We squirreled away answers with writer and dinosaur enthusiast Ryan North!

When her vacation to the Savage Land with Nancy and Tippy Toe goes awry (also Kraven the Hunter is there — hi, Kraven), Doreen Green somehow finds herself facing down Ultron himself. Oh, and did we mention how HE’S A GIANT ROBO-DINOSAUR NOW? Presenting, THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #25 by Ryan North with art by Erica Henderson! Featuring dinosaurs, dinosaurs, a robot dinosaur, Antonio the Doombot, and the rest!

But will her “unbeatable” reputation remain intact? Will Kraven turn Tippy into a fez? AND WHAT OF ANTONIO THE DOOMBOT?! Writer Ryan North answers all this and more…

Marvel.com: How has everyone — Tippy Toe, Doreen, Nancy, Kraven — been feeling about the Savage Land?

Ryan North: Nancy went into this excited to see some dinosaurs, and she saw some right off the bat, so she’s satisfied. No matter what else goes wrong, Nancy Whitehead saw her some gosh-darned dinosaurs. That said, everything else has gone wrong: the alien machinery keeping the Savage Land alive is failing, the dinosaurs are at risk, and to make matters worse? A piece of Ultron landed here, rebuilt itself as a Tyrannosaurus rex, and is now intent on killing everyone. So it’s been a trip.

Marvel.com: How are the group dynamics between this motley crew? (Like, as in, NO KRAVEN, DON’T TURN TIPPY INTO A FEZ.)

Ryan North: Kraven and Squirrel Girl have a long history now! He appeared in our (first) #1, and he’s been back since then. I think they’ve really grown to like each other. Like, they’re different people, but every time they hang out Kraven comes out of it a better person, and Squirrel Girl really respects him. They’re a pretty unlikely friendship, and I think that’s what they like most about each other.

So Kraven wouldn’t turn Tippy into a fez, out of respect for Squirrel Girl. But, other than that, it IS a risk: this is a man who turned a lion’s hide into his vest. And it’s not just, like, the back of a lion.  He wears the lion’s FACE. Kraven don’t play.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #25

Marvel.com: I guess a giant robot dinosaur trying to destroy her has put a little damper on things… but can the vacation to the Savage Land be salvaged?

Ryan North: I feel like a universal truth is this: whenever anyone visits a dinosaur theme park/ dinosaur nature reserve/ dinosaur continent preserved by ancient aliens/ WHATEVER, there is a tiny part of them that thinks, with just a tinge of excitement, “oh man, there’s a chance the dinosaurs will escape and go crazy, I wonder what that’ll look like.”

Ultron has definitely been behind that, so while Doreen is a little bit disappointed her trip hasn’t been the vacation she thought it might be, there is a much larger part of her that is excited because SHE GETS TO FIGHT FRIGGIN’ DINOSAURS.

I think it’s another universal truth that we’d all like to maybe fight a dinosaur sometime. I dunno. Maybe it’s just me.

Marvel.com: How is dinosaur Ultron different from other iterations of him that we have seen so far? Being a t-rex must be somewhat of a rush…

Ryan North: I’d like to think this is Ultron in his purest form. He is a robot man that hates organic life but who always makes himself look like a human. And yes, CLEARLY there’s some issues there that he needs to work out, but I think once he’s tasted being a dinosaur — tasted being a literal TYRANT LIZARD KING — he might show up in this form more often.  He doesn’t blend in as well… but then again, did he ever really? And now he has a tail, awesome teeth, and, frankly, adorable little arms!

Personality-wise, of course, he’s the same homicidal Ultron he’s ever been — only now he’s got the dinosaur body to back it up.

Marvel.com: What kind of dinosaur would you be, if you could robot yourself into one?

Ryan North: I’ve spent over 14 years writing Dinosaur Comics at qwantz.com, so my answer shouldn’t surprise anyone: yeah, I’d totally be a T-Rex, too. What’s not to like?  They’re awesome, they’re giant, they have teeth for days, and they look really good when viewed from the rear view mirror of a jeep. T-Rex all the way.

Failing that, Utahraptor or Dromiceiomimus are both excellent animals, too, and I’m not playing favorites.

Marvel.com: And please tell us that Antonio the Doombot is getting a spinoff… IF NOT, THEN AT LEAST TELL US MORE ABOUT HIM THE PEOPLE NEED TO KNOW FUN FACTS ABOUT ANTONIO THE DOOMBOT, PLEASE.

Ryan North: Antonio the Doombot fun facts!  DID YOU KNOW: every Latverian must be able to build a Doombot from scratch in order to graduate high school? DID YOU ALSO KNOW: Antonio the Doombot is a Doombot built in the Savage Land whose sole purpose is to protect dinosaurs? He has all the will and desire of Doom, but bent solely towards protecting dinosaurs and their environment. Not gonna lie: he’s pretty great.

I can’t say if there will be a spinoff or not, but I know this: he will always live on in our memories.

Scamper on over to a comic store near you for THE UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #25 (by Ryan North with art by Erica Henderson) — out October 11!

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Writer Ryan North previews Squirrel Girl’s newest challenger—dinosaur Ultron!?

Doreen Green—The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl—has defeated the likes of Doctor Doom, Galactus, M.O.D.O.K, and Thanos in recent years. They don’t call her “unbeatable” for nothin’, folks.

On September 13, witness the next chapter in her invincible story as writer Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson present UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #24! Seen previously frolicking in a nature preserve full of dinosaurs, Doreen gets a big surprise when one of those prehistoric beasts turns out to be Ultron in the form of a Tyrannosaurus rex!

It seems a rumble for the ages awaits in the cards—so, what can we learn about this Jurassic joust before issue #24 hits shelves? Series writer Ryan North probably knows—let’s ask him!

Marvel.com: Squirrel Girl has single-handedly defeated some of the most powerful beings in the universe…but will this newest foe end her winning streak at last?

Ryan North: Obviously you’ll have to read the comic to find out—but we did put “unbeatable” on the cover, so I wouldn’t be dressing up neighborhood squirrels in black funereal garb just yet. But how? How could she do it? Ultron has incredible powers and has previously defeated the Avengers as a group—and she’s alone in the dangerous landscape of the Savage Land.

Seriously, please let me know how she could do it. I have written myself into a corner and need ideas stat.

Marvel.com: What’s it like writing a character that’s so powerfuland so funny?

Ryan North: With Doreen I see this really clever, competent woman who gets underestimated by people who don’t know her—and there’s a lot there that most of us can relate to. In a sense, it’s so easy to write Squirrel Girl because she’s so well-defined; she’s a ridiculously powerful person (she has all the powers of squirrel and girl, after all) and she’s also really empathetic. She’d rather discuss a dispute before heading right into a fist fight. In real life, I try to do the same, and I, too, have had many more discussions than I have fist fights—so in that sense she can be inspired by reality as well.

She also has this slightly skewed view on the Marvel Universe—it’s the point of view of a computer science student (Doreen!) and her friends (Nancy! Tippy-Toe! Brain Drain! And more!) who see everything with fresh eyes.

Marvel.com: What do you think makes Squirrel Girl so unbeatable?

Ryan North: She’s smart, she’s kind, and she knows computer science. Also: squirrels. A literally unbeatable combination—it’s so powerful that I’m surprised it hasn’t shown up in fiction until now!

Marvel.com: What’s your favorite element of this storyline?

Ryan North: Ultron is lots of fun, and turning him into a gigantic Tyrannosaurus rex only makes him even more fun. I am always happy to write a dinosaur, and I hope that my previous Dinosaur Comics work has given me that expertise in writing giant Tyrannosaurs.

I think it’s impossible not to have fun when you’re putting your characters in some sort of “Jurassic” kind of “park”—especially when they’re facing down a killer robot dinosaur named Ultron. There is literally nothing not to love in that sentence.

Marvel.com: So, how did Ultron turn into a dinosaur!?

Ryan North: Well, I don’t want to give it all away (we reveal it in the next issue!) but Ultron always rebuilds himself—even if only a little bit of him survives. In the past, we’ve always assumed that only one part rebuilds, so only one Ultron exists at a time, but if that wasn’t the case…and if that extra part dropped into the Savage Land…

Marvel.com: What makes the Savage Land the perfect setting for this story?

Ryan North: I love the Savage Land because it’s there, in the present day, just, you know, hanging out in Antarctica. Like, everyone in the Marvel Universe just goes about their business, paying their bills and taxes, and never once stops and says, “Hey, wait a minute, there are alive dinosaurs on Earth right now,” and hops on a plane to go see them. It was fun to play up Nancy’s disbelieving reaction to that at the start of the arc, because I had the same reaction when finding out about the Savage Land way back when. It’s a big deal and I think super heroes and regular people should be visiting it way more often!

Marvel.com: Definitely! What will your interpretation of the Savage Land be like?

Ryan North: We really wanted to do the dinosaurs justice. The Savage Land first showed up in Marvel Comics decades ago—but our understanding of dinosaurs has evolved since then. Erica Henderson, the series artist, insisted (she sent me several emails even after I agreed, just to make sure I didn’t forget) that we explain why the Savage Land dinosaurs didn’t have feathers—since we now understand that most dinosaurs did. The explanation in the book (that the Savage Land inhabitants did have feathers but lost them over the 65 million extra years they had to evolve in Antarctica) solved a scientific problem in the Marvel Universe that had bugged Erica for years. We’re always happy to make these stories about super powered people more scientifically accurate!

Plus, if you keep your eyes peeled, you’ll see some of my favorite species of dinosaurs in the Savage Lands. I think this is the best arc we’ve done yet—and I’m really excited that we’ll soon be able to share it all with you!

UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #24, by Ryan North and artist Erica Henderson, launches on September 13!

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Ryan North dispatches Doreen Green into a prehistoric playland!

Doreen Green has pretty amazing powers, including the ability to communicate with squirrels. Too bad that knack doesn’t extend to other animals like, say, dinosaurs!

In the upcoming UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #22 on July 12, Doreen and Nancy Whitehead will find themselves smack in the middle of the Savage Land, fighting dinos and other baddies. Writer Ryan North fills us in on what we can expect.

Marvel.com: Doreen and Nancy will get thrown into the Savage Land pretty abruptly. How will they handle it?

Ryan North: Well, they’re going there because they won a “Mysterious Programming Contest,” so they have time to, you know, pack bags and get excited and stuff.  What they don’t have time to prepare for is what they find when they arrive, which I don’t want to spoil but which absolutely involves dinosaurs and/or the fighting of dinosaurs.

Marvel.com: Dinosaurs live in the Savage Land as you mentioned. How well do you think Doreen’s powers will equip her to go up against them?

Ryan North: She’s got speed, agility, and strength—but then dinosaurs have speed, agility, and strength too, plus the ability to be two stories tall and have a giant mouth filled with teeth. So unlike her regular foes, an angry dinosaur can credibly threaten her in precisely the way a man in a Rhino costume can’t. That said, squirrels and dinosaurs have never actually battled before, so this does present a once in a lifetime opportunity to see what happens when a tiny mammal goes against a Jurassic apex predator.

Marvel.com: What would you consider the top three challenges Doreen and Nancy will have to face in Savage Land?

Ryan North:

  1. Seeing dinosaurs.
  2. Fighting dinosaurs.
  3.  Getting to go to the gift shop right away so she can get official Savage Land merchandise and dress like a dinosaur hunter.

    Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #22 cover by Erica Henderson

Marvel.com: So often, extreme situations like this teach us something about ourselves. What will Doreen learn during her time in Savage Land?

Ryan North: Doreen’s not just fighting dinosaurs: there’s a big bad we haven’t revealed yet, and this is one that she can’t really reason with.  So it’s going to be a chance for Doreen to really let loose with her physical powers in a way she can’t in a heavily populated city like New York. So I’m hoping Doreen will learn that she is even more powerful than she thinks, and also that dinosaurs are awesome—though she already knew that; we all already knew that.

Marvel.com: In addition to dinosaurs, lots of other prehistoric animals live in the Savage Land. Will we get to see any prehistoric squirrels, and can Doreen communicate with them?

Ryan North: [Laughs] No, no prehistoric squirrels! Though the first thing [artist] Erica [Henderson] and I came up with was an explanation for why all the dinosaurs in the Savage Land look like 60s versions of dinosaurs and not the modern reconstructions where they’re feathered bird-like creatures. So rest assured we have a really valid explanation for why our dinosaurs may appear to be less than scientifically accurate.

Marvel.com: Would you like to mention or tease anything else?

Ryan North: This Savage Land arc begins with our issue after next, and it has an amazing painted cover by Erica that is one of my favorite things she’s done. But before we hit that issue we’ve got a special stand-alone installment of SQUIRREL GIRL that’s a Brain Drain + Chipmunk Hunk + Koi Boi extravaganza. It’s gonna be so good: Doreen and Nancy are on vacation so it’s up to the sidekicks to save the day all by themselves. It’s got Brain Drain, aka Brian Drayne, aka a nihilistic brain in a jar on a weird giant robot body. So if you like dinosaurs or robots, you should definitely check out UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL!

Pick up UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL monthly from Ryan North and Erica Henderson!

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Five reasons Doreen Green has met her match from writer Ryan North!

Squirrel Girl may be everyone’s favorite chipper, upbeat super hero, but as we know, Doreen Green’s adventures go far beyond fun and games. She has squared off against some pretty impressive villains. And we’ll soon see her ultimate confrontation with evil entrepreneur Melissa Morbeck in UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #20, available May 17.

We caught up with writer Ryan North, who filled us in on why Doreen’s battle with Melissa promises to be her biggest yet!

Melissa has all the world’s animals on her side
“She’s put chips in their brains that lets her control them. Squirrel Girl can control squirrels, but they are, I am sad to say, pretty useless against lions. I thought maybe they could do some damage but even a pretty wimpy lion can handle them no problem.”

She knows Squirrel Girl’s secret identity
“Doreen Green has been kinda okay at keeping her activities as Squirrel Girl secret, but not kinda okay enough—Melissa has figured it out. And that means she knows how to mess up both Doreen and Squirrel Girl. It turns out dressing up as an animal to go out and punch crime in the face isn’t smiled upon by all branches of law enforcement, despite its strong historical pedigree?”

Melissa has been manipulating Doreen’s life for a while now
“Squirrel Girl got a new flying suit from Melissa, only to find out too late that Melissa could disable it at will. And while she made friends with Chipmunk Hunk and Koi Boi at ESU, it turns out they only met because Melissa wanted them to as well. What does she have planned? And why is she so into being a jerk all the time?”

The world is watching
“A faceoff in New York City between Squirrel Girl and Melissa has gotten the world media’s attention, including J. Jonah Jameson, who is not exactly known for his fair and balanced reporting on animal-themed super-heroes. Sorry, JJJ, but we’ve all seen your Spider-Man articles! Spider-Man was clearly helping that old lady across the street, and I must say your ‘WEB-HEAD MENACE DRAGS SENIOR CITIZEN ACROSS FIVE LANES OF TRAFFIC! / TRAFFIC HAPPENED TO BE STOPPED AT RED LIGHT: ONLY REASON LITTLE OLD LADY STILL ALIVE’ headline fundamentally misrepresents what happened.”

And finally, Doreen has faced off against Galactus before, but even that was easier
“…so you might think that was her biggest face-off ever, but they only fought for a little bit before becoming pals. Melissa, much like everyone on reality television, did not come here to make friends. So that’s a challenge!”

Grab some nuts and sit back for the final showdown between Doreen Green and Melissa Morbeck, coming to UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #20 on May 17, courtesy of Ryan North and Erica Henderson!

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Ryan North provides a guide to less than stellar leaders!

In UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #19, due out April 12, fans will encounter the worst mentor of all time, Melissa Morbeck. In a Marvel Universe resplendent with poor guidance figures of all sorts, we disagreed and took our arguments right to SQUIRREL GIRL writer Ryan North

Professor X and the Original X-Men
The Case:
Of the original five X-Men, one destroyed a planet full of broccoli humanoids and has been periodically dying ever since, one went bad and died, one lost his wings and made a deal with Apocalypse to become the Horsemen Death, and one ended up covered in blue fur. Of the quintet only Iceman has largely dodged life-altering tragedies. Beyond, you know, being hated and feared, of course.

Plus, Professor X had a crush on Jean which certainly qualifies as a bad way for a mentor to feel about his charge.

Ryan North Responds: “If you look at how his mentoring worked, I think it turned out pretty okay! Only one of those five ended up becoming host to an immortal star-killing cosmic entity, and then only for a little while. Professor X gets the coveted ‘You Did Ok I Guess award!’

“Compared to Melissa, Professor X would probably be a better mentor, though it’s still probably for the best to keep Squirrel Girl away from that 1/5 chance of becoming host to an immortal star-killing cosmic entity.”

Hawkeye and Hawkeye
The Case:
Kate Bishop spent much of their relationship patching up Clint Barton’s numerous bumps, bruises, and cuts and playing traffic cop to the multiple women her mentor seemed to be seeing at any given point.

Also, she disappeared to the West Coast for months and never once did he even file a Missing Person’s Report.

Ryan North Responds: “Clint is a man with a bunch of problems, and as much as he’s helped Kate, I think Kate has helped him just as much. Therefore, I would call this mentorship a tie, and both Clint and Kate get prizes. Let’s say…sticky putty arrows.

“Compared to Melissa, both Clint or Kate would be improvements. Plus, the two of them come with a dog, which easily pushes them over the top. Clint and Kate are the true winners of our mentorship competition.”

Odin and Odinson
The Case:
Odin has a temper and consistently deals with his issues with Thor—his son by the way—by exiling him to the world of humans. When not doing that, Odin demands Odinson fight a cybernetic horseman from space to prove himself. Basically, Odin has two moves: “Go away and learn a lesson,” or “Show me how well you fight!”

Ryan North Responds: “Odin is Thor’s father, but he was kind of a horrible mentor. He basically gave him a weapon of mass destruction in the form of Mjolnir and then disappeared for a while to go have an extended nap? That’s some pretty weak mentorship game. However, you do get a fun hammer out of the deal, which must be considered.

“Compared to Melissa, Odin would be an improvement.  Melissa gave Squirrel Girl a flying suit, but then she stuck around and tried to manipulate her to do what she wants. If she had given Squirrel Girl a flying suit and then went to have a nap, then it would’ve been a much shorter story with much less conflict. It’s one of the reasons I went with Melissa when drafting the story instead of her much sleepier twin, Rip Von Melissa.

“That is an original character by me being revealed here for the first time, by the way. She looks like the regular Melissa only she’s wearing a sleeping cap and those old-timey pajamas with a button-up hole on the back that if you don’t button them properly everyone can see your butt.”

Doctor Doom and Kristoff
The Case:
Well, he’s Dr. Doom, for one.

Besides that, though, Doom has had Kristoff stand in for him on multiple occasions, exposing the youth to the possibility of death and dismemberment. And if the monarch’s various enemies do not do it to Kristoff, Doom just might handle it himself, due to the not-actually-a-Doctor’s hair-trigger temper and massive inferiority complex.

Ryan North Responds: “This should not even be a question. The man’s name is Doctor Doom, you do not want him mentoring you in anything except, possibly, in how to choose really suspicious names. You let him teach you anything else, and the second things go wrong everyone’s gonna say ‘Your mentor was Doctor Doom; what did you expect to happen?’

“Compared to Melissa, I’d call it a tie. Doom is an awful guy but he dresses the part, so you know what you’re getting. Melissa looks like a regular lady, so when she turns out to be bad, you can at least be surprised.  If she wore a steel mask and called herself ‘Doctor Doom 2: Better Than Doctor Doom’ then that would at least be something.”

Witness malevolent mentorship in action courtesy of Ryan North and Erica Henderson with UNBEATABLE SQUIRREL GIRL #19, available April 12!

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Join authors Shannon Hale, Dean Hale & Ryan North on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl book tour

Squirrel Girl fans of all-ages assemble! Join New York Times bestselling authors Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, and Ryan North on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl book tour!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017 – 7:00pm
The King’s English
1511 South 1500 East
Salt Lake City, UT 84105

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 – 7:00 PM
B&N store #2984
Mira Mesa Market Center
10775 Westview Pkwy
San Diego, CA 92126

Thursday, February 9, 2017 – 7:00 PM
B&N store #2262
Clackamas Town Center
12000 SE 82nd Ave
Portland, OR 97086

Friday, February 10, 2017 – 7:00 PM
B&N store #2280
Northgate Mall
301 NE Northgate Way
Seattle, WA 98125

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