Kim: Hi Gail, we’ll start off with the big DC relaunch announcement. Can you tell us about the books that you will be working on and how you were approached to do them?
Gail: DC approached me for the Barbara Gordon Batgirl and of course I was very excited. She’s the character that’s probably the closest to my heart in the DC universe. I’ve written for her as Oracle for years, but it’s great that I get to do something a little different with her than what I’ve been doing. It’s a really positive book and I’m very excited about the stories that we’re going to be telling and the way that we’re going to be telling them. All of the characteristics that we love about Barbara Gordon are still there; she’s smart, kicks ass and doesn’t take any crap. The book overall is very joyful, for reasons that will be revealed in the stories themselves. There was just no way that I could ever say ‘No’ to writing for that character.
With Fury of Firestorm, I had been approached several times to write the book and said ‘No’ and that I wasn’t interested. Ethan Van Sciver just kept bothering me though and telling me that I needed to do it. Then, sort of all at once I had all of these ideas about Firestorm and between Ethan and I, we came up with is an amazing story. The book is really about what binds us together and what can tear us apart. We both get to explore these two very relatable characters and what’s it like for them having these powers, essentially the ability to hit the nuclear button at any time and what they will or won’t do with that. We built the story together – it has horror elements and touching family interactions and politics, it’s just full of amazing big stories. The closest thing to compare it to would be the early Geoff Johns’ Green Lantern stories in terms of the scope and the game changer that it is.
Kim:You mentioned the horror element of Fury of Firestorm, and DC has announced a lot of the books are going to cater more to that genre. As someone who’s been working with DC for a while, how do you feel about them taking such a big risk?
Gail: I love it. I have been begging for years to get horror back into the DCU. It’s kind of neat to have the different genres available and from what I’m seeing from the books that fit within the “horror” category, I’m so stoked. I mean, come on.. Scott Snyder on Swamp Thing? Jeff Lemire doing Animal Man? I mean, the list goes on and on. I’ve seen a lot of the artwork for those books and I’m really excited. Yay DC!
Kim: It’s awesome to see that all of the writers and artists are looking forward to the change and being able to work on new projects. Speaking of projects, we all know that you’re going to be working on the two books for the relaunch, but I was wondering if you had any plans for more creator-owned titles in the future, like Welcome to Tranquility – which is one of my favorite series.
Gail: Oh, thank you. I would always love to do more Welcome to Tranquility, which I hope to get to soon. I’d also like to do some straight to digital stuff because I’m really interested in that whole aspect of the medium. There are some things outside of comics that I’m hoping I’ll be able to get to and then Ethan and I actually have a really large project that the pair of us are working on. I’m going to be scripting and he’s going be doing the art and it’s amazing, fantastic and huge. Easily the best work of Ethan’s life, even his own brother has said that, but we’re not allowed to talk about it yet.
Kim:Coming back to the relaunch, how do you feel about other writers taking on the characters that you’re known for breathing life into, known for giving them a purpose and personality in the DCU?
Gail: Well, I feel good about it. We all know that when we work for a company like DC that we don’t own the characters, especially if we haven’t had any part in creating them. It’s actually kind of flattering to see a character that no one cared about being featured prominently. I take it as a compliment that people became interested in the character and DC felt that they could spring up and have a life of their own, or be featured in a new book. I think it’s all a good thing.
Kim: In regards to writing – you’re working on two books for DC, you have articles all over the internet appearing semi-frequently and you have a Twitter account that is constantly active. I’m just wondering how it is that you have the time to get everything done.
Gail: Well, I’m pretty fast, especially with the social media and a lot of times I will sit down and do that really quickly and then get to work, or when I’m taking a break. To be honest, I don’t sleep a lot. I mean, I work seven days a week.
Kim: If you weren’t writing for Batgirl and Fury of Firestorm, which of the 52 titles would you have wanted to be part of?
Gail: Oooooh! I think that I would have wanted to work on one of the horror comics. Probably and just off the top of my head, I’d have to say Swamp Thing, though I’m really excited that Scott (Snyder) is writing it because I get to read and enjoy it as a fan. I like those types of comics and I like writing that weird type of stuff, so that would have been cool.
Kim: Is there anyone out there who you love to work with? Or anyone that you’ve always wanted to work with but have yet to get the chance?
Gail: Oh my gosh! Well, any of the Kuberts would be great. I have just been so lucky to work with the people that I have worked with. There is so much talent out there that it would be hard to choose. I’ve got to work with Michael Golden on the one issue of Birds of Prey, and I would love to work with him again.
Kim: It was announced that Adam Hughes will be working on the covers for Batgirl, so I’m curious as to how you work out what will be featured on the front page of each of the issues. Do you sit down and discuss what you’d like to see? Or does he just send something your way?
Gail: What happens with Adam, at least so far and when I’ve worked with him in the past (Rose and Thorn) is he wants to know what the issue is about and then he’ll offer up a couple of suggestions, and the editors and myself will put our two cents in and he’ll kind of go from there. What I like is that not only are they gorgeous and eye-catching, but they are very thoughtful and always have something to say. I really love Adam for that.
Kim: One of the questions we’ve been asking all of artists and writers we’ve interviewed is: If you could choose five characters from any universe, who would be on the team and who would write it and who would be the artist?
Gail: Oh my gosh! Let’s see.. what would we do. First of all, I think would pick Paul Cornell to write it and then I would pick something crazy like a mixture of Captain Marvel and Thor and any of those characters who are kind of large and off-beat. I would love to see what Paul would do with that. And as far as artists go, Andy Kubert. I think the pair of them working together would be really cool.
Kim: A lot of comic books have been translated into feature films and others are being adapted for television, so I was curious that if there was an opportunity for any of the titles you’ve worked on to be optioned as a movie or a TV show, which would you like to see be produced?
Gail: I would of course like to see Welcome to Tranquility because that’s something that I’ve created. It has a large cast and a lot of potential for different types of stories going on in that town. The other thing that I think would be very intriguing as an adaptation would be the six-issue mini series called Rose and Thorn. I think to explore that side of heroism and mental illness would be very dark and interesting.
Kim: Just one last question for you; is there anything that you’re reading right now that you would like to recommend that your fans maybe haven’t heard about.
Gail: Miriam Libicki’s Jobnik! An American girl’s adventures in the Israeli army. It’s very interesting and a subject matter that I really didn’t know anything about. It’s really well done. Miriam is here at the convention and I’ve talked to her a couple of times and I just love what she has done, so I would recommend that as something that a lot of people probably haven’t heard about, but should seek it out and take a look at it. It’s so unique.
You know, I have artists and writers that I follow and read often, but I have been so busy with this relaunch that I’m so far behind. I’m sure that you could recommend something right now better than I could!
Kim: Thank you so much, Gail.
Gail: Thank you.