Squirrel Girl and Ratatoskr’s Guide to Awesome Friendships, Boundaries, and Chaos

One, a squirrel in Norse mythology who runs up and down Yggdrasil spreading slanderous gossip to stir things up and cause chaos.  The other, an unbeatable squirrel-themed superhero.  Ratatoskr and Doreen Green/Squirrel Girl seemed destined to meet.  It was even predicted by two readers’ letters in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (Vol. 1) #3’s “Letters From Nuts” page before Ratatoskr appeared in issues #6-8!  While Doreen listens and offers empathy, compassion, and friendship to everyone she meets, she and Ratatoskr didn’t hit it off…mainly due to her turning everyone in New York City against each other by whispering mean gossip in their ears as they slept.  With the War of the Realms raging, Doreen and Ratatoskr would meet again, this time in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #43-46.  Their second meeting offers a surprisingly brilliant examination of how healthy friendships work!  For Squirrel Girl and the Norse God of Chaos, tensions lead to tentative alliances which lead to remarkably healthy relationships all while running afoul of Frost Giants conquering North America via Canada.

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My Brand New Perspective on Spider-Man’s Brand New Day

My first Spider-Man comic was Web of Spider-Man #12.  It came out in March of 1986 when I was just three-years-old.  I got it from the spinny rack at the grocery store and I read it so many times the pages eventually ripped away from its tattered cover.  Always one to encourage reading, Mom regularly let me get comic books when we were at the grocery store, drug store, or gas station.  When I was seven-years-old, my parents got me a membership to our local comic shop (perks included a 20% discount off the cover price and a pull list).  Weekly trips to Books Galore were a part of my life until I turned sixteen.  All of a sudden things like gas money and the outings driving fostered began to make demands of my budget so, with conflicting emotions, I decided to stop collecting comics.  My last was Peter Parker: Spider-Man #98.  Released in November of 1998, it was the “end” of Peter and Mary Jane’s story (until the next month’s reboot) so it felt like a fitting end.

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Goodbye Squirrel Girl, Thank You for Everything

Once upon a time, Mom bought li’l three-year-old me a copy of Web Of Spider-Man #12 at the grocery store.  So began a lifelong love affair with the character Spider-Man, the medium of comic books, and the world of superheroes.  When I turned sixteen my comic budget turned towards gas money.  But then, four years ago, I decided to return to my local comic shop and something magical happened.  I rediscovered an old love and found something I never expected in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  This month Ryan North (writer), Derek Charm (artist), Rico Renzi (colorist), Travis Lanham (letter), and Wil Moss (editor) – with a surprise dash of Erica Henderson (artist) – have brought this remarkable title to an end.  That leaves me with a lot on my mind.  How do I say goodbye to something that’s come to mean so much to me?

There will be no significant spoilers for the final issue/arc here, just lots of feelings :). Continue reading

The Four Comics I Can’t Live Without

A few years ago, when I was counting down to my hundredth post on this site, I profiled the four comic books I’d found since my return to reading comics which had become indispensable to my reading life.  These were the comics that, even if I stopped collecting comics again, I couldn’t imagine putting down.  They showcased, for me, the best of what a comic could offer while doing things I never imagined a comic book could.  They were (in the order I wrote about them in my countdown), Marvel’s Ms. Marvel, IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, IDW’s Ghostbusters, and Marvel’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl.  Thinking of those titles now, I can still feel the burgeoning excitement and awe that accompanied my return to comic reading.  They also make me think of impermanence. Continue reading