Batgirl Meets The Punisher In, “I’ve Got A Bad Feeling About This”

This was fun! I'll call you.

Well, that settles it. My e-mailophobia virtually guarantees I could never work for DC Comics. I check my inbox so sporadically, it’d be weeks before I even knew I was unemployed.

If you’re the kind of person who manages to avoid the internet over the weekend tell me your secret I am drowning in tweets I will pay you I have the unfortunate duty of breaking the news to you that Gail Simone does not write Batgirl anymore. There were rumors and whispers about it through much of last week– the solicitations for upcoming issues without her name on them certainly didn’t quiet things down– but over the weekend Simone made it official: the book’s new editor had informed her she was out. He had informed her via e-mail.

Nice, eh? What are your feelings vis-à-vis them apples? On one hand, the writer loses her job but gains an exciting new business opportunity with a Nigerian royal all within the span of minutes. (Which message took longer to write, do you reckon?) On the other hand, the editor is able to cross that spot of unpleasantness off his to-do list without confronting so much as an uncomfortable pause over the phone. That’s how you send off one of your best writers in style.

Ick.

Here’s the thing about Batgirl: I don’t care about Batgirl. Or I didn’t until Gail Simone started writing her for the New 52, anyway. When I was deciding what I was going to try amid that one-month deluge of reboots and Westerns and vampires and war stories and cookbooks and videogame walkthroughs, Simone’s name was one of the deciding factors in which titles made the cut. I still went in with my arms crossed: “So, Barbara Gordon’s spinal injury wasn’t erased, but now she’s just up and walking around? This oughtta be good.” Then it was.  Fourteen months later, virtually all of the books I tried have either been canceled or dropped, but Batgirl is still on my pull list.

It was until this week, anyway. So much for that. I wonder how many other readers are saying the same thing.

What direction could they possibly want to take the book in that Gail Simone couldn’t or wouldn’t do? How often is a move like this the harbinger of a vast improvement in story quality? “Eventually, we found a writer from the nineties who was willing to shoot all the supporting cast members in the spine for our Déjà Ouch crossover, and that year they didn’t even bother inviting anyone else to the Eisners, the end.”

“What are we going to do about this? Her fanbase is too loyal. Month after month, sales are a significant improvement over the last volume of this book. If we don’t screw this up quick, people are going to start thinking there’s a place for female-oriented books in this marketplace. Get Dave Sim on the phone, and be quick about it.”

Remember the relaunch? No, not that relaunch. This was, like, months ago.

The same day Gail Simone was getting fired via a method I wouldn’t use to dump a girlfriend who tried to burn my apartment down, I noticed two books right next to each other on the stands, Punisher: War Zone and the new Thunderbolts #1. The former is Greg Rucka’s final arc on a book he made interesting for the first time in my memory as part of Marvel’s “Big Shots” relaunch. The latter is the bewildering team book Marvel put the Punisher in without mentioning it to the writer of The Punisher. I am sure it’s great, unless you were someone who liked the book they pulled Red Hulk out of, someone who liked Thunderbolts the way it was, someone who liked the previous iteration of Uncanny X-Force, or someone who thought Greg Rucka’s take on Frank Castle was the first one that had worked in years. Even if you weren’t… you land Greg Rucka, and this is what you do with him? When he came over, did he happen to mention to any of you why he stopped working for DC?

How many more times is this going to happen before the year is out, do you think?

A few years ago, when Robert Kirkman was beating the drum for creator-owned comics by urging creative and talented writers to abandon Marvel and DC, it bugged the smoldering hell out of me not because I have any loyalty to the corporate behemoths but because his revolution would have effectively wrecked half the books I was enjoying. “Back off, man,” I thought. “I want to see people get rewarded for their creativity, but I like Bendis on New Avengers right where he is. I like Fraction on Uncanny X-Men and Brubaker on Captain America. I don’t want to suddenly be buying the newbies’ practice books until they build up names for themselves.”

These days, though, who needs Kirkman? The indie world’s best recruiting tools this week appear to be DC and Marvel. There’s no need for the siren’s song of creative ownership to shoo them away from the mainstream when the mainstream is doing such a good job of it all by themselves.


Jim Mroczkowski is buying the exact same number of DC books as he was two years ago, but he pines for Gotham Central even now.

Comments

  1. sunhero sunhero says:

    Damn straight.

  2. nastysnow nastysnow says:

    Was Greg rucka really a big loss for marvel? Sure he’s a very talented writer but does his name really move books? That punisher book wasn’t exactly setting the world on fire .

    • pyynk pyynk says:

      I realize anecdotal evidence is the worst kind of support, but I bought the book because of Rucka and I’ll be dropping it once he finishes the War Zone mini.

    • BC1 BC1 says:

      On the one hand, yes, losing Rucka means losing a quality writer that could potentially have done something bigger than Punisher, or could have made Punisher bigger. By all accounts, his run was really good from the get-go. And the man has loyalists that would follow him to My Little Pony. But losing him in a bad way, especially when he had a tenuous desire to do mainstream work in the first place, hurts any chance of seeing him do cool takes on Big 2 titles. It’s more Marvel’s loss than his.

      On the other hand, no, losing Rucka doesn’t hurt Marvel much. His curb appeal isn’t what it used to be; he’s part of a late 90′s/early 2000′s generation that haven’t really had a “hit” in a while on the mainstream circuit. A lot of Big Two readers just don’t get his stuff, as his numbers will show. And with his success in the indie world, you knew he wasn’t going to take much crap off of editorial; it’s not like he didn’t have other things to do.

      Speaking of which, did DC scare off Joshua Fialkov too? He did that short piece in Spider-Man recently and he’s headlining a MarvelNOW! book, but I don’t know if he’s still on I, Vampire.

    • RedBaron504 RedBaron504 says:

      Isn’t Rucka writing Indestructible HULK now?

    • Conor Kilpatrick Conor Kilpatrick (@cskilpatrick) says:

      @RedBaron504: No, that’s Mark Waid.

    • sphinx69 sphinx69 says:

      I am a Rucka fan and I would not folllow him to My Little Pony.

    • nathematics nathematics says:

      @sphinx69 I would. I would do that.

    • APoetSomeday APoetSomeday says:

      I like Greg Rucka. I enjoyed his ‘Wolverine’ way back when…

  3. farceur318 says:

    “…the bewildering team book Marvel put the Punisher in without mentioning it to the writer of The Punisher.”

    While we’re talking about editorial injustices being done to Simone, it’s worth pointing out that this exact thing happened several months ago when Batgirl joined the Birds of Prey without Simone ever being told.

  4. This is the kind of thing that seems to happen to Peter David all the time. He will take some D-list character, make them fascinating, then Marvel removes the character from his book and sticks them one where else, where hy go back to being print. Sigh.

  5. theWAC1 theWAC1 says:

    A lot of the people who make and sell comics (not creators so much, but publishers and distributors) make it hard to like comics. They put together stupid events and crossovers, have books with 3 “regular” artists, sometimes all in the same arc, pump up prices, double (triple?) ship books, and then to top it all off they pull great writers off books for the sake of something “new”, to restart it as a “#1″, or to move that writer to another book in hopes you’ll try the new one and stay on the old one too. I have no actual experience, but from a readers perspective, the behind the scenes of comic books (especially big two) seems ridiculous and somewhat despicable. I have a feeling we are in the early stages of something similar to what happened in 1992 with Image. Comics need more change and its up to us to vote with our wallets. It’s the creators who make us smile and to treat them the way Gail Simone was treated is just wrong.

  6. A couple years back i lost a long term freelance design client where i worked 20-50 hours a week for a year or so as a freelancer due to corporate restructuring and terminating all freelance arrangements to bring projects in-house. It sucked, nobody was happy about it, 4 or 5 regulars like me lost a steady paycheck from a great opportunity at a great company and that was that. It was most of my freelance business and it sucked hardcore. My Creative Director called me in for a meeting, was as bummed as i was, and apologized like he just ran over my dog. There was mutual professional respect and friendship behind it all, and that’s the key.

    When you treat a longterm collaborator and veteran who’s worked with your company for years like they are a one time hire on a 2 day gig, that’s a crappy way to be and an unsustainable way to run a creative business that depends on freelancers to make your product.

    • Bryce31 Bryce31 says:

      Exactly. Not telling them they’re off the book over an email. That’s a real shit way to fire someone.

    • Email isn’t inherently that bad….At least its in writing and lets face it SOOOO much business happens via email these days, that its just modern world. A text would be the absolute worst. if its a long term thing like this was, I dunno, that whole feeling of “I’m the Boss, you’re the help and are disposable” is always a poopy way be.

  7. Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

    I’m genuinely annoyed by DC Editorial’s behaviour in this matter.

    Gail Simone has been a loyal servant to D.C. for what, a decade?

    Having ‘settled down’ following this breaking news, I find myself asking, who’s better off? D.C. without Gail, or Gail without D.C.? Answers on a postcard please. . . . .

    I’m now re-evaluating my commercial relationship with this publisher.
    I feel a major culling, coming on.

    • I’ve felt the same way for at least a year now, I have so much rich & great history with DC it seems such a shame to throw it all down the pan!

      To answer your question Gail would be better off without DC, I am sure she’ll easily get work at image, Dark Horse, ONI or IDW!

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      @RileyArmpit32 – Damn straight she’ll be better off. I’m now looking forward to future tales from Gail, unfettered by woefully inept & short-sighted editorial mandates. Leaving Megalopolis has become the sign-post for the launch of a new chapter in her career. I wish her all the best.

    • konkrypton konkrypton says:

      To paraphrase Gail herself, it seems the problem is not enough editors being stuffed into refrigerators.

    • @Riley: Dark Horse has already tweeted her asking her to come to the Dark Side. She asked if there had been any good comics about Leia, and DH said there should be…. I’d buy that!

  8. ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

    The speculation I’ve seen is that this is part of DC moving away from “name” creators in general. I think Simone’s exclusive was running out, and they probably just didn’t want to pay her market value. I don’t know if there’s any way to evaluate this argument without knowing how much everybody is getting paid. . .

    Anyway, if that’s the approach I don’t think this is good for comics’ quality in the long run, and it seems particularly short sighted w/r/t Simone, who is such an ambassador to sections of the market.

    • why would they want to be moving away from name creators? Seems like a creator name on a book can be at least 60% of the marketing value nowadays.

      But i’ll admit there is something to that speculation. One thing i’ve noticed about DC recently that has pushed me away…across the board “house style” where so much of the creative starts to look like one hand. Coloring, lettering, art in general, story pacing. Kinda feels like i read the same books with different costumes, which has made me lose interest in most of them.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      I would have thought that creator name = value, too. But maybe that’s not the prevailing theory anymore, or maybe the balance between creator name and perceived sales impact isn’t perceived to be worth it?

    • or maybe its more of a “those hot young writers over at Image are hungry and easier to control, than these seasoned pros who are invested in these characters”

      one thing that’s true of any creative industry. there is always somebody talented, younger and hungrier (as well as cheaper) looking for a shot at your job.

    • phess1 phess1 says:

      I agree wally. Save for a handful of book (Batman Inc, Animal Man, Swamp Thing, Batman) all the DC books look and feel the same. Post new 52 has gotten worst and worst as time’s gone forward.

    • From a company’s standpoint, I’m sure DC is looking to breed title loyalty over creator loyalty. Keep people engaged in a title over the long haul, rather than letting them hop from title to title as the author moves around. Additionally, from a company’s point of view, the policy saves money over the long haul as famous/successful creators with brand identity will demand more money; however, if people are loyal to the title and not the creator, then the company can give less money to the creators.

    • it does make sense. When people are loyal to creators, sales numbers flux, taking some of that star power back is better for them, but it also creates that house style. They are banking in people being hooked by the soap opera and characters i suppose.

      There is a happy balance. The NBA does a great job at marketing players and teams….both are big deals.

    • a.j.howard09 says:

      I got into reading monthly comics last September with the New 52. As the months went by, and I started widening my selections, I noticed that there seemed to be a huge talent gap between DC and Marvel. With a few exceptions, it seemed like every new talent that had emerge over the past decade was writing exclusively for Marvel. I didn’t find the mass writers at DC bad, they were just workmanlike. I don’t mean that derisively, most of the books I read tended to be good, but unexceptional.

      Over the past few months, this talent gap has been widening, and it’s not necessarily because Marvel has gotten better. DC seems to be shedding any writer that writes with any distinctive qualities. I don’t follow characters at all, I follow creative talent. A few months from now (after Batman Incorporated wraps, DC is only going to have four writers on their monthly titles that pique my interest: Scott Snyder, Brian Azzarello, Geoff Johns, and Jeff Lemire (honorable mention to China Miéville). Gail Simone, Judd Winick, and Paul Cornell are let go. I’m not saying that everything these folks produced was gold, but at least it was distinguishable. It felt lived in. A similar list for Marvel would have Jason Aaron, Rick Remender, Brian Bendis, Jonathan Hickman, Kieron Gillen, Mark Waid, Matt Fraction, Dan Slott, Nick Spencer, Paul Cornell, Jeff Parker, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Brian Wood, and Greg Pak. No corporate publisher is without their issues, but that list has to tell you something.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      OK, but you can’t just MAKE people be loyal to brand over creator? If people are reading this title just for Gail they’re not going to stick with it. It’s either a major factor with the buying public or it’s not.

      Also, are there really a lot of hot young creators from Image being hired by DC? I’m not that on top of DC, but they seem to mostly be bringing in creators who had a (sometimes dubious) heyday in an earlier decade. Scott Snyder is the only ‘young up and coming’ writer that I’ve noted at DC.

    • a.j.howard09 says:

      @wallythegreenmonster

      I’d say that 95% of the NBA’s league-wide marketing is built around the superstars. It’s never Lakers vs. Thunders; it’s Kobe and the Lakers vs. Durant and the Thunder.

      Comics Equivalent of Sports League’s Marketing
      NBA: Scott Snyder! Jim Lee! Superman! It’s the Man of Steel!!!
      NFL: Yaaaaayy! Comics!
      NHL: Please, will you buy this comic?????? Please!!!!!

      I’d say that DC’s strategy best resembles college sports. You know, the sport where they don’t have to pay the talent.

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      I want to echo a.j,howard09′s comments. I went from almost reading exclusively Marvel (marvel zombie from way back) to reading almost exclusively DC at the time of the New 52 launch. Then over the course of the past year, I have dropped most of the DC titles due to average-to-week quality and I have started to supplement with Marvel and Image. Marvel Now, which I had almost zero interest in, has turned out to be really good. And, in all honesty, the signal-to-noise ratio has been much higher than with the New 52.

      In my postmortem of the New 52, I would definitely say that writers that I had the highest hopes for ultimately disappointed me, whether because editorial fiddling or otherwise. That list would include Cornell, Winick and Cornell.

    • DC is trying to train the next generation of comic book readers to be title loyal, rather than creator loyal. We won’t change but I think there’s a good chance future readers will be successfully indoctrinated (especially if DC keeps the art and writing relatively similar from creator to creator).

      That’s one thing I hate about Marvel is that you can be reading a comic with one art style that you ADORE and then suddenly it changes and it becomes something you loathe. That is something I really have not experienced with the New 52, and honestly, I hope it stays that way. Let Marvel mix everything up and shift their celebrities around, causing sales to spike and plummet.

    • regardless of their plans, DC should have some sort of corporate guidelines (cut and paste email/phone script) for how to fire a freelancer off a title. Its as if they were totally caught off guard that creators have fans, comic readers are passionate and use social media and all that. I mean this is like remedial level Public Relations that they completely dropped the ball on. The perception of how and why it went down makes em look lost in the woods.

      @a.j. NBA does a good job of hyping teams, creating rivalries (albeit centered around players) and so on. But yeah nothing is as bas as Hockey with the “we’re on strike and no one has noticed”

      So then if Comics are like College Football…does that make event comics like the BCS bowls? HEADACHE!

    • @ohcaroline–well i’ve heard a few. Jim Zub, Jeff Lemire and a few others. I suppose i was exaggerating though, but i dunno, seems crazy. I guess none of us know what happens behind the scenes. Really in any creative business, all the parts have to get along for it to work despite ego and portfolio.

    • These two firings simply could have been due to bad management or bad blood, we’ll never know.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      @scarlet-Batman — I’m not sure what other explanation you think Jim is proposing?

    • @ohcaroline, wally: Layman, Mieville, Fawkes can be added to the list of non-Big Two creators brought in over the last year.

  9. flapjaxx flapjaxx says:

    I’m definitely not saying that The Big Two are blameless, but this sort of thing has happened for decades and decades to ALL creators. Just because it happens to a few of our favorites we’re supposed to suddenly get indignant about isolated cases?

    Marvel gave Rucka a year and a half on the Punisher. In this day and age, that’s a decent amount of time. But sales were quite bad, basically the worst sales the character has ever had. So they let Rucka know that the character will have to change. Rucka doesn’t like this news and decides that if the character has to change, then he doesn’t want to write him anymore. That’s fine. Marvel goes above and beyond by giving Rucka an extra book, a 5-issue mini-series to wind the character down. And yet . . . Marvel is still somehow dreadfully unfair about things?

    Simone had a year and a half on Batgirl. Sales were actually quite good, but the title hasn’t gotten rave reviews. Until 24 hours ago, most of the Simone fans have been pontificating along the lines of “Ugh, Gail’s Batgirl is hit-and-miss”. But when Simone doesn’t want to go along with something editorial wants to do, suddenly she becomes a martyr and Simone’s Batgirl becomes an instant-classic run that we should all bemoan the passing of. Can we actually stop and remember that the PREVIOUS Batgirl run was a LOT more critically acclaimed? And speaking of “editorial meddling”, can we remember how excising the Oracle personality and giving Barbara her legs back “just ’cause” is surely a MUCH bigger change than whatever editorial has planned this coming Spring. Gail Simone signed on for drastic changes to the character, and he had a year and a half to work on said character. It’s her right to opt out of continuing, but I fail to see how DC is the big bad guy here.

    Lastly: Peter David. Get over it. Every other writer deals with crossovers happening once every year or two. But NO OTHER writer WHINES about it as much as DRAMA QUEEN Peter David. He’s written titles like Hulk and X-Factor for years and years and years. Hundreds of issues. Less than 5% of those issues had anything to do with crossovers. And yet he whines unendingly about such-and-such crossover getting in the way of him telling stories about Darwin and Strong Guy. As if he doesn’t get YEARS AND YEARS to work on those characters anyway, and as if everything Peter David does is a work of immaculate delicate genius.

    Big Two editorial can be very annoying sometimes, but I think we’re overly precious about certain writers. Rucka’s Punisher wasn’t Ennis’s Punisher. Simone’s Batgirl was a far, far cry from the previous incarnation. And Peter David hasn’t been any more interrupted than any other writer of “regular universe” superheroics in comics history.

    • nastysnow nastysnow says:

      I agree I wasn’t enjoying his punisher at all. No big loss to me

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      If I remember correctly, it was Gail Simone who wanted to put Barbara back in the bat suit, citing a love of the character that went back decades. I believe, as the OP suggests, DC went along with the idea because it could have been very successful. So, Gail what she wanted and pissed quite a few fanboys and fangirls off in the process. And, what did she do with this character once back under the cowl? Honestly, not much of anything.

      This incarnation of Barbara Gordon is pretty boring, and Gail has not really written in a lot of character development to make the reader care about her. Just speculating, but it seems as if Gail assumed that everyone loves Babs as much as she does and, therefore, did not feel it was necessary to make her especially compelling as a character. The mystery of how she got out of the wheelchair I think kept most readers coming back for a while, but it’s been clear since the zero issue that Gail was not really going to go back and explain that, so this book has been running on fumes of late.

      Honestly, I would take Stephanie Brown back in heart-beat over this incarnation of Barbara Gordon because this incarnation of Batgirl is just kind of there. And, this is coming from someone, who still reads the book and loves Gail Simone, because I kept hoping that it would get better. Well, I guess I can drop it now.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      CTRose, it’s pretty well documented that’s not the case. The pressure to return Babs to her Batgirl status came from editorial, Gail took a lot of flak with her fanbase for going along with it, but she decided if this direction was inevitable she wanted to have some control over how it happened.

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      Ohcaroline: I stand corrected. I have just spent the past few minutes looking into it, and you’re right. DC put Gail in a position where she had to sell the idea to the public, which led to my confusion. It was most certainly DC’s idea.

    • @ctosejr Thank you! I’m glad I’m not the only one shaking his head at everyone making DC the enemy. Has no one else had a job where your boss tells you to do things you don’t want to do? Editors are needed, some can be total pains in the you know what, but at the end of the day if you want to keep your job, you do what you’re asked. Why are comic writers supposed to be immune to this rule? She was fired, people. She didn’t quit. To have a writer like her lose her job, my question isn’t WTF DC, it’s “you must have messed up pretty bad to lose your job, Gail.”

  10. CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

    Man, I would be super interested to see Simone on a Marvel book. Has she ever done any Marvel work?

    • Josh Flanagan Josh Flanagan (@jaflanagan) says:

      She wrote Deadpool for a long time.

    • This is totally off topic…but Josh, I wish that when I clicked on your name it took me to the page with your pull list, recent comments, and reviews (like it does when I click on Conor’s name). It takes me to your blog instead, and it’s interesting, but it really hasn’t been updated in 8 months as far as I can tell. Of course, when I click on my name, I just get “invalid user” so you have me beat at least.

    • CaseyJustice CaseyJustice says:

      Oh MAN! How could I forget that run? I loved it, and the Agent X series that followed.

      Well damn, now I really want her to write for Marvel again!

  11. I think DC saw the return of Barbra Gordon as a huge potential hit, which is why they hired a quality writer like Gail. However, Batgirl’s sales have been good but not stellar. Batgirl has been, at least to me, a hit and miss book. Sometimes it’s really good, other times not so much. I keep buying the book but find it a bit lacking (especially in comparison to Batwoman). I think DC is hoping a change of author will help make the comic even more successful.

    Hope Gail finds something to do in the near future. She’s a good writer, I’m sure she’ll do well.

  12. Based on the limited information we have, it does make DC look like the bad guy. But we haven’t really heard *why* she was fired. If sales and critical reception was up for the title, and she has a loyal fan-base, what possible reasons would they have for firing her?

    In a tweet, Mike Nelson asked her if she wasn’t “putting enough women in refrigerators or something” to which she replied “funny you should say that.” So was she refusing to go along with editorial demands? That will get you fired for sure, and it’s too bad, but that’s the way the big non creator-owned publishers function. If she was having issues working with editors…well, I guess that’s what Image is for.

    • George Perez left Superman because he was not being allowed to tell his story. According to him, the editor kept changing the game plan on him from day to day. There have been similar complaints from other creators about the DC editors, so maybe, something like this happened with Gail Simone with the exception of her being let go. I’m just speculating here.

    • @lTreeoftheStoneAge leaving because of an editor’s heavy hand is a lot different from being fired. That says she wanted to keep working on the book but refused to do what her boss asked. No matter how long someone worked for me, I’d let them go for that very reason.

  13. daningotham daningotham says:

    I would like to know exactly what happened. Someone said she didn’t want to go along with what editorial wanted so she was let go, is that true? Or just speculation? I really enjoyed her run on Batgirl. And yeah, her book wasn’t in the top 10 in sales every month. But for sure wasn’t low enough to let the writer go. Batgirl sold a lot better than a lot of other books that DC puts out every month. Or anybody for that matter.

    • ctrosejr ctrosejr says:

      But, how much of that is attributable to the writer and how much to the character? If you ask me, sales remained where they were for that book mostly because of the character. (See: Green Arrow.)

    • a.j.howard09 says:

      Good point. I think us “sophisticated” fans (I do read comics wearing a monocle and a top hat) tend to overestimate the effect a creator will have on sales. But you look at sales numbers, and you see that creator prestige only has a limited correlation to sales. It’s kind of weird being a digital buyer, because your only encounters with comic fans usually conform to your tastes. Reading this site, you kind of have to remind yourslef that there are tons of people out there who would trade a Greg Rucka book and two Jeff Parker books for a Daniel Way book. Whose main qualifiers of worth is how “badass” something is, not interesting.

      But hey to each his own. That being said, I think Gail had something to do with Batgirl outperforming expectations. I don’t think the run was her best work, often it was just good enough to keep picking up. But she knew the character. Simone’s Batgirl of the few titles skillfully that balanced past continuity with the chance for a fresh start, not particularly in plot development, but in character work. And while Simone’s fans might overestimate their own numbers, I think they’re large and aggrieved enough that the title will tak a significant dive if DC just brings in someone Bob Harras worked with 20 years ago to write the book.

  14. Firevine Firevine says:

    Regarding Rucka and Punisher, I thought his story was just over, and War Zone was the epilogue, and that was all he had planned anyway.

    As for “diversity” in comics. I don’t buy Captain America because it features a white male, or because it’s written, drawn, etc by a white male. If Rob Liefeld was on the book next issue, I’d drop it in a instant. I buy it because Cap is a compelling character, and the series has had great creative teams in recent years. Race and gender identity issues completely boggle my mind. Canning Simone they way they did was a dick move, no one should argue that, but were people honestly buying the book *just* because a woman wrote it? I think Renee Montoya is great, and I am about as far removed from a Hispanic lesbian as one can get. I love Luke Cage. I will never, never, never understand people buying something just because it features, or is created by someone that individual shares a racial or gender identity. I am far more of a proponent of compelling characters being written and drawn by talented creative teams, regardless of everything else. Miles Morales is a great character, as is Danny Rand.

    When it comes to the way Simone was unceremoniously removed from the book, I get it. It was a dick move, in a series of ongoing bad editorial choices at DC. I could be off base about Rucka, but I seem to recall hearing what I mentioned in an interview here on iFanboy. Man he wrote some great Punisher. Going to miss that title, and I’m not even a terrifying burly man whose family was killed by mobsters.

    • I get what you’re saying, and I’m not saying you’re wrong. But when you’re a member of a majority or plurality group, it can be difficult to understand the POV of a minority. In a role reversal, imagine if 95% of comic characters were Hispanic lesbians and the creators were also Hispanic lesbians. Now imagine that a character of your particular background (you seem to say you are a straight white male) is introduced, and is being written by a straight white male. Maybe it would make no difference to you, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Sometimes people with similar backgrounds (ethnic, gender, orientation, etc.) share similar life experiences, and find affinity with certain characters or creators, and there is nothing wrong with that either. This may be particularly true of an individual who is part of a minority group or group that has historically been discriminated against.

      Not a dismissal of your premise, just an additional thought.

    • sphinx69 sphinx69 says:

      Listen I don’t care about the background of the writer as long as the comic is good.

    • ohcaroline ohcaroline says:

      Nobody is requiring you to care about the hiring practices of the comics industry, but surely it doesn’t mystify you that some people do.

    • I think you totally miss the point of why diversity is important in comics…. it’s not just that the person is from a minority, and people should be interested on that alone. Instead, it’s because people from different backgrounds have different experiences they can draw on to inform the stories that they write, and thus a wide variety of people writing a wide variety of types of characters will lead to a wider variety in stories. When the stories are different, they’re more interesting, fresher, less cliche and tiresome.

      Also, it’s easier for you to see Captain America as a good character because you can instinctively identify with him as a white male. You don’t think that affects your enjoyment of the character, because you don’t have to think about it at all, it’s all automatic, and is a scientifically proven fact. You can argue it doesn’t matter all you want, but that’s the way all of our brains are wired. Just read the letters columns from the first few issues of Miles Morales’ book, you’ll see a constant stream of Hispanic and Black people writing in to say how much more they can appreciate having a great character that they can finally identify with on a fundamental level.

  15. lifesend lifesend says:

    I’m not very happy with DC’s business practices, but, I have to say, none of these editor problems are on books that were that good to begin with. Batgirl wasn’t very good, in either writing or art. I’m glad to see Simone leave and hope whoever replaces her can make the book a worthwhile read.

  16. daningotham daningotham says:

    Just looked at the November sales figures. Batgirl was #17. Look at all the titles that were under Batgirl that are better in most people’s eyes. But I’m guessing this is because of the Death of the Family crossover? And if that’s the case so was Catwoman. And Batgirl beat her by 15,000 copes. I’m thinking there is more to this than sales numbers. Personally I would buy Batgirl no matter who was writing her. There isn’t any writer I dislike enough to drop the book as far as Bat Books go. Maybe DC thinks that Batgirl will sell well regardless of who is writing her? Not sure. But #17 in sales is not bad.

    1 All New X-Men 1 $3.99 Marvel 181,693
    2 Batman 14 $3.99 DC 159,729
    3 Captain America 1 $3.99 Marvel 123,667
    4 Deadpool 1 $2.99 Marvel 118,976
    5 Indestructible Hulk 1 $3.99 Marvel 118,200
    6 Iron Man 1 $3.99 Marvel 116,529
    7 Fantastic Four 1 $2.99 Marvel 114,532
    8 Uncanny Avengers 2 $3.99 Marvel 114,257
    9 Justice League 14 $3.99 DC 113,094
    10 Thor God of Thunder 1 $3.99 Marvel 110,443
    11 All New X-Men 2 $3.99 Marvel 96,436
    12 X-Men Legacy 1 $2.99 Marvel 87,081
    13 Amazing Spider-Man 698 $3.99 Marvel 81,342
    14 FF 1 $2.99 Marvel 80,701
    15 My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic 1 $3.99 IDW 80,128
    16 Green Lantern 14 $2.99 DC 78,499
    17 Batgirl 14 $2.99 DC 77,468
    18 Batman And Robin 14 $2.99 DC 75,543
    19 Detective Comics 14 $3.99 DC 74,560
    20 Iron Man 2 $3.99 Marvel 72,902
    21 Deadpool 2 $2.99 Marvel 67,421
    22 Thor God of Thunder 2 $3.99 Marvel 65,533
    23 A Plus X 2 $3.99 Marvel 64,606
    24 Action Comics 14 $3.99 DC 64,341
    25 Masks 1 $3.99 Dynamic Forces 63,932
    26 Suicide Squad 14 $2.99 DC 63,691
    27 Catwoman 14 $2.99 DC 63,653
    28 Batman The Dark Knight 14 $2.99 DC 62,792
    29 Amazing Spider-Man 697 $3.99 Marvel 59,872
    30 Before Watchmen Moloch 1* $3.99 DC 59,288
    31 AVX Consequences 5 $3.99 Marvel 58,469
    32 Earth 2 6 $2.99 DC 58,271
    33 Batman Incorporated 5 $2.99 DC 58,172
    34 X-Men Legacy 2 $2.99 Marvel 58,037
    35 Walking Dead 104 $2.99 Image 57,456
    36 Avengers 34 $4.99 Marvel 57,315
    37 New Avengers 34 $4.99 Marvel 53,862
    38 Aquaman 14 $2.99 DC 53,664
    39 Avengers 33 $3.99 Marvel 53,336
    40 New Avengers 32 $3.99 Marvel 52,784
    41 Superman 14 $2.99 DC 52,572
    42 Nightwing 14 $2.99 DC 50,720
    43 New Avengers 33 $3.99 Marvel 50,045
    44 Before Watchmen Silk Spectre 4 $3.99 DC 50,002
    45 Green Lantern Corps 14 $2.99 DC 49,594
    46 Wolverine And X-Men 20 $3.99 Marvel 48,432
    47 Before Watchmen Ozymandias 4 $3.99 DC 48,404
    48 Wolverine And X-Men 21 $3.99 Marvel 48,244
    49 Flash 14 $2.99 DC 48,012
    50 Green Lantern New Guardians 14 $2.99 DC 47,062

  17. daningotham daningotham says:
  18. sphinx69 sphinx69 says:

    I have always thought Gail Simone was a good writer, but I always thought her loyal fanbase overhyped her a little bit. I will admit that she saved Birds of Prey after Chuck Dixon left, Secret Six was a high quality book, and her Wonder Woman run was strong. Then she took on Batgirl and took on most of the bad press and fan outrage that came with it. She did a pretty good job, but then got fired. Even if you didn’t like the direction she was taking with Batgirl she deserved better. For lack of a better term she was a good soldier for DC and they screwed her. As a huge DC fan I am worried that they are driving away their strongest talent and replacing them with Bob Harras cronies. So now Mark Waid, Greg Rucka, Ed Brubaker, and now Gail Simone will probably never work for DC Comics again. Don’t forget Grant Morrison is not working on a regular superhero book and took his latest creator owned properties to Image. It seems like the only talented people working at DC are Scott Snyder and Jeff Lemire. I guess its only a matter of time before DC screws them too. It is really hard watching the company in charge of your favorite characters screw things up. Sorry for the rant guys I’ve been holding this in.

    • redwingsguy redwingsguy says:

      You thought “her loyal fanbase overhyped her a little bit”, but you admit that:

      “I have always thought Gail Simone was a good writer”, “I will admit that she saved Birds of Prey”, “Secret Six was a high quality book, and her Wonder Woman run was strong”…. You, my friend make no sense.

      Maybe it wasn’t hype huh?. Maybe she’s a great writer.

    • sphinx69 sphinx69 says:

      Listen, I happen to disagree with people who said the only person who could write Birds of Prey is Gail Simone. Chuck Dixon created the book and wrote the first 60 issues and it was better. Wonder Woman had been in bad shape since Rucka left the book and Gail fixed it. I don’t consider myself a fan but I was trying to show her some respect.

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      @sphinx69 – as an individual attempting to “show respect “, you did a piss-poor job. E.g. Gail wrote ‘Birds of Prey’ from #56 onwards. And, she wrote that series brilliantly.

      You admit her later work is ‘good’, which leaves me to ask :-
      **COMMENT MODERATED**

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      @sphinx69 – ok, let’s try this again. Bearing in mind your litany of positive comments regardinf Gail’s career with DC, what in the name of all that’s strawberry, is your problem?

      ps – Having had a comment moderated for the first time, I feel I’ve arrived. Back in the day, is this how Madonna “felt”?

  19. redwingsguy redwingsguy says:

    I tried out this book just because of Gail when the series started and have loved it ever since. I’m gone now. I’m voting with my $$$, or lack there of. Not a good move DC. Maybe she’s better off at Marvel.

  20. bub64882 bub64882 says:

    THE ROB WAS RIGHT!

  21. Metamorphic Metamorphic says:

    I am a Gail fan for sure. Not of all her work but a large percentage…and that included Batgirl – a title I not only would have otherwise had zero interest in but would have not bothered to check out because I was a fan of Babs as Oracle.

    Gail won me over and that was a tall, tall order.

    I’ll be dropping Batgirl because of how she was let go. It shows a definite lack of respect, IMO, when that is how you treat someone who has a long time relationship AND has been a pretty big booster of the DC brand.

    I get what someone suggested about DC trying to make people loyal to a title or character as opposed to a creator or team. The problem, however, is that if they don’t let creative teams do what they do – and that includes building long term planning – then they end up with crap. And crap equals no loyalty AND no sales.

  22. WheelHands WheelHands says:

    I’d love to go back in time around the DC Entertainment/New 52 shakeup and tell my slightly younger self not to get his hopes up.

    While we’ve certainly enjoyed plenty of quality work from the New 52 lineup (for about six months), when I try to think of the books I’m still genuinely excited about, I’m almost completely at a loss. Batman? Batman Inc. (both of which could’ve just as easily happened without the relaunch)? Wonder Woman? Earth 2? And … … *chirp**chirp*. I feel like I was at a raging party, excused myself to have a wiz, and came back to an empty room. What feels like very suddenly, my Marvel to DC ratio has tipped from 2::12 to 7::6 in the last year. Now, much of that has to do the excitement of NOW!, and the quality of those books may wane in the next year, but the X-Men corner of the Marvel U alone is more exciting for me than anything happening outside of the four DC books I mentioned above. I’m not claiming that DC has nothing to offer, but Earth 2 and Wonder Woman are the only two titles that I read where new ground is truly being broken.

    One year later, it turns out the New 52 was nothing more than a temporary spike in sales, and nothing less than a creative failure in the eyes of this particular lifelong DC reader. Between this and the pillaging of Vertigo, DC is making it real easy for me to cross the street.

    More to the point, the way DC handled their relationship with Simone and others is disgusting. Still, it’s not nearly as shocking as it would’ve been six months ago. As far as I’m concerned, this is just another fistfull of hair out of the balding head that is my affection for DC Entertainment. I’m almost hoping that this is all a joke, or some kind of yet another shakeup, but I know better. When it was announced that Didio, Lee, and Johns (three men whom I adore) would be making the calls, I was overjoyed. Now it seems like they’ve been looking for new ways to run a publishing house, and the quest has led them straight up their own asses.

    To those strumming the old tune of “This Is The Way It’s Always Been”, I say you need to adopt a less reductive mindset. This is important. I’ve played that song plenty myself in the past, but this shit stinks of something new. I can’t remember a better example of a time when we need to vote with our wallets. The habit-buyers with money to burn, who read page after page ranging from mediocre to garbage just because they’ve hoarded the entire run of ____man from #1 to New #1 are the ones who truly need to step up, analyze what books from their pull lists stir up that magic feeling, chalenge the OCD demon on their shoulder, and drop the rest. Trim the fat. They’re not doing anyone any favors by accumulating this kindling. They’re not keeping the industry going, they’re feeding the machine. If DC slips from not having any books in the top quartile to not having any in the second or third, I guarantee you we’ll see some changes that cater to both creative and the readership in a positive way.

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      I’m always heartened when I read a post that reflects my overall view on a subject.

      Your ‘appeal’ against lethargy is really important. I hope folk listen.

    • stasisbal stasisbal says:

      I feel the same way and have had a similar shift in opinion in regards to DC over the last year or so. My Marvel to DC ratios are pretty close to yours.

      Now, I don’t read Batgirl and never became a huge Simone fan so her getting fired from the book doesn’t directly effect my reading. But the nature of this move is indicative of the problems with DC. It makes me think of Justice League Dark, which has reeked more and more of a heavy handed editorial influence. I was on the fence about dropping it but with this shitty news I’m just going to go ahead and do it.

      The only book from the original New 52 that I’m excited to continue reading and would classify as great is Wonder Woman. Cornell is about to leave Demon Knights. Frankenstein is about to end. Supergirl is getting derailed by a crossover. Green Lantern is just decent. I suppose The Flash is consistently solid and exciting because of the art.

      I do love Batman, Inc. but that’s because it’s a continuation of Morrison’s larger Batman story and they’re letting them half ignore the mostly-pointless continuity reboot. And, like with Wonder Woman, that’s where DC still succeeds. When either the editors take a more hands off approach or when the creators have enough popularity capitol to be left alone.

      Across the street the creator-driven approach seems to be Marvel’s MO more than ever. They’ve got several exciting new titles where they seem to be letting some of today’s most interesting writers run wild with awesome ideas. It’s interesting how the Big 2 pendulum swings. Maybe a year from now Marvel will have strayed from their current direction. But for now Marvel is where my money’s at for great superhero comics and the New 52 has fallen hard and fast. All it’s really brought us is a bunch of stupid looking costumes.

  23. For me, I just don’t see what the big deal is. People get fired off of books all the time and while from email is a bit callous I’m not surprised by this method. This is 2012, and email is the quickest way to give information now a days (as sad as it is you use it for firings I’m sure it happens all the time now.)

    Of course Simone getting fired is going to upset many of her fans and they have every right to be upset. But to make this sound like the worst thing DC has ever done or to boast how great other companies are by this one firing is pretty silly to me. When Jim McCann or Robert Kirkman talk about why Image is so much better than Marvel/DC because of this stuff it annoys me to no end. Seriously, Image is just as flawed as the big two so I don’t wanna hear from two guys who got lucky with one or two books while everyone else work on a variety of titles at Marvel or DC.

    Also, the complaint of Punisher being different in two separate books is such a lazy argument for Thunderbolts. I’m sorry but when has that never been the case where a character is depicted differently in two books? I haven’t read Rucka’s run but if I did and then read Thunderbolts #1 it wouldn’t bug me at all. There were problems with Thunderbolts #1 but that is definitely not one of them.

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      I fail to see how this being the year 2012, excuses a complete lack of professionalism, or blatant displays of bad manners, disrespect & cowardice?

      Email is just a tool. Like a pencil. Or, Brian Cunningham.

      I

    • Because it is such a better idea to drive/fly all the way to a creator’s home and tell them they’re fired. This isn’t the 1950s or 60s where everyone lived in a similar location. Writers and Artists live far apart from each other, sometimes even continents away from each other! Email, whether it is appropriate or not, is the best way to contact people.

    • muddi900 says:

      *Fry-notsure.jpeg*

    • Drumanespic Drumanespic says:

      @TheNextChampion – there’s this amazing comms. device, don’t know if you’re aware of it. It’s called a ‘phone’?

  24. k5blazer k5blazer says:

    Was that the new Editor’s call? Or the EIC?

  25. muddi900 says:

    I still cannot believe they did that to Gail Simone. she has been a company gal since forever. The disdain for talent at DC is shocking.

  26. muddi900 says:
  27. I feel like I should thank DC for the whole New 52. They’ve saved me a fortune. Before the relaunch I was buying probably 15 or so of their books a month (probably more, I haven’t counted). A year later and I’m down to about 3, and quite frankly their days are numbered. Have now dived into the ‘Mignola-verse’ over at Dark Horse, and am having more fun reading comics than I have in ages.

    Can’t honestly say that I’ve ever been that impressed by Gail Simone’s writing, and I’ve tried many books of hers over the years, based on positive reviews, fan praise etc. Never hooked me, but that’s just one opinion. Never got into the rebooted Batgirl, either, as I was one of the ones too annoyed by the retconning of Steph Brown. Nonetheless, that’s certainly a sucky way to fire someone, and a sad continuing pattern from a company that clearly doesn’t value it’s people.

    Isn’t this much the same as what happened at Marvel under Bob Harras? I never bothered to look into the details at the time, I just remember all the long-time Marvel writers and artists left, the quality of their books took a walk off a cliff and I stopped reading.

  28. bhannaoh bhannaoh says:

    I’m always torn how to feel when this happens I mean all we see is the press release which just to get us excited to keep or start reading the book we are never privy to the context or why they are telling them to leave that book. There maybe actually reasons why they are having them leave that title.

    I say torn because I never feel, particularly in Snyder on Swamp Thing, that he’s done with the story that he wants to tell versus the potential new stories that could come from the new writer/artist.

    If I had one thing I could get DC/Marvel to do would to make it company policy to keep writers on a book for 3 to 5 years on the condition that it is selling so that they could tell there stories in sagas.

    • 5 years!? That’s crazy talk in this day-and-age. Many writers simply don’t have 5 years worth of stories in them for a particular character/team.

      What they do need to do is tell them you get x number of books, so tell a story. After those x books are done, we’ll renew your run on a title or switch you to something new. Put the emphasis back on stories, rather than “come up with a big story and we may keep you on long enough to see it completed.”

    • captamerica101 captamerica101 (@Autobot_Hunter) says:

      DC may have not had any long runs recently, but marvel had a bunch. Dan slott has been a major part of amazing spider-man for something like 5 years, Christos gage wrote avengers academy for 3 years, brubaker did captain america for around 5 years, and we don’t even need to get into Bendis on Avengers and ultimate spider-man. and those are just off the top of my head. DC-wise, however, i cant think of any long runs immediately prior to the new-52 other than johns on green lantern.

  29. xoman xoman says:

    DC is flailing, it’s plain to see. It really seems like the editorial dept. has their heads up their collective arses. Don’t really like many of their books now, which is a shame since I really like the characters.