Evil Mod of DOOM!!!
The Gail FAQ Thread.
Here is where I compile the best questions and most informative answers from the Official Ask Gail thread. Some editing may occur.
Omega Flight: Will Black Canary ever love again?
Gail: She still loves NOW, she just never should have married!
Okay, when they came up with this idea of marrying GA and BC, my immediate thought was that it would not help GA that much and it would ruin BC. I don't know if it happened because the Storm and Ororo marriage was such a big deal, or not, but it came out of left field.
And it took two relatively successful books and made them both unsuccessful.
I was asked to participate in the wedding stories, but I just had no interest, I didn't want to write that stuff.
And unfortunately, I have to say, I think I was right. The marriage stories were either too cutesy for words or they made Dinah look stupid and Green Arrow look like a wimp. It was very depressing. There were some good stories in there but all the fire from the relationship was gone and nothing good was in its place.
So it was a huge mistake. When I was asked to come back to Birds, I had a long list of requests before I agreed and the first one was that the two had to split up. I hated to do it, but the marriage just didn't work.
However, I don't think it was necessary, I think they'd already decided that they didn't fit together in one book, so I was requesting something they had already decided.
But yes, she will find love!
t.c.johnson: What's the chance of you writing for Marvel someday?
Gail: Oh, if they want me, I'm sure it'll happen someday. There are characters I miss there and some I didn't get to work on that I love. I have a lot of respect for Joey and some editors that I really love are there, like Steve Wacker.
It's not off the table at all, just not sure when at this point.
DC has been wonderful to me and there's a lot left to explore.
zemo: Do you think that Marvel or DC will one day explore more of the rest of the world in their respective universes? Not made up places like the Savage Land or Themiscyra, but maybe a whole arc of a comic book in Norway, with local heroes, local villains, backgrounds that are explicitly identifiable as Norwegian architecture and nature, etc. stuff like that.
Gail: Yeah, this is a pet peeve...it's bad at DC where all the stories take place in the same half dozen cities, but it's worse at Marvel where you essentially have two locations; NEW YORK and EVERYTHING ELSE.
Most of the attempts to create heroes from other countries, aside from Alpha Flight, are pretty bad. If it's Ireland, you know, it becomes SHAMROCK. That's not tremendously exciting, and doesn't really convey anything.
But I love to travel, I love the diversity of the world. So I like to set stories in Istanbul, Singapore, Hong Kong, Ireland, China, Russia, Barcelona, Iceland, Japan, and many, many more. I try to do the best research I can, try to visit the country in question, and I enlist locals to help me wherever I can. I think it's impossible to really capture the essence of a country in a few pages in a short story, but you can get some of the flavor if you WORK at it. Comic being on such tight deadlines means a lot of writers don't even try.
AND inevitably, there are small mistakes, which people react to SO ridiculously over the top fashion, with such scorn and disgust, that I'm sure a lot of writers just don't think it's worth the extra effort (and it IS a lot of extra effort). But I'm too stubborn to let that put me off.
I always think we're missing a bet. Many readers have not yet been fortunate enough to walk on the Great Wall or whatever, and would like to read about what that feels like, just as they like to see amazing locations in James Bond movies. We should be doing MORE of that.
michealdark: What is it about Bane that makes you give him a chivalrous side?
Gail: Ah, cool question!
Okay, here's the thing. When Bane first appeared, he was scary. Along the way, he became very much UNscary. It was not the creator's fault, it was lots of other writers, I think, who didn't see his appeal or simply wanted to use him to punk him for whatever point they were trying to make.
I hated that. It goes back to Wolverine's unpredictability. Bane is only interesting if he is conquering through will and strength and intelligence. But money doesn't seem to be a good enough motivator.
So he needs something he thinks is worth fighting FOR.
Now, when I was asked to add Bane to the team, I wrote Chuck Dixon, who created him, to ask about it. He said Bane saw things as right or wrong, black or white, with no gray in between.
That really hit me...because I KNOW people like that, who still have tenderness in their hearts for people and things, even if they seem incredibly rigid in their beliefs.
From there, it was what I always try to do, which is extrapolate from what is already out there. We knew Bane had some weakness for the ladies and seemed unable to communicate with them. We knew he was raised in a prison without a real family. We knew he saw the world differently from everyone else.
Putting those things together, we see a man who might deeply want something he doesn't even understand, a family, someone to protect, someone to look out for. But his idea of love is partly informed by prison, by being controlled. And that's the WRONG button to push with Scandal Savage, whose father used control to express hate and lust for power.
I think, if you put two terribly damaged people together, sometimes you will find that they somehow adapt their weaknesses to each other. They find a way to fit together. I know a grandmom with some serious mental issues who has adopted her grandson who was a victim of serious abuse by his druggie parents. Apart, they are hopeless, but they have found a way to fit together and survive.
So that's where that came from, and can you tell I put way too much thought into this stuff?
c. page: You've probably been asked this a lot, but what book and/or character made you fall in love with comics?
Gail: JLA, ALL THE WAY!
Justice League, baby!
I had no idea who most of the characters were and I just wanted to know RIGHT NOW.
I was very non-particular, I would read ANY comic because so few were available. But JLA, that was the book. Still is.
Matthew Brown: Is the the current team the definitive Birds of Prey for a while, or can we expect some surprises down the line?
Gail: It's fluid to some degree...everyone can drop out or be replaced, but the default is always Babs, Helena, and Dinah (with Zinda close behind).
shisho: If you ever decided to jump ship to Marvel, what character would you most like to take a whack at writing?
bo bo: Oh and have you ever been asked to write one of those mega-crossover event?
Gail: Yeah, a couple times. It's a complicated deal. We had one in play and approved when the Wonder Woman thing came up, and I put it on the side-burner.
I don't really worry about what comics are 'good for my career' that much. If I do one, I want it to be something that I can actually say something with. I would love to have that big sandbox, but don't want to do the standard thing.
Stay Tuned for more ... someday.
Last edited by sk716; 02-12-2012 at 12:49 PM.
Evil Mod of DOOM!!!
Re: The Gail FAQ Thread.
dmh3000: How many times do you get the question "How can I become a skilled writer like you" and when you say practice, you can just tell they were hoping there's a trick to learning it over night?
All the time.
I get private letters and stuff that are these HUGE questions, out of nowhere, asking things like, "How do you become a writer?" or "How do you write characters?"
And many of them aren't even polite. It's frustrating.
Thequeerjock: Hey Gail, who created Jeanette's design? Did Nicola come up with it, or you?
I had the rough ideas, the green overcoat/dress, the boots, the white hair and comb, and general attitude, I believe. But Nicola did everything. She used to be in fashion design, so she ALWAYS does something amazing.
Nicola Scott is one of the best n the business.
The Hunter: Hey Mrs. Simone I know you disliked Black Canary getting hitched but what's your overall stance on marriage in comics/married super heroes/heroines?
Oh, I think it depends.
I think Superman and Lois are awesome together. I enjoyed the Spidey/MJ marriage but I do think he works better single. Aquaman and Mera will be awesome.
Reed and Sue have to be together.
It just depends.
The BC/GA idea was just a bad one from the word go. I don't know enough about the Storm/Black Panther marriage to say, but it did seem to come out of nowhere!
Evil Mod of DOOM!!!
Re: The Gail FAQ Thread.
scs: What's the correct pronunciation of 'Simone?'
(bert was right - sk)
KirbyKrackle : Gail, what is your favorite single issue you have written?
This is actually a tough call.
For a long time, it was Welcome To Tranquility #4.
But there are some other contenders...
I wrote an issue of Simpsons Comics I was very proud of, it's funny all the way through. The Simpsons go back to Scotland (don't know the issue number).
The last issue of Secret Six, I liked a lot.
The first issue of Wonder Woman I did, I think issue 14.
The Golden Age issue of Birds of Prey.
Those are probably my favorites!
JBK405: A question that has been bothering me for quite some time, we're talking months here, is how Scandal views herself. I mean personally. What does she think of her life and actions? Does she believe that she is a "good guy"? Does she think she is a "bad guy"? Does she believe that the concepts of "good" and "evil" as commonly defined have no place in a complex world without asolutes, and thusly refuses to classify herself?
What got me thiking about this is how much of Secret Six is devoted to introspection and personal beliefs. The very first issue I read was Catman and Deadshot debating whether or not Catman had become a good guy while simultaneously foiling/participating in a convenience store hold-up. Throughout that conversation, and much of the series before and after it as well, it is obvious that Catman wants to be a hero. He wants to be the good guy, the role model, the All-American Face, but (As Deadshot so succinctly points out to him afterwards), he is not there. That's not who he is, but he wants that to be who he is.
Deadshot gets his own story later, visiting his priest as he tries to understand why he is so overcome with the compulsion to kill. Unlike Blake he does not want to be a hero, he does not feel guilt over his life of crime and has no urge to join the White Hats, but he does want to be in control of his life, to be evil (If he is evil at all) because he chooses to be evil, and not because of an urge he can't control.
What I'm wondering is where does Scandal fit into this? What does she want? Where does she see herself fitting in? If given the choice tomorrow would she chose to abandon the world of capes forever? Does she want to live a nice, quiet life with a 9-5 job? Does she want to settle down with Liana? Or does she enjoy her life as it is? Does she, maybe, want to be eviler?
It's at this point that I always come back to the ending of that wonderful cowboy Elseworlds issue. It ends, so simply, with the wish that, if only this time, they could have been the heroes.
I know how I feel about Scandal (Well, actually, I don't "know," since one of the things that makes for such a great character is the complexity that keeps my own interpretation constantly shifting), and I know how a lot of my friends/people online who I've never met feel about her, but how does she feel about herself?
This is a great, meaningful question. So much so that I am hesitant to answer it because I feel that the answer is almost purely subjective.
I think Scandal has the problem a lot of us have, which is she feels defined at least partially by her background. If your father is an abusive alcoholic, that feels like it's in your makeup even if you've never touched a drop.
Scandal's mother hated her father's guts and killed herself to be away from him. So that choice is always in front of Scandal...does she continue to exist, knowing Vandal wants her under his wing, or does she kill herself?
She chooses to live, but that means her father is always going to be out there watching, and scheming. So her background haunts her.
I think she doesn't see herself as a hero. She doesn't mind doing merc work.
But the thing that we tried to stress day in and day out, what makes the Six the Six is NOT that they are violent or successful, it's that they won't ever, ever be pushed. They will not compromise.
Scandal sets that tone, but it costs her. It's draining.
I don't think she sees herself as a hero. But I think she made far more moral choices overall than Catman.