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Monday, July 18, 2016

My Tribute to Gail Simone

It was May 2012 and I was still a student at Houston Community College in the Spring Branch area. After I had finished my Final Exam for both Ear Training and Music Theory II, I remember I was going to go see The Avengers at the Edwards Greenway Grand Palace Stadium 24 & RPX. But before I went there my Mom and I agreed to go to Barnes & Noble and went in to get the new issue of PROG magazine which covered the 40th anniversary of Jethro Tull’s Thick as a Brick. That and an issue number 9 of Batgirl covering the Night of the Owls arc.

And I was hooked right from the moment I read it. It was my introduction to Gail Simone’s writing. I remember buying the issues from 1 to 13 from the Lone Star Comics website. I got back into the world of Comics again and I have to give Gail Simone a huge amount of credit for getting me back into it. It felt like being a kid in a candy store all over again. And I got both some of her writings she did for Birds of Prey and the hardcover release of Batgirl’s The Darkest Reflection.

Reading her run with Batgirl from 2011 to 2014, was like a breath of fresh air. Now I wasn’t a huge fan of The New 52 arc that DC did, but there were some good ones including Suicide Squad and World’s Finest: Huntress and Power Girl. But Batgirl was one of the series I would pick up whether I was done for my afternoon or morning courses and go to Bedrock City to pick up an issue or whatever would have taken me by surprise.

But, let’s get to Batgirl. This is Barbara Gordon back into wearing the cape, there was some controversy of a division whether they prefer to be back in the cape or as Oracle. Which is understandable. But I love the reboot of what she did to Barbara. It tells the concept of she is back as Batgirl, but for how long? Despite of what happened to her with the torture of The Joker that was paralyzed from Alan Moore’s controversial story, The Killing Joke, she is struggling and the subject of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and being scared with guns, are the subject matters that took me by surprise.

And Simone nailed it bit by bit. I know Comics fans might agree with me, but my favorite issue is number 19 as Barbara comes back home after being sold out to the Joker by her own insane brother James, she tells Alysia about her past and the struggle she went through as Yeoh herself tells Barbara that she is a Transgender. 

For me, never fitting in with the cool crowd and picked on from Camp and Elementary, Middle, and High School, this was a high water mark. It was like a breath of fresh air as opening up to Barbara to reveal of who she is, is amazing and emotional. And one of the issues where Barbara had a nightmare in issue 4, Shards of Past Lives. Batgirl in the opening sequence of a nightmare was in a Wheelchair as she is confronted with her past with Barbara as she taunts her of throwing her life away and was it all worth it as she yells at her with the background of The Mirror revealing the two faces of Barbara and Batgirl as the past Barbara screams at Batgirl, "WHY CAN'T YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR BARBARA?!" 

Then she wakes up and finds out it was all a dream. I was expecting her to burst into tears at that moment of what happened. It was one of the disturbing and emotional moments in the arc. I just wish that Gail should have gotten the Pulitzer Prize for issue 19 or an award for best writing in comics. When it was announced that she was stepping down two years ago, I was very sad, but for me, she had an amazing run of her role with Batgirl.

Now with stories such as Leaving Megalopolis, Clean Room, Secret Six, Red Sonja and the continuation of the Megalopolis series with Surviving Megalopolis that started back in January of this year, you never know what to expect she will do next. She’s been around writing comics back in 1999 from The Simpsons, Wonder Woman, and Deadpool followed by writing episodes for TV including Justice League United, Tomb Raider; The Animated Series, and Batman: The Brave and the Bold, she has never disappointed me.

Whether you love her or hate her, she has never given up. There are a few writers I admire including Brendan Flecther, Cameron Stewart, Peter David, Alan Moore, Kelly Sue DeConnick, Marguerite Bennet, and of course Stan “The Man” Lee, Gail is up on one of those amazing writers of the comic books answer to Mount Rushmore. I hope next year, DC Comics will do an animated Batgirl movie based on Gail's arc.

And I would like to close out in the words of The Who's The Real Me from their 1973 rock opera, Quadrophenia, "The cracks between the paving stones, look like rivers of flowing veins, strange people who know me, peeping from behind every window pane."

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