No one can say that Gail Simone isn’t available to her fans. She has long maintained an open dialogue with readers on her Tumblr and Twitter, and she’ll take on the tough and controversial subjects that are bound to come up in the highly opinionated world of comics. In Part II of our interview, Gail shares her thoughts on the writer-reader relationship, talks about reuniting with artist Jim Calafiore for Leaving Megalopolis, and answers a burning question we saved for the end.
If you missed Part I of the interview, make sure you check it out here. G3 thanks Gail again for not only making one of our fangirl dreams come true, but also providing such rock star insight in the process.
G3: What led to you and Jim Calafiore teaming up again to work on Leaving Megalopolis, and how did you come up with the idea for the story?
GS: Jim asked me if I would be interested. It was really as simple as that. I had a few ideas kicking around, and Jim loved Megalopolis, thank god. I say that because it is absolutely STUNNING what he’s doing with the script. It’s astounding, and Jason Wright’s coloring is MONSTROUSLY brilliant.
I actually had a dream of a small band of survivors running across a cornfield, trying to escape from a Superman-type, knowing it was hopeless. That’s been in my mind ever since.
We didn’t know if there would be people out there who wanted this. Instead, it became the most successful mainstream comics Kickstarter project to date. Pretty exciting!
G3: You mentioned at Megacon that you were working on getting back the rights to the Welcome to Tranquility characters. Are there more stories in that world that you’d like to tell? (The series was published by Wildstorm, an imprint of DC Comics that was shut down in 2010.)
GS: There are, that was kind of a wonderful town to write about. I love the Ferocious Lindo Sisters in particular. I would like to write them again.
G3: It’s clear that you love your job and your fans. But readers can be grumpy and resistant to change, and we sometimes leap to conclusions about what is happening behind the scenes. If you could make readers understand anything about the reality of creating comics, what would it be?
GS: I honestly don’t think it’s the job of readers to make things more convenient or comfortable for writers. That’s not how I see the relationship. I used to actually go to websites and comment on things people had said about my books — even argue with them. And at some point, you grow up. You realize that the reader doesn’t exist for the edification and egotism of the writer.
I write my stories for me, but I am fortunate enough that people want to read them. That’s something that’s still hard for me to wrap my head around.
I see other creators making that same mistake, or what I feel is a mistake — arguing with readers. I don’t know what response we’re expecting. “Oh, you’re right, now this is my favorite story ever?”
Fandom needs to have its space; it needs to have its freedom. It can get personal and even mean, but I feel like readers need to be able to express their feelings on a story without some creator coming in and being a dickbucket.
And it’s funny, too, because once you realize that, the weirdly personal stuff, even the harshest criticism, it becomes vastly — I mean hugely — unimportant.
G3: If you could be any of the characters that you’ve written, who would it be and why?
GS: Oooh. It might be Black Canary. She always seems to know who to hug and who to kick in the nards.
Or, it could be Wonder Woman. I’d love to have that many sisters who wore my size outfits.
Or it could be Ryan Choi. I really loved the Atom powers in that book.
I would take turns!