Lucia Peters, Senior Editor:
Gail Simone and Margaret Atwood
Though we’ve made leaps and bounds in gender equality over the years, there’s no denying that there are many industries that are essentially still boy’s clubs. The comics world is one of them, and this is why Gail Simone is so important. In 1999, she began a website called Women in Refrigerators, a term she coined in reference to an incident in Green Lantern #54. The incident in question involved Green Lantern Corps member Kyle Rayner arrived home to find that his girlfriend, Alex DeWitt, had been killed by the villain Major Force and stuffed inside a refrigerator. Gail and her friends subsequently made a list of Women in Refrigerators—that is, female characters in comics who been killed, maimed, or depowered as a plot device to motivate a male character. Besides becoming the starting point for discussion about this issue (no smalle feat!), the site also put her in contact with a number of major players in the comics industry, paving the way for everything she would accomplish as a comics writer herself.
Since then, she has become the longest-running female writer of Wonder Woman; revitalized Catwoman in the Villains Unlimited story “Infinite Crisis”; written what is acknowledged as the best work on the Birds of Prey series since its creator, Chuck Dixon, left the series; addressed issues never broached in mainstream comics before; and made the New 53 Batgirl series a phenomenal success.
Bizarrely, Gail was laid off of Batgirl in December 2012 when the new editor, Brian Cunningham, came aboard; though Gail handled it well, the internet summarily exploded—and rightly so. When Gail was laid off, that took the total number of women writing ongoing series at DC down to two—and given how big DC is, that is NOT a good percentage. Why would you fire someone whose work had led to a massively successful run for your company? It made no sense.
Equally bizarrely, she was rehired again at the end of the month, and continues to do the phenomenal work that she always has—while simultaneously carrying out important dialogues and opening doors upon doors for women in the comics world in the process. Geek girls everywhere salute you, Gail!