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DC Comics news: Gail Simone off "Batgirl" (for real), Vertigo and Aquaman's DTV

This time, Gail Simone is gone for good. Can Batgirl survive?
MTV

Gail Simone leaves "Batgirl" in October & maybe relaunches "Secret Six"!

The relationship between writer Gail Simone and DC Comics has certainly seen its' ups and downs. A former hairdresser, Simone gained fame by criticizing "Green Lantern #54", circa 1994, on a website she created in 1999 called "Women in Refrigerators" which listed the endless supply of female characters killed, assaulted, depowered, or otherwise maimed in order to create angst for a male one. After stints writing for "The Simpsons" comics as well as "Deadpool" and "Agent X" for Marvel Comics, she wound up hired by DC Comics, the company she became infamous for being critical of. She would go on to write long and well received runs on comics such as "Birds of Prey", "Action Comics", "Wonder Woman", and "Secret Six".

When DC Comics rebooted via their "New 52" initiative, she was immediately attached to a relaunch of "Batgirl" as well as "The Fury of Firestorm". Although Simone has long been a critically acclaimed writer - especially with audiences DC Comics rarely courts such as women, minorities, and fans of different sexual orientations - her runs often struggled to deliver blockbuster sales, and some internal strife with editors seemed to rise once the "New 52" era began. Simone left "Firestorm" as of its' sixth issue and in December 2012 she was reportedly fired from "Batgirl" via an editorial email. This sparked a tremendous fury from fans online to the point that DC Comics caved a fortnight later and rehired Simone as the solo writer of "Batgirl". Unfortunately, said fans couldn't prevent her next DC Comics series, "The Movement", from being canceled after a year.

Now, MTV has news that as of October's "Batgirl #35", Simone will have left for good and will be replaced by Cameron Stewart and Brendan Fletcher, with new talent Babs Tarr as penciler for the book. This new creative team will give Barbara Gordon a drastic (and much younger and hipper seeming) costume design alongside a more positive outlook from the usually grim and gritty "New 52" line. The premise is following Barbara Gordon's move to a new "trendy" suburb of Gotham City where she can finish graduate school as well as continue to fight crime as Batgirl. The writers stressed that their run would have the flair of TV shows such as "Girls", "Veronica Mars", and "Sherlock". The idea is to give her a "clean break" from the other Batman books as well as the cast. Paired with June's announcement of "Arkham Academy", it seems as if DC Comics have begun to finally notice something which has been obvious to anyone with eyes and a computer for at least the past ten years - they have a lot of female fans, and everyone got sick of "grim and gritty" as a default in 1995. Usually the only difference between a common layperson and a senior comic book editor is that the latter takes at least ten years to catch up to what's "hip".

Unfortunately, not even the news of DC's interest in using "Batgirl" to appeal to young teenage fans can come without a caveat. It seems that Gail Simone's exit from "Batgirl" was due to long term differences she had with her editor which had finally become too much to bare after nearly three years on the title. Ironically, the aforementioned editor left the book before the creative team was announced, which helped pave the way for a lighter and brighter "Batgirl" - supposedly something Simone had wanted all along. Ironically, Bryan Q Miller's run on "Batgirl" (which starred Stephanie Brown) had the exact same tone that this new run promises to have - and it was cancelled to help pave way for the "New 52" as co-created by Jim Lee, one of those aforementioned creators who hasn't twigged that the 90's ended and are not coming back, despite at least 14 years to get used to such a thing.

Since the start of the "New 52" in fall 2011, Simone has perhaps smelled the writing on the wall and begun to branch out. She's since begun runs on "Tomb Raider" for Dark Horse Comics as well as "Red Sonja" for Dynamite Comics, as well as a tale in a "Deadpool" anthology for Marvel Comics. Yet she's hardly been axed from DC Comics entirely, as she's hinted on Twitter as well as a London convention that her next comic will be a relaunch of her iconic series, "Secret Six". Her previous run on the series featured characters such as Catman, Deadshot, Scandal Savage, and Ragdoll, but all that is assumed is that her new "secret" project will involve Bane, who she utilized in the tail end of her original "Six" run. If anything, it would also be wise for DC Comics to reprint her still-popular "Secret Six" run via a trade collection to boot.

"Vertigo" tries new cover gimmick!

DC Comics' top tier imprint continues to redefine itself after an editorial change a few years ago. This latest push is called "DEFY", with the angle being that the covers to select Vertigo comics will actually be the first page of the story. Such an idea goes back at least to Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' "Watchmen" where the covers were always the first panel of the story within. As IGN's report brags, this would make various Vertigo comics consist of 21 story pages instead of 22 (or, "almost as many pages as all comics had merely six years ago"). One can imagine this will put more pressure on avoiding damaged copies. This push begins in October with Vertigo titles such as "Astro City", "Fables", "Fairest", and "Coffin Hill" (among others).

Aquaman gets an animated direct-to-video film after all!

The end of "Justice League: War" hinted that the long wait for an Aquaman themed animated direct-to-video was finally coming to an end. Today, a notice from DC Comics' action figure wing revealed several characters from the piece as well as the title itself. It will be called "Justice League: Throne of Atlantis" and the toys will go on sale in January 2015. Featured are Aquaman, Mera, Black Manta, and Orm the Ocean Master (who all look angry). As has been the common strategy, any DTV which isn't about Batman or Superman seems to rely on the "Justice League" in the title; the only exceptions were "Wonder Woman" in 2009 and two features for "Green Lantern" in 2010 and 2011.