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AuthorHi, Reddit! I'm Gail Simone, writer of comics, games, and animation. You might know me from comics such as Batgirl, Secret Six, Wonder Woman, and Deadpool,- and creator-owned series like Clean Room and Crosswind. AMA!

Dec 21st 2017 by Gail_Simone • 22 Questions • 110 Points

It's a slow day and this will give me something to look forward to during my lunch. I've worked here for over a year and a half at various departments so I've got a lot of stories.

Proof

PS: WOOOOOOWOOPPPPP

Q:

How does one recover from Olicity?

A:

Why do some ride operators need to repeat the safety message every single ride, rather than just having a pre-recorded message to play?


Q:

There is no recovery from Olicity. I knew a guy who had Olicity and his butt fell off.

A:

It wouldn't a real theme park if you can't understand the safety instructions because they're talking fast and the mic quality is bad. A prerecorded message would take all that away.


Q:

What inspired your unique take on Bane for Secret Six?

A:

Haha we were just there yesterday. I guess simple question, what are some good secrets of the park? Any interesting tips about it?


Q:

It's interesting, I like to sort of add to characters, rather than simply reboot them. And I took a couple small hints from Chuck Dixon's work on the character...for example, Chuck had Bane 'court' Black Canary, and I found that interesting, that a big dangerous killer would also have a gallant side. So I just extrapolated that. It was fun, DC did not quite understand the concept at first but then jumped right in. Only one scoop of ice cream, Scandal!

A:

Personally, find the old abandoned stuff interesting. Where the construction by the games are, there used to be a monorail station from like the 70s. Also the gazebo looking thing right in front of jet stream is what remains of a really old ride called the dragon ride. Pretty cool stuff.

As far as tips, the best food imo is at Chop Six by X2 and Viper. Stuff's just yummy


Q:

Hello! Thanks again for doing this!

Are there any resources (publishers, networks, even production tools) for comic creators that you think should get more recognition?

And, completely ignoring moral judgments of their characters: Who has the better mustache, Floyd Lawton or Ned Flanders?

A:

MONORAIL!!


Q:

I am having a great time, this is way more fun than I thought, thanks!

Brian Bendis had an excellent resource for new creators, can someone help me out with a link?

And Floyd's is better because his mustache is an E ticket.

A:

Aren't we all waiting on that


A:

Nah, Teen Titans Tower Pizza is pretty swell. It's greasy, but great!


Q:

YAY!

A:

My problem with teen Titans is that you can find that pizza and waterfront too. I like chop six because they've got the most diverse menu


Q:

Any concerns about the upcoming Batgirl movie or do you think its in good hands?

A:

I am considering working at a theme park for a summer job, would you reccomend it?


Q:

Hoo boy. This is tricky.

Okay, first, I don't watch very much television, so I don't know Joss Whedon's work outside of a few movies and the first episode of Buffy. I like what I have seen.

I know there's a whole personal issue and it's sad to contemplate.

At the end of the day, I want a great movie. A great Batgirl movie would mean so much to so many. It could build on Wonder Woman.

I feel like the correct answer is that I ALWAYS have concerns about these movies, because the characters are precious to me, and I know that's true of a lot of readers.

Hollywood, don't fuck this up, please!

A:

Oh yeah 100%. It's pretty fun. Of course it depends on how the park is run, sfmm has great management that makes the job bearable. Shit management = shit time


Q:

If you could write a film for DC, who would it be about and how would you handle it?

A:

Why the fuck is the superman ride so hard to get back to?


Q:

Without question, it would be Birds of Prey. I think the time is right, people are hungry for cool female heroes, and I think the idea of a female buddy cop-style story is still very fresh. Plus, I love those dames. Black Canary needs a chance to shine, and Huntress and Barbara are just amazing characters. I choose BOP!

A:

My guess is it needed lots of room to launch, so that spot just worked. Idk though


Q:

Would you include Zinda, or do you think the focus should be entirely on the main trio?

A:

What's the average sunglasses to smartphones ratio you find under the rides?


Q:

No, I would DEFINITELY include Zinda!

A:

I work on pretty mild rides, so not a ton of stuff gets lost. And even if I did, I wouldn't know. Only the supervisors are allowed to walk the track and pick up lost stuff. That being said, a lot of people forget their phones in the cars.


Q:

Would Misfit appear in the movie?

A:

Now that the park is open 365 days a year, where are they going to find employees to work weekdays? Most employees look like students. Also, how can they make money being open on weekdays when all of their potential customers are in school?


Q:

Maybe, I love her, but she might be harder to fit in.

A:

Well, a majority of the employees are students but there are still people who aren't. I'm still in highschool so I won't be working during the week except on breaks. And I honestly have no idea how six flags is planning on making a profit. The price that rides and employees cost versus the income they'll be making seems way out of balance for a regular Tuesday in the middle or March. But hey that's just me


Q:

How did you achieve such mastery in Twitter shit posting? It's honestly magnificent and the reason I follow you. Aside from being a reliable source of porg memes.

As for actual comic questions, what's been the most unexpected thing that a subsequent writer has done with the material you wrote after you left the book? Do you sit down with writers to get them up to speed on the transition or are you just as surprised as the rest of us?

A:

About how much items have you seen fallen off a ride?


Q:

HA!

Twitter is a lot of fun for me. People think I sit and tweet all day long, but actually, I am almost always doing something else and just tweet nonsense when I spare a sideways glance. I'll be writing, am stuck for a moment, tweet something ridiculous and go back to writing.

I like Twitter. I am amazed at some of the things that have happened on my timeline. You can tell heartbreaking stories, you can make people laugh til they cry, you can discuss serious issues, and you can post nonsense shit, which is my favorite of all.

The most upsetting thing for me was the killing of Ryan Choi to make Deathstroke seem like a badass. It was a lousy scene for a lousy story, and I still haven't really forgiven anyone involved. I thought it was a genuinely mean-spirited thing to do to an optimistic, happy character that a lot of people loved, for a series NO one loved. So I'm grumpy about that still. And no, most writers don't really talk to previous teams, I think it's bad manners, but most don't.

A:

I've only seen people forget their items in the car or off the side. It's important to note that I don't work at any of those iron giants.


Q:

when you create a new character that is used in a marvel or DC book, how are the rights handled for that character? is there some threshold to meet to be considered a full-fledged character rather than a background person? are there guidelines for character names so that you don't inadvertently name a super villain after some random insurance broker in Poughkeepsie who might sue for defamation?

A:

Hey, do you recommend getting a flash pass for tomorrow? How long are the lines going to be approx?


Q:

Oh, this is a tricky one and both companies handle it differently.

I have to say, DC in particular has been very good to me with the characters I have created.

Basically, it works like this, generally. If your character is completely new, you sign an equity agreement and you may get paid a fee if your character is used in the title of a book or on a tv show or whatever. If the character is a spin-off or legacy character, then it is much less likely. So if I create Fungus Girl, I will participate in equity. If I make a new Element Lad, I won't.

A:

It won't be tooo busy, if you feel you need a flash pass get a cheap one. And don't use it on lines that have a small wait time. Its better to wait in a small line while queuing on the flash pass for a big ride.


Q:

There has been controversy about your 2011 Batgirl run, with some fans considering the premise ableist due to both the erasure of Cassandra Cain and the un-paralyzing of Barbara Gordon. How much of that was you vs. editorial, and would you have done anything differently if you had the choice?

A:

I like riding in the back but get worried when someone decides to hold out their phone during the ride, I'm nervous they will drop it and it will hit me. I always hear ride ops say that phones must be put away, but I hardly see any enforcement. Is there anything ride ops can do to prevent this? Do they train you to deal with this situation? Is there anything that I can do as a guest to help ride ops "catch" these people?


Q:

I thought we were doing easy questions first!

This is a tough one. I didn't like replacing Cass, but that had already happened, it was a done deal by the time I came aboard. But taking Babs from Oracle to Batgirl is something they were going to do, with or without me. I thought the entire DC line-up was going to be made younger, closer to their origin times, but that didn't end up happening.

I do wish there had been a way to keep Oracle and have a different Batgirl, for sure. I am proud of what we did, but I feel Oracle is a necessary part of the DCU and an important character for many reasons.

A:

The most we can do is to tell them to put it away. Some rides like jet stream we'll stop the lift until they but it away. Most people's philosophy is that 'if dont put your phone away after we told you to, it's your problem when you drop it'. You can always tell an attendent and they'll help you out.


Q:

Which of the Flashes do you prefer writing? I know you wrote Wally as part of JLA Classified, but do you have a preference for one over others?

Also, have you ever had a higher percentage of dick jokes per minute than the Birds of Prey song?

A:

Funniest experience?


Q:

I haven't gotten to write either much, but I love Wally.

And no. :)

A:

Nothing specific comes to mind about the most funny, but I love all of the little guest interactions when they say something funny or something like that. For example this one time the ride broke down and I was talking to the guests in line. I said "if you have any questions, feel free to ask me" and this girl shouted "what's your favorite color?". It's the little stuff


Q:

Who would be your dream cast for a Birds of Prey movie?

A:

Do you scream "OOOOOOOOWOPP" when rides dispatch or is that just a Great Adventure thing?


Q:

Oh, I'm sorry, I am terrible at these because I don't watch tv and don't keep up with actors. So...let's see.

Carrot Top...Barbara Gordon Debbie Harry...Black Canary Stephanie Beatriz...Question Harry Styles...Misfit

I DON'T KNOW.

A:

Oh yeah, as often as I can


Q:

How long on average does it take you to write a book?

A:

U seen a girl chest come out her shirt on a ride b4?


Q:

It takes a week of planning and several days of writing. I have to have a couple projects going at once.

A:

Nope


Q:

Hello Miss Simone! I must say I'm a big fan of your work, and I even follow you on tumblr! Your stories are always so fun, and I respect you very much for continuing to interact with us despite our excesses. Your advice to budding creators is also very much appreciated.

Now for the questions. You don't have to answer all of them since I have a lot.

 

  1. Which character do you want to work on that you haven't worked on yet?
  2. Who is your favorite character to write?
  3. Out of the various artists you have worked with, who is your favorite?
  4. Catwoman or Talia? Lois or Lana? Steve Trevor or Tom Tresser? (Not saying that you didn't write Tresser well, but it felt like he was a substitute Steve Trevor because he had been taken off the table Post-Crisis)

 

Also, If I told you under Hal Jordan's cocky confident alpha male facade lurks a traumatized soul as problematic as anyone on the Secret Six, but still as intelligent as guacamole, would you hate him a little less?

A:

Good. Ur a gentleman. Keep up good work


Q:
  1. Spider-man
  2. Red Sonja, Black Canary, Deadpool
  3. Impossible to say, so many! But Nicola Scott and I have a real brain-meld.
  4. Catwoman, Lois, Steve!
A:

๐Ÿ‘‰๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘‰ Zoop!


Q:

Did you gain any monetary compensation after Ryan Cho became DLC for Injustice 2?

A:

Ever had a brat or something irritating happen on your shift?


Q:

I don't think so, again, he's a legacy character and those are generally not compensated. If I'd called him Little Dude, I would. It's weird, but I get it.

A:

Kids are almost never the problem, it's always the parents. A lot of the time it's just them complaining about the height limit. Thankfully I'm pretty good at dealing with guests that way so nothing too bad ever happens


Q:

Do you root Wonderbat or not?

A:

What's your personal record time for your safety-message lightning-read?


Q:

I do not.

A:

Probably like 15 or so seconds. I spaced for a bit then I had to say it really fast to make up for the lost time


Q:

gail what is your favorite thing about Brasil?

A:

Im trying to get a job in a Swedish park, any advice?

Would you recomen it?

And What training did you get for the job?


Q:

The people. I think about them every day.

I was just at CCXP, and every signing I had had to be ticketed, and people came up in tears, or couldn't stop hugging, and it was very emotional, they just treated me like family.

I miss Brazil already and I just got back!

The second best thing is picanha.

A:

Parks like it when you know how to treat the guest, so there is probably going to be an interview question along the lines of "if you see a guest that is having a bad day, what would you do?"

I would reccomend it. It's a unique kind of job thats pretty fun.

The training was a 4ish hour general orientation that all new hires had to go through. Then a department training that went over generally how ride ops (or whatever department you would go into) operated. Each individual ride has a 30ish minute training on how to check restraints and that kind of thing (which means that you'd be an attendant) and a 12 hour training over multiple days that teaches you how to operate the main panel. Other parks might have different procedures but it's probably similar.


Q:

what is your favorite thing about wonder woman?

A:

How often do you get the chance to ride the rides?


Q:

I like her compassion, it sounds hokey, but it's true. She'll kick your ass and then go get you a bowl of soup.

I love that, it makes her unique.

A:

We do a safety ride before we open, so sometimes I ride then.


Q:

What aspect of the DC Universe would you love to explore? Do you have any crazy ideas that have been brewing in your head?

And what are your thoughts about pineapple on pizza?

A:

I've only been there twice. Once during my 6th grade graduation and another time when I was 23. I live 5 minutes away.

When is the least busiest time to visit the park? And are there any rides that just constantly have no line?


Q:

Yeah, I want to do a cosmic DC story sometime. And LEGION!

And I like pineapple on pizza! The salty and sweet, baby!

A:

Least: Tuesdays or Wednesday in general. Specifically on Superbowl Sunday or Christmas eve are the least busy days.

Most: Summer Saturdays, Sundays are generally a little less busy, but still packed. This is kinda obvious but never go on bring a friend free days or three day weekends (like labor day)


Q:

What is your dream Justice League roster?

A:

is there such thing as homemade snakes or are they all just mass produced in a factory? these are questions of doctors everywhere


Q:

It's mostly the classic line-up, but add Zatanna and Plastic Man.

A:

Well who's to say that a factory isn't a home


Q:

Who is the hardest to turn down character you've ever had to turn down?

A:

Rides are designed so the seatbelt isn't even necessary. You could ride without the seatbelt and still be perfectly safe. That's how lapbars are designed.


Q:

She-Hulk. Could not do it in the time allotted.

A:

I'd think at most a front of the line pass, mainly because you didn't get hurt, but that's something a lead or supervisor would decide


Q:

Big fan of your work! One of my favorite titles is Welcome to Tranquility. Given that Warren Ellis is curating the Wildstorm universe, any chance you would revisit that title? Also, given that you're writing Wonder Woman/Conan, when is Wonder Woman / Red Sonja gonna happen?!?!?! :p

A:

I am actually trying to get the rights to Tranquility back for myself and Neil Googe, and if we do, there will be more Tranq stories!

And I asked about WW/S, I don't think it's happening right now. :(


Q:

Do you think DC will ever make Babs Oracle again (AKA back in the wheelchair)?

A:

I hope so.


Q:

What character missing from the DCU right now most needs to come back?

A:

Oracle, and Plastic Man.


Q:

Birds of prey are such an awesome team but they hardly get any recognition outside of comics, why do you think that is? Do you think weโ€™ll ever get a BOP animated or live action adaptation any time soon? Will you consider being involved in such a project if it were to happen.

A:

Well, they did have a series.

I hope for a bop movie. The time is right. And yes, I would hope to be involved.


Q:

Will DC be re-launching the Legion of Super-Heroes soon? Would you like to be involved in it if the Legion comes back?

A:

I don't know, but we almost had a LEGION relaunch happening. Sad it didn't go through.


Q:

Would you ever want to write a Star Wars comic? If so, what would it be about?

A:

ACK. This almost happened.

I said on Twitter that I wanted to write a story about Leia running an army of wookies as their general, and Lucasfilm and Dark Horse got really excited about that. We were about to start, and Disney bought Star Wars and all DH books were canceled.

So it didn't happen. Someday. I loved Last Jedi!


Q:

A lot of comic book professionals seem to be very fearful of calling out their peers, cause that could result in the end of them being singled out of future projects and mainstream comics in general. Do you think that fear is justified, and how do you deal with that?

A:

Sure it's justified, comics is a small business. But if a pro is being a douche, I think it's fair to expect them to be called out.

I think, out of kindness, you try to give people a chance to explain or clarify what they've done, assuming it's something simple. If it's a situation where there's harassment or something, I feel like the gloves are off.


Q:

Have you read any of Sam Humphries's Green Lanterns run? I'm curious what you think of newest Green Lantern Jessica Cruz!

P.S. The world needs more Kho!

A:

I love KHO, the only GL I think I created. I keep begging GL writers to use her!

I am behind on GL, but I heard it's great!


Q:

gail what are your favorite comic books of the year?

A:

My favorite graphic novel of they year was Bingo Love, by Tee Franklin. It's her first gn, and it had me in tears, big sobbing baby tears. I can't recommend it highly enough.

I love Mister Miracle. I love Monstress. I love anything by G. Willow Wilson.

Those are the first things leaping to mind.


Q:

Hi Gail! Me and a couple of buddies asked Grant Morisson and Gene Luen Yang this same question on their respective AMA's. We're now highly anticipating your answer.

Cats or dogs?

A:

For me, it's dogs. I am allergic to cats, but we still ended up with one, somehow.

It's dogs, dogs, dogs. Specifically, greyhounds. ROOOOOO!


Q:

Hey, you! got a question: if you had to choose someone else (not Kate Bush) to write about for Femme Magnifique, who would you choose and why?

A:

Oh, man, that's a good question, and all the way from Argentina!

I might do Margaret Atwood, in that case. Gloria Steinem.

Shonda Rhimes. Lynda Carter. Carrie Fisher.

What can I say, I'm a huge nerd.


Q:

What's the best Injustice 2 character?

A:

Starfire!


Q:

Hi Gail!
Any chance you've heard of any plans to reprint your run on Wonder Woman or Birds of Prey? I've always wanted to read them, but they're out of print and fairly difficult to track down!

A:

I think they are doing Chuck's BOP first, they might do mine after. And I have heard rumors of WW being reprinted.

It's very tough to know at DC, even editors don't know in advance what gets reprinted.


Q:

What were your plans for Cassandra Cain before you were told you couldn't use her during your second Birds of Prey run and, if given the chance to write her now, would you want to?

A:

I think there are others who write her better, I would want them to write her so I can just be a fan!


Q:

Are you having fun playing as Ryan Cho?

A:

I am a huge fighting games fan, I have every single character in Injustice 2 leveled to their max.

So I can't even explain how fun it is that they chose to use RYAN CHOI, whom I created, in their game as the Atom. They even used my dialogue in spots.

Just a huge honor, and he's a blast to play.


Q:

Its a Marvel Legend

A:

I have no idea what this is, it sounds like the world's worst Blizzard flavor at the DQ.


Q:

Do you watch anime, if so whatโ€™s your favorite?

A:

I love MONSTER. I haven't watched a lot of anime lately. I like Attack on Titan, though!


Q:

Do you ever listen to music to get in the mood/mindset for writing?

If so, does the sort of music ever change depending on what you're currently writing - like for example, how does the Secret Six playlist differ from the Birds of Prey playlist?

Also what does Cyclops like to eat?

A:

I actually don't, I have to have complete silence.

As an experiment, I started listening to the CONAN movie soundtrack while writing Wonder Woman/Conan. It worked okay. But silence is best for me.

And Cyclops loves plain spam, cold from the can.


Q:

How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

A:

It made me aware that tone is important, and variety of tone is vital.

I hate comics that never change their tone.


Q:

Who is top on your list to work with (artists or other writers)?

A:

Any Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz, Denys Cowan, there's a bunch!


Q:

I know you're a fan of Brooklyn Nine Nine, who would you say is your favorite character on the show?

A:

I love almost all of them but it's definitely Diaz.


Q:

Hey Gail, huge fan of your Batgirl run!

What is(are) your favorite thing(s) about Babs?

A:

Smarts. That's it, I think she's the smartest in the bat-family.


Q:

Hey , Gail ! Big fan of yours ! If given the chance to do x-men, what would your roster be ?

A:

Good question!

Hmm.

Cyclops, Cyclops, Cyclo--

No.

Storm, Outlaw, Rogue, Kitty, Cannonball, Sunfire, maybe?


Q:

betty or veronica ?

A:

Any smart person goes for both, ask Archie.


Q:

Based on your experiences, what advice do you wish you would've been given when you were first trying to break into comic writing?

A:

Don't punish your artist, try to give them things they like to draw.


Q:

What is the most over the top romantic thing you have ever done for someone, and what is the most that is been done for you?

A:

I once decorated our whole house with roses when my darling hubby was returning from a long business trip.

I am very lucky, I have a husband I adore and he adores me and I know not everyone has that. We try never to take that for granted.


Q:

Is there anything where if you were asked to work on it, you could never turn it down?

A:

It happens all the time, it was that way with Wonder Woman/Conan.


Q:

Is Dan Slott cool?

A:

He's a great writer. He's no Fonzie.


Q:

Big secret six fan here. I really enjoyed the arcs in both secret six and the atom featuring dwarfstar. Any chance of you using him again and is it something you would want to do?

A:

Yeah. You know, sometimes you create a villain that even YOU truly hate. For me, even Junior had some sympathetic moments.

Dwarfstar, no. I flat out hate that guy. It's fun to write him getting punched.


Q:

Any Marvel work in the near future for you?

A:

One never knows!


Q:

As a reader, what can I do (beyond buying the book) to help out comics creators? Leaving reviews? Telling publishers we love you?

A:

Both of those things! Spreading the word about a book you like is HUGE! Thank you!


Q:

is the future of comics female? if so: can you make a whole comics team with new names for us to check out?

A:

I definitely think it's MORE female, but my thing has never been 'I only want comics for girls,' I just feel that's a terrible path to go down. I want comics for everyone. I want everyone to be able to make comics, I want everyone to have comics they want to buy.

I certainly don't want talented male creators to be pushed aside. I want there to be more room for new voices, is all.

And the last whole new comics team I did sold about eight copies. :) But I took a break from superhero comics for a bit and have been missing them a lot, so...maybe!


Q:

How should male writers write women as believable characters?

A:

This is a perfectly fair question, but it also makes me a bit sad because I hate to have people's creativity messed with, regardless of gender.

I would say, just try to write people unlike yourself as human. That seems to be a good first step. I write all kinds of people who are not like me, a straight, white former hairdresser who lives in the boonies. I do ask for advice from friends sometimes, about what they feel is missing from comics. That gets in the mix.

Try to write people, it usually works.