Marvel Super-Heroes Special Winter 1991


This issue isn’t important just because Erik Larsen had the foresight to draw Namor flying around with the X-Men (something the Sub-Mariner wouldn’t regularly do until about twenty years after this was published).

I know that Iron Man is in this picture as well, but lets assume that he has relapsed into alcoholism and stumbled into the frame.

What is most important is that it’s the debut of Steve Ditko’s final marvel creation—Squirrel Girl!

Before she became a nanny/babysitter for Power Man and Jessica Jones, she turned up in this quarterly special.

Ditko introduces the rodent powered hero in a short feature with Iron Man. He’s been kidnapped by Doctor Doom, and the only person he can call for help is Squirrel Girl. The character is just so ridiculous, with her only being able to communicate with squirrels (in squirrel-girlparticularly, her favorite who is named Monkey Joe) and some other squirrely powers. See what I did there?

Early in the story, she’s pleading to be Iron Man’s sidekick, but he keeps blowing her off. The poor girl is clueless. But Squirrel Girl proves her worth when she calls for some backup–Monkey Joe and about a thousand of his little furry friends. They subdue and in turn wind up humiliating  Doctor Doom.

She’s a really goofy character and reminds me of Sue Heck from The Middle with her constant cheeriness. The whole thing is just so absurd to the point that you  have to imagine that it made Ditko either really mad or he immensely enjoyed the story.

The rest of the book has some fun stuff, involving the X-Men trying to stop a half-human, half-Sentinel who has gone out of control, Namor making making some bird-like friends, and a bunch of Jim Starlin. So should you buy this? Only if you are a speculator waiting for Squirrel Girl: The Movie. No really, it’s a fun anthology and great for some light reading.

The Savage Dragon #1

Comparing Spawn #1 and The Savage Dragon #1 is like comparing night and day. This first issue of Erik Larsen’s reptilian super cop from Chicago is still an awesome comic twenty years later.

The first issue is just like a great pilot episode for a television show. It introduces you to the primary characters and sets the tone for the story. Dragon is an amnesiac who has volunteered to fight the ever increasing war on crime in Chicago, as the city is being plagued by super powered villains.

And it sets up that as the series progresses, the audience will find out more about the Dragon’s back story and why Chicago is such a hell hole.

Larsen did a great job of setting up the status quo for the series in a single issue. If there was a class on comics writing and introducing a new character and series, this would be required reading.

It’s also a textbook example of the pop culture trend in the early 1990s: the anti-hero cop. There’s a lot of Bruce Willis’s John McClane from Die Hard in this character, and he’s armed to the gills like every character Arnold Schwarzenegger or Jean Claude Van Damme ever played.

The Savage Dragon’s first issue does a great job of setting up the series. It makes me want to re-read the issues that I have and track down some more.