Daily 49er

Negative Space: Marvel’s unbeatable and totally readable Squirrel Girl

“The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” is a great example of how to make efficient and accessible comics.

Photo Illustration by Hunter Lee | Daily 49er

Photo Illustration by Hunter Lee | Daily 49er

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You know of Spider-Man, Captain America and Black Panther, but you probably haven’t heard of Squirrel Girl.

Yes, that’s really her name. Okay, her actual name is Doreen Green, but don’t tell the bad guys that. She has typical powers such as super strength and agility, but also has a tail, claws and the ability to communicate with squirrels.

Green is the star of “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl – Volume 1: Squirrel Power,” which tells the story of her first days attending college. This is a book that doesn’t take itself too seriously and knows how to have fun, which translates to the reader with ease.

The book’s greatest achievements are its accessibility and efficiency. The creators use tools such as biographical cards and cast lists to briefly explain a character and other important information such as motivations and personality traits. These things allow the plot to progress without forcing the reader to flip through excessive pages of backstory. The selling points of this book are its action and comedy, and this method allows quick satisfaction of those desires.

It is these same things that make the book accessible. This book, like many other Marvel Comics books, frequently contain cameos and references to other characters and stories. However, it uses those aforementioned cards and cast lists to explain all you need to know about anyone that appears within this book’s panels.

Comics writers should consider using these tools because of how they set reader’s expectations of what they’ll see. Seeing what familiar faces will appear can be exciting, but something that can be even more exciting is a surprise. There is no rule stating that a writer has to reveal every character featured in their story at the beginning. I expect to see whatever is revealed to me there, but this also allows the writer to play with my expectations and deliver on something greater.

To get acquainted with Marvel’s unbeatable but totally readable Squirrel Girl, get volume one of this series at the Main and Michelle Obama locations of the Long Beach Public Library or at the University Library via CSU+, a service used to share resources between all California State University libraries.

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