Gail Simone’s Departure from Batgirl: A Fan’s Reaction
When Gail Simone announced on Sunday that she had been asked to leave her incredibly successful run on Batgirl two emotions immediately hit me. Firstly, confusion. Why were DC getting rid of a prominent female creator in the middle of an extremely successful and critically acclaimed run on one of their only solo female character’s books? It didn’t make any kind of sense, especially so soon after the announcement that Karen Berger will be leaving Vertigo this coming March. Were they aware that this looked like a culling of their core female staff? Sure, technically that’s only two women out the door, not usually enough to merit cull status. But when you consider the impact these two women have had within DC and comics as a whole? It looks like a damn cull.
The second emotion was fierce, passionate anger. Why the hell was a much loved creator, with a clear vision of what she wanted to do with this, again, much loved character she had helped to define and turn into a shinning beacon of hope amidst the rest of the new 52 car crash, been dropped? And with no reason, good or otherwise, given to anyone!
But I decided not to write about it straight away. That would have been dumb. I was feeling pissed off on multiple levels. I, the same as a lot of current (though sadly, probably not future,) readers picked up Batgirl because Gail was writing her. If anyone could keep Barbara going through an unwanted reboot, it was Gail.
In the wake of the announcement that she has been asked to leave this now appears, more than ever, to have been DC’s only reason for letting her write the character in the first place. Gail’s presence helped to quiet down us detractors who were not impressed with the hyper-sexualisation of many other prominent female characters who seemed to lose their intelligence and identities almost as fast as their clothes in the reboot. With her dismissal DC seems to be giving a very public middle finger to the growing portion of the comic reading community that have been questioning the treatment of a lot of their characters. Not to mention the treatment of their female fans and creators.
Naturally, DC top brass won’t comment on Gail’s departure. They’ve already proved on multiple occasions that they’re not interested in reaching out to the fan community to provide any reassurances that they actually have a plan.
As you can tell, even after leaving it for a few days, I still can’t write about this from an emotionally detached perspective. No doubt this will be boiled down to the simplest – always trite – explanation of, Creative Differences. I could probably add a paragraph in here referring to Gail’s very public push (check her tumblr) to introduce a prominent transgender character into the DCU, but it would be pointless speculation. They haven’t even given the aforementioned trite reason, yet.
There is no winning side here.
Fans of Gail and her take on the new Barbara will feel betrayed and let down; especially since we will never see her already written recovery arc. The book will also inevitably lose readers, which in turn is completely unfair on the new creative team, whoever they may be.
Put simply, this was a dick move by DC, and it won’t be forgotten as quickly as they hope.
Screw it, at least they can’t interfere with LEAVING MEGALOPOLIS!