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The Abandoned An’ Forsaked – Did Squirrel Girl Just Beat Up the REAL Thanos?

In this feature we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically “overturned” by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of The Abandoned An’ Forsaked. Feel free to e-mail me at bcronin@comicbookresources.com if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.

Today, we take another look at the idea of Thanos clones, with Thanos’ (rather short) battle with Squirrel Girl.

As noted in a previous Abandoned an’ Forsaked, Jim Starlin introduced the concept of Thanos cloning himself (much like Doctor Doom having Doombots) to explain away some stories featuring Thanos that Starlin did not feel accurately depicted the character.

Well, in 2006, Dan Slott had Squirrel Girl star in one of the stories in the 2006 GLX-Mas Special (starring the Great Lakes Avengers). Slott had a lot of fun with the fact that Squirrel Girl’s debut was an “in continuity” story where she defeated Doctor Doom. So Slott really played up this fact – that Squirrel Girl could beat pretty much anyone. So in one of the stories, she defeats MODOK.

Later, as she is headed back to her Great Lakes Avengers friends, she is interrupted…

In another story later in the issue, we see how the fight ended, along with some amusing words from the Watcher…

Classic.

However, Slott was not done there.

In a She-Hulk storyline where Starfox is put on trial over his “charm powers,” we discover that Thanos’ obsession with Death was originally caused by Starfox!!

Or was it?

Eventually in the issue, we discover that the Thanos who tells this story is not the real Thanos!

Thus, Slott takes his original joke from the Squirrel Girl story (that the Watcher confirms that Squirrel Girl defeated the real Thanos) and takes it to the next level, even further spoofing the notion of using clones to explain away stories.

Do note, though, that this does not specifically retcon the Squirrel Girl story, but it is close enough that I Figured it worth spotlighting here, especially since it’s such a fun commentary by Slott on the very notion of “That wasn’t the REAL Villain X in that story!” stories.

That’s it for this week!

If YOU have a suggestion for a notable comic book retcon, let me know at bcronin@comicbookresources.com

39 Comments

Anyway you could do the retcon Slott did in the She Hulk comics about why she did not have sex with Juggernaut?

Anyone else read Shulkie’s last balloon as (and forgive the all-caps) “THE REAL THANOS WOULD NEVER END ANGER HIS OWN MIND” and think “did the letterist miss a word?”

Yeah, I had to read that line 3 times to get it. Just the shape of the ‘d’ next to the angled ‘a’ leaves a little extra space.

And I’m glad to see this doesn’t specifically undo Squirrel Girl’s victory over Thanos. I’m going to go on thinking that she kicked his butt, myself. Squirrel Girl RULES!

Stephen Bergstrom

August 10, 2014 at 7:03 am

So, if this was a clone of Thanos, with all of his memories, thoughts, and presumably powers, then I would think that the mad titan ought to steer well clear away from Squirrel Girl.

The One and Only

August 10, 2014 at 8:01 am

A future writer could always say the Watcher just lied about it being the actual Thanos being K.O.ed by Squirrel Girl so to spread the rumor that the Mad Titan was pwned by her,and stick it to him.

@ The One and Only, that would be hilarious if the Watcher was a bit of a cosmic dick to Thanos and would stoop to lying about Squirrel Girl defeating him just to make Thanos look bad. This is how “Original Sin ” should have gone down.

The One and Only said: “A future writer could always say the Watcher just lied about it being the actual Thanos being K.O.ed by Squirrel Girl so to spread the rumor that the Mad Titan was pwned by her,and stick it to him.”
Methinks we all know who that future writer would end up being, he with the childish attitude towards Thanos (as opposed to Slott’s ubermaturity)

Greg Dean Schmitz

August 10, 2014 at 8:34 am

What She-Hulk is “the real Thanos would not endanger his own mind.” Not “end anger.”

This wouldn’t happen to Darkseid.

I will be so happy when road kill lass dies a horrible, horrible death.

Well, Thanos has had more clones than the entire Ben Reilly saga at this point. If you don’t like a Thanos story, it’s a clone.

Maybe Marvel needs an editorial policy that acknowledges that the company has both a “silly” and a “serious” side, and while they coexist, they really shouldn’t talk about each other. In other words, the Squirrel Girl story happened, but Starlin can’t and shouldn’t talk about it.

Slip or sup, looks like it should be sip on the nectar…

Squirrel Girl for the win! I remember buying that seasonal special she debuted in at the corner store.
I thought the art was so hideous compared to the Larsen cover, everything about it was so weird to what I was used to: the character stances, panel design, coloring, Squirrel Girl’s weird as hell face – but for some reason I really dug it – and never forgot “I don’t need luck! I eat nuts!”

I really liked the twist that Starfox was responsible for Thanos’ obsession with Death and I was disappointed that the next issue overturned it.

And since I usually dislike Thanos, me liking any story that features him is a HUGE compliment. :)

given how Thanos has as many clones as dr. doom has doombots. odds are that star fox not only made thanos lust for the love for death but squirel girl did defeat the real thanos since to make his clone perfect thanos would duplicate his own mind for the clones so that even the watcher would believe thanos got his butt kicked even by Squirrel girl. plus til it got reconed the issue showed star foxs powers really make him pure creepy and more evil then thanos even.

Any suggestion that Squirrel Girl didn’t deteat the actual Thanos is a filthy lie, spread by Communists!

John Trumbull: I was also disappointed that that idea was immediately dismissed in the next issue. It makes me wonder whether Dan Slott was attempting to do a pre-emptive “Abandoned An’ Forsaked” on his own idea…perhaps he really would have preferred keeping the idea of Eros having unintentionally instilled Thanos’ obsession, but he knew that Jim Starlin would overturn it at the first opportunity. Perhaps Slott knew that the idea would be abandoned, so he decided to go ahead and “forsake” it on his own terms rather than wait for Starlin or another writer to change it.

I think he just thought it’d be a cool cliffhanger. I don’t think he ever intended it to be anything but a temporary plot point.

Clones of Thanos? Well, that explains who was flying the Thanoscopter! It all makes sense now,

I think he just thought it’d be a cool cliffhanger. I don’t think he ever intended it to be anything but a temporary plot point.

Yeah, I agree. I just liked the fakeout better than the actual solution. :)

Squirrel Girl vs Herbie The Fat Freak.

Who ya got?

Yeah, I agree. I just liked the fakeout better than the actual solution. :)

It was a very clever idea, but bringing Starfox into Thanos’ origins would seem to be almost inherently saying “Yeah, this will never be brought up again.”

Squirrel Girl vs Herbie The Fat Freak.

Who ya got?

If there were a comic book fight between Squirrel Girl and Herbie the Fat Fury, the winner would be readers all around the world.

You know Thanosi were especially made to fool beings like the Watchers. Like Ka-Zar she is lucky to be beneath Thanos notice.

@John Trumbull- the problem, as Slott pointed out, is that Starfox’s powers never permanently change a person’s personality- the effect is always temporary.

Squirrel Girl is a pretty good barometer for discovering who does and doesn’t take their superhero comics too seriously.

Squirrel Girl is a pretty good barometer for discovering who does and doesn’t take their superhero comics too seriously.

I think Squirrel Girl is great, so there you go. I am one of those readers who believes that the superhero genre is strong enough to support material as diverse as Watchmen and Squirrel Girl. We only have to look at DC’s New 52 and the Man of Steel to see the end result of people insisting that superheroes have to be completely & totally serious, with no sense of fun or humor about them.

As for the Thanosi, well, I think that’s Jim Starlin himself taking things too seriously. Yes, I know, Thanos is his creation, and clearly he is protective of the character. But it just gets ridiculous and insulting that he started insisting that all the Thanos stories that he did not write were actually not the real Thanos. If you do not like what another writer did with the character, just ignore it.

The same thing applies to John Byrne and his obsession with Doombots. I know that Byrne felt that the real Doctor Doom would never have tolerated Arcade’s disrespect towards him in Uncanny X-Men. But if Byrne had just ignored it and never said anything, I doubt that anyone would ever have remembered it. instead he did his blatant Doombot recton in Fantastic Four, and three decades later we are STILL talking about it.

I much preferred Walter Simonson’s approach: Doctor Doom is the ultimate unreliable narrator who is always going to attempt to spin the circumstances of his defeats, so each individual reader can decide for himself or herself which Doctor Doom appearances were the real deal and which were Doombots.

Really, unless you have a situation where someone is written as acting so egregiously and blatantly out of character that the readership as a whole immediately start taking offense and the story is very poorly received from the moment it is published (i.e. She-Hulk sleeping with Juggernaut, Mantis turning evil and hooking up with Kang during “The Crossing”) I think it is best for writers to just ignore instances where they disagree with someone else’s depictiction of ongoing serial characters.

The thing I hate about the newer Squirrel Girl stories is that what made the first one so awesome is that the writer and artist took the time to actually show how Squirrel Girl defeated Dr. Doom, and to present it in a plausible fashion. That is, the payoff was EARNED. Also, it was played straight. It was humorous, but it wasn’t tongue in cheek or winking at the audience. It had a certain amount of sincerity.

But when the newer writers and artists did it, they didn’t earn it. They just showed the payoff without showing the work. They didn’t show how Squirrel Girl was beating these guys, just the panels of them defeated, which was cheap and lazy. Combine that with the fact that it was a little too tongue in cheek and self-congratulatory for its perceived cleverness and it left a bad taste in my mouth. I would still like the Squirrel Girl gimmick used, but in the right way.

I’d throw in Kurt Busiek’s idea in Avengers Forever that all the Kangs the Avengers have fought may have been multiple different Kangs. Mark Gruenwald in Citizen Kang did a good job establishing that despite all the Councils of Crosstime Kangs, etc., the 616-Avengers have always faced the same person. I don’t think anything was gained from undercutting that.

I don’t think Busiek changed anything regarding what Gruenwald did in Citizen Kang. He just said the “Kang” they fought in The Crossing was Immortus in disguise. (And since Immortus is Kang…)

@Pim: It absolutely would have happened to Darkseid if his and Nemesis Kid’s paths had happened to cross. Once you’ve got the power defined that way, you have to follow through at apply in consistently across the entire unvierse.

And Starlin actually used the Thanosi to build stories. Ge used the actions of the one from the Thor story to build a new character arc for Thanos.

“Squirrel Girl is a pretty good barometer for discovering who does and doesn’t take their superhero comics too seriously.”

When did the only options become stupid shit and overly serious crap?

Dan Slott didn’t invent the Thanos clones retcons business (and this doesn’t even explain how the Watcher verifies this as the real Thanos). Starlin did, in Infinity Abyss.

I think you might be well served by reading the article again.

So long as her defeat of Doom stands, its all good ;) Viva Chica Ardilla!

Did I say freak? I meant fury! i must have been channelling Mister Popnecker.

That boy will never amount to anything.

Michael, Gruenwald’s idea was that Kang body hops between parallel world counterparts so it’s always been the same person facing the Assemblers. Avengers Forever was quite specific that no, it was a bunch of different Kangs (though it left open the option Kang was confused about which counterpart did what). So yeah, a change.

T:”But when the newer writers and artists did it, they didn’t earn it. They just showed the payoff without showing the work. They didn’t show how Squirrel Girl was beating these guys, just the panels of them defeated, which was cheap and lazy. ”

I don’t know, the gag in those GLA/GLX appearances wasn’t really that Squirrel Girl beats cosmic threats single-handedly, but that she does it off-panel while the rest of the group struggles for page upon page with super lame villains; while she’s still deliriously happy to be a part of the team. If Slott or Nicieza “earned” it by showing the fights it wouldn’t have worked.

Ben Herman:”I think Squirrel Girl is great, so there you go. I am one of those readers who believes that the superhero genre is strong enough to support material as diverse as Watchmen and Squirrel Girl.”

Squirrel Girl’s entire existence is based on the existence of grim and gritty comics, though. It’s only as a satire of Identity Crisis or Civil war she can even exist as anything but a weird old-timey Ditko backup strip.

Squirrel Girl’s entire existence is based on the existence of grim and gritty comics, though. It’s only as a satire of Identity Crisis or Civil war she can even exist as anything but a weird old-timey Ditko backup strip.

Just because that’s the only way she HAS existed as anything but a weird (according to you) old-timey Ditko backup doesn’t mean that’s the only way she CAN exist. Many worse ideas in comics have been redeemed by good writers. And as originally presented she wasn’t even a bad idea.

Youy misunderstand me, I don’t think Squirrel Girl needs to be redeemed at all. She works very well as the meta character she is. Just that if she wasn’t brought back for comedy/satire purposes it’s unlikely that she’d been brought back at all.

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