When you look at the list of female comic book writers over the years, Gail Simone is certainly at the top of the list. One of the most beloved writers in the industry, Gail Simone has had a knack for revamping obscure characters (as shown in her critically-acclaimed Secret Six series), adding new depth to established ones (as shown in her acclaimed runs on Birds of Prey & Wonder Woman), and she has also created her own characters (the 3rd Atom Ryan Choi). While she has mostly connected to DC, Ms. Simone has also worked at Marvel (writing a couple issues of Deadpool, & Agent X). One character she has brought back into the spotlight more than any other is Barbara Gordon, the 1st Batgirl.
Barbara (as basically everyone knows) is the daughter of GCPD commissioner James Gordon. She eventually became Batgirl, going on many adventures with the Bat-Family and on her own. During Batman: The Killing Joke (One of the most controversial & acclaimed Bat-stories ever), Barbara was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot by the Joker. But instead of giving up, she became the Oracle, using her intelligence, her fathers police connections, & hacking skills to aid Batman & others in the superhero community. Here is where Simone comes in, she took the character and re-invented her for a new generation, taking over the Birds of Prey series where previous writer Chuck Dixon left off, she added even more development to the already popular character, as well as the others of the B.O.P. team. With complex, intriguing stories & deep, meaningful characterization, Simone was fastly becoming one of DC’s most popular writers.
Enter the New 52, DC’s universe-wide reboot last year was already (& still continues to be) controversial, but one of the most contentious decisions made by DC was the decision to make Barbara Batgirl again. Fans were outraged that the once “handi-capable” heroine went back to being Batgirl after defining herself as Oracle, raged was slightly quelled however when it was announced that Simone was writing it. It was said in the new universe that The Killing Joke still happened, and that she was Oracle for a time, but she regained use of her legs due to an experimental surgery in Africa. As lazy and contrived the retcon was, the the first issue was still a hot seller. The reaction to the comics as the story went on were mixed, some issues being good, others decent, but Simone showed she was still capable of writing a good Batgirl story. However it was recently announced (via Gail Simone’s twitter) that she would no longer be writing Batgirl:
Fan response has been huge, mostly negative to the decision. It is unknown who will replace Simone (whose last issue is #17 in February) on Batgirl, Simone herself stated on her Tumblr that she would like to see Bryan Q. Miller replace her on the book (Miller was writer before the reboot & was the one who turned fan-favorite, but controversial character Stephanie Brown into Batgirl):
It just hit me, holy crap, what a great time this would be to bring Bryan Q. Miller back to the DCU.
Come write Batgirl again!
It remains to be seen who will write Batgirl after Gail Simone and if she is done writing for DC all together. She isn’t currently announced for any current titles. Could she be writing a new DC book? or could she re-emerge at the House of Ideas? or could she move away from the big 2 altogether? We can only wait and see where she pops up next, because I know that I will be waiting for the return of Gail Simone. What about you guys?