During last month’s Awesome Con in Washington DC, I was able to speak with writer Ryan North for a few minutes about his recent work for The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl and Jughead. Unfortunately a technical glitch prevented the entire interview from recording. The first segment covering his Jughead run can be heard above
In the second half of the interview I asked him about the addition of Brain Drain to Squirrel Girl’s band of colorful allies. North explained that the character’s deadpan philosophizing was inspired by hearing a talk by the German filmmaker Werner Herzog. In North’s mind, one of the intriguing aspects of Herzog’s persona is the listener’s inability to ever be entirely certain how much is organic personality and how much is an act. I asked if this meant that readers should imagine Brain Drain’s dialogue delivered in Herzog’s trademark droll Bavarian accent; North replied with a definitive “yes.”
I also asked if North had any advice for the creators of the upcoming Freeform TV series New Warriors, which will feature Squirrel Girl as one of its main characters. Acknowledging that there are always alterations during the adaptation process, I asked if North believed there are any essential aspects of Doreen Greene which had to be retained from page to screen. North replied that the most important was a matter of tone. If the writers excessively emphasize the wacky, she would be nothing more than a Deadpool clone. At the same time, writers needs to avoid rendering her as an overly peppy Pollyanna. The key to her success rests in a balance between odd and aspiration. Get that right and the rest should fall into place.
Finally, I circled back around to Archie by pitching the idea of a Squirrel Girl/Sabrina the Teenage Witch crossover, or more importantly, a Tippy-Toe/Salem the Cat team-up. North approved of the idea but left it unanswered how such a thing could happen.
Then again, given that we live in a world where the internet can will a Rihanna/Lupita Nyong’o/Ava DuVernay/Isse Rae collaboration into existence, perhaps there is hope after all. In other words, start tweeting those adorable squirrel/cat memes . . .