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Writer of Birds of Prey and Wonder Woman

by Richard Vasseur - (Posted: 10/15/2007)

Gail Simone

Richard: Where were you born and raised and what was life like growing up?

Gail: I was born in a very small coastal Oregon town. We lived on a farm for most of my childhood, very isolated, very remote. Reading was a huge thing for me, a connection with the outside world.

Richard: What is "Women in Refrigerators"?

Gail: It started as a question...I was reading comics and it seemed to me that there was a disproportionate amount of stories where the female characters, many of them long-running, were killed, depowered or mutilated for what seemed to be cheap shock value. It was never meant to be an indictment, it was just a question, "Does this observation hold water?" I sent a letter to all the pros I knew asking them what their opinion was. Some disagreed strenuously, but others knew exactly what I was asking about.

It's still a fair question today, unfortunately.

Richard: What did you most enjoy about writing "Deadpool"?

Gail: Well, working with Udon, and the fantastic editors I had at first, Mike Raicht and Mike Marts. Those guys were just incredible, great taste, great insight, and very dedicated, supportive and fun.

But the biggest thrill was working with Alvin Lee, Erik Ko, and Udon. Just wonderful people to work with. It was my first ongoing, and for a while, I thought it would probably be my last, as I almost quit comics altogether when the editors moved on to the X-men. I've said this a lot and I stress it again, if I'd not been such a newbie, I would have handled it better, it was NOT all the new editor's fault. But at the time, I thought, "Holy crap, if this is how comics are made, I'm staying a hairdresser." It got really bad.

But I did handle a lot of it badly and made it all worse. It was very, very cool of Marvel to ask me back to finish the Agent X story properly.

Richard: How did you end up working on "Birds of Prey"?

Gail: If I remember, Geoff Johns and Ed Brubaker had both heard it was opening up, and I think Geoff actually FORCED me to toss my name into the hat. I really owe both those guys a lot.

But as it turns out, the editor, Lysa Hawkins, had just read Killer Princesses, a book I'd written with artist and co-creator Lea Hernandez, and she was convinced I could do it. I was kind of hesitant, didn't want to be typecast as a girl writer. But I loved that book and those characters, and still miss it all the time.

Richard: Do you feel you have a better understanding of "Birds of Prey" since you are a woman writing about women?

Gail: Eh, yes and no. A good writer HAS to be able to have empathy with characters not of their life experience. You simply can't be a writer and not be able to write the gender that is the most populous on Earth.

But does it give me a little leg up on some areas, maybe.

Richard: You worked on the "Simpson's Comics" do you like writing funny comics?

Gail: Oh, yeah, I miss that terribly as well. Writing the Simpson's is daunting--they've simply DONE everything already. So much so that even writing for OTHER comedy books and shows can be tough because the Simpson's drank up so much of the idea well.

But yeah, I'm hoping to do a full on comedy book again at some point. I look at some of the great crime comics writers, and I know they'll probably always be better than me at that genre. But I feel very confident in my comedy writing, and I know some of them can't really pull off the funny to the same degree. We're all sort of playing to our talents as best we can.

Richard: How are you enjoying your run on Wonder Woman?

Loving it. I can't even explain. I am thinking of Wonder Woman constantly, and I've never been so far ahead on stories I want to do. New stuff is just coming up all the time. I think she could be DC's next new breakout star, sixty years of history or not.

And the art is gorgeous. The Dodson's, what can you say? They were born to draw this stuff.

I want to add that the editors are a dream team as well, Matt Idelson and Nachie Castro. I adore them. I feel really blessed.

Richard: If you could work on any comic you have not worked on which one would it be and why?

Gail: Captain Marvel. I just think he's a sleeping giant, sort of a cross between the best of superheroes and the best of Disney.

Richard: What do you do with any free time you have?

Gail: Well, this year I'm traveling a lot, related to conventions and appearances; Singapore, New York, Florida, Canada, Seattle, San Diego, New Zealand, Australia, on and on. The spare time I do have I spend with my wonderful family.

Richard: What other jobs have you had besides writing?

Gail: I've been a sales manager, but mostly, I was a hairdresser, had my own shop and everything, well into my writing career.

Richard: Who is the most important person in your life?

Gail: Oh, my husband and son, and I wouldn't choose between them. They're my light. And my sister is my best friend outside of that. Mark Waid has always been an incredibly good friend, as well.

Richard: What future projects do you have?

Gail: Well, Wonder Woman, the All-New Atom, Tranquility, and two new big DC projects, very exciting stuff I can't talk about yet. I'm happy!

Richard: What comics did you read as a child and do you read now?

Gail: As a kid, I would read any comic. I was not the least bit discriminating. Now I love Gon, anything by Junji Ito, Monster, Goon, anything by Waid, Busiek, Johns, Mark Millar, Ed Brubaker, lots and lots of stuff.

Richard: How can someone contact you?

Gail: I have a myspace page, and a message board at .

Richard: Any last words of wisdom?

Gail: Just thanks for all the support, and I hope people give Wonder Woman a shot. I am loving it to bits.


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