Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Why Squirrel Girl Is The Most Super Special Awesome Marvel Character Ever!


Since blogging about Disney also means blogging about Marvel, which is owned by Disney, I'd wish I could be one of those verbose comic experts who can extensively wax poetic about comic book lore and history. Sadly, I can't do that because I'm a Marvel newbie.

I've only started watching the MCU movies three years ago. Outside of those, I've never watched any other Marvel film save for the first two Spider-Man movies. I've never even read any of the comic books or watched the animated shows.

Of course I knew who characters like The Hulk or Captain America were because of their ubiquity within popular culture, but I never really knew much about them. I was more of a DC Comics fan, watching shows like Batman: The Animated Series and Teen Titans.

As such, I'm more familiar with the DC characters than the Marvel ones; but unlike the DC fans trying to futilely review bomb the Marvel movies, I at least understand that the MCU is vastly superior to the DCEU, as much as I would love to see a good DC movie outside of Wonder Woman.

But as much as I love the Marvel movies, I only know so much about the characters within them through the movies themselves, having never engaged into any other Marvel media. Essentially, I'm the type of fan who needs to check the internet to find out what the end-credit scenes mean!

I've recently started reading some of the comic books, but even then, my knowledge about the Marvel universe outside of the movies remains limited. If you want in-depth exposition into those comics, I'd recommend following people with more expertise including Linkara, Moviebob, and Comic Drake.

I say all that as a preface and as a request to take with a grain of salt my following opinion, which is that the overall best Marvel comic book character ever is The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl!

To learn more about why Squirrel Girl is the best, click READ MORE:

Squirrel Girl, in my humble opinion, is not only one of the better Marvel comic book characters, but perhaps the best comic book character ever, if for no other reason than her comic series provides a much-needed breath of fresh air within the modern comic book industry.

She made her first apperance in 1991 as a one-off joke character in "Marvel Super-Heroes vol. 3, #8", appearing alongside Iron Man and helping him to take down Doctor Doom. (With squirrels, of course!) She would later make a few cameo appearances in other comics before eventually getting her own series in 2015.

As her name implies, the titular character is a college-aged girl with mutant powers that give her the abilities of a squirrel, including the agility of a squirrel, the ability to communicate with squirrels, and an overall cute tail. (Her squirrel tail is also nice!)

And that's all you really need to know about her and her comic. Unlike other comics with complicated characters with equally-complicated backstories, Squirrel Girl is as uncomplicated as they come. She goes to college, hangs out with her friends, has the powers of a squirrel, and uses those powers as a superhero to "eat nuts and kick butts."

Other than that, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is a laugh riot of wacky characters, non-sequitur humor, and the titular character being the quirkiest cinnamon roll with the cutest tail. (She also has a great squirrel tail!)

The comic's premise is so simple that it's free to go crazy with as many equally crazy things as possible, and as such, it doesn't waste its time trying to be anything more than silly fun.

One of her first adventures involved her sneaking into Avengers Tower, stealing Iron Man's armor, and flying to the moon to confront Galactus with the intention of kicking his butt, only to befriend him and convince him to eat another planet instead--a planet filled with nuts, of course!

Yes, the premise of the comic is dumb, but that's more than made up for it by the character's overall upbeat attitude. Squirrel Girl is a very happy-go-lucky girl who's excited to meet everyone. She's exited to meet good guys. She's excited to meet bad guys. She's just so excited about everything.

Squirrel Girl, in contrast to other superheroes, is upbeat and happy, delightful and optimistic in even the most tense situations, and in general, is friendly to everyone, including the villains.

In fact, as much as she wants to "eat nuts and kick butts", Squirrel Girl more often tries to talk her enemies out of committing acts of evil; and when that works, it leads to some of the more interesting plot resolutions.

For example, in another of her comic book outings, Squirrel Girl fights a mutant hippopotamus man who's going around destroying buildings. She actually convinces him to use his mutant powers for good rather than evil, and he ends up seeking a job as a demolition man--er, hippo person--instead.

These plot resolutions are dumb, but then so is the rest of the comic, and compared to trite "brute force" conflicts where the most powerful foes are defeated by the most powerful blows, such resolutions are a much needed breath of fresh air from the rest of the comic book industry; and that in turn, along with the over-the-top character and premise, makes the comic a much need breath of fresh air.

But alas, sadly, the only breath of fresh air most comic book fans want to take when it comes to comics like Squirrel Girl is the breath they heave in order to rage about how such comics are bad because they're not as "super serious" as other "super serious" comics.

Ever since her new comic book series in 2015, Squirrel Girl has been the target of impotent rage from pissed-off comic geeks, specifically those associated with "Comicsgate"—and if you’re fortunate enough to have never heard of "Comicsgate", it’s essentially the GamerGate of comics: a bunch of straight white male comic book fans upset that the comics industry, specifically Marvel, has been recently focusing their efforts on creating comics that aren’t aimed at straight white male comic fans like themselves.

I’ve addressed these fans before in my article discussing Marvel’s recent trend of creating more "diverse" characters by race/gender-swapping some of their old characters, and why this trend wasn’t worth worrying about; but even if those fans did consider that trend worth worrying about, it doesn’t explain why they would take umbrage at Squirrel Girl, since she’s an original character and not a race/gender-swap.

Honestly, trying to understand why these fans hate Squirrel Girl is hard to grasp, as their reasons seem incomprehensible. One particular douchebag on YouTube, Diversity & Comics, who acts like an alt-right Linkara making incoherent rants about comics being too "PC" and "SJW", made an equally incoherent rant about Squirrel Girl, claiming that she was bad because she looked "autistic" and "ugly"—because not being neurotypical or adhering to modern beauty standards apparently makes you bad!

One common complaint about her is that she’s a Mary Sue, a female character who comes across as too perfect or "over-powered"; and while such a criticism would easily lend itself to an entire think piece to debunk, the easiest counter-argument is to point out that "Mary Sue" is a fan-fiction term relating to a self-insert character, and because Squirrel Girl is neither a fan-fiction character nor a self-insert, the term doesn’t apply to her.

But perhaps the most likely reason why hardcore comic fans despise her is because she’s not a "serious" character, that a girl who talks and acts like a squirrel isn’t a superhero character worth taking seriously—unlike those other totes serious superheroes!

Like the boy who received the powers and agility of a spider because he was bitten by a radioactive spider. Or the man who can talk to ants and shrink down to their size. Or the talking tree and gun-toting raccoon in space. You know, "serious" characters worth taking "seriously" by the "serious" fans who lend themselves to "serious" moments such as this:


Now I'm not here to say that you're wrong if you don't like Squirrel Girl. Whether or not you like the comic or character is ultimately dependent on your own personal preferences, and if Squirrel Girl doesn't meet those preferences, that's perfectly okay.

Squirrel Girl is a very absurdist comedy-driven comic filled with over-the-top situations and equally over-the-top-gags and which doesn't take itself remotely seriously. If that's something you simply don't care for, I can't argue against that. If it's not your taste in comedy, then it's not your taste in comedy.

The problem is, for a lot of Squirrel Girl's detractors, it is their taste in comedy!

This tweet sums it up perfectly, but most people who hate on Squirrel Girl often turn around and proceed to gush over Deadpool, even though his "doesn't-take-anything-remotely-seriously" schtick is similar to that of Squirrel Girl's.

The major difference, of course, is that while Squirrel Girl's comedy is more PG-rated and aimed at a younger audience, Deadpool's comedy cranks all that up to an R-rating with a greater emphasis on gratuitous blood and gore, naughty innuendos, toilet humor, and other forms of edge-lord humor most suited to teenage boys pretending that they're more "adult" for liking all that stuff.

Now riddle me this: why would a bunch of insecure teenage edge lords love such comedy when it comes from a male protagonist but hate it when it's coming from a female protagonist, albeit more toned-down and age-appropriate for younger girls? Lesson over, Daniel-san!

Again, I'm not here to say that you're a bad person if you don't like Squirrel Girl. But even if you don't genuinely like her or consider her to be your type of comic book character, at least accept that it doesn't have to be your type of comic.

If you prefer comics that are more "super serious", there are plenty of comics that are "super serious." In fact, most comic books these day already try to be "serious", while comics like Squirrel Girl and Deadpool fill the niche of comics that don't take themselves even remotely serious.

That’s probably what I appreciate about her comics the most. The best way to explain her character isn’t to describe what she is but what she isn’t. She’s not a lone vigilante trying to avenge her dead parents or relatives. She’s not trying to compensate for the sins of a checkered past. She’s not being a superhero out of a sense of duty or honor or obligation. She’s a superhero because she wants to be one, and she wants to be one because she thinks superheroes are fun and awesome. And they are!

That’s something I’ve noticed about the newer, younger Marvel superheroes—you know, the ones that angry comic geeks hate because they fear it's part of some nefarious "forced diversity SJW agenda"!

Squirrel Girl and many of the other Young Avengers like Kamala Khan and Riri Williams have become superheroes solely because they’ve grown up idolizing them and thinking that they’re cool and awesome. They want to be superheroes because they want to be superheroes.

And before you deride that as a “bad” reason to become a superhero, ask yourself this: if you could have any superpower, why would you want to have it? Is it because you have a genuine desire to selflessly serve the greater good? Or is it because you’d think having that superpower would be awesome. You know what the honest answer is.


In a way, Squirrel Girl and the other Young Avengers serve as the living embodiment of the comic book fandom, the fans who’ve grown up with their superheroes since a young age, reading their comics, watching their shows and movies, creating fan art and fanfiction of them, and overall idolizing them and dreaming of becoming just like them. And for Doreen Green, she gets to do exactly that for real.

This very notion of tapping into the inner power fantasy of comic book fans helps provide a much more positive and optimistic tone that’s been severely lacking in the industry, which is currently obsessed with being dark, gritty, "serious", and "mature." As such, comics like Squirrel Girl serve as a much needed reminder that comics used to be about having fun, something that comics haven’t really been since the Golden or Silver Ages.

In fact, Squirrel Girl’s original creator, William Patrick Murray, explained that such nostalgia was the very inspiration for his character: “The concept was to introduce into an increasingly grim and gritty Marvel Universe an optimistic, upbeat character similar to the Silver Age Marvel superheroes I grew up reading.”

No, I’m not making the argument that comic book superheroes need to return to being like they were "back in the good old days." I don’t have anything against superheroes being "serious." I’d just appreciate if the comic book industry would have some variety is all. If you don’t like superheroes like Squirrel Girl, that’s fine. Just accept that not all comic book heroes need to be for you.

And if you still can’t understand why someone would enjoy a silly comic about a teenage girl who can talk and act like a squirrel and who was able to defeat Doctor Doom, one of the greatest and most powerful Marvel villains, by throwing squirrels at him, well, allow me to kindly remind you that her comic is focused solely on comedy, so…

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