Comics/Graphic Novels

Tippy-Toe: Hero, Revolutionary, Glamour Squirrel

Jon Erik Christianson

Staff Writer

In alternate timelines, Jon Erik Christianson is a beloved children's cartoon, a homme fatale supervillain for the Justice League, a professional krumper, an ambassador from Planet [REDACTED], and a sentient carnival balloon. In this timeline, he is a blogger and ghost(writer) who divides his free time between watching YouTubers play Five Nights at Freddy's and staring longingly at his bachelor's degrees in journalism and international relations. He writes for Book Riot Comics and his blog, Honestly Comics, where he most often discusses comic books, feminism, and queer representation. Feel free to talk to him about Buffy the Vampire Slayer; never bring up Glee. Blog: Honestly Comics Twitter: @HonestlyJon

Every Wednesday, readers march into their local comic store to find the racks dominated by new comics starring their favorite heroes—one of whom is very famous for dressing as a small mammal. This Wednesday, a different mammal-inspired hero dominates the stand: Doreen Green, a.k.a. Squirrel Girl.

Yes, two separate series come out today starring Doreen: Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1 (the second of its kind this year) and New Avengers #2 (the first of its kind this year). This has to be a first in the comics industry.

That means double the Squirrel Power, as Doreen’s faithful partner, friend, and confidante Tippy-Toe is also starring in two series out on the same day. We here at Panels write a lot about Squirrel Girl; to change things up, I think it’s fair to celebrate the seven ways in which this rodent rocks.

1. She’s just an average squirrel.

Tippy Toe Squirrel Girl

Art by Erica Henderson / Script by Ryan North

See! It says it in this panel below. She’s just a regular squirrel who puts her bow on in the morning just like the rest of us—right before we go out to save the world.

2. Or is she?

Wait, do squirrels’ proportional speed and flexibility allow them to perform Matrix-esque dart dodges seamlessly mid-air? That come from master sharpshooters like Kraven the Hunter?

Art by Erica Henderson / Writing by Ryan North

Art by Erica Henderson / Script by Ryan North

And do squirrels also have thorough knowledge of advanced technology like gravity belts?! Consider me in awe—and terror—of our skittish rodent neighbors.

Art by Gerardo Sandoval / Writing by Al Ewing

Art by Gerardo Sandoval / Script by Al Ewing

Tippy-Toe does not have superpowers or any magical boon; she just works her tail off to become the best squirrel hero she can be. #LifeLessons

3. She’s super cute.

Easy, breezy, beautiful: Cover Squirrel.

Tippy Toe Squirrel Girl

Art by Erica Henderson / Script by Ryan North

4. She’s got serious style.

All the squirrel fashion industry titans—Bark Jacobs, Squirrel Lagerfeld, Twiggy—agree: Tippy-Toe is fashion’s It Squirrel.

Her pink ribbon accessory is minimalist and feminine. It affords her optimal mobility against her ordinary foes, and it defends her against her greatest one: tackiness.

When push comes to shove, Tippy-Toe’s not above suiting up in style either. When necessary, she “makes it work” like a contestant in one of Project Runway’s unconventional materials challenges; she just slips on a Stark-style glove and matching helmet and she’s set to stomp on galaxy gobblers like Galactus.

Tippy Toe Squirrel Girl

Art by Erica Henderson / Script by Ryan North

5. She cares about her friendship, even if that means calling Doreen out.

There is arguably no friendship in the Marvel Universe stronger than the one between Doreen Green and Tippy-Toe; the only pair close enough is Carol Danvers and Jessica Drew, and they are clearly also in love with one another.

Friendship requires loyalty, compassion, and, most of all, honesty. Tippy-Toe does not tippy-toe around the hard conversations; she knows friendship is more than just sunshine and acorns.

Art by Erica Henderson / Writing by Ryan North

Art by Erica Henderson / Script by Ryan North

What’s more important: preserving your secret identity, or preserving your personal identity? Tippy-Toe asks the tough questions.

6. She has her own Twitter account.

Move over, @common_squirrel; there’s a better social media savvy member of the Scuridae family, and you can find her @yoitstippytoe.

Tippy Toe Squirrel Girl

7. She’s a pioneer for non-human female characters in the Big Two.

Two of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s breakout stars are a talking raccoon and an anthropomorphic tree; both have had recent series and will be getting their own duo title in January 2016. A cameo character in that same film (Guardians of the Galaxy, if you haven’t caught on) was Howard the Duck—an anthropomorphic duck who will soon be starring in his second series of 2015.

The upcoming Howling Commandos of S.H.I.E.L.D. stars a whole gaggle of ghoulies, including Man-Thing (swamp monster), Manphibian (lagoon monster), Orrgo (a space god…thing), Teen Abomination (self-explanatory), Hit-Monkey (mostly self-explanatory?), and some humanoid folk.

Between the Big Two, Marvel by far has the lead on non-human characters—definitely in prominence, likely in quantity too. But DC has some mostly in the form of villanous gorillas (Grodd, Monsieur Mallah), peripheral Green Lantern characters, and Krypto.

But regardless of who owns them, non-human comics characters overwhelmingly skew male—arguably moreso than their human counterparts. Male alien characters get to jellyfish, rage cats, fly people, and even sentient planets. Female aliens get to be sexy humanoids in wacky skin colors, if they’re present at all. Rare exceptions tend to be distaff counterparts (often love interests) to more prominent male non-human characters. See: Lyla to Rocket Raccoon, Mary-Crane Watsow to Spider-Ham.

Technically speaking, Tippy-Toe is Squirrel Girl’s second squirrel sidekick. The first was a male squirrel by the name of Monkey Joe (RIP). From the ashes, readers got Tippy-Toe—a squirrel sidekick who’s now more prominent than her successor.

With her new rank as (New) Avenger, Tippy-Toe is more poised than ever to inspire non-human ladies universe-wide. May she never go “nuts” with that power.