Over the last few years, the movies and TV shows of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have established a consistent, mainstream tone for Marvel stories — witty and sarcastic, but also bright and earnest. The heroes are lovable goofballs, the villains are try-hard failures. But comics, of course, allow for a much wider range of tones and moods of storytelling. The recent run on Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (from writer Ryan North, artist Erica Henderson, and colorist Rico Renzi) has been proof positive of this — injecting the superhero genre with compassion, kindness, and colorful wackiness — and November’s issue will take it even further. Issue #26 of Unbeatable Squirrel Girl will be styled as a zine made by Squirrel Girl and her super-powered peers, with different artists providing styles for different heroes-turned-artists. The roster includes none other than Garfield creator Jim Davis, who illustrated a story from the perspective of Galactus.
“Ryan North sent me an email last winter about this idea to do a special Squirrel Girl issue drawn by the cartoon characters themselves, with different artists for each style,” Davis tells EW. “He explained Galactus seemed like a logical one for me, because of Garfield — having the appetite of the planets, and being one of the biggest and oldest of the Marvel characters. Garfield will be 40 next year, and is himself reaching iconic status.”
North wrote the story, which Davis illustrated with the help of his assistants Gary Barker and Dan Davis. The strip basically uses Galactus as a stand-in for Garfield, and his herald the Silver Surfer as a stand-in for Jon Arbuckle.
“Ryan explained to me, he wanted it to be done in our style. He likened and wrote Galactus as Garfield and Norin Radd as Jon. That determined what they were going to look like,” Davis says. “When you look at the Silver Surfer, he’s 75 percent of the way there anyway with Jon, all we had to do is give him the big eyes. That was a natural. John kind of hangs around Garfield anyway, he’s the straight man to Garfield’s gags and has to get him food. He’s like Garfield’s herald. Galactus was tougher. We were throwing stuff back and forth, and the initial sketches just weren’t working for Galactus. I said okay, we gotta make him fat. The guy eats planets, for god’s sake! Once we do that, it’s a little less Galactus but certainly a lot more Garfield. It looked more natural. Obviously, Galactus has put on a few mega-tons for this strip.”
Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #26 hits stores Nov. 8. Check out an exclusive preview below — including segments from Davis’ Galactus story, Michael Cho’s Kraven the Hunter story, Rahzzah’s Spider-Man story, Chip Zdarsky and Erica Henderson’s Howard the Duck story, and Rico Renzi’s Tippy-Toe story. Pre-order the issue here.