How to write a comic script with Squirrel Girl #11

Character development is consistent – Squirrel Girl in issue #11 acts on one key character development thread set up in past issues – Squirrel Girl’s Computer Science studies. Using her intelligence and experience, she outwits several Marvel villains.

Squirrel Girl is studying computer science, and it’s a great direction for the character. I just re-read issue #11, where Squirrel girl uses her new knowledge, adapting to a touch encounter with Doctor Octopus. She notices some examples of Computer Science, and then takes the villain down.

The villains of the story are well selected – they appear to have a size or power advantage over the protagonist, but the storytelling shows the readers how the main character overcomes these challenges with their skill sets.

Later, Squirrel Girl uses more Computer Science to distract Count Nefaria. Binary hand signs are a way that you can represent zeroes and ones with just your hand. Anything that has an on and off state, and can switch between these two states, can represent digits in binary.

All fingers up is 11111, and all fingers down is then 00000.

Then you assign a number to each finger and thumb – with 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 with the pinkie as one, moving from each finger til the thumb is 16. Notice that the numbers are doubling each time. Count Nefaria loves these binary hand signs.

Squirrel Girl later makes use of these hand signs to defeat another villain from Spider-man’s rogues gallery – Venom. As many people know, having seen the movie Spider-man 3, Venom is weak to sound waves at high frequencies.

Using the loud sound waves generated by a pack of Central Park Squirrels, Venom could be taken down. Except the brave woodland army can’t hear Squirrel Girl’s commands. This is where the Binary hand signs come in. Squirrel Girl directs her army at Venom using Binary digits to indicate directions of attack – 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock – until the savage symbiote dissolves.

It’s a very impressive issue. Squirrel Girl defeats her enemies by persuading and outwitting them in battles of wits. She uses minimal violence, and there is a strong sense of honesty.

The setting is well selected for the subject matter – a battle of wits in a dreamscape. Comic scripts need to have a good setting, and a dream setting, within limits, gives an artist freedom.

Squirrel Girl dreams in this comic, and has a nightmare about arriving in an exam, in a course she did not enrol in, unprepared and stressed. She runs through how she is going to confront the irrational fear, and then takes action.

In this case, going to the Dean, and explaining there has been an error. It’s a decent example of finding something that frightens you as a writer, and exploring it with a character.

Character arcs in the comic tie into their backstory, and their skill set. Squirrel Girl’s logical computer science knowledge contrasts with Nightmare’s abstract dreamscape powers.

The computer science is woven effectively into the comic script. She fights a dream monster – the Marvel villain Nightmare – by using the logic of Computer Science, which is the antithesis of the illogical and abstract dream world. This is solid storytelling.

In this way, the comic is also a nice example of science communications. If readers are interested, they can pursue some of the basic concepts explored here later.

If there ever is a Squirrel Girl movie (hopefully starring Anna Kendrick), this issue might make a great plot point to build from.

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