The Marvel Comics universe is an ever-expanding world of superheroes and villains, each with their own unique abilities and personalities. Some are even considered “legacy” characters, having taken on the codenames of heroes or villains that came before them. And then, every once in a while, an underdog character comes along who strikes a chord with readers and becomes more popular than anyone ever expected. Squirrel Girl is one of those characters.
Squirrel Girl, whose real name is Doreen Green, first appeared in the early ’90s as a throwaway character. She debuted in a one-off anthology series, “Marvel Super-Heroes” vol. 2 #8, in a story featured in the last few pages of the book. Not exactly prime panel real estate for establishing a new character. Nonetheless, Squirrel Girl made a huge impression on Marvel fans. Squirrel Girl would go on to make sporadic appearances throughout various comic books, but wouldn’t gain prominence until the early ’00s, when she was a lead character in Dan Slott’s “Great Lakes Avengers” mini-series.
Doreen’s positive outlook on life, paired with her unwavering support of her fellow heroes, and quirky (if sometimes unevenly written) powers have made Squirrel Girl stand out from the multitude of characters who have debuted in recent years. However, even with all of this exposure, a lot of people still have no idea who Squirrel Girl is, much less know anything about her backstory. If you fit that description, here are 10 things you didn’t know about Squirrel Girl.
Her Origin Changed Once She Became Popular
Due to her physical appearance, which includes the teeth, ears, and tail of a squirrel, many readers assumed Squirrel Girl was a mutant, like the X-Men. Doreen herself even identified as a mutant during many of her earlier appearances. However, like a few other Marvel characters, her origin story was eventually retconned.
When Doreen first appeared in “Marvel Super-Heroes,” she met Iron Man and wanted to be his heroic sidekick. When she mentioned that she is a mutant, Iron Man told her that she should try hanging out with the X-Men instead. Following this interaction with Iron Man, we wouldn’t see Squirrel Girl again for almost 10 years.
Doreen later resurfaced in the Great Lakes Avengers mini-series “GLA: Misassembled,” where she eventually became a member of the team of misfit heroes. During this course of the series, Squirrel Girl still identifies as a mutant.
However, in her 2015 solo series, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” it is revealed that Doreen doesn’t possess the x-gene, the genetic marker that grants mutants their abilities and special appearances. Instead, she is now termed a “mutate,” a person who generally got their abilities an outside source (in Squirrel Girl’s case, that source still hasn’t been identified) The change in Squirrel Girl’s origin coincided with several other characters having their backstories changed, including Scarlet Witch, Quicksilver, and Quake — all characters who were used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe prior to the X-Men film rights reverting back to Disney from Fox.
Squirrel Girl Defeated Doctor Doom In Her Very First Appearance.
During Squirrel Girl’s debut in “Marvel Super-Heroes,” the young superheroine does her best to convince Tony Stark to let her join the Avengers. Her biggest argument? Well, in addition to her unique abilities, Squirrel Girl has already tussled with one of Marvel Comics’ greatest villains — and won.
Shortly after Doreen meets Iron Man, the pair are attacked by Doctor Doom, who takes them both hostage and negates the circuitry in Iron Man’s suit, rendering him powerless. It’s up to Squirrel Girl to figure out a way for them to escape. Using her abilities to communicate with squirrels, Squirrel Girl instructs the critters to board the ship, disable the controls, and overpower Doctor Doom long enough to get Iron Man to safety.
This isn’t the only instance of Squirrel Girl emerging victorious against a major Marvel villain, either. She also went up against Thanos in the “Great Lakes Avengers Special.” Although it’s unclear exactly how she bested him, since the fight appeared off-panel, Squirrel Girl beat Thanos, too. She also encountered Galactus on his way to devour Earth and, rather than confront him with fisticuffs, talked with him about everything. Eventually, Doreen found a planet without intelligent life that Galactus could destroy, and the two parted as friends.
She Was A Nanny For Two Avengers
While Squirrel Girl has long been affiliated with various Avengers teams, she hasn’t always served as an active member. However, during one iteration — the New Avengers team, led by Luke Cage — she worked as a nanny for Luke and his wife, Jessica Jones. The two were looking to become full-time superheroes again, which meant that they would need someone to look after their daughter, Danielle, while they were “working.” Squirrel Girl beat out the likes of Mantis, Hellcat, and She-Hulk to land the job, and considers it one of the most honorable positions she’s ever held with the Avengers.
Squirrel Girl later met an adult version of Danielle Cage, who went on to become the new Captain America from in an alternate future timeline. Danielle had inherited both her mother’s super strength and her father’s unbreakable skin, making her a formidable fighter in her own right. Doreen and Danielle became close friends and teammates as they served on the U.S. Avengers, a government initiative that paired the team with S.H.I.E.L.D.
This stint as a caretaker only reinforces what Squirrel Girls’ colleagues think of her: Whether she is a fighting bad guys or watching babies, she is one of the kindest and most caring individuals they’ve come into contact with.
She And Wolverine Were Once An Item
Most readers know that Wolverine gets around — at least as a member of various teams throughout Marvel Comics. Over the years, he’s been a member of the X-Men, the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, X-Force, and more. He’s had many love interests along the way as well, including fellow X-Men Jean Grey and Storm. However, he also shares a surprising romantic connection with Squirrel Girl.
During her stint with the New Avengers as Danielle Cage’s nanny, Squirrel Girl and Wolverine rarely interacted with one another on the page. However, whenever they did, it was rather … tense. In “New Avengers” #7, Doreen was surprised to learn that Logan was a member of the New Avengers at the same time she was working at the Avengers’ headquarters. Apparently, they had met in the past, and had a fling that ended badly. Either way, they had agreed to never see each other again — which became all but impossible now that they were sharing such close quarters.
There’s evidence on Wolverine’s side that this happened as well. In 2011’s “Wolverine” #8, Emma Frost discovers that Squirrel Girl, along with Spiral, Mystique and Jewel (Jessica Jones’ superhero alter ego) had appeared in Logan’s sexual fantasies at one point or another. This was a fairly odd development, if for no other reason than the rather large age gap between the two. Then again, Squirrel Girl may age just as slowly as Logan, and we just don’t know it yet. Either way, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” author Ryan North offered an alternate explanation for this relationship in a letters page, so if it grosses you out, you can pretend it didn’t happen.
Deadpool Is One Of Her Idols
It’s no secret that Deadpool, the foul-mouthed mutant known to break the fourth wall, is a fan favorite Marvel character. However, similar to the singer and on-again off-again X-Men Dazzler, the Merc with a Mouth has a few fans in the superhero community. Squirrel Girl is one of them.
While her abilities might seem strange — or, at best, average — Squirrel Girl is a whiz when it comes to researching her opponents. She’s a brilliant hacker who studied computer science in college, and she uses a couple of Deadpool’s own creations as a superhero cheat sheet. She has the complete collection of Deadpool’s hand-drawn villain cards, which give background information on thousands of villains. She has also memorized Deadpool’s guide to their accessories, which goes on to cover thousands of weapons and vehicles owned by various Marvel Comics villains throughout the years.
While Deadpool can exaggerate at times, the information has helped Squirrel Girl gain the upper hand in a fight on more than one occasion. Like Deadpool and She-Hulk, Squirrel Girl has also broken the fourth wall at times, speaking directly to the reader as the action unfolds on the page. This trope is generally used for comic relief, but sometimes it helps provide narration for the storyline as well.
She Had Her Own Television Series (Almost)
With the formal introduction of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Disney+, fans have been wondering whether previous Marvel television shows, such as “Cloak and Dagger” or “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.,” are canon in the MCU. The same can’t be said for Marvel Television’s live-action “New Warriors” series, which was set to have Squirrel Girl as it’s main point-of-view character before it was cancelled mid-way through production.
That’s right: Even though Squirrel Girl has never been a member of the New Warriors in the comics, she was set to be the main character in the now-defunct Freeform series following a new team of young heroes. Actress and AT&T spokesperson Milana Vayntrub was slated to star as Squirrel Girl, whom she had previously provided the voice for in the critically-acclaimed Disney animated series “Marvel Rising.”
The roster for the “New Warriors” series on Freeform would’ve included traditional New Warriors members like Night Thrasher and Speedball, along with newcomers like Microbe, Debrii, and Mister Immortal of the Great Lakes Avengers. The half-hour comedy was set to debut in 2018, but was pulled when Freeform had trouble finding a suitable time slot. Marvel shopped the show to other networks, but apparently, no one else was interested.
She Has Been A Member Of Multiple Avengers Teams
With the main Avengers team splintering off into various factions and rosters getting rebooted every few years, some members are bound to appear on more than one team as time goes on. Squirrel Girl, who has been a member of five different Avengers teams, is no exception to this rule.
When Squirrel Girl first joined an Avengers team, it was the Great Lakes Avengers, a rag-tag group of characters who worked with Hawkeye and Mockingbird to become credible heroes. The next time we see her, she is a member of the New Avengers, serving as the nanny for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter, Danielle. During the New Avengers’ second iteration, Doreen was promoted to being an active member under the leadership of the mutant Sunspot.
Leading up to the events of “Secret Empire,” a new team of Avengers was formed, called the U.S. Avengers. This team of heroes was composed of Squirrel Girl, Cannonball, Pod, Iron Patriot, Citizen V, and a time-displaced Danielle Cage (aka Captain America). This team of Avengers worked closely with S.H.I.E.L.D., giving the series a more patriotic feel than previous Avengers titles. Squirrel Girl is still a member of the U.S. Avengers, when she isn’t attending college or out on solo adventures with her friends.
Additionally, in the Disney animated series “Marvel Rising,” Squirrel Girl is a member of the all-female Secret Warriors, alongside Quake, Ms. Marvel, America Chavez, Inferno, Patriot, and Ironheart. The team of young heroes is mentored by Captain Marvel, as well as other members of the senior Avengers team.
Her First Love Was A Member Of The New Warriors
Just as in real life, heroes tend to fall in love in the Marvel Comics universe. A lot. However, some bonds that are formed end up existing beyond time and space, such as the connection between Squirrel Girl and the New Warriors’ Speedball.
During his original tenure with the New Warriors, Speedball was often used as comic relief. However, his personality shifted following the series’ third volume. The six-issue “New Warriors” series sees original members of the team, including Nova, Night Thrasher, and Speedball, become stars of their own reality TV show, along with newcomers Microbe and Debrii. It ended badly. During a televised battle with a number of villains in Stamford, Connecticut, the villain Nitro detonated himself, killing hundreds of people and several members of the New Warriors. This tragic incident sparked Marvel Comics’ “Civil War” crossover in 2006, which inspired the 2016 MCU film “Captain America: Civil War.”
Speedball was overwhelmed with survivors’ guilt and developed a new identity called Penance, which came with a new costume that included spikes that dug into his own skin. When Squirrel Girl heard what had happened, she attempted to help Speedball overcome his despair. After all, Speedball was her first love. However, Speedball wouldn’t listen to her; even with time travel, Doreen couldn’t pull Speedball out of his funk.
She Shares A ‘Father’ With Spider-Man
It’s not all Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The halls of Marvel Comics are filled with artists and writers, both past and present, who worked hard to create some of the most popular superheroes ever. The late ’80s and early ’90s in particular saw a huge surge in new characters at the company, and Squirrel Girl was a part of that push. Squirrel Girl was created by writer Will Murray and artist Steve Ditko, who were frequent collaborators at Marvel Comics in the early ’90s.
Ditko, who also designed and drew the first stories starring Spider-Man and Doctor Strange, came up Squirrel Girl’s first look. The personality, however, was all Murray. In an interview with SyFy Wire, Murray revealed that he based the character on his ex-girlfriend, Doreen Greeley. “She was always into wildlife — she had dogs, cats, ducks, geese, and other critters,” Murray says. This no doubt went a long way towards making her a relatable character, and one easily accessible to readers.
While the physical appearance of the character has undergone several revamps (with varying degrees of success) her positive and upbeat personality has remained the same. The groundwork that was laid for Squirrel Girl all those decades ago can still be seen in the character today, which is pretty rare in superhero comics
Her Solo Title Includes One Of The Few Trans Marvel Heroes
While the need for diversity in comic books is at an all-time high, Squirrel Girl and her friends were somewhat ahead of their time. In 2015’s “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” the series followed the young hero as she began her freshman year of college, met other young superheroes, and embarked on exciting adventures while balancing her academic schedule.
During one of those adventures, she meets Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi, both of whom have the ability to speak to various animals. They eventually team up with Squirrel Girl and her best friend Nancy, forming their own Scooby Gang of sorts and helping each other solve crimes, fight evildoers, and get through college exams.
“The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” eventually reveals that Koi Boi, who’s real name is Ken Shiga, is a transgender man. Issue #9 depicts the character wearing a binder, which was hugely progressive for mainstream comics at the time. Koi Boi’s trans-masculine status was later confirmed by his co-creator, Erica Henderson. With only a handful of gay comic book characters in active play, and hardly any trans heroes, Koi Boi’s debut was a big deal for LGBTQ readers. Ken is a fully-formed character, with storylines that don’t revolve around his trans-ness, but rather celebrate his personality, including his love of Zorro and Namor. This makes “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” one of the (unfortunately) few Marvel comics that featured a trans superhero on a regular basis, and made its 2019 cancelation sting even more.
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