Something’s amiss in Gotham and the Bat-Family is suffering a huge loss. Sure, some of us have been dumped by text messages or have accidentally posted “I Quit” status updates on our companies’ Facebook page, thinking it was our own. We’ve never been fired for being a role model over e-mail. Last Wednesday, our holiest of comic book days, Gail Simone was fired from DC Comics. What forensic evidence is left behind from this crime against comics? Barbara Gordon as Batgirl and Oracle act as role models to both young women with able bodies and with challenged bodies. Gail stands out as one of DC’s lone female creators in an industry dominated by men. Karen Berger leaves DC Comics’ Vertigo imprint after 20 years early next year. Everyone is baffled.
The comic industry rolls on, churning out the Bat-Family and all the Spider-Man books a month that are the backbone to the thing. Sure, people get fired, creative teams change, books and whole universes get rebooted. Like, constantly. So, why all the drama and shout outs on Twitter and Tumblr this week? Because Gail Simone is amazing.
Many think this decision is unfair and we were all caught by surprise. Who are we to comment on the small speck of paint on Warner’s intellectual property canvas that we were staring at? We’re comic fans, dammit. It’s kind of our thing.
We wanted to eek out at least another year of issues with Gail at the helm. She had us going rooting for bad guys with her Secret Six run (Secret Six was a pre-New 52 team book of villains starring Dark Knight Rises taskmaster Bane alongside Deadshot, our favorite Catman, Rag Doll, and more). Another team book Simone directed was Birds of Prey with Barbara Gordon as a paralyzed and empowered Oracle, Black Canary and The Huntress.
Unlike Two-Face, we can’t make heads or tails of this decision to fire Gail without the courtesy of a phone call.
In the age where there is a stream of tweets from comic creators communicating with their fans and each other 24 hours a day, we heard the news immediately from the inspirational creator.
And now, good luck trying to stop the flood of support and kind words from fellow Batwriters and top level creators at both companies standing shoulder to shoulder with fans to uplift Gail’s spirit.
DC remains tight-lipped about the decision. While The New 52 has reinvigorated interest in old properties and takes the lead on digital distribution, something must be happening from top down to make creators unhappy. Rob Liefeld walked away from three books he was working on this summer because of frustration. Add master artist George Perez to the list of former New 52 creators banging their heads against the DC Comics editorial wall.
Speculation is all that we as fans can do at this point. All reports show that Batgirl was and continues to be a well regarded and top selling book, sticking out from the shelves with a certain indescribable sparkle. The New 52 concept of repairing Bab’s broken spine and putting her back on as a street level hero took some getting used to, but was handled in a way to not alienate fans of previous incarnations of the character.
Gail Simone did for Batgirl what J.J. Abrams did for Star Trek.
Besides the reaction of comic book pros, we get the reaction of sub-groups of Batgirl and Gail Simone fans out there, including but not limited to young ladies, young girls, transgender folks and of course many strong individuals who just happen to be in a wheelchair or otherwise differently-abled.
Gail has been vocal about how much the support means to her, and the best stuff is coming through the filter of her tumblr page. Adam Batemen wrote a commentary on The Examiner speaking to the inspirational nature of Gail’s take on the character from the perspective of someone born without legs. This touching display of gratitude conjures sympathy and gives back strength to the writer who freely continues to give hope to so many people.
I think I have gotten to the root of what is making the comic community so uncomfortable.
Are we so disconnected with our technology and earbuds that we can’t pick up the phone to make a phone call to an employee?
Are corporations that cold to be emailing dismissal notices to top talent? Please remember that George Clooney (former Batman) plays a carachter in Up in the Air that is hired by companies to fire people face to face en masse. Something isn’t right here. Even Scott Forstall eventually got a public explanation from his former employer. Perhaps DC will issue a statement like Tim Cook’s, but we sort of doubt it.
We anticipate Gail Simone’s career to be on pause temporarily, as any company is lucky to have her work with existing properties or to encourage her to publish her own stories, on her terms. We hope that she continues to get such lavish support from friends and fans and continue to entertain and communicate with us via her lively twitter feed @GailSimone.
BUT WAIT…THERE’S MORE! CHECK OUT LEAGUEPODCAST.COM — BOSTON’S COMIC BOOK AND POP CULTURE PODCAST — “Thinking about Comics since 2009″!
League of Ordinary Gentlemen #136 — Bronies and Jabronies
This week, Uncanny Avengers #2, All-New X-men #2, the story of G.I. Joe: Cobra #19 and X-men: Days of Future Past. Direct Download / Mp3 Stream (opens in new window).