Published October 10, 2017

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl: Meta Mayhem

We touch base with writer Ryan North on this special standalone issue!

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Squirrel Girl is writing a comic in a comic we—well, Ryan North specifically—wrote about her in UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #26! Why? Because she’s a squirrel girl after our own heart. When? November 8, in a comic store near you! Has Marvel science gone too far?! Never.

But that’s not all; Doreen Green has also nudged and nagged her super-powered besties into writing comic books of their own because she’s great and we love her, that’s why! Featuring a ton of spectacular guest artists—in addition to the ever-wonderful Erica Henderson—this book will surely make you laugh, cry laugh, and take a cereal break but laugh in the middle of eating the cereal because you remembered a funny part!

Ryan North gives us the lowdown on this meta masterpiece… Tell us about this special standalone issue #26! The characters are writing their own comic books?!

Ryan North: This is a special Zine Issue of [UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL]! Basically, when a super hero fight destroys a local library, Squirrel Girl makes all the heroes in the fight contribute to her fund-raising zine to help get the library fixed. So you see a lot of these characters outside of their comfort zone, making their own comics for the first time. Some phone it in. Some go all-out. Some of them, it turns out, are really, really good at making comics! What inspired this idea and how did you pick which guest characters would write comics? Did Tony Stark bribe you? Blink twice for yes…

Ryan North: [Laughs] Originally there was an idea where Tony Stark would, of course, just pay someone to write his comic for him—but Tony ended up contributing in another more important way, which you’ll see when you read the comic.

The idea comes from a love of the characters: who these people are on their off time when they’re not fighting crime. We know that Nancy Whitehead doodles Cat Thor comics, but what does Howard the Duck write when he sits down to make a comic? What sort of comics would Wolverine make? Brain Drain? What about Galactus? Would Loki be interested in formalist experiments, or would he try to misdirect you? I found that idea fascinating, and the answers are all contained in this book! Squirrel Girl can be so wonderfully meta—do you think she knows she’s in a comic?

Ryan North: Nope! She did in her earlier appearances, and originally she was going to in UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL too, but I decided to take that element out. My reasoning was that I wanted her victories to count, and I thought if they were too meta, too “lol this isn’t real,” then—well, it wouldn’t be real. You could walk away from reading the book and say “that woman’s victories don’t count, because Squirrel Girl is a joke character.” But they do count! And they’re really good victories. So this issue is less “Squirrel Girl knows she’s in a comic book” and more “Squirrel Girl has made her own comic book, and gotten her friends to help, and we’ve convinced Marvel to publish that actual comic book she made.” I think it’s going to be a lot of fun! How do the various characters’ comic-writing endeavors differ from your own process?

Ryan North: Loki is a lot of fun because he’s the god of lies. His comic is obviously going to be tricky in a way you’ve never seen before. Spider-Man and Kraven both have their own comics, and they obviously have very different processes. Wolverine’s comic ended up surprising me by being one of my favorites in the issue. I think Laura could really have a career making comics, if she wanted!

And I have to say that I spent a good day trying to figure out what Galactus’ comics would look like and how he’d draw them, until I came upon the perfect solution. And I don’t want to say what that is here just yet, but it’s pretty amazing. Tell us a little more about these cool guest artists coming onboard for this issue!

Ryan North: Well, for starters instead of drawing, we’ve got a page of comics written by Erica Henderson this issue—and she knocked it out of the park! Rico Renzi drew Tippy-Toe’s comics and colored the issue, so he’s on double-duty. And I got to contribute some art, too, in a pretty fun way! So the regular Squirrel Girl team is there, but we just swapped around some hats.

And it’s not just us! We’ve got an all-time great comics artist contributing—the Chip Zdarsky—as well as a bunch of artists making their Marvel debuts! There [are] comics done by Rahzzah who has such a terrific photorealistic style, by Madeline McGrane, who is bringing Squirrel Girl’s own comics to life, and by a six-year-old child named Iris who drew one of the most important panels in the issue! Tom Fowler did a hilarious story about one of my favorite characters. Carla Speed McNeil took one of the most challenging spreads in the issue and made it even better—which is especially exciting for me and [editor] Wil [Moss], because we’d both wanted to do work with her since forever. We even got Anders Nilsen on board drawing a Wolverine story that doesn’t look or read like any other Wolverine story you’ve seen before. Michael Cho is someone whose work I’ve loved for years and he drew a story, too, which was so amazing! Your eyes will pop out of your head, and that might even happen literally, because these mini-comics are just that great. Does Squirrel Girl ever write about a Canadian writer/super hero/dinosaur enthusiast named Ryan North?

Ryan North: No…but I’d like to think if she met him, she’d think he’s okay.

Be sure to squirrel away a copy of Ryan North and Erica Henderson’s UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #26 when it comes out November 8!


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