Gail Simone, longtime comic book writer for DC Comics (and snarky Twitterer), is in the midst of a career evolution at the moment. Simone's comics work started with the Women in Refrigerators website, which was a commentary on how female characters are all-too-often mistreated in comics (named after the 1990s story in which Green Lantern Kyle Rayner discovers his girlfriend's body stuffed in his refrigerator). WIR became an important part of the discussion of how female characters are treated in superhero comics - a discussion that continues today. Simone's work on WIR led to a column at Comic Book Resources titled "You'll All Be Sorry" and the humor in that column in turn led to Simone working on Simpsons comics.
It was her entry into superhero comics, however, that permanently shifted Simeone's career. Although she worked for Marvel a bit, including a run on Deadpool and then Agent X, Simone has primarily made her home at DC over the last decade. Popular books like Birds of Prey, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, and others solidified Simone as super hero writer with an outspoken fan base.
Now Simone is in a brand new position: that of a non-exclusive freelancer. For many creators, this can be a difficult hustle, as the shift from guaranteed work minimums to having to look for gigs can be a struggle. Simone seems to be thriving, however. Between working on various Red Sonja projects at Dynamite and writing a Tomb Raider series at Dark Horse, Simone is also still working at DC, with a Vertigo series called Clean Room on the way and preparing to relaunch of fan-favorite Secret Six, which is in stores on December 3.
In part one of this in-depth two-part interview, Simone spoke with ComicsAlliance about Women in Refrigerators, women in comics, and her occasionally tense time at DC.
That sound you just heard is the sound of one million Tumblrs updating.
On Tuesday morning DC announced titles, teams, and plot outlines for ten of its forty planned two-issue Convergence mini-series, which will coincide with the publisher's big event comic next spring and take the place of its regular monthly output. From the looks of it, there's plenty of fan-service involved for people who loved pre-New 52 DC continuity.
Not only is Renee Montoya getting her own two issues as The Question, written by Greg Rucka -- who initially put Montoya in that role -- and drawn by Cully Hamner; but there's a Stephanie Brown Batgirl series, a Nightwing/Oracle wedding story, a Wally West story, a Superman/Lois Lane marriage series, a Bruce/Damian Batman & Robin series, and so on.
As Vertigo's two currently longest-running series head to a close -- Bill Willingham's Fables and Mike Carey and Peter Gross's The Unwritten -- the DC imprint is doubtless looking for new series with long-term potential to run alongside FBP, Astro City, and American Vampire.
At New York Comic-Con on Friday the publisher announced two titles that might fit the bill, both from DC writers making their Vertigo debut. Grayson writer Tim Seeley will team with former Madame Xanadu artist Marley Zarcone on Effigy, while once and future Secret Six author Gail Simone and former 2000 AD artist Jonathan Davis-Hunt are the team behind Clean Room.
It's Celebrate Bisexuality Day today, also called Bisexual Visibility Day -- a day to celebrate and promote recognition of those who are sexually attracted to people of more than one gender. The day exists because people with non-monosexual queer identities face unusual challenges in being recognized by both mainstream and queer cultures, yet visibility helps break down barriers and encourage acceptance.
In superhero comics, the problem of bisexual invisibility is as ingrained as anywhere; the medium struggles to acknowledge the existence of anything that didn't exist in The Honeymooners or The Andy Griffith Show, unless it's a space god, a shapeshifter, or a parasitic psychic monster. Having a character say, "I'm bisexual" is apparently more implausible than any of those things. There are signs that the industry is changing in this regard -- but slowly, and rather half-heartedly.
When a company acquires the rights to a bunch of licensed characters, a crossover between them is almost inevitable -- and honestly, that's pretty exciting for a reader. I mean, who doesn't want to see the G.I. Joes throw down with the Ninja Turtles, or watch Doc Savage and the Shadow tear through pulpy crime lords, or see a time-spanning battle between RoboCop and the Terminator? It's something that we are pretty hard-wired as fans to be up for whenever it happens.
Today Dynamite announced one of those crossovers, but with a couple of twists. Firstly, the publisher is teaming up not two, but three of its licenses. Secondly, they're all women heroes, aligning for what writer Gail Simone describes as a "big, fun, noisy event book, full of action and fun and drama and sex and villainy," starring Vampirella, Red Sonja and Dejah Thoris.
Writer Gail Simone, who is getting ready to wrap up a sometimes-tumultuous run on Batgirl, has started a new Tumblr called Comics Survival Kit that aims to help up-and-coming or aspiring comic creators navigate the tricky landscape that is professional comics work.
With both Legends of the Dark Knight and Adventures of Superman sadly no longer with us, it seemed unlikely that Wonder Woman would also star in her own digital-first anthology series from DC Comics. Fortunately that's turned out not to be the case, as the publisher has confirmed the third member of its heroic "trinity" will indeed be the focus of Sensation Comics, a digital-first anthology launching in August that invites talents from across the spectrum of comics to share their own distinct visions of William Moulton Marston's amazon princess.
Like the Batman and Superman anthologies, Sensation Comics -- named for the Golden Age series in which Wonder Woman first appeared -- will feature stories not tied to the narrative continuity or artistic palette of DC's mainline New 52 comics.
It might just be me, but I have to imagine that for a lot of people my age, it's still a little surprising to see Bongo's commitment to producing kid-friendly Simpsons comics. Pleasantly surprised, you understand, but still, I remember being a kid when that show started, and I have fond memories of both the parental outcry about how the Simpsons were actively destroying family values and the truly hilarious explosion of bootleg merchandise that followed its initial popularity. And yet, here we are, with a long-running line of comics that uses some of the most popular characters in any medium of the last quarter century to tell stories directed squarely at younger readers, and does it with a consistently high level of quality.
The latest offering: The Wonderful World of Lisa Simpson #1, a one-shot anthology of stories focusing on the Simpsons' often beleaguered middle child, told by a roster of all-star creators, mostly women, and it is great.
The latest relaunches of Conan The Barbarian and Red Sonja -- published by Dark Horse and Dynamite, respectively --have revitalized both franchises. Writer Brian Wood's work on Conan has been well-received, and the announcement of Gail Simone writing a new Red Sonja ongoing brought a level of attention and excitement to the character that had not been seen in some time. And though the two series are currently released by separate publishers, the characters remain forever associated with each other. With that in mind, Dynamite Entertainment and Dark Horse have announced they will collaborate to release a crossover between Conan and Red Sonja, to be published by both companies and written by Wood and Simone.
While Scott Snyder's work on Batman has made him immensely popular among readers, the title that he first made his name on, and possibly the one most important to him, is American Vampire, his creator-owned series for Vertigo. Written by Snyder and illustrated by co-creator Rafael Albuquerque, American Vampire is the tale of Pearl, an aspiring actress turned into an ageless vampire in the 1920s. Through the lens of Pearl and her life, Snyder and Albuquerque explore the rise of America, from the 1920s up to, eventually, the present day.
The Eisner Award-winning series has been on hiatus since issue #34 in January, but to help fill the void for readers, Vertigo is releasing anAmerican Vampire anthology, with nine short stories from an impressive line up of creators: Greg Rucka, Becky Cloonan, Jason Aaron, John Paul Leon, Francesco Francavilla, Gail Simone, Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Bá, Fábio Moon, Declan Shalvey and more. You can check out the full lineup, plus preview art from the issue, below.
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