Monday, February 04, 2008

Chad's Jackass Comic Creator Interviews from 2001: Gail Simone

[Continuing my series of posts of old interviews with comic creators from late 2001 where I was a bit of a douche. This one almost redeems my 18-year-old self as I didn't ask the "Any good stories involving a chick?" question (surprisingly), but fucked it up with my variations on the "Boxers or briefs?" one. So close to not being a bit of a douche. Dammit. New posts Monday, Wednesday and Friday.]

Friday November 2, 2001
Interview With . . . Gail Simone!
Gail Simone is a funny person. I was introduced to her writing via various message boards, all living their highest recommendation that I read her column called You'll All Be Sorry. I did and I laughed my ass off. Since then I've been a big fan of the column and always read it first on Tuesday mornings. This went on for a month or two and then it happened: Gil announced she was quitting the column to pursue her other writings. This kind of got me down until I realized that I had only been reading for a couple months, but she had been writing the column for two years. Now I've got an entire archive to go through, so Tuesday morning will still be YABS morning.

Me: Tell us a little about yourself.

Gail: Hmmm. Well, I've done sales and sales management in the past, but I'm also a licensed cosmetologist, and that's my day job. I love it, actually. Happily married, and living in a small coastal Oregon town. Pretty content in all ways.

Me: How did you get interested in writing?

Gail: Sort of by accident. Some joke letters to friends got circulated as Spam, and became popular enough that I was asked to do a humour column at Before that, some regular posters there had a shared universe fiction thing going, and I dabbled in that a little bit.

Me: Tell everyone what you've written, and what you are going to write.

Gail: Two years of You'll All Be Sorry at CBR, lots and lots of Simpsons things for Bongo Comics, some gag things for CrossGen, Killer Princesses with art by co-creator Lea Hernandez for Oni Press, Night Nurse and Deadpool for Marvel, and some other stuff I can't say yet!

Me: Night Nurse? What's that about?

Gail: Sort of a B-movie medical drama comedy about addiction and flying body parts. It's good fun. Art by multiple Eisner winner Jill Thompson, which is going to be incredible.

Me: How does one stay so funny, week in and week out?

Gail: Thank you! Well, first, you have to keep trying new things, to keep surprising the readers. Routine is dull, surprise is fun. Lots of YABS weren't 100% successful, but the best ones took you by surprise, I think.

Me: Has anyone ever gotten mad at some of your friendly joking? Cause I could see Rob Liefeld e-mailing you hateful letters.

Gail: Rob Liefeld actually congratulated me on my last parody of him, and wished me good luck on Deadpool. To my knowledge, I've only really angered one pro, a good friend of mine. That piece never ran, because it was apparently a lot meaner than I thought. Normally, I wasn't trying to be mean--just to poke fun.

Me: Okay, I tried coming up with the female equivalent of "boxers or briefs", as I usually ask, but couldn't. Any ideas on how I could rephrase that question? And could you answer it after, too?

Gail: No. :)

Me: Cats or dogs?

Gail: Allergic to cats, I'm very sorry to say. We have a great dog named after Static, the Milestone character.

Me: Summer or winter?

Gail: Heat, baby. I live in Oregon, so I'm always missing the sun.

Me: I just gave you an untraceable gun and 100 bullets, who or what do you use them on?

Gail: Terrorists.

Me: Who is your hero?

Gail: Anybody who does something good for the first time always impresses me. There's plenty of
exploration to be done out there, if one is looking.

Me: What comics are you currently digging?

Gail: Tons. Ruse, Strangers In Paradise, pretty much any Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, Alan Moore, Greg Rucka and Grant Morrison. Scary Godmother. Berlin, JLA, Marvel's Max line, almost everything Oni puts out, the Bongo comics, and especially Hopeless Savages, Blue Monday and Whiteout.

Me: If you could write any one comic, what would it be?

Gail: Almost any project is fun, if you get free rein or close to it. I like writing hard-boiled characters because the speech patterns are fun. I love writing horror, and of course comedy. A dream project would be Mary Marvel. I think she's just a terrific character, part progressive and part throwback.

Me: Will your Deadpool be "the merc with a potty mouth" as Marvel doesn't use the code anymore?

Gail: It's not Marvel Max, and there are still lots of young readers. Great freedom doesn't necessarily mean you should push every limit and forget who the audience is. Deadpool was most popular under Joe Kelly, as an all-ages character. Actually, this brings up shock value as a topic. I don't curse much in my real life, but in Killer Princesses, the girls curse a lot (and badly!) because it makes sense to their characters. It's not shockery, it's mockery. But in Night Nurse, I purposely avoided the "f" word just to be contrary.

Me: What YABS have you been most proud of? The one that turned out "just right?"

Gail: There are several I'm proud of; either because they were nuts or they just make me laugh. I love the Alan Moore parody, the Punisher piece, Prince Namor, and the Lovecraft pastiche. Those are probably my current faves. [*Note: I
tried to find the last two she mentioned, but couldn't. I suggest you just go and read them all.*]

Me: Do you mind that I did my own Condensed Comics for a column on comics?

Gail: Of course not. I've been informed the idea didn't originate with me. And I say, the more humour out there, the better.

Me: What's the funniest thing in comics right now?

Gail: Let's see . . . Barry Ween, probably. That's the first thing that comes to mind. HATE is always brilliant.

Me: Do you ever see yourself doing some more humour columns in a few years?

Gail: No, done that. I may do a couple for fun.

Me: Who do you love?

Gail: Great song.

Me: Any final words?

Gail: Not really. I hope people give my books a shot. I'm striving mostly for big entertainment value. Thanks for reading all these months!