by Nur Hussein, staff writer
Today is the birthday of Gail Simone, the incredibly talented writer who has penned some of the most memorable comics in recent history: Deadpool, Birds of Prey, Batgirl, Red Sonja, to name a few.
A former hairdresser, Simone first rose to prominence writing for the website Women In Refrigerators, a fan-site that highlights the problematic plot lines that befall female characters in comics. The name of the site refers to the character of Alexandra DeWitt, the girlfriend of Green Lantern, who was murdered and stuffed in a fridge. The website documented the fact that this was by no means an isolated example; countless female characters were the victims of all manners of horrible and undignified violence to serve as a plot device to motivate the (usually male) hero.
The website gained a lot of readers, and eventually brought Simone into contact with people in the comics industry. That led to Simone working as a writer for the site Comic Book Resources, and later writing for various Simpsons-based comics.
Simone’s first mainstream/superhero comics work was for Marvel; she had a run with the wisecracking antihero Deadpool. The run was brief due to creative differences with the editor. However, Simone’s Deadpool is considered by many fans to be the one of the best interpretations of the character.
After Simone’s exit from Deadpool, she joined DC Comics and initially wrote Birds of Prey, a comic starring Oracle, Huntress, Black Canary and Lady Blackhawk. Her writing duties later included DC titles Action Comics, Hawk and Dove, Secret Six, and Wonder Woman.
In 2011, DC Comics rebooted their entire universe with fresh takes on all their characters. Simone started writing for the new Batgirl title, with the titular character out of the wheelchair and fighting crime on rooftops again. In that same comic, Simone introduced Alysia Yeoh, a transgender character; it was the first time a major transgender character ever appeared in a mainstream comic.
Besides writing for DC comics, Simone also writes for other publishers, including Dynamite’s Red Sonja and Dark Horse’s Tomb Raider. In 2012, Simone collaborated with Jim Calafiore on a Kickstarter-funded indie comic book titled Leaving Megalopolis. The premise of the book is that in a city full of superheroes, said heroes inexplicably go insane and become homicidal, and the citizens try to escape them and the city. The Kickstarter campaign received $117,660, far more than the targeted $34,000.
Besides comics, Simone has written for DC animation. The Wonder Woman animated movie in 2009 was written by Simone and Michael Jelenic, and received tremendous acclaim from critics and fans alike.
Simone maintains an active presence online, and her Twitter feed is remarkably entertaining, thoughtful and outright hilarious. She likes joking with her fans, and she has a series of running gags that her long-time followers enjoy (there’s one involving the dragon Smaug and his favorite cup, and another of how much Red Sonja stinks).
Have a happy birthday, Gail Simone! We hope you have a glorious one!
Nur is a tinkerer of programmable things, an apprentice in an ancient order of technomages. He enjoys fantasy, sci-fi, comic books, and Lego in his spare time. His favourite authors are Asimov and Tolkien. He also loves Celtic and American folk music. You can follow him on twitter: @nurhussein