Domino is Like Birds of Prey, but Sexier and Dirtier – Gail Simone Spotlight Panel at Wondercon #2018

Joshua Stone is writing from WonderCon 2018 in Anaheim this weekend. 

The Gail Simone panel at this year’s WonderCon was moderated by her husband Scott. The panel started with Scott jokingly asking Gail what it’s like being a woman in comics. Gail said cheekily that divorce proceedings will be beginning.

Mark Waid wasn’t on stage but made his presence known from the audience.

Scott told a story of the first time that he moderated one of Gail’s panels. It was in Norway, and they didn’t usually have Western creators at this convention, so everyone was very impressed by Gail. So to keep her hear from inflating too much, he told the room that she farts. Gail was not a fan of Scott’s story then nor of it being repeated now.

Gail talked about how before she was a comic book writer she wrote a column for CBR, and a lot of people liked her writing. Through her column she became friends with Scott Shaw (comic artist and cartoonist), and he recommended her to the people at Bongo Comics who did The Simpsons comic. When they contacted her they asked her to provide some springboard ideas, and she said she would think about it. Once she said yes she had to write to some of her various comic book writer friends, including Waid, on how to do the different things that were necessary for writing a comic book, including springboards, outlines, and scripts.

One time Joe Quesada asked Gail if she wanted to do a Night Nurse pitch, but she misheard him and instead worked on putting together a pitch on the Marvel character Nightmare, the Doctor Strange villain. So she did a bunch of research and put the pitch together, but when she spoke to Joe about it she clearly heard him say Night Nurse before she started the pitch. So she came up with her Night Nurse pitch as she was talking to Joe.

Gail was asked who her favorite Birds of Prey character is. She said Barbara Gordon will always be her favorite from seeing her on TV as a kid, because she was a woman and she had red hair like Gail. Seeing the character even helped Gail learn to stand up for herself more. However, she also really likes writing Black Canary — Gail says the character is the least like her, as Black Canary wears her heart on her sleeve at all times.

Gail talked about Clean Room and how it had actually been pitched to Karen Berger before Karen left Vertigo, so it got pushed aside for a while. Gail and Scott live in Oregon, where there are more cults per capita than anywhere else, and this fascinated her. So she did research on cults and how their leaders control their followers, and this is where Clean Room came from.

An audience member asked how Gail reacted to seeing her first book, The Simpsons issue 50. The book included a Vision parody of The Simpsons creator Matt Groening, and she said that the people at Bongo weren’t sure how it was going to go over with Matt. But as it turned out, he loved it — though the lawyers made her take out one piece where Matt would rubber stamp his signature on Simpsons art when it was done by other artists. She said when it came out she was sent comp copies, but she actually drove 90 miles to the closest comic book store just to see it and buy it off the rack.

Gail said her upcoming work on a Domino series for Marvel, out in April, will be her closest thing to Birds of Prey  but sexier and dirtier. After Domino, she has a Red Sonja and Tarzan team-up in May. According to Scott, this will be the first time in canon that a character from Robert E. Howard and one from Edgar Rice Burroughs world will share the page.

In June, Gail has Plastic Man coming out. She said it will be fun, but also sexy and violent. “A nice crime story with boner jokes.” Scott said in the way that Domino is Gail’s return to Birds of Prey, Plastic Man is her tonal return to the Secret Six.

Gail was asked which female character she would love to write. She said she would love to write Storm, Mary Marvel, and Kitty Pryde. She said she would also love to write Judge Anderson and the female Doctor. (Author’s note: Titan Comics, make this happen when Jody Houser finishes her run.)

I got a chance to ask Gail that since a certain other redhead decided he couldn’t write the Batgirl movie, maybe a different redhead in the room could write it instead. Gail said if approached, she would love to work on it.

Gail was asked about her Women in Refrigerators website, and she quickly started talking about The Killing Joke and how she is not a fan of it. She is a fan of its creators, but after Barbara Gordon is victimized in the book, the story becomes no longer about her. So the female character was depowered and forgotten about, she said.

That’s where Gail and Scott wrapped things up. It was a thoroughly enjoyable panel, and if you ever have a chance to attend one of Gail’s panels I would highly recommend it. Regardless, you should definitely follow Gail on Twitter (@GailSimone) — she is always good for a laugh or something thought provoking.

For further musings from Joshua Stone you can follow him on the Twitter @1NerdyOne

About Rich Johnston

Chief writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. Father of two. Comic book clairvoyant. Political cartoonist.

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