Sunday, December 9, 2012

Gail Simone Appreciation Day

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 about.

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.

2 comments:

  1. Good posting. You showed courage in approaching Gail. I am glad you were rewarded. I'll also miss her on Batgirl.

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    1. I think we'll all miss her on Batgirl, though I am excited to see what she'll take on next. Glad you liked the post!

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