I received word of the depressing news last night that Gail Simone had been fired as chief writer for the DC Comics New 52 Batgirl. Batgirl was a part of my stack (when I could afford it) and I plan on just purchasing Simone’s run (two story arcs) when they are published as graphic novels; the first is already available: Batgirl New 52 Volume 1: The Darkest Reflection. I don’t know what Simone’s plans are next, but here is her own words on what took place.
And now for my take. This decision does not make any sense to me in the least. I took the news hard, and was deeply saddened that the one comic book series I was interested in was losing its writer. According to The Comics Chronicle, Batgirl was ranked 17th overall in terms of individual titles, above Iron Man, Dead Pool, Catwoman, Walking Dead, and Nightwing: see the rest of the numbers here Comic Chron November 2012. This was not a money decision by any stretch. This choice was based on power, and dare I say it as an individual speculating, male power. The tale of Barbara Gordon [in Simone’s rendering] (which I plan to blog on in the far future, perhaps sometime next year) was the story of a superhero overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Perhaps the idea that a hero could have vulnerabilities and have her suffering from the past actually live in her memory was a bit too much for the heads at DC. DC Comics is not looking too good right now, just last week with Karen Berger of Vertigo Comics leaving DC Entertainment (Vertigo is DC comics more oriented towards a mature audience).
It seems to me that in the world of science fiction and fantasy, that although we have writers and artists that invite us to stretch our imagination and challenge what we believe is possible, for some strange reason, our imaginations seem to be determined by and therefore limited by, our gender and racial biases. I know I have written this time and again, but it needs to keep being restated, people do not share the same idea of what is “realistic”/realism versus fantasy, because there is no universal human experience. Yes, we are all human, that is universally true, but what it means to be human, that is up for debate, and falls into the realm of religion, philosophy, and politics. Right now, given the trend downward, DC Comics’ vision of what humanity looks like is exclusive of strong women resisting objectification.
- ‘Batgirl': Gail Simone announces exit (digitalspy.co.uk)
- The Daily Geek: Gail Simone’s Off ‘Batgirl,’ ‘Fantastic Four’ Reboot In 2015, And More (geek-news.mtv.com)