Crossover: Super Holly and Squirrel Girl!

Squirrel Girl’s comic book run recently ended with issue #50. (Very small spoiler: with the best Deus Ex Machina EVER!!!) Hot-headed Super Holly could learn from Squirrel Girl. Squirrel Girl often talks and empathizes her way out of a jam, while Holly tends to punch first and talk later. Super Holly would envy Squirrel Girl’s sensible costume, which likely never rode up.

She started out like this (drawn by the amazing Steve Ditko).

But after that, and before her Squirrel Girl series, she looked a bit more, ahem, superheroiny.

Maybe this happened because of my Super Holly Hansson and Squirrel Girl crossover short story, which I am posting right here, right now. Enjoy.

THE CAPITAL CITY OF LATVERIA. DOCTOR DOOM’S ROYAL CASTLE. HIS MAIN LABORATORY. A FRIDAY. 7:32 P.M., LATVERIAN TIME.

“I am Victor Von Doom,” said the armored man in the green hood and cape. “I do not know you. But you have trespassed into my kingdom. I shall deal with you later.”

Super Holly Hansson’s neck muscles tensed at the most bloodcurdlingly threatening (yet polite) voice she had ever heard! But she was not going down without a fight, along with heroic superheroine battle banter! “When I’m at Starbucks having coffee with a delightful, lighthearted, and smart superheroine and computer geek, and she starts vanishing in a teleportation beam, did you not think that I would hug her to go along for the ride so I could punch out the jerk who kidnapped her?” Holly GRRED and SNARLED and ROWLED as she punched the walls of her telephone-booth size force-field cell: POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW POW!!!

OW. Holly stopped punching, puffed steam out her nose, flexed her fingers, and watched her bloody knuckles do the fast-healing thing. She hadn’t made the slightest dent on the transparent force field. This Von Doom guy knew his business. All during Holly’s punching and snarling, Doom’s cold steely eyes behind his scary iron mask stayed locked on Holly’s. He hadn’t batted an eyelash.

His contempt bathed Holly’s soul in liquid nitrogen. “And did you not think that my teleporter would sense your presence, analyze your powers, and deposit you into an appropriate holding cell?” He turned his back on Holly and walked toward the laboratory table upon which Squirrel Girl was strapped with thick steel cuffs on her wrists, ankles, waist, and neck. Above her was a glowing panel as big as the lab table.

Holly had complemented Squirrel Girl on her sensible supersuit: green vest jacket, tan pants, boots, and shirt. And pockets. But no cape, spandex, exposed belly button, plunging neckline, or rising buttline. Squirrel Girl looked at Doom like a teacher looking at a willfully stupid student. “Victor, this is too mad scientist even for you. Do you want to talk about it?”

Doom’s armored hand grasped a large dial on the control panel. “Share your next bit of empathy carefully, Doreen Green, it will be your last.”

He slowly turned the dial clockwise. The panel bathed Squirrel Girl in pink light.

No, NO!!! Holly punch-punch-punched and kick-kick-kicked and headbutt-butt-butted the force field! “STOPPIT YOU FRAKIN’ BULLY, OR I’LL PEEL THAT TIN SUIT OFF YOU AND STUFF IT UP YOUR—”

“Super Holly Hansson,” Squirrel Girl yelled, “manage your anger!” Holly stopped punching and stared at her new friend. Doreen stared back with annoyance. “This light doesn’t hurt, it just tickles a little. Could you try talking instead of threatening?”

Holly growled, “Sorry. But once upon a time, a big bullying villain strapped ME to a table and bathed ME with green lutefisk radiation! I almost lost my lunch. And my life!”

Squirrel Girl smiled sweetly, her eyes seemed a little out of focus. “Aw! Did the big strong super lady get an upset tummy?”

What the FRAK was that? Then Holly saw it. Squirrel Girl’s sensible short pants were getting shorter, shorter. Her shirt’s neckline… Holly hissed! It was plunging downward! Holly screamed at Doctor Doom, “WHAT THE FRAK ARE YOU DOING TO HER?!?!”

Doctor Doom casually cast his gaze upon Holly. His iron mask matched his voice: dismissive contempt. “I am converting the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl,” he turned away from Holly and slowly turned the dial again, “to a standard superheroine that I can easily defeat. One that is… beatable.”

Holly stared in horror as Squirrel Girl’s shorts both crept up her hips and melded with her shirt, Doreen was gonna get supersuit wedgie! Squirrel Girl’s waist narrowed, her legs lengthened, her chest (more and more exposed because her spandex and fur supersuit’s V-neckline slowly crept toward her belly button) expanded and deepened into… NO! Holly remembered her favorite Batman t-shirt (signed by Adam West!) being ripped asunder when her superpowers first manifested, along with her former A-cups super-sizing into… Holly pounded her unstoppable fists on immovable force field again! “NO NO NO NO NOOOOOOO!!!”

A gasp like the coo of a winded dove: “Holly… stop.” Holly forced herself to stop punching. Squirrel Girl’s wonderful, sweet, smart, computer geek girl face was now pouty-pink-plump-lipped and high-cheek-boned and big-mascara-eyed and pixie-nosed! Lips that fanboys would long to smooch whispered, “Find… his… pain.”

Holly wanted with all her super heart to scream, FIND?!?! I WANNA GIVE HIM PAIN!!! But Squirrel Girl’s eyes pleaded so hard that Holly said, “Victor, why? Why destroy what she is? Why erase her essence?”

Doctor Doom let go of the dial. Squirrel Girl was still bathed in that horrible pink light, her face getting princess pretty. Doom turned to Holly, his green cape ominously fluttering. His unyielding stance, iron mask, and burning unblinking gaze focussed on her like a battleship gun. “I have beaten the Fantastic Four. The Avengers. The Silver Surfer. The world-devouring Galactus. I often battle the devil himself to a standstill. But Squirrel Girl beats me. Defeats me. That humiliates me. That I shall not allow.”

Holly kept her voice even. “You seem like an alpha villain. You even run a country. In my world, the most powerful supervillain does that. He was first motivated by hatred of the fanboys who humiliated him. But he came to see that his hate weakened him, so instead—”

Doom finished for her. “He loved and protected his country. As do I. As for Squirrel Girl, she will soon closely resemble you. Except for your prominent nose. Like you, Doreen will soon be more prominent… elsewhere.”

Holly forced herself not to flare up! “Do you kiss your mother with that mouth?”

“My mother,” said Doctor Doom, “is in Hell. Someday I shall free her. I do not battle the devil because I like the smell of brimstone.”

And Holly knew Doom’s pain, for she had the same pain in her heart. “I lost my mommy. But I try to honor her memory. And now you fight dirty, underhanded, and outright sexist, just to defeat an opponent. What would your mother say?”

It was not easy, staring down Doctor Doom. Holly dared not let her gaze flicker, even as the shadows on Doom’s iron mask made it a glowering skull of death, and his cape darkened into a green thundercloud, and his armored body seemed to restrain itself from hurling all his scientific and magical power at Holly in one galaxy-vaporizing bolt.

Seconds agonizingly crawled by.

Doctor Doom turned his back on Super Holly. He grasped the dial and turned it hard over, counter-clockwise.

The pink light stopped. Sexy Squirrel Girl and her skimpy supersuit morphed back to normal and practical. The metal bands strapping her to the lab table opened. She sat up, hopped off the table, hugged Doctor Doom, and said, “I’m sorry for your mom.”

Doom aimed his metal gauntlet at the pink light panel and blasted it into scrap. “I give you my word that I shall never do that again. When next we meet, Doreen,” and Holly could have sworn that Doom’s iron mask smiled, “I expect you to be unbeatable again.”

Squirrel Girl smiled at him. “You too, Victor.”

FIVE MINUTES LATER. A STARBUCKS NEAR DOREEN’S COLLEGE. A TABLE NEAR A WINDOW.

Holly took a big gulp of her yummy super-large banana iced mocha. “My supersuit isn’t tight, it’s snug. And I admit it, talking it out can work better than punching it out.”

Doreen smacked her lips after a swallow of peanut-butter mocha. “Yeah, but sometimes punching works too…” She sniff-sniff-sniffed. Her eyes widened. Her big bushy tail rose up and twitched. “Uh oh!”

Through the window, Super Holly saw a man marching toward the Starbucks and wearing a red high-collared cape, dull blue shirt and boots and swimsuit-shorts, and tight red pants. Hordes of young ladies marched behind him, gazing at him like he was THE Greek God of Hot Handsome Sexiness. His head was that of a chimpanzee (or was it gorilla?) with a huge-jawed sexist smile. He howled, “I, The Mandrill, need that tall, hot, sexy, blue-clad and red-caped buxom and leggy blonde babe to join my ferocious female fighters as my second-in-command, where she will lust for me with all her mind, soul, and incredibly super-stacked body!”

Holly put her elbows on the table and her head in her hands. “You know this guy?”

Squirrel Girl leaped to her feet. “Unfortunately I do! You got a gas mask in that yellow hip purse?”

Holly slowly stood from her chair, shook her slightly fuzzy head, and admired that ape guy. She sighed, “You know, for a guy with a lower primate cranium, that Mandrill isn’t bad looking.”

Squirrel Girl’s face got all up in Super Holly’s with a shout, “TAKE A DEEP BREATH AND HOLD IT! RIGHT NOW!!!

Holly did. Her head cleared. Okay, that monkey man looked a teeny bit hot, but he was a helluva lot more sexist!

Squirrel Girl turned toward that ape guy and put up her dukes. “The Mandrill has pheromones that can enslave females. I can counter that with my personal musk! Like this!” Her tail rubbed under her nose. “Holly, how long can you hold your breath?”

Holly grabbed a napkin, grabbed an autograph pen from her purse, and wrote, “15 minutes easy!”

Doreen smiled like a hungry boxer, her two big front teeth looking like they could gnaw through a battleship! “Plenty of time! I’ll do the battle banter.” She ran out of the Starbucks and toward the Mandrill and yelled, “Eat nuts and kick butts!”

Holly flew after her. Great catchphrase, so much shorter than my “Give up or get beaten up by a girl!”

P.S. I know you want this.

Peter David: Fantastic Writer. Movie Critic, not so much?

A sci-fi and superhero writer, Peter David, liked the new Fantantic Four movie. As much as I respect and love Peter and his writing, I will not pay to see this flick. At least not full price. Why?

Cutting Reed Richards’ age in half was an incredibly bad idea. Mr. Fantastic is the mature intellectual, not Wesley Crusher. (Sorry, Wil Wheaton, you know I love you, right?)

The so-called controversy about Johnny being black? The only people who complained were dropped-on-their-head-at-birth white boys and DJs. I think he would be the only thing I could stand to watch in that entire flick unless Sue Storm does a gratuitous underwear scene. Good actor doing a young hot-head, that’s how you get Johnny Storm.

Was there some reason why Ben Grimm had to be bullied as a kid? Other than: Woe is me, life as a teen is so dark and grim cuz daddy won’t buy me a car.

Doctor Doom is handed superpowers AGAIN, and then his brilliant goal is I’m gonna destroy the Earth because petulance? No, no. NO!!! Doom craves power, not a burning parking lot. Why doesn’t Hollywood get the incredibly simple concept that Doctor Doom is the ULTIMATE self-made supervillain? That he clawed and fought and scratched for every last scrap of power he has, which is considerable? Including, as Stan Lee said, DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY! Hollywood, I’ll give you a theme for free: those who want power the most should have it the least.

Getting powers via dimentional rift? Why not an experimental space plane? That is close to the comics, and commercial space planes are being done in real life! Just add some unexpected radition, and boom, you got superpowers! Movie execs, to paraphrase Abbie Hoffman: Steal this idea, PLEASE!

And the final fight (also the only fight)? They throw rocks at each other. I guess that other world had nothing else to throw. I remember Peter having the Hulk hold up a Hulk toy which is holding up a toy boulder, and Rick Jones says the Captain America toy has a cool shield and the Silver Surfer toy has the cool surfboard, and the Hulk says, “I got a rock.”

This is another case of cement-headed movie execs saying, “Could you make it grittier?” Daredevil on Netflix is great 3 a.m. gritty, Fantastic Four is dysfuntional funny action-packed family. From what I have read, much of this movie is dark sepia. The director could not film light-hearted even if he was mainlining laughing gas.

P.S. Yes, the age thing bugs me a lot. I get asked about the age of the superheroine I am writing (will it be YA, huh huh huh?). Holly is mid-twenties, not mid-teens! A teenage girl is NOT going to write a Watchmen-esque best-selling graphic novel, not nowhere, not no-how!

P.P.S. I kinda liked John Carter. Just like Peter.

The new Johnny Storm

GTY_fantastic_four_cast_jtm_140221_16x9_608As a comic book fanboy, I have the great responsibility to weigh in on the Johnny Storm casting in the 2015 Fantastic Four movie. But first, some recent history about other black casting in superhero movies.

Wesley Snipes as Blade. (You knew that the original comic book Blade was white, didn’t you?) I remember what I thought of the Blade movie years ago: “It is amazing how good a movie turns out when you get good special effects, a good script, and a REALLY good leading actor.” Snipes GOT IT, the internally tortured warrior. He even scared me a bit when he had to drink blood to live. Oh, yeah!

Michael Clarke Duncan as The Kingpin (Daredevil). The Kingpin is a man-mountain, a whale who can bench-press other whales. Duncan was BORN to play the Kingpin. He had the SIZE, the MUSCLES, the acting chops, he even had the shaved head! Too bad the weak script did not give him much to work with, even the best actors can’t fix that. (At least Daredevil was not Catwoman bad.)

Samuel Jackson as Nick Fury (The Avengers, Iron Man). The movie Nick can’t be the Marvel comic book version, who fought in World War II, and thus in our time, would make a mummy look spry. And no, the movie Nick should NOT age Wolverine-slow, Wolverine already does that! And he should not have been frozen until our time, Captain America already did the man-out-of-his-time thing. What was needed was a military commander who can stare down the toughest of supervillains with just one eye. Samuel Jackson GETS IT. As Spider-Man said of Luke Cage, Sam’s Nick Fury is ten different kinds of cool.

Idris Elba as Heindell, the Asgardian guardian (Thor and Thor 2). I am Swedish-American, so white that if I stood shirtless by a bright light you could vaguely see my intestines, or at least the fat in my pot belly. So I am qualified to say if a darker-skinned Asgardian doesn’t bug me, it shouldn’t bug you. Also, Anthony Hopkins (Odin) is Welsh/British, and thus wouldn’t know pickled herring from sushi. As for Heindell, Idris GETS IT. He embodies the ETERNAL SENTINEL. His eyes and attitude reflect not just the universe, but several parallel universes as well.

And now, Michael B. Jordan as Johnny Storm. I want the brother/sister dynamic between Johnny Storm and Sue Storm. Easy peasy to do: just say that he (or sister Sue, it don’t matter!) was adopted at an early age. Johnny and Sue grew up together, bro/sis love each other, and get on each other’s nerves. There should have been more of that in the other FF movie. I bet Jordan will do the Johnny Storm lovable hot-head well, that was one of the few good things in the 2005 FF movie. As well as Michael Chiklis GETTING IT as Ben Grimm.

So I’m worried about other casting for the 2015 FF movie. Jamie Bell as Ben “The Thing” Grimm? Jamie is not a beefy Bronx quarterback, he’s a strip of British beef jerky. Miles Teller as Reed Richards? His sideburns should be grey, instead he looks like he started shaving last week. Is Hollywood going for a boy-band look? Kate Mara looks okay, her acting resume looks very good. But my Spider Sense is tingling. I’ll wait for the reviews.

P.S. FF scriptwriters, I beg you. Please, please, PLEASE don’t turn Doctor Doom into a silver-spoon brat again!

P.P.S The Alicia in the 2005 FF movie was an improvement on the comic book version. It shoulda been her in the FF movie sequel that turned the Silver Surfer to the good.

P.P.P.S. Say, maybe the name should be Johnny STROM! (I made that typo a few times typing this post.)