Some interesting news happened a couple of weeks after Gail Simone was let go by DC Comics from the Batgirl book: Gail Simone was hired back on to the Batgirl book. It would seem that DC listened a little to both fan and creator outrage at the firing and talked with Simone. Simone has stated that she will be coming back to the book with issue #19.
So if Simone is back, then what happens to the editor who fired her? Brian Cunningham is the editor who let Simone go via the unprofessional act of email firing. Certainly there would be some bad blood between them, and that probably was a part of the talks that Simone had with DC. But no news came out about Cunningham. DC also didn’t announce that Simone would be exclusive with them either.
So let’s look at some facts and let our minds wander for a bit. Cunningham was recently given editorial duties over Batgirl not that long ago. The other books he has on his plate include Nightwing, Aquaman, Justice League, and Green Lantern. It looks like outside of the Bat-books, Cunningham seems to be the editor for Geoff Johns’ penned books. With Johns and Cunningham have a seemingly good working relationship and with Johns being pretty high on the DC creator list, I wouldn’t expect to see DC firing Cunningham outright for the public backlash of Simone’s firing. With those type of editorial credentials in his pocket, he may just be around for “Batgirl #17” and #18 and then moved over to something else before Simone comes back for #19.
So who gave the order to let Simone go? Cunningham just inherited the book, but there really isn’t a history of the books he’s edited changing high profile writers. The order had to come from somewhere between him and Bob Harras, the VP-Editor-In-Chief for DC Comics. How about Batman Group Editor Mike Marts? The blame for the current timeline for all things Bat-related (how long has Batman been Batman and how old is Damian supposed to be?) could be pointed towards Marts, but removing a high profile writer on a book that really isn’t a low seller among the Bat-titles? With Marts’ position, it wouldn’t be too far off from assuming that he would have some say in the decision.
Not too long ago Batgirl was made a part of the Birds of Prey book, much to the dismay of Simone. Simone felt that she was still developing Batgirl over in her own title and putting her in a team book wasn’t a good call. Fast forward to Simone’s re-hiring and Simone was excited to share the news that Batgirl would be seen in other books besides just her own title. That is interesting when compared to the previous situation with Birds of Prey. However, with a lot of her character now developed, it may seem more natural to have Batgirl traveling around the DC universe.
When Simone was let go, both DC and Simone were basically in a lose-lose situation. DC looked bad, and Simone couldn’t write Batgirl, a character she obviously has a strong passion for. Now it seems like both camps are in a win-win situation. Simone gets to keep writing Batgirl, and DC will begin to expand her character to other books. Thinking about how things are now, it makes the whole situation seem very unnecessary to have happened. Simone never said a negative word or gave away any behind-the-scenes information on DC like how Rob Liefeld did when he left, but that can be chalked up to Simone’s unending professionalism. The comics industry is a rather small one, and Simone is one of those who loves the work she does.
Although I really hope that we will get to see that email and have some details revealed some day about this situation.