Squirrel of the Geek

I'm a well-known cat lover, but I like all sorts of animals. Squirrels, for example. Above is Grisoune (GrayZone for English-language badassery) holding a walnut I gave her for Christmas. She lives in the roof of the edifice I work in and climbs up there on a tree outside my window. While Squirrels don't exactly have the geek market penetration of felines, there are still a fair number of squirrels in animation, video games and comics. So which are my five favorites? Let's see. (Warning: Chipmunks are not eligible for inclusion, but flying squirrels are, by virtue of their species name.)
5. Spip. Snowy to Spirou's Tintin, the adventurous bell boy first encountered his squirrel sidekick in his very first adventure, and though the Marsupilami  became the more popular animal of the series when it and its outrageously long tail premiered 13 years later, Spip has always been at Spirou's side either as comic relief or for the occasional rope-nibbling rescue. He even eventually learns to speak and comment on the action(!), but Spirou and Fantasio lose the ability to understand him in later adventures. Unlike most Franco-Belgian bandes dessinées, Spirou suffered through many different authors, and Spip's fortunes, wit, skills and relationships went up and down depending on who was scripting him. So while I wanted to pay tribute to my French language heritage by including him, the lack of consistency keeps him at #5. (Interestingly, a "spirou" is the Walloon word for squirrel, which makes his use in the stories a Belgian pun.)
4. Ch'p. Yes, having an anthropomorphic squirrel in the Green Lantern Corps is abject silliness, but I love all those weirdo Lanterns - G'Nort and that mass of spores and Mogo the living planet - and Ch'p WAS part of the 80s team that lived on Earth after the Corps' collapse that time. He makes me want an Earth-1 Zoo Crew! But perhaps he wouldn't be on the list if he hadn't had a tragic end in Green Lantern: Mosaic, inextricably linking him to my favorite Green Lantern of all, John Stewart. Poor Ch'p. Being drawn more realistically was the death of him.
3. Secret Squirrel. Of all the Hanna-Barbera cartoon animals, my favorite as a kid, the one that whose toons didn't come up nearly enough in the rotation (at least by the time I was watching . I just loved the spy theme and all the gadgets (Inspector Gadget was a pale copy, IMO). Agent 000 was voiced by Mel Blanc, that's high quality casting, right there. They made some more in the 90s, I've got to check them out...
2. Tippy-Toe. Squirrel Girl has had two squirrel "familiars", and though Monkey Joe was first, Tippy-Toe, her current sidekick gains from the existence of the Unbeatable Squirrel Girl series in which she stars. She's gone toe to tippy-toe with MODOK and won. She's funny and she's adorable. I don't think Squirrel Girl's adventures would be quite the same without Tippy to bounce off of.
1. Rocky. If being the new kid on the block gives you an advantage in this competition, there's still no substitute for being a beloved veteran, and what can I say, Rocky the Flying Squirrel is near and dear to my heart. I used to do the whole of Rocket J's magic trick skit (with Bullwinkle) all the time, and still have the impulse to say "And now for something you'll really like" in June Foray's high voice when exposed to something lame. His naive optimism is sweet, and there's something joyful about his flying around with jet engine sounds or floating in mid-air. And you know, I love squirrels, but the very idea of a FLYING squirrel is amazing. Catching sight of one jumping from tree to tree is truly wonderful. For all those reasons, Rocky is my #1.

But maybe you have other, nuttier ideas. Maybe for you it's the slapstick genius of Scrat, or the anime stylings of the Acorn family, or the bad fur day of the squirrel known as Conker. Let us know in the comments.

3 comments:

Toby'c said...

First that comes to mind is Grace Sciuridae of one of my favourite webcomics, El Goonish Shive. Though she's technically a hybrid of half alien, one quarter human and one quarter squirrel.

Of your's, I really only have experience of Rocky, from watching the first season on DVD (I must get back to that one) and the vastly underrated live-action movie.

Matthew E said...

My allegiance will always be to Slappy Squirrel of Animaniacs.

Anonymous said...

Sorry for the length, I started with just a list. And then I thought I’ll just write a quick something about each. And that became 4 sentences and then 7 and then it a full paragraph for each!
5# Conker  a red squirrel that appears in a series of platform video games created by Rare. Conker made his debut as a playable character in Diddy Kong Racing in 1997 and was my favorite to play as. His first appearance was family friendly and geared towards children... then later games had more mature content, which include graphic violence, sexual innuendo and strong language. One of his most famous games is Conker's Bad Fur Day. Where you follow Conker embarking on a quest simply to return home to his girlfriend, after a night of binge drinking with his friends. Not so child friendly but a great game that I enjoyed very much.
#4 Fluffernutter is a pink squirrel that is a residence at the Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends. It is revealed that she was created by a child that later became a rough and tough motorcyclist and is not in need for her imaginary friend anymore. Therefor Flutternutter was relocated to the titular orphanage for imaginary friends. There she is always ready for an adventures like the ones in the good old days where she grew up experiencing life on the road with wind in her fur. This adorable tomboy is also a badass lead guitarist in the band, Pizza Party. There is no denying this little lady’s spirit and willingness to take chances.
#3 Banner is a squirrel who became an orphan as a baby but then was adopted and raised by a farm cat. Unfortunately a fire sticks their home which separates them, fleeing from the fire Banner took shelter into the nearby forest. In his new home he befriends the wild squirrels and learns to survive. However his feline upbringing means he is braver, tougher and is fearless compared to the other squirrels. Rather than fleeing from predators he will often attack them head on, especially to save his friends. I was originally familiar with the Tv series growing up. It was only years later that I was able to get the book that it was based on . Both terrific works where Banner positive, innocence, quite wit and caring personality melted my heart.
#2 Nutty is a very particular light green squirrel with an intense addiction to anything sweet. To the point of sometimes foams at the mouth and having withdrawal symptoms when deprived from anything sugar-related. As a result of this severe addiction he is often hyperactive and jittery, and giggles more than he talks (To the point of even giggling while dead). He is one of the few characters from the show to have an account on MySpace, where he mentions the fourteen dental cavities he has. This is probably the result of brushes his teeth with a lollipop and sugar, and uses pop as mouthwash. Nutty cares more about candy than he does about his friends, which often led to the demise of both himself and others. But it is his hyperactive personality and his unhealthy addiction that has made him for me one of the show's most memorable and hilarious characters.
#1 Ao  is Shin-Ah's loyal squirrel companion. Shin-ah first encountered his squirrel sidekick is before the events of the main story. They met when Shin-Ah tried to shelter Ao from the rain with a large leaf, which in turn was eaten by the squirrel. From that moment Ao followed Shin-Ah and never left his side. She an adorable sidekick and is often a comedy relief. She often eat nuts and grains, when she can’t find any she is seen eating Yona’s earing and randomly biting fingers. She tries to make people cheer up , specially Yona and Shin-Ah, if they are feeling down or sad by rubbing their face or acting silly. Also has a habit of stuffing acorns in the mouth of those who are sick or injured. She is a goofy, mischievous, smart, caring and also the most adorable squirrel ever (KAWAII TO THE EXTREME (chubby cheeks, super kawaii eyes and so fluffy, just awwwe! :3)) and that why this little lady get my #1 spot

Had a blast doing this list!
Josie Ribbon and Bowes

 

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