It was considered the Tweet heard around the comicsverse on Sunday, as Gail Simone made public that she will no longer be involved in crafting the words for current Batgirl Barbara Gordon in the Batgirl comic published by DC Comics.
Simone has been on the Batgirl title since the New 52 relaunch last year amidst some controversy. Simone was tasked with taking the previously handicapped Gordon, previously known as Oracle, and returning her to the cape and cowl of Batgirl. The move was something that alienated fans who felt that Barbara accomplished more under the Oracle persona than as Batgirl. Also involved in the controversy is the handling of pre-New 52 Batgirls Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. Both Cain and Brown were considered by fans to be strong Batgirls in their own right and their disappearance from the New 52 universe has their respective fans upset.
Even with the controversy surrounding the title, sales and critical praise has been strong for the book while under Simone’s helm. Much of the credit for the success of the title has been given to Simone. Diamond’s recent release of the top 300 comics for the month of November showed Batgirl as the 4th highest selling comic for DC, and it was the second highest Batman group title behind the main Batman book.
Issue #16 will be Simone’s last issue, although the solicitation for issue #17 still credits Simone as writer. When asked about the direction of Batgirl and planned story lines Simone responded on her Tumbler that “Sadly, the new editor nixed everything we had planned. I think it’s very likely that will still be covered, but it will not be in the way we had been building to, which I am very sad about. And those issues are already written but will not be published, I gather.”
In the DC Solicitations for February 2013 books, Ray Fawkes is listed as a guest writer for the next two issues of Batgirl. This will mark Fawkes’ first time at writing a comic for DC Comics. He has previously written the creator-owned book One Soul with Oni Press.
Simone has been very vocal about her exclusivity contract with DC ending this past week. Simone previously ended her writing duties on The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men after some reported clashes with editorial about the direction of the book. The decision to end her writing tenure on Fury of Firestorm was an amicable one between herself and her editors. By being let go via email from the Batgirl book, a method of termination that is considered by many in the business world to be unprofessional, it points to some continued tension held between Simone and DC editorial.
Her departure from Batgirl will not be her departure from writing comics. Simone is currently writing Leaving Megalopolis, a project that was funded through Kickstarter. Simone will be collaborating with Jim Calafiore, her old collaborator on Secret Six, with a publishing date to be announced for next year.