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Koi Boi

“Greetings, citizen. I am Koi Boi, defender of New York and protector of the scales of justice.”

Ken Shiga is a student at Empire State University where he attends an Introduction to Databases class along with Doreen Green (AKA Squirrel Girl) and Tomas Lara-Perez. He and Tomas are friends and have dual identities with animal based powers like Doreen. Ken is Koi Boi and Tomas is Chipmunk Hunk. Tomas actually appeared in issue #1.

Koi Boi and Chipmunk Hunk arrive to help Squirrel Girl in a fight with a hippo who inexplicably has mutated into an “adult hippo man with literally zero education” who’s resorted to robbing banks as a way to buy his daily 90 pounds food intake. To be honest, the two are there mostly for support and as a means of introduction into the series for readers. They’re both on hand to help Doreen again when the students and professor in their database class come under the influence of Ratatoskr, a messenger squirrel being from Norse mythology who has some malicious intents in this story.

Columnist Elle Collins spotted a clue about Koi Boi that led her to think Ken is a transgender male. She noticed that in a panel of issue #9 Ken is shown wearing a chest binder as he changes into his Koi Boi uniform. Collins notes that transgender comics writer Magdalene Visaggio asked Squirrel Girl artist Erica Henderson about this on Twitter, to which Henderson confirmed that the character is trans but that she and writer North hadn’t any intention of doing “a very special episode”. Collins makes a valid point that this fact about Koi Boi should be confirmed in the comic. Gay League contributor Mike McDermott had mentioned in emails with me back in June the prospect of Koi Boi being a member of the LGBT community based on the alt spelling “boi”.

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Koi Boi shows loyalty, determination, resolve, and acts without hesitation when it comes to facing adverse situations. He also has a sense of pride both personally and as a superhero. While his origin has yet to be revealed, Koi Boi is known to communicate with fish and has a “Fish Force” upon which he can call for help. He’s able to swim at super speed and to breathe underwater. Unlike his other two aquatic counterparts (Namor and Aquaman), Koi Boi can grow, albeit slowly, to fit the size of a container. It’s unclear if this means he can decrease his size though.

Koi Boi is able to communicate with fish; the limits of this ability are unknown. He is also able to swim at superhuman speeds and to breathe underwater. He is able to grow very slowly to fit the size of his container. Due to his powers he has developed advanced knowledge of fish and the fish-adjacent.

Koi Boi’s first appearance is in Squirrel Girl #6.

Created by Ryan North and Erica Henderson. Art by Erica Henderson, Tom Fowler, and Rico Renzi.

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July 18, 2021
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