In what may be the worst move made by DC Comics since the launch of the New 52, Gail Simone has been removed as the writer of Batgirl. Simone has scripted the adventures of Barbara Gordon since the beginning of the New 52, and has a history with the character dating far back before the reboot. Simone took to Twitter to announce her departure from the title that has seen critical and commercial success in the reboot.
She went on to further express her feelings regarding the decision to remove her from the title and was respectful, thankful, and as always professional. Once again through Twitter she replied to many questions from fans:
I want to give huge, huge thanks to the other creators in the bat-offices, and editors Bobbie Chase and @yourpallsmitty, champions all. And the biggest thank you of all to you guys for supporting this book so hugely and making it a commercial and critical success. I honestly don’t have the words right now to thank you all. I’m pretty choked up and it’s all gratitude, not bitterness. I am very proud of what we accomplished with Batgirl and it was an honor to get to write Barbara Gordon again. Love that dame.”
Simone’s love for Barbara is clear to any fan of the character. She has written Babs though many years and versions of the character, most notably during her time on Birds of Prey, when Barbara was still in a wheelchair and playing an integral role in the DCU as Oracle. She then took the character back to the beginning as she once again donned the cowl of the bat, regaining the use of her legs and once again becoming Batgirl.
I considered going into one of my usual Screwed Over rants to really describe the tragedy of this news, but I refrained from the negative perspective in honor of Simone’s own positive stance on the issue. That being said, removing Simone from one of the best new titles of the New 52 seems foolhardy, and taking her off of the title she has been working on for years (including her previous work with Babs, of course) is a tragedy. Barbara Gordon has been a fan favorite of any Bat reader out there for years, and Simone has been bringing us great stories showing the true strength behind one of the most intriguing members of the Bat family.
It speaks a little to the editorial team of the DC staff, who have had a ton of problems over the course of the New 52 with creators. High profile writers have been forced to leave projects due to editorial and creative differences, and the titles have suffered, leading to cancellations for some and rotating creative teams for others. There isn’t a lot of information as to why Simone was removed from the book, or who will be replacing her, but I would expect a new creative team to be announced soon.
Simone will be sorely missed, and with a clear lack of female writers on titles at DC as is, it’s a loss for the comics world as well. At least we still have Simone and collaborator Jim Calafiore’s upcoming creator owned Leaving Megalopolisto to look towards.