When comic book fans learned that Squirrel Girl will be leading a new live-action TV series, it probably didn’t come as a huge shock considering her name has been buzzing around Hollywood for a while now. That the show (which will debut on Freeform) is about her as being part of the New Warriors, a team that she’s never been a part of in the comics, that part was a bit of a surprise. However, while she might not have been a member of the New Warriors, Squirrel Girl has an impressive history when it comes to working with superhero teams, so she should fit right in on another superhero team. Here, we’ll detail her long history of unbeatable teamwork with other superheroes.
Amusingly enough, Squirrel Girl’s very first appearance (in 1991’s “Marvel Super Heroes” #8, by Will Murray and Steve Ditko), featured her teaming up with another superhero, namely Iron Man.
The two heroes (and a bunch of squirrels) worked together to take down Doctor Doom. Sadly, despite her clear demonstration of being a worthy team-up partner, Squirrel Girl then did not make another comic book appearance for over a decade. However, when she finally did show up in another comic book, it was as part of a superhero team!
Dan Slott rescued Squirrel Girl from the dust bins of Marvel Comics limbo and made her part of the Great Lakes Avengers in the second issue of “G.L.A.” in 2005 (with art by Paul Pelletier and Rick Magyar)…
(While she joined in the second issue, she had been narrating the series from the first page of the first issue, and her direct dialogue with the audience was played very well by Slott, making her an appealing character that fans wanted to hear more of, as she balanced humor with an earnest and upbeat look at superherodom).
Amusingly enough, by the end of that first “G.L.A” series, the team had decided to become an X-Men spinoff instead!
For the next few years, Squirrel Girl only popped up in comics featuring the Great Lakes team (who were renamed the Great Lakes Champions in “Thing” #8 and then Great Lakes Institute following “Civil War,” as they got in on the Superhuman Registration Act side of things), including a notable appearance in “Cable and Deadpool” during “Civil War” (before Squirrel Girl joined the team, the Great Lakes Avengers had had some negative history with Deadpool). That lasted for a number of years until 2010, when Norman Osborn was unseated and the Superhuman Registration Act was no longer as big of a deal and the “Heroic Age” began again. In “Age of Heroes” #3, Squirrel Girl quit the Great Lakes Avengers because she believed that she was pulling attention from the rest of the team.
As it turned out, her exit from the Great Lakes Avengers led to Brian Michael Bendis having her become the nanny for Luke Cage and Jessica Jones’ daughter, Danielle, in the pages of “New Avengers” (and “Avengers”, on occasion). She maintained that role for a few years, even getting a spotlight issue during the “Fear Itself” crossover.
After Bendis’ run on “New Avengers” and “Avengers” ended, though, Squirrel Girl shockingly went back into comic book limbo for another two years (although she had a couple of cameo appearances along the way) before making her triumphant return in the pages of her surprise hit ongoing series, “The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl” by Ryan North and Erica Henderson.
As soon as that series began, Squirrel Girl began to expand her supporting cast to include other animal-themed heroes, like Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi, who have remained regular cast members of her series ever since.
So even in the pages of her solo series, she is quite often teaming up with other superheroes (plus, of course, her roommate, Nancy, who is basically a superhero in her own right). Squirrel Girl had a fun crossover team-up with Howard the Duck, as well. However, her next big change in superhero status was when she joined up with a “real” Avengers team, as she became part of Sunspot’s New Avengers, which were the superhero faction of A.I.M., which Sunspot had purchased and re-named as Avengers Idea Mechanics.
However, Sunspot soon realized that the task he had chosen for himself involved some complex moral decisions that were not always going to be reconcilable with the idealistic hopes of the team when it was formed, like when they discovered that Rick Jones was a prisoner of SHIELD. They endeavored to rescue him, but realized that doing so could be considered an act of war. He let the team vote on what to do next, and when Squirrel Girl, Wiccan and Hulkling voted against it, he essentially kicked them off of the team for their own good, allowing them to take the “New Avengers” name and form their own team. Eventually, they got re-involved with Sunspot. Ultimately, Squirrel Girl decided that it was important for someone to keep an eye on Sunspot, so she decided to rejoin him and A.I.M.
This led to her current superhero team. She is still part of Sunspot’s A.I.M., but Sunspot has now cut a deal with the United States government to become American Intelligence Mechanics, so they’re, in effect, the U.S.Avengers…
It has been fascinating to see how well Squirrel Girl has melded into the world of “traditional” superheroes, which speaks to the power of her earnestness. Writers really have not had to re-write her to make her work in the context of these teams. It would not be surprising, though, to see a new New Warriors comic book launch sometime later this year to coincide with the upcoming television series, and really, from what we have seen from Squirrel Girl so far, she would fit right in with a rebooted New Warriors.
After all, she also famously received her first kiss from none other than Mr. New Warrior himself, Speedball…
So she’s already well on her way to New Warrior-dom!