I’m pleased to say that I have a lot of favorite female writers. But I am the type of person to seek out female authors on purpose. Gail Simone is one of my favorite comic book writers. She’s written for such book as Birds of Prey, Wonder Woman, Gen13, and Secret Six, and she’s greatly added to the canons of some of my favorite female characters.
Simone started off as a fan. A comic book fan who noticed that women characters were mostly ignored, tortured, and killed to serve the stories of the male heroes. Simone created a database of sorts cataloging all the atrocious torture and deaths women characters were subjected to in far greater numbers than their male counterparts. She coined the term, “Women in Refrigerators” for these unfortunate acts.
Simone caught the eye of DC Comics, and they decided to hire her as a writer. She’s been on their payroll ever since. Simone’s run on Birds of Prey is one of the most celebrated “female-friendly” comic books out there. The reason being not just that Simone can craft a good story, but because she treats her characters — whether female or male — the same. The Birds of Prey is a team largely composed of women, mostly protecting Gotham City (though they do venture out). At the heart of the team is Oracle (Barbara Gordon, the former Batgirl), Black Canary (Dinah Lance), and Huntress (Helena Bertinelli). These women and others not only have adventures and defeat bad guys, but they are genuine friends and family. In a genre where women rarely have their own agency in stories, it’s even more rare that women work together and become friends with each other. Simone says she didn’t set out of create a “female-friendly” comic book, but by DC Comics hiring a woman writer with the sensibility to tell women’s stories, Birds of Prey was able to reach an expanded audience with women fans.
Simone also had a great run on Wonder Woman, where she not only reunited Diana with her mother, but even let Wonder Woman have a love interest again. On the other end of the spectrum, Simone’s Secret Six is about the nasty things villains do to heroes and do to each other, proving that women writers can be just as sick and twisted as their male peers.
I highly recommend checking out Simone’s writing: Birds of Prey Vol. 1: Of Like Minds and Wonder Woman: The Circle.
Also, Simone’s going to be at GeekGirlCon, if you want to meet her in person and attend a convention with lots of other geeky women.