Epistolary Irreverence in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 26

by Drew Baumgartner

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 26

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

The provenance of epistolary texts are always weird. Actually, it’s probably less weird than traditional narratives, where we might somehow be privy to the private thoughts of the protagonist or even the perspective of an omniscient narrator, but epistolary texts necessarily draw our attention to the weirdness in a way that more traditional narratives don’t. Because we’re reading documents composed within the diegesis of the epistolary narrative, the ostensible writer of those documents are a character, even as the actual writer attempts to become invisible. That tension, between our hyperawareness of the fictional author, and purported obliviousness of the actual author, puts epistolary narratives in this weird netherworld of headspace, embracing the self-awareness of postmodernism in an attempt to produce an entirely un-self-aware story. It’s a concept that already folds in on itself, but writer Ryan North adds a few more wrinkles, confusing the notion of self-awareness enough that the confusion starts to be to point. Continue reading

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Deadpool the Duck 5

Today, Patrick and Michael are discussing Deadpool the Duck 5, originally released March 15, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

“Batman’s superpower is that he always wins.”

-Comic Professional, Traditional

Patrick: At this point, it might be difficult to trace this sentiment back to a singular source. So many creators and fans and critics have cited this as one of the defining characteristics of Batman. Whether by preparedness or wealth or training or his friends or sheer luck, Batman always wins. Leave it to Howard the Duck to present the antithesis of kind of magical thinking. Howard may, in fact, be the cynical scribe’s Batman, and his cheeky superpower is that he always loses. As Howard the Duck 5 clearly illustrates, nothing can stand in his way — not even victory. He’s always destined to lose. Continue reading

Deadpool the Duck 2

deadpool-duck-2

Today, Michael and Ryan M. are discussing Deadpool the Duck 2, originally released January 18th, 2017. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Michael: Two characters from different backgrounds with different points of view are forced into a situation where they have to rely on one another. This is a story concept that has been executed countless times over many different genres, usually for comedic effect. It’s a simple formula that has been repeated so much because it works so well. It’s an easy shorthand that allows our brain to enjoy a story and know where the characters stand: yin and yang, dark and light, straight man and jokester, etc. Deadpool the Duck 2 continues that time-honored tradition of the “odd couple”, but does it work? Continue reading

Howard the Duck 11

howard-the-duck-11

Today, Spencer and Taylor are discussing Howard the Duck 11, originally released October 12th, 2016. As always, this article contains SPOILERS.

Spencer: On her twitter, Gail Simone recently discussed something she calls the “Batmobile Effect.” In short, it’s the exhilarating feeling a creator gets when they realize they’re working on a comic icon, on a character they grew up adoring and now, all of a sudden, are in charge of. That feeling right there describes much of the appeal of writing for Marvel or DC — the downside, of course, is that you never truly “own” a character. At the Big Two there’s only so much a writer can change a character because, when their run is over, it has to go right back into the “toy box” for another creator to use.

Howard the Duck 11 brings Chip Zdarsky and Joe Quinones’ run to an end, and the two show an exquisite understanding of how to handle a work-for-hire ending. Zdarsky and Quinones have truly made Howard their own, yet leave the character in better condition than when they found him, leaving the door open for future creators to try their hand at Howard as well. It’s a skill their in-story counterparts, Chipp and Jho, never quite grasp. Continue reading

Patsy Walker, A.K.A. Hellcat! 4

patsy walker 4

Today, Shelby and Ryan are discussing Patsy Walker: A.K.A. Hellcat! 4, originally released March 23rd, 2016.

Shelby: I don’t have a lot of female friends. I know, I know, girls love to say they’re the kind of girl who only hangs out with boys, but it’s true; I’ve always had more close friendships with men than with women. I’m sure in my salad days it was a matter of not wanting to be a girly girl, of assuming there were two kinds of girls in the world and wanted to be the cool girl instead of the girl girl. Now that I’m both older and wiser, I’ve learned that there are as many kinds of women in the world as there are people who identify as women, and there is nothing wrong with having a strong lady crew for both hair/makeup-doing and whiskey/beer-drinking (Selene, girl, I’m lookin’ at you *wink!*). Unsurprisingly, Patsy Walker: A.K.A. Hellcat! has got me thinking about the juxtaposition between being a girly girl and one-of-the-guys girl, and how it’s perfectly all right to be both and everything in between.

Continue reading