The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl is secretly the best comic book Marvel is publishing right now. You may not read it (though you absolutely should!), you may not have even know the name Doreen Green, but the world is ready for a Squirrel Girl TV series. And according to recent rumors, Doreen might just be the lead in a new ABC/Marvel comedy.
Whether this ends up being true or not, it’s long overdue for Squirrel Girl to make her small screen debut into the world of Jessica Jones and Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. If there’s one thing the Marvel Cinematic Universe needs, it’s “eating nuts and kicking butts.” Here’s why…
Squirrel Girl Cameos
Despite Marvel’s best efforts, all of their superhero television shows, from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. to Jessica Jones, feel disconnected from the rest of the cinematic universe. While Luke Cage is bartending in Manhattan, Spider-Man is swinging around rooftops and fighting alongside Iron Man. Yes, this is part of Marvel’s street-level vision, but there are few characters that could unite the two different approaches to storytelling.
Doreen Green can straddle both worlds better than anyone. She’s gone up against some of the biggest villains in Marvel’s roster — and won! She’s faced Dr. Doom, Modok, even Galactus. At the same time, she’s just a Computer Science major living in a tiny apartment with her roommate Nancy, trying to save the day and get good grades at the same time. She’s happy to befriend some low-level thugs like Kraven and some minor heroes like Howard the Duck.
A Squirrel Girl TV Show could feature all sorts of tongue-in-cheek cameos, introducing new characters from other shows or spotlighting some small stories that just can’t fit in the larger films. Hey, Doreen could even make her first appearance in the new Luke Cage series — she actually babysits for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones in the New Avengers comics.
Marvel Needs to Lighten Up
Let’s be honest. The MCU sometimes takes itself too seriously. Jessica Jones is an amazing Netflix series, but it’s also incredibly dark and disturbing. Captain America: Civil War had some lighthearted moments, but it was also about the cost of war, PTSD and trauma. Baron Zemo was less a supervillain and more a catalyst for a tragic battle between Captain America and Tony Stark. Marvel needs to lighten up a bit.
Squirrel Girl is a self-aware callback to when superheroes were, well, heroic. She not a reluctant hero and she’s not conflicted about her role in the world. Being a hero is more than a heavy responsibility, it’s fun and it’s the right thing to do. There’s a jubilant hope to be found in the pages of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, something all too rare in the MCU.
Squirrel Girl also pokes fun at the some of the self-serious aspects of our comic heroes and villains. She carries around Deadpool‘s Guide to Super Villains, a collectible deck of cards from the 4th-wall-breaking antihero himself, describing the powers of all the villains she faces. These descriptions tease at the silly things we love about our villains. Each time Doreen defeats her opponents, we’re reminded why these hero stories, in comics or television, are fun in the first place.
Squirrel Girl Is A Powerful Role Model
Many of the heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe are complex and troubled characters. Jessica Jones is basically an alcoholic and Matt Murdock consistently puts himself into needless danger and lies to his friends. This is fine. I’m an adult and I love watching troubled characters deal with real drama. But there’s also a time and a place for powerful and inspiring role model for young readers/viewers. That time is now and that place is, I don’t know, maybe Netflix.
It’s not just Doreen’s contagious enthusiasm for both eating nuts and kicking butts that makes her an aspirational figure, especially for young girls. In The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, Erica Henderson draws Doreen with a figure too rare in comics — that is to say, a normal one. And Doreen is confident in herself, confident in her friends, and openly concerned about the welfare of others, including villains.
While Daredevil is busy bludgeoning immortal ninjas in the head with his batons, Squirrel Girl is talking Kraven into a vegetarian lifestyle and convincing Galactus that hey, maybe he should forego his lunch and give Earth a break.
Yes, I’m Being Serious
All of this might sound too silly, but if Ryan Reynold’s Deadpool is any example, Marvel is willing to take risks and push the boundaries of superhero expectations. Unbeatable Squirrel Girl writer Ryan North and aforementioned artist Henderson have crafted what is easily my favorite comic series I’ve read in years. I’m sure that cheeky team could put together a show treatment with some industry help. Hey, even nerdy film star Anna Kendrick has put her hat in the ring for playing Squirrel Girl (though I think Mae Whitman would make a better choice).
Will we see Squirrel Girl TV show anytime soon? It’s looking more likely than ever in the rumored New Warriors series. And Squirrel Girl is unbeatable, remember? Her time will come, just not soon enough.
An older version of this article was published on July 7.