This is my response to the appalling decision by DC Comics to remove Gail Simone as the writer of Batgirl.
Because I can hold back my tears if I keep typing, because DC clearly
didn’t know a great thing when they had it, and because my heart feels
like it got slammed with a concussion Batarang.
That’s Gail on the right, and myself as Wonder Woman on the left.
I’m holding a Jacob’s Ladder that I made for her, with the Secret Six on
one side and various members of the Birds of Prey on the other.
Some things to know about me in order to underscore what a wonderful
experience this was: I had only been reading monthly comic issues since
September, a few months earlier. This was the third annual C2E2. The
two years I attended before, I had only read the odd trade paperback and
watched various cartoons and movies. This was the first year I really
spoke to any creators, and I was nervous as hell, and beating myself up
inside for being one of those “fake geeks” the Internet loves to rant
This was also before I had actually read Gail’s excellent run on
Wonder Woman, which featured the Terry Dodson Wonder Woman I was
cosplaying. The only Wonder Woman books I had read when I attended C2E2
as Wondie were from the Golden Age, and so not only was I terrified of
speaking to Gail Simone because she was totally awesome and I was some
nerd who barely knew what I was talking about, I was also some nerd who
hadn’t even read the work from that author that I was cosplaying.
This was the first year I had ever done a cosplay with my face
visible. You can see in the picture that I had an underbite (it’s since
been corrected with surgery), and I was incredibly insecure about that,
as well as my face not being that of a perfect DC princess.
Finally and most importantly, I am autistic. I can communicate
verbally and generally I have no problem doing so, but when I am
nervous, I begin to have a lot of trouble making myself start speaking,
speaking coherently, and not stuttering or rambling awkwardly before
trailing off. When I met voice actor Kevin Conroy at the first C2E2, I
just stood there with a stupid smile frozen on my face because I
couldn’t speak to ask if I could shake his hand.
So we went into the convention on Friday afternoon and the first
thing I did was make a beeline to her table in Artist’s Alley because
issue six of Batgirl kept me from killing myself, damn it, and I was not
going home until that issue was signed. And then I got up there and
remembered that I was a socially inept trainwreck who could barely
stammer out a hello, let alone a “Hi, your comics mean more to me than I
can possibly put into words, and also I made you this gift and I hope
you find that cool and not creepy.”
And so cue the rambling and the stammer. In the back of mind I was
aware that I was talking to my favorite writer ever and most likely
blowing it, but I was like Ralphie on Santa’s lap in A Christmas Story.
My brain and my mouth were not connected properly, and I couldn’t make
one respond to the other.
But she understood me. I don’t know how, from that incoherent mess
of an introduction, but she understood. The guy beside her (whose name
I’ve forgotten, unfortunately) thought I was asking her to sign the
Jacob’s Ladder for me, which wasn’t an unreasonable conclusion to draw,
given how bad I am at explaining myself, but she understood it was a
gift and that alone almost made my legs give out from under me. She
liked my Wonder Woman outfit - GAIL SIMONE liked my Wonder Woman outfit -
she signed my book, she somehow managed to get me to say my name and
speak in something resembling understandable English, and when I asked
for a picture with her, she wanted one too.
In that moment, my life was perfect. I wasn’t an insecure autistic
girl with an underbite who felt like she wasn’t a real enough geek to be
here. I wasn’t someone who was afraid to show my face in cosplay. I
was Wonder Woman. I was on top of the world. Five minutes into the
convention and I’d already had a moment that could never be topped.
Later than night I checked Twitter from the hotel room and she had
tweeted about the gift I gave her. I still don’t know how my roommates
managed not to go deaf from all the jumping around and squealing I did
as a result of reading that.
She was the only creator at the convention I successfully spoke to. I
was too afraid to speak to Tim Sale or Cliff Chiang, and Scott Snyder’s
line was so long I was afraid to even attempt it. But something about
Gail was approachable. She made me realize I wasn’t some loser imposing
on important people. She made me realize that I had a place in this
community, that I mattered.
I don’t think DC realizes what a wonderful asset as a creator and as
an amazing human being they’ve cast aside here. I just hope they
realize it and come back to her, begging on their knees.
And hey, turns out writing didn’t hold back the tears after all.