Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gail Simone off Batgirl...

Not Cass Batgirl, obviously.

You know, I haven't read that much of Gail Simone's comic book writing.  A few issues of Birds of Prey and one of the new Batgirl, a smattering of her decent but not world-beating Gen13 relaunch, and that's it.  I hated, hated, hated her "Angel of the Bat" proposal for Cass Cain.  It just seemed forced and wrong.  Sometimes sending a character off on an unexpected tangent works, and that just wasn't going to be it.  It was too much like "Frank Castle, Demon Hunter" or whatever it was Marvel did to the Punisher for a while before they took him back to his roots and made the character relevant again-- with two crappy movies to show for it, two more than Cass will ever have.

But I have read a number of Simone's message board posts where she's engaged with other creators-- sometimes contentiously-- and fans and she's often been my hero of the moment.  Scoring points, fighting the good fight, taking the high road and other such cliches you use when someone impresses you with his or her discourse.  People dig her writing, but professionals and fans also like her as a person and with good reason.

Gail Simone was the one saving grace in all the reboot turmoil, all the clumsy re-configuring of continuity and the whimsical explanations for various inconsistencies and character omissions.  Plus the largely ugly costume updates.  Yikes.  And with her dedicated fan base, she was the one person who could have possibly taken Barbara Gordon from Oracle back to Batgirl with all the problematic changes that involved-- essentially killing off a character/concept with a lot of symbolic importance for a number of readers, pushing aside another fan-fave character-- without a comic fan apocalypse.  Without having hundreds of fans storm the DC offices as if it were the Bastille (the regime in control of which the upper management there is increasingly resembling).  Even with her involvement it was a near thing.  Through it all she displayed nothing less than class.  Just a first rate performance as a creator being scrutinized under the harshest of lights, in a pressure-filled moment.  Grace under pressure.

She's doing it again under much worse circumstances right now, too.

I have no idea what goes on at DC Comics.  I'm not a fan of the New 52 and just about the only current character I like at all is Katana (with the best costume at DC now that Black Bat is defunct).  They don't seem to make many decisions aimed at bringing me back as a reader, unless it's something to do with their back catalog and, frankly, Marvel and Dark Horse both own them there.  The creator turnover lately has been troubling.  There's probably some good reason for dumping a writer from a title that's aces with both the critics and the money-paying fans.  As a non-professional, non-industry, outsider type person I can't imagine what that might be.  But I do think firing someone (especially someone who's had DC's back the way Simone has for the last few years) via e-mail is a tasteless move by someone who knows full well what being fired in a tasteless move feels like.  He's also managed to wreck the next writer and probably scuttle the book entirely.

Anyway, that's my take on this.  The next few days should be quite interesting!

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