. That’s Squirrel Girl for you– darling of the internet!

This brings us to the end of DITKO WEEK! It’s been a really fun ride. So thank you, Mr. Steve Ditko. From the classic to the obscure, you’ve created a brilliant swath of characters that have provided wonderful entertainment for loads of people. You’re a fantastic artist and a terrific creator. Your work speaks volumes and will do so forever. Congratulations on such a great career.

19 Comments

The Penance/Squirrel Girl meetup is happening in the pages of the Great Lakes Initiative/Deadpool Summer Special.

Come on Squirrel Girl, bring Speedball back to the light!

I expect her to either laugh at him or slap him.

SQUIRREL GIRL! Oh man, this totally made my day! I think squirrel girl is just a brilliantly silly concept. If I achieve my dream of being a comic artist and end up working for Marvel, I promise to try my best to get Squirrel girl back in something.

Despite your best efforts, Ditko week did not win me over. Any character can be good with a good writer, but many of Ditko’s creations, especially Squirrel Girl and Speedball, were dumb to begin with. I’m all for Fun comic books, but characters like Squirrel Girl and Speedball are the kind of silly ideas that leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. You can’t really write serious stories using them, and if someone tries, well then you end up with Penance(shiver). No, I don’t want every comic to be all grim and gritty, but I can’t take Squirrel Girl seriously for a second. Next you’ll be telling me(if you haven’t already) that my derision of Paste Pot Pete is unwarranted. Well sorry, he sucks too.

I’ve always liked Squirrel Girl, starting from her very first appearance in Marvel Super-Heroes. She was just such goofy fun, with a crazy design, that she appealed to me. I was thrilled (yes, thrilled!) when Dan Slott brought her back in the Great Lakes Whatever-They-Are-Now miniseries. Squirrel Girl rocks! And she’s also an Avenger, so i can justify getting a sketch of her in my Avengers Assemble theme sketchbook :)

You can’t really write serious stories using them, and if someone tries, well then you end up with Penance(shiver).

So don’t try then. Simple. :)

With due respect, Lorin, I’m not sure what it is you’re trying to argue. In comics, fun does = silly, a whole lot of the time. Heck, you could say the entire superhero genre is predicated on taking silliness and running just as far as you can with it.

Squirrel Girl is a deliberate acknowledgement of that. And she’s a clever, cute and funny one. I’m not sure you need more than that to make a point about loving comics.

The best character Ditko ever created. Say no more!

The Kirbydotter

July 5, 2007 at 7:56 am

Wouldja belive that the first Squirrel Girl story made it in the MARVEL VISIONNARIES: STEVE DITKO hardcover volume! Of all the best Ditko work he has ever done at Marvel, Squirrel Girl made the cut! Boy does she have a lucky star or what?

I’m a little disappointed that one of my favorite Ditko work didn’t made the Ditko Week: STALKER with gorgeous inks by none other than Wally Wood! What more could you wish for?

Alejandro said …
“The best character Ditko ever created. Say no more!”

maybe she is the best character he ever created, that is if you never read any of his other creations. seriously she does not hold a candle to spider-man… unless your 8 years old, i guess then she is a pretty good character.

oh and i believe the term is “Nuff Said”

Spidey’s great, don’t get me wrong, but he hasn’t beaten Thanos singlehandedly (or with squirrley help).

Doreen has.

Case Closed!

One of my favourite characters too!

There are two possible outcomes of the forthcoming Penance/Squirrel Girl meetup:

Sad Squirrel Girl – Happy Squirrel Girl.
http://community.livejournal.com/scans_daily/3442250.html#cutid1

I’m wondering what Slott will do.

I’m sorry, but I simply refuse to believe that Squirrel Girl exists. She is a cunningly elaborate internet hoax. You can’t fool me, blog people. I’m on to your games.

All fans of Squirel Girl need to get next weeks GLX/Deadpool special. I glanced at the advanced copy and I saw that there is/was a panel of Squirel Girl referring to Penance.

Cap'n Num Nums

July 8, 2007 at 6:18 am

Huh, Ditko? I always just thought she was a parody of Wolverine.

Oh God no….. Squirrel Girl (along with Speedball and Slapstick) are the worst characters in the MU. That’s the sort of crap that should never see daylight even if it was created by (gasp) Jack Kirby. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Ditko creation. Squirrel Girl is pretty high on the list of the worst creations ever. Along with some other characters you apparently like so much.
And I can’t believe Kirbydotter who was grumpy about you including crappy characters like SuperPro or Darkhawk or that Chuck Norris & Mr. T books is actually pretty enthusiastic towards S.G. and Speedball…….. Shocking.

Lorin said:

“Despite your best efforts, Ditko week did not win me over. Any character can be good with a good writer, but many of Ditko’s creations, especially Squirrel Girl and Speedball, were dumb to begin with. I’m all for Fun comic books, but characters like Squirrel Girl and Speedball are the kind of silly ideas that leave me with a bad taste in my mouth. You can’t really write serious stories using them, and if someone tries, well then you end up with Penance(shiver). No, I don’t want every comic to be all grim and gritty, but I can’t take Squirrel Girl seriously for a second. Next you’ll be telling me(if you haven’t already) that my derision of Paste Pot Pete is unwarranted. Well sorry, he sucks too.”

I have to agree strongly. And no, not all characters have to be serious. But Squirrel Girl is just plain retarded. If anything, she should be on the list of reasons to make me change my mind about loving comics.
Alan

I personally love penence he is awesome not that i support self mutalation but i am honestly you know sick of superhero winning all the time but now that dark reign is here i am in love and its a little different to i mean theres alot more politics not that there usually isn’t in marvel like the civil war was all about politics.

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