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Interview with Squirrel Girl Artist Erica Henderson and Game Designer Casey Malone

Interview with Squirrel Girl Artist Erica Henderson and Game Designer Casey Malone

Ever play Bejeweled and think, “Man, this thing needs more Iron Man.” Well, the folks over at Marvel Puzzle Quest have made all your dreams come true. Marvel’s take on the classic match-3 formula is unique with its roster of heroes, villains, and missions featuring some of your favorite characters.

Now you can add Squirrel Girl to your unstoppable team. We talked to Erica Henderson, the current artist for the new Squirrel Girl Comics about bringing the character into action.

What was the biggest challenge illustrating for an app vs illustrating for the comic?

For the app there are fewer chances to get across who the character is. Essentially, the drawing is the same but in a comic you have the entire story to tell the audience what they need to know, and there are words which definitely help. With something like this, you have to distill all of that down into 2-3 images. I think something like that has the potential to be stale, but Jae Tsai, the artist at Demiurge who drew the avatars, did a lot to get personality in the different poses before we picked one.

Are there any special moves/powers that you wanted to make sure were in the game? For example, is there a special combo when she’s paired up with Iron Man?

Well, you can’t have Squirrel Girl without squirrels! Since Squirrel Girl can talk to and command the denizens of the forest (or more typically Central Park) we wanted to make sure at least one of her abilities told that story. Her Green Ability, Furry Friends destroys some tiles in each turn, which gets resources for the players – kind of like gathering nuts for winter – and then after a few turns the squirrels attack and deal a bunch of damage. It’s a really fun ability, and our artists Jae Tsai and Eric Orr created a really heroic but still hilarious visual effect that plays when you use it.

Are they any new maps/locations that are specific to Squirrel Girl and her story? What was is it like building that world and fitting into the current missions?

Nothing yet, but we’ve always got plans in the back of our head for stories to adapt from the comics using characters already in the game. One of my favorite Squirrel Girl stories was the Fear Itself tale of her protecting little Danielle Cage during the seige on Avengers Mansion during Fear Itself. And I haven’t been able to stop thinking about Moon Gorillas since I saw the cover to Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #3, so anything’s possible.

With the addition of Squirrel Girl as a playable character, are you excited about bringing her into more of the forefront in the Marvel Universe?

I’m excited. I know that she hasn’t been around that long (she’s so much younger than me) but I’m still really glad we get to bring a character who has mostly been either absent or on the sidelines or part of a team into the spotlight.

Since Squirrel Girl is known as being undefeated, do you think there are any villains in the game that’ll be up to the challenge?

Well, unfortunately for Squirrel Girl, it wouldn’t really be fair to make an undefeatable character in our game! We tried to show off the character’s “unbeatability” (is that a word?) in a few other ways, though – she’s got a little more Health Points than your average short E.S.U. Student would, and she has a great Yellow ability that makes it harder for her enemies to deal damage to her. The ability is called ‘The Bigger They Are’ and tells the story of Squirrel Girl rolling up on an enemy twice her size who’s underestimated her. It’s pretty cool. Our game doesn’t take place in the 616 Universe, though, and almost all of the villains in our game are A-Listers like Doctor Doom, Loki and The Juggernaut, so hopefully it won’t hurt Doreen’s street cred too much if she gets taken her down!

Will Tippy-Toe be in the game? Possibly as a character your can purchase or a special reward?

I don’t know if players are ready for Tippy-Toe as a standalone character! We did make sure that Squirrel Girl’s best friend is in the game though, and players can see Tippy-Toe perched on Squirrel Girl’s shoulder during battle, ready to lend a hand. Er, I mean… a paw.

What is your favorite thing about Squirrel Girl?

Totally her upbeat, never-say-die attitude. She’s not winning against big-time villains because she’s got a magic hammer or billion-dollar Starktech, but because she’s going to stay positive and never give up, or even redefine what it means to win, like she did in Ryan North and Erica’s Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #1. I really hope we were able to capture that spirit of the character in the Marvel Puzzle Quest version! My favorite thing about her is her optimism and her ability to see the best in people. She left the only team she’s been on because she’s SO good at superheroing that everyone else just sat back and she didn’t want to get in the way of their potential. She’s pretty great.

What other characters do you think they should bring into Marvel Puzzle Quest? What other mobile games should be playing? Let us know in the comments!

Learn more about Marvel Puzzle Quest here!

Interview by April Salud. Follow her on Twitter!

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