Gail Simone is ‘no longer the writer’ for Batgirl

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Gail Simone has explained today on Twitter that, as of this week, she will no longer be the writer for DC’s Batgirl series.

 

Simone came onto the series as part of the New 52, controversially giving the Barbara Gordon character back the ability to walk, and putting her back in the cloak. The series has had solid sales since the launch.

This means that Simone, one of the more prominent and popular DC writers, now only has one other announced project left with DC at present, which will be a story in the upcoming Time Warp anthology from Vertigo.

While her DC work may now be concluding, Simone still has the successfully-funded Kickstarter project Leaving Megalopolis coming out next year, along with I’m sure a range of other projects.

Comments

  1. Evan Meadow says:

    Its official, DC really is being run by idiots right now. They just think because of the numbers of the New 52 they really can do anything they want and we’re not going to notice.

    This one will not go away quietly.

  2. Bill Gatevackes says:

    So, she was taken off? As if they could find someone better to replace her? Weak.

  3. Mercer, J and Shingler, M says:

    Whilst it is a shame that there is one less woman writer at DC, I found Gail Simone’s Batgirl to be an excruciatingly poorly written book. But then, so are a lot of DC books at the moment. What doesn’t make sense to me is why they would let go of such a popular writer, who is the main reason many women and girls read comic books in the first place.

  4. Sean Stoltey says:

    I don’t understand the sales they get, the books are for the most part not that good. For me anyway, to each their own I guess. This just makes one more book of theirs I can drop now. It’s just Snyder’s Batman and the Earth-2 themed books for me now.

  5. So totally being a rabble-rouser right now…Karen Berger and now Gail Simone. Is this the dawn of the great female cartoonist purge @ DC?

  6. comment deleted!

  7. Torsten Adair says:

    The first Batgirl hardcover collection charted at #4 on the New York Times Bestseller list last July.

    It looks like DC is shooting itself in the foot. But at least that foot isn’t in mouth (yet).

  8. Shit on a stick! That’s not good news. Makes me even gladder I swore off all DC comics a while back.

  9. Well, there’s one more DC book I can drop. And honestly, DC’s consistent corporate/editorial stupidity isn’t quite enough to make me boycott them entirely, but they’re making it really hard to resist dropping their books that I’m on the fence about, of which there are several at this point.

  10. Dasbender says:

    Guilt alleviated. I loved every issue of Simone’s Birds of Prey and have been feeling guilty for not supporting her Batgirl. I just couldn’t get behind the reversal of Oracle, even though I wanted to support Gail. Glad I can wash my hands of the whole mess. In fact, aside from Lemire and Snyder, I can wash my hands of DC altogether!

  11. Kater says:

    To be fair, I’ve read a few of the Batgirl books and they weren’t really any good. Found the writing to be pretty dull. Obviously, with Simone being one of the very few female writers for DC, this inevitably turns into a discussion about gender. Still, and of course you never know how much of it got killed in the editing departement, but Batgirl didn’t do much to convince me that Simone was a good writer. And a new writer might actually make me interested in this book again.

    A really pleasent surprise would be if DC actually replaces Simone with a new female (and better) writer, but I kinda doubt that will happen.

  12. John Smith says:

    Repeat after me:
    DC does not care about female characters.
    DC does not care about female readers.
    DC does not care about female creators.
    Why this is a surprise to anyone, including Ms. Simone, is beyond me. Clearly, years of being an apologist for DC’s misogynist line of comics bought her absolutely bupkis in the way of professionalism and respect.

  13. Mesektet says:

    Not really a fan. I stopped reading Batgirl after the first arc, it was pretty awful IMO. The first issue of Firestorm was even worse.

    Why does this show that DC doesn’t care about female creators? Should they keep hiring subpar writers just because they are female? I’m sure they don’t care what gender a writer is as long as they are talented.

  14. blacaucasian says:

    I think it’s a n incredible shame that the editor found the need to e-mail her instead of at least trying to call and talk to her about it. I really do think a lot of the editors ego’s over there are bigger then they ought to be.

    That being said, the people already crying that DC “doesn’t care about female creators” simply because Gail was fired from the book don’t have enough facts (and the way internal workings wok at DC, likely never will) to make this claim. Likely this more comes down to an editor and creator not having the same vision for a book moreso then Gail Simone being a woman.

    There’s a lot of editors over at DC right now that actually don’t seem to have an ability to work with talent in order to get out of their own way. Book seems to be running along fine when it was strictly under the Bat office. Move the book to a new editor and voila! Problems.

    Anybody know who the editor of Firestorm was when Gail walked off that book? I bet dollars to donuts it was Brian Cunningham. In which case DiDio and Harras should have known better.

    The whole thing sucks and is incredibly unfortunate.

  15. Who can follow up Gail on Batgirl?! Other then Batgirl Year One I can’t think of a single story that can compare to her current run.

  16. I feel like someone has to speak up to say that Gail Simone’s BATGIRL was quite good. More importantly, it was quite successful commercially (I believe it’s DC’s best-selling title that doesn’t directly feature the movie stars Superman, Batman, or Green Lantern, and the first collection of the series sold gangbusters). It’s bewildering that they would fire her.

  17. What Kevin said! I picked up Batgirl on a whim when the New 52 started and I was sampling all kinds of titles, and Gail Simone’s writing made Batgirl one of the few titles I actually stuck with. It wasn’t my favorite comic or anything, but it was a solidly entertaining superhero book that I looked forward to every month.

    blacaucasian: “Anybody know who the editor of Firestorm was when Gail walked off that book? I bet dollars to donuts it was Brian Cunningham.”

    According to ComicBookDB, it was Rachel Gluckstern and Rickey A. Purdin. Also according to CBDB, Cunningham and Simone previously worked together on 7 issues of Wonder Woman.

  18. blacaucasian says:

    I stand corrected then.

  19. Mercer, J and Shingler, M says:

    blacaucasian: it’s best to look stuff up before making assumptions.

  20. Is this about her being a woman? DC has fired a fuck ton of talent since new 52 started. It’s a trend that crosses gender lines.

  21. Jroug says:

    Fwiw, you can’t really judge any DC writer’s work at face value right now – editorial is WAY too involved for the work to regarded as one person’s – unless it’s Geoff Johns, JMS or Snyder. Otherwise you’ve got Bob Harras (of all people!!!!) ruining your work on the regular. What a joke they are….

  22. Charles says:

    DC really do have a problem with keeping their creators. The number of high profile creators that have left DC and have publicly criticized the going-ons in the company (Mark Waid, George Perez, Chris Roberson, Rob Liefeld, Greg Rucka, John Rozum) is very disturbing. What’s more disturbing is passing on on guys like Rick Remender and bringing back Jim Starlin and Tom Defalco. That’s just poor management. There’s no doubt that DC still have talented guys like Lemire, Snyder and Layman but it seems that editors there can’t decide if they want to be editors or writers.

    Removing Simone from Batgirl by e-mail is pretty classless considering the fact that its one of their top selling titles (so obviously a good number of people are enjoying her work).

    DC need to get their sh!t together.

  23. The sales were quite good. I was shocked several times to see it selling significantly more than Batwoman, for example.

    Simone is hit and miss with me. I tried out a couple issues of Batgirl and found it mediocre. I’ve read glowing reviews of it, and I’ve read scathing reviews of it.

    But given the quite good (though not amazingly great) sales figures, I have no idea why Simone would be off the book. It seems she’s gone out of her way to tie-in with the Owls and Joker events, devoting more issues of Batgirl to those themes than other, lesser-selling Bat-titles did.

    I wonder what the reasoning was.

    Oh, total sexism, right. Of course. HAS to be. Yep. And whatever creative disagreement there might have been, we should always automatically assume that the writer was right and editorial was totally wrong and unreasonable. I mean, wouldn’t want to be prejudiced about anything, so we should call sexism right now and blame editors who MUST be sexist because they are male. Yes, that is a reasonable and non-annoying way to always interpret the facts based on one (professional and objective) Twitter message.

  24. akachris says:

    Sending out an email to fire someone off a comic book is totally unprofessional and does not speak well of the editor and the editorial department.

  25. Charles Knight says:

    Not sure why this is pitched as a gender thing – unless there is some factor not already revealed, this seems the standard WFH tale of woe – you are useful until you are not or your face doesn’t fit and then you are tossed to the kerb.

  26. ikaras says:

    They broke up with her through email? Very classy. Did they also say it not you, its me?

  27. AndyD says:

    According to an interview, Alan Grant got fired of Batman with a fax. Other decade, other technology, same class.

  28. With Karen Berger and now GailSimone off Batgirl I am wondering whether DCComics is trying to break away from their female comic fans.

    The only thing to do now for female, if not male, readers to do is boycott Batgirl. The strongest way to show how you feel about a decision in the comic industry is to spend your money on a title that supports female artists and writer.
    The comic industry already has a huge lack of female creators, artists, writers. This sort of behavior needs to stop because it shows that the Big 2 comic book company doesn’t care about the female comic book fanbase.

  29. What is a female writer takes over Batgirl, and the karmic balance is maintained?

  30. Jroug says:

    While no doubt comics need more female writers and Gail leaving DC is their loss, it’s SOOOOO knee-jerk to see this as part of a movement to remove / devalue female writers. If her contract was up, as reported in K&B, that’s not a gender thing and the e-mail notification becomes less evil as well (although a call is always better and classier). It’s quite possible both parties were trying to work out an arrangement to keep her on the book, but couldn’t come to terms. In any case, she’s better off (and DC is worse off). I hope the kickstarter and other future projects are successful for her.

  31. Johnny Memeonic says:

    What’s more disturbing is passing on on guys like Rick Remender and bringing back Jim Starlin and Tom Defalco. That’s just poor management.

    All due respect to Rick Remender, but Jim Starlin is and was a much more accomplished creator. Remender now writes an Avengers title. By this point in his career Jim Starlin had created the Marvel cosmic backstory everyone loves, the Death of Captain Marvel graphic novel, and the death of Jason Todd. And Infinity Gauntlet was only a year or two away. Getting him to work for you instead of just about any other creator short of Alan Moore should never be listed as a negative.

  32. Swampy says:

    Getting fired by email is S.O.P. at most corporations in America.

  33. I think the indignation about her being “fired” by e-mail is pretty synthetic – I’ve had more than one letter of acceptance that way, and didn’t feel I was being demeaned.

  34. MBunge says:

    “Jim Starlin is and was a much more accomplished creator.”

    And wrote comics that were read by a much larger audience, though that may not be a plus today. The kind of storytelling that appeals more broadly often fails to satisfy the smaller, more particular readership.

    Mike

  35. To the people who are complaining about the “knee-jerk” reaction to Gail’s firing as part of a general issue with female creators, a little context…
    DC has already fielded complaints about the under-representation of female writers / creators. Only 5-10% of the talent on mainstream titles have been women in recent years. When the “New 52″ lineup was announced last year, this was a point of controversy.

    Yes, comics tends to be a guy-centric industry both in terms of the fanbase and its pool of talent. However, that may be in part because the comics industry has long had a reputation of sexism and misogyny towards female creators, female fans and female characters. The examples are legion — from female creators complaining about sexual harassment from editors, to Tony Harris’s notorious rant about female cosplayers, to the spate of “women in refrigerators” in storylines where female characters were gruesomely sacrificed in scenarios designed to provide artificial angst and drama for the male leads.

    (Speaking of “women in refrigerators,” the only hint of WHY Gail was let go has been her ambiguous response to a Tweet wondering if she was fired for refusing to put “women in refrigerators.”)

    In a shrinking industry with a dearth of female creators and fans, it’s disquieting to see the atmosphere become seemingly even MORE hostile… and it starts to look like a pattern when editor Karen Berger and writer Gail Simone are both forced out of the company in the same week. Both were very successful in drawing women readers to the male-dominated bastion of the comics industry. Hopefully, it’s NOT a pattern, but the onus is on DC to prove this.

  36. I said this once to a another lady cartoonist complaining, rattling off the usual talking points of women in comics: Start your own publishing company for women creators….she gave me the reply of “I don’t need a MAN to tell me that!” so occums razor that fell on deaf ears, but seriously it can be done.

    A publisher of women’s “mainstream”/genre comics is just dying to be made to fulfill a pretty damn vocal problem with a guarantee to print money! If they don’t want to hire women(Marvel/DC), you hire them instead.

    Not to call her out, but Renae De Liz already has a coalition of ladies and the strong support from the VERY successful Womanthology Kickstarter to easily raise the funds to make it happen. Do It!!!

  37. Kevin says:

    It’s a shame. But I’m looking forward to receiving my copy of Leaving Megalopolis and wish her the best. (Also would love love love to see a Secret Six omnibus).

  38. Are there stories/rumours about Karen Berger being “forced out” that I haven’t heard? Anything’s possible, of course, but it seems rather odd to tie the fate of a Senior Editor & VP to that of a freelancer, even if they do share the same gender.

  39. @Swampy, as a former corporate comics editor myself, I can say that my SOP for changing anything at all on the creative team was a dinner out, or, if that wasn’t possible, a really long phone conversation.

    Higher-ups may make the decision, but it’s up to each manager (and an editor is the manager of his/her freelance staff) to figure out how to convey the decision.

  40. SniktSnakt says:

    I was more surprised to hear that Simone was still writing anything at DC, much less a New 52 book.

    IMO her writing went to crap a loooong time ago, around her Wonder Woman/BOP vol 2 tenure…

  41. Chris Hero says:

    @Jesse Post

    I’m in management at a huge, multi-national corporation. We just got through firing two people. Both were to be fired over e-mail until a few of us got together, protested, and got to do it through a conference call. A nice dinner would be grounds for us managers getting fired. I really need to get out of the corporate workplace….

  42. Carlos says:

    Wah-wah, DC hates famale creators… It’s all your fault, you whiny bastards, that godawful Ann Nocenti got herself third ongoing. DC, stop listening these lunatics and start hiring people according to their talents and not according to their dick or vagina ownership.

  43. @Chris — Sure, there’s an HR protocol for formally firing or laying off a salaried employee, of course. But even that protocol is usually designed to minimize any harm to the relationship (which can in turn cause harm to the company later). And then after the protocol is followed you’re welcome to take your fired employee out to dinner (they don’t control whom you socialize with).

    But there’s also a difference between firing a salaried employee and making a change to the freelance creative team of a publication. People shift all the time, moved to different books, books are cancelled, etc. It’s just up to the manager how it’s all handled.

Trackbacks

  1. […] Gail Simone is ‘no longer the writer’ for Batgirl (comicsbeat.com) […]

  2. […] meltdown here, in which case DC have made one of the quickest turnarounds in recent memory. Simone was only fired a few weeks ago, with it looking as though she was not only off the book – but gone from DC as a whole. This […]

  3. […] editorial clusterfuck that involved series writer Gail Simone being notified that she was getting fired off the book via e-mail and then being brought back on to what can most charitably be described as a media shit storm. So […]

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