Simone eventually released a statement on her tumblr saying how grateful she was to work on Batgirl and thanked DC for the opportunity. You can read her statement here.
The dismissal of Gail Simone from Batgirl is confusing, infuriating, and altogether disheartening, especially when it affects a beloved character and reveals how DC seems to show so little regard for their female employees.
DC has not stated why Simone was removed from the Batgirl title, nor has it been mentioned who would be replacing Simone, or if she would be writing on any other titles.
It’s very strange indeed that Simone is being removed, especially from this book. Simone, herself pointed out how her run on the current Batgirl was praised twice in the New York Times and had many sell-out issues. Furthermore, Gail Simone and Batgirl go together like peanut butter and jelly. There is no one better than an author who has been writing Barbara Gordon’s character since long before the reboot. Her writing on Birds of Prey and her interpretation of Barbara as Oracle moved many people, and has made Simone, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most well-known comic book writers in the industry.
She is not just well known for writing Barbara, but also for being a longtime advocate for women and LGBTQ people. She created the site Women in Refrigerators, recently argued for the return of Steph Brown and several other female characters to the New 52 (which was shot down), and is pushing for a major trans character to be introduced this year.
Simone was greatly criticized for supporting Barbara leaving her wheel chair behind and becoming Batgirl once again, and, although I still wish Barbara had remained Oracle, Simone seemed determined to not erase Barbara’s past as a disabled character. This is one of the main reasons her dismissal is so upsetting. Issue #17 will be the last of Simone’s work on Batgirl, but Simone had already written the entire story arc for how Barbara recovered from her injuries to become Batgirl once again. Now we will never see these storylines, which have all been dismantled by the new editor, and since the new writer has yet to be announced I’m really worried about how they will deal with Barbara being formerly disabled. I am further worried that her recovery story will be completely ignored, erasing her past as a disabled character.
There is also the issue of Simone’s rather appalling treatment. For an author that is so well known and loved to being dismissed through an email is atrocious. That doesn’t seem to be standard practice in the industry and certainly doesn’t give Simone the respect she deserves. Furthermore, removing Simone from Batgirl means that there are currently only two female writers on DC’s current run of comics according to dcwomenkickingass. DC has already been heavily criticized for not hiring or supporting female writers and artists, and firing a high profile female author through an email certainly says a lot about how DC treats their female employees.
I wish Gail Simone all the best in her future endeavors and I look forward to hearing DC’s reasons for the dismissal, as well as who will be taking the helm on Batgirl.
What do you think about Gail Simone being removed from Batgirl? Let us know in the comments section.