Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26
Writers: Ryan North, Erica Henderson (Howard the Duck)
Artists: Madeline McGrane (Squirrel Girl), Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck), Tom Fowler (Brain Drain), Carla Speed McNeil (Loki), Michael Cho (Kraven), Rahzzah (Spider-Man, Nancy Whitehead), Anders Nilsen (Wolverine), Rico Renzi (Tippy-Toe), Jim Davis (Galactus), Ryan North (Nancy Whitehead)
Colorists: Madeline McGrane (Squirrel Girl), Chip Zdarsky (Howard the Duck), Rico Renzi (Brain Drain, Loki, Galactus), Soren Iverson (Wolverine), Michael Cho (Kraven), Rahzzah (Spider-Man, Nancy Whitehead), Anders Nilsen (Wolverine)
Letterers: Travis Lanham (Howard the Duck, Brain Drain, Loki, Kraven, Tippy-Toe), Anders Nilsen (Wolverine), Jim Davis (Galactus), Rahzzah (Spider-Man, Nancy Whitehead)
Cover Artist: Erica Henderson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
A Review by Nico Sprezzatura
Now heading into the third year of its run, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl continues to surprise readers and subvert the expectations of what a superhero comic “should” be. This week’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26 is no exception, taking the focus off our eponymous superheroine and sharing it among her super-friends for a special “zine” issue. And, it’s as incredible as that sounds.
For those who aren’t aware, “zines” are small-circulation, self-published periodicals meant to be sold among a niche group of people. Zines usually focus on a common interest or theme, and they’re most often associated with science fiction and punk rock scenes, but a zine can be about pretty much anything.
In the case of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26, the zine format is used as a vehicle for unconnected vignettes “created” by various characters of the Marvel Universe. As explained in the prologue (drawn by Madeline McGrane), Doreen Green —the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl— has tasked herself with putting together a charity comic zine, and she’s recruited members of her supporting cast to help produce it.
Written almost entirely by regular scribe Ryan North, Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26 is basically a showcase for a variety of artists we don’t necessarily see working within the Marvel Universe. As Howard excitedly notes on this issue’s cover, for example, Garfield creator Jim Davis illustrates a segment “by” Galactus, which I believe is his first-ever Big Two work. Imagine a Garfield strip, but starring Galactus and Silver Surfer instead; it’s pretty great.
There’s also a nice diversity in tone in this issue. While most of it is comprised of multi-page stories, there are some that break that format. Carla Speed McNeil’s contribution “by” Loki, for example, is a two-page spread that contains a neat little narrative device, while Rahzzah’s pages (“by” Spider-Man and Doreen’s best friend Nancy) are more experimental than straight-up storytelling. This issue is full of just great, interesting stuff all around.
But these guest artists aren’t the only ones contributing. Erica Henderson and Rico Renzi, the title’s regular artist and colorist (respectively) —who are just as essential to the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl creative team as North— get to switch things up and display different skills on their respective pieces. Howard’s story features Henderson’s writing debut on a comic, while Renzi illustrates the Tippy-Toe section.
It’s great to see some versatility from both creators, especially since they’ve been on board since day one. I’d be very curious to see if Henderson in particular gets to write something else after this issue; she obviously “gets” the visual humor of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, and I can only imagine she’d be just as successful writing a script in that vein. I’d also love to see more sequential art from Renzi, who’s one of my favorite colorists in the industry.
The Verdict: Buy it, duh. That’s all I really need to say.