Gail Simone may be best known for writing DC’s Birds of Prey, but she has also worked on Secret Six, Welcome to Tranquility, The All-New Atom, and Deadpool. She has also worked on Wonder Woman and, infamously, on Batgirl.
FTN: Hey everyone! This is Todd Black and I’m sitting next to the legendary Gail Simone; Gail thank you for doing this with us.
GS: Hi everybody! It’s my pleasure.
FTN: Alright let’s start off with a big one, you are one of, if not the, ultimate writers of Barbara Gordon, aka Batgirl! Do you have a connection with this character that just allows you to keep making awesome stories for her?
GS: Well she has worked her way into my heart, ever since I was a young girl, then growing up and writing her as Oracle, then as Batgirl. And I really just identify with her as she is a really smart young, red-headed woman who wanted to do good things and make the world a better place. I respond to that, not that I am necessarily that, but I respond to that, and I like writing stories where we can try to tear her down, but we really can’t tear her down cause she will find a way to do what it is she’s born to do.
FTN: Ok this questions comes from a panel I just attended: Which version of Barbara do you prefer? Because one of the writers on the panel said that he prefers Oracle over Batgirl! What do you think?
GS: I love both! I think that both of these characters have a timeline of sorts. Barbara as Oracle, I think of her being in her 30s, whereas Barbara Gordon as Batgirl is in her 20s. So they each have their own timeline. Barbara Gordon in the New 52 is just starting out really, she’s very young, very inexperienced, she’s got some things to work through. Whereas Oracle is a little more mature, little more sure of herself. And I feel that they can both exist, and be great stories in and of themselves without having to worry about which one is better because I think they’re both great. And Batgirl New 52 is just not quite there yet in terms of being Oracle.
FTN: So with the New 52, is this a great chance to start fresh and tell new stories about the character? Or just rehash what makes her so epic?
GS: No, telling new stories is great, being able to tell stories about her being a young woman just out of college, being brilliant, having to get her first apartment, trying to get a job in her career…
FTN: Having a roommate.
GS: Yeah exactly. And seeing her blossom a little. Because she really is a hopeful character, even though we can do some dark subjects with her.
FTN: Another book you’re famous for is Birds of Prey. Recently, and I know you heard this, you were mentioned in the episode of Arrow that had the same name. They said that Huntress was on the corner of Gail and Simone. Was it just cool to see your run acknowledged in such a way?
GS: Yeah! It’s really fun, and I’m a comic book fan first before I’m a writer.
And that’s the kind of thing that readers do love, and just like anyone else I was like, “That is so cool!”. Being mentioned in any way is very cool and fun.
GS: No, you did not mishear that. I’ve been saying it for a long time. I particularly would like to get my hands on Mary Marvel, that would be amazing. Someday, hopefully we’ll get that to happen.
FTN: Anyone who knows me knows I’m a HUGE SHAZAM! fan so here’s hoping. Now you are so good with fans. There are long lines here at C2E2 for you, you sign everything you can. How would you describe the fans themselves? Are they your inspiration? Motivation to write good stories? Or are they the payoff when they come up to you and say, “I love your comics!”?
“I particularly would like to get my hands on Mary Marvel, that would be amazing. Someday, hopefully we’ll get that to happen.”
GS: OK, for me, when I sit down to write a comic of any kind, or whatever I’m writing, television, cartoon episode, whatever it is, I’m probably thinking about the readers’ experience. I think about who’s going to be on the other end of this story. Now it doesn’t mean I write a story for a particular fanbase or a particular mindset. I want them to feel like they got their money’s worth, I know it’s kind of weird but I think about that. Because I want things to happen and emotions to be felt, and to come out of the experience different than when you came into it. So I do think about those kinds of things and then when I go to a convention and I’m interacting with the readers, it’s really very rewarding to get their takes on it, what the story meant to them, how they responded. I find it really fun and rewarding.
FTN: Before I forget, little lightning round question. Who would win in a fight, Batgirl or Red Sonja?
GS: *laughs* I think, off the top of my head, I’d choose Batgirl but only because Batgirl’s just a genius and she can take the time to plan and strategize where Red Sonja will do whatever her first instinct does.
FTN: Sweet. Now you also do Red Sonja…
GS: For Dynamite Publishing.
FTN: Right, and to some, you’re actually with Red Sonia as much as Batgirl. What is it with you and red-head characters? Come to think of it, you did the Tomb Raider books and Lara Croft is brunette, but still!
GS: I just think there’s a lot of awesome comic book characters with red hair.
FTN: Is there one with red hair that you haven’t been able to write and want to?
GS: Well there’s several, Black Widow is a great character, Jean Grey, Batwoman…
FTN: Batwoman?! Awesome! Well, thank you so much Ms. Simone for doing this. And please continue to write great comics!
GS: Thank you so much!