We have an interesting relationship with the fictional characters we love, don’t we? I can divide my life into eras with them. He-Man and She-Ra. The Ghostbusters. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Jerry, George, Elaine, and Kramer. Duncan MacLeod, the Highlander. Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, Han Solo, and Chewbacca. Neo, Trinity, and Morpheus. The Gilmore girls. Sydney Bristow and all her aliases. The Doctor. Fleabag. The list goes on but they are the most important :). Loving comic books since I was three-years-old, there are obviously many superheroes who land on that list. Recently, my mind wandered to the superheroes most important to me. Three came clearly and quickly to mind and, as I thought about each, deep feelings of love and gratitude for all they’ve given me began to fill my heart. So with those feelings still moving within me, I figured it would be fun to examine why those characters are so important to me.
BIG EXCITING NEWS – I WROTE A BOOK!!!!!
That’s right, dear reader, you read that correctly. I wrote a book! A year ago I announced I had signed a contract with Claremont Press to write a volume for their Religion and Comics Series. I promised to update you all with more information when I had it and when I could and…(drum roll please)…that time has come! Ahhhhhhhh, I wrote a book AND I get to tell you about it. It’s a super exciting day :D. So read on, dear reader, and I can tell you all about my upcoming book. YAY!
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
My Journey to Comics
When I was growing up, no one talked about comic books, not really. Sometimes teachers would disparage comics as books for kids who could not—or would not—read. Sometimes librarians would do the same. Even five years ago, I still knew teachers and librarians who did not believe reading comics counted as reading. Perhaps there were students in my classes who did read comics. But, in a culture where liking comics was equated with laziness and stupidity, I can see why no one would have dared to talk about them. Continue reading
Squirrel Girl’s Earliest Era
I began reading The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl because I love Ryan North’s Dinosaur Comics. When I heard he was writing for Marvel, I had to check it out. I instantly fell in love with the comic and I’ve been so impressed with what I continually find in its pages that I’ve chosen Doreen Green as the subject of the paper I’m writing for this year’s PCA/ACA National Conference on Popular Culture. As I began my research, I figured I’d read the comics featuring Doreen before she began to kick butts and eat nuts in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. I wanted to get a handle on how her character has evolved in the authorial hands of Ryan North and artistic hands of Erica Henderson and now Derek Charm. I was expecting a one note joke character but I was happily surprised by what I found! Continue reading
The Greatest Kraven Story Ever Told
Sergei Kravinoff, a.k.a. Kraven the Hunter, was created in 1964 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko for The Amazing Spider-Man #15. The son of a Russian noble family who fled to America in 1917 in the wake of the February Revolution, Kraven’s self-identity was defined by being a big game hunter. In an attempt to prove he was the world’s greatest hunter, Kraven became obsessed with defeating Spider-Man. He hunted the web-head from his creation in ’64 until his death in 1987’s critically acclaimed “Kraven’s Last Hunt” story arc. As with many comic characters Kraven would ultimately be resurrected, in this case by his family in 2010’s “Grim Hunt” storyline. In the fifty-four years since his creation, Kraven has featured in some of Spider-Man’s most iconic storylines and stood among the web-slinger’s fiercest foes. But which is the greatest Kraven story ever told? To my mind, dear reader, there is only one answer. (Oh, there will be spoilers, obvs.) Continue reading
Squirrel Girl’s Leap to Television
A few weeks ago, word broke that Marvel had finally cast their Squirrel Girl for Freeform’s upcoming 2018 TV series New Warriors. Never a part of the team (to my knowledge) in the comics, Squirrel Girl will join Night Thrasher, Speedball, Microbe, Debrii, and Mister Immortal in this “live action scripted comedy” about “young people learning to cope with their abilities in a world where bad guys can be as terrifying as bad dates.” As someone who loves The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, I’ve been chatting with family and friends about what I hope will carry over from the comics to the live action version of Doreen Green. Then I thought, Hey Michael! You should write this down and turn it into a post too! So here are those very hopes and dreams for Milana Vayntrub’s Squirrel Girl! Continue reading
Squirrel Girl’s Subversive Genius
Aaaahh! This is it! This is my 100th post on My Comic Relief. Yay!!! To mark such an important occasion, I want to take a look at the one comic book that’s become truly indispensible to me. If, for some reason, I could only read one comic book a month, Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl would be it. There’s no contest. No other comic is more enjoyable or more important to me. I could think of no better way to celebrate hitting 100 posts than by celebrating why I love this brilliant comic so much. Continue reading