In “Meta-Messages,” I explore the context behind (using reader danjack’s term) “meta-messages.” A meta-message is where a comic book creator comments on/references the work of another comic book/comic book creator (or sometimes even themselves) in their comic. Each time around, I’ll give you the context behind one such “meta-message.”
Today, we look at how Marvel used to give Squirrel Girl grief all of the time.
Now, it’s 2017 and if you’re reading this, you likely have the ability to see things. In which case, you realize that Squirrel Girl is awesome. Anyone who can see Squirrel Girl knows how great she is. I mean, it’s right there in her motto – she eats nuts and kicks butt. Who could argue with that?
But oddly enough, a couple of years after Squirrel Girl’s debut in “Marvel Super-Heroes” #8 (by Will Murray and Steve Ditko), she actually was made fun of a lot by Marvel.
We’ve already spotlighted the hilariously ironic 1993 “Marvel Preview” where legendary Marvel editor Mark Gruenwald explained (while being very complimentary of Squirrel Girl, to his credit) that all of the characters being introduced in the 1993 Marvel Annuals were designed to last, unlike Squirrel Girl…
Specifically Gruenwald’s description of how Squirrel Girl is the type of character he does NOT want these 1993 Annual characters to be (which he gets to after first explaining why it was so important to him that the characters be created by regular Marvel writers):
[W]e wanted these characters to be incorporated into the Marvel Universe, and it was felt that, if it were the regular writers with writing assignments doing it, after they finally had a chance to put their pet idea into play, they wouldn’t be able to wait to incorporate it into the regular run of the series – as opposed to someone inventing Squirrel Girl, everyone laughing at it, and never being used again. And don’t quote me on Squirrel Girl, because I love Squirrel Girl, love Squirrel Girl, but it’s the sort of character…well, will it show up in Iron Man? I don’t think so. So while the creation of a Squirrel Girl–excellent character, by the way, excellent–would have satisfied the criteria of being new and premiering in an annual, I don’t know if we’ll ever see Squirrel Girl again. It’s another one of those, “Whoops, it’s accidentally an incidental creation that just makes our list longer and doesn’t really help the Marvel Universe.”
Naturally, “incidental creation” described 90% of the characters introduced in those Annuals, with not a single one of them regularly appearing in comics today, unlike future TV star, Squirrel Girl.
That, though, was more funny because of the irony of the statement by Gruenwald. It wasn’t really making FUN of Squirrel Girl, per se (okay, kind of, but still).
However, in April of 1993, there’s a gag in “Marvel Age” #124 about an April Fool’s joke involving Squirrel Girl being on a new team of misfits…
And also in the “Marvel 1992 Year in Review” (which presumably was published in early 1993), there’s a whole section on 2099 characters that we’ll never see, and Squirrel Girl is featured!!
Now, obviously, that article was written by Fabian Nicieza, who I revealed in this week’s Comic Book Legends Revealed was actually going to be one of the few creators willing to use Squirrel Girl (she did not make a comic book appearance between her debut in late 1990 and her joining the Great Lakes Avengers in “G.L.A.” #1…in 2005!), so obviously he liked her, too, but it’s still funny to see how much she was made fun of back in the day.
Not anymore, though! It’s now Squirrel Girl’s world and we’re just living in it!
If anyone else has a suggestion for a future Meta-Message, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!