In the Limelight

In 1999, a former hairdresser turned writer came to fan attention through a website discussing the indignities women had suffered in comic history. Gail Simone coined the term “Women in Refrigerators” after a storyline in Green Lantern Vol. 3 #54 in which Kyle Rayner found that Alexandra DeWitt, his girlfriend, had been killed and stuffed inside a fridge by villain Major Force. The term was used to note the comic trope of depowering, injuring, sexually assaulting, or killing female characters as a plot device to move a male character’s story forward. Since then, Simone has gone on to write for such tiles as Birds of Prey, Deadpool, Wonder Woman, and Red Sonja

Simone was born on July 29, 1974 and initially studied theater in college before briefly working as a hairdresser. During 1999, Simone launched the website Women in Refrigerators as a way to discuss the instances where female characters are injured, killed, raped, or de-powered as a plot device in comics. The website was inspired by Green Lantern #54, in which Kyle Rayner comes home to find that his girlfriend, Alexandra DeWitt, had been killed and stuffed into a refrigerator by Major Force. Her work on this website brought her into contact with many people working in the comics industry. She initially began wiring for Comic Book Resources in a weekly satirical column called You’ll All Be Sorry!. She later wrote for Bongo Comics on their Simpsons Comics, annual Treehouse of Horror special, Bart Simpson Comics along with the syndicated Simpsons comic strip. 

Eventually, Simone branched into mainstream comics working on Marvel Comics’ Deadpool and Agent X series. Simone later transitioned over to DC Comics in 2003, where she was given the Birds of Prey title starring the all-female group of Oracle, Black Canary, the Huntress, and Lady Blackhawk. She also worked on DC titles such as Action Comics, Secret Six, The Legion, Atom, and Teen Titans. Outside of DC, Simone wrote Killer Princesses for Oni Press, Gus Beezer specials for Marvel, Welcome to Tranquility for Wildstorm, while also contributing to Tori AmosComic Book Tattoo. 

In 2007, Simone became the new regular writer for Wonder Woman and has since become the series longest-running female writer. During DC’s New 52 initiative, Simone launched a new Batgirl title starring Barbara Gordon. This series also introduced Alysia Yeoh, one of the first major transgender characters in a mainstream comic book. In the beginning of December 2012, Simone was let go by the title’s incoming editor, Brian Cunningham. However, after DC received severe backlash from fans regarding this decision, Simone was quickly rehired on December 21. 

Aside from comics, Simone also penned the Justice League Unlimited episode “Double Date,” the 2010 episode of Batman: The Brave and the Bold titled “The Mask of Matches Malone!,” along with an episode of GameTap's Revisioned: Tomb Raider, entitled “Pre-Teen Raider.” In 2017, Joss Whedon announced plans to write, direct, and produce a Batgirl film using the comics by Simone as “a starting point” for the film. Whedon has since left the film, yet fans continue to hold out hope that Simone will join the project. 

Along with Batgirl and The Movement for DC, Simone currently writes Red Sonya for Dynamite Entertainment and Crosswind for Image Comics. More recently, Simone announced plans to partner with Adriana Melo (Harley & Ivy Meet Betty & Veronica) on a new monthly six-issue miniseries starring Plastic Man. Despite her humble beginnings, Simone has since become one of the most influential women in the comic book industry earning the True Believers Comic Award for Roll of Honor/Comic Excellence, as well as being inducted into the Friends of Lulu’s Female Comic Creator’s Hall of Fame.