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The Greatest Gail Simone Stories Ever Told!

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Every day in April we will reveal the greatest stories ever told starring a particular character or written/drawn by a particular creator (and throughout the month, you’ll get daily chances to vote for NEXT week’s lists). These lists are voted on by YOU, the reader!

Here is the list of characters/creators featured so far (along with the rules on how to vote).

Today’s list is the Greatest Gail Simone Stories Ever Told!


10. “The Circle” Wonder Woman #14-19

Simone began her run on Wonder Woman with this powerful arc, drawn by Terry Dodosn, Rachel Dodson and Ron Randall. The main thrust of the story is a group of Nazis try to take over Paradise Island now that only Hippolyta is left (after the events of Amazons Attack). The Nazis find a surprising group of allies on the island, as they encounter “The Circle,” a group of Amazons selected by Hippolyta as her personal guard years ago. This group turned on Hippolyta when Hippolyta decided to have Diana. They felt that Hippolyta was going to ruin the Amazon race with a child. So now Wonder Woman has to not only take over a bunch of Nazis, but a group of well-trained Amazons who are experts in the “old ways.” Luckily, in this story, Wonder Woman befriended a group of Gorillas (from Gorilla City), who help her out. The Gorillas are awesome.

9. “Fade to Grey” Welcome to Tranquility #1-6

Tranquility is a seemingly normal small town, except that nearly all of its inhabitants are retired superheroes and supervillains! Watching over all of them is the breakout character from the series, Sheriff Thomasina “Tommy” Lindo. Written by Simone with art by Neil Googe and Billy Dallas Patton, the series opens with the murder of one of the town’s most popular retired hero, Mr. Articulate. Sheriff Lindo’s investigation throws the whole town into disarray and unearths more than one secret held by its townsfolk. An alternatingly funny, charming and tragic work, Simone creates a number of interesting characters in this delightful series.

8. “Healing Factor” Deadpool #65-69

In this storyline, which led into Simone’s reboot of Deadpool as Agent X, Deadpool is challenged by a master assassin named Black Swan, who feels that Deadpool is disgracing his profession. He has the power to mess with Deadpool’s mind and as a result, he gives Deadpool a debitlitating mental illness. Of course, this being Deadpool, he’s able to fight it off for a few issues before the pair have an explosive final battle against each other. During this storyline, Taskmaster got a re-design and Simone introduced two popular new characters, Deadpool’s assistant Sandi and the cowgirl Outlaw. The mixture of humor and darkness that Simone used during this run popped up a lot during her Secret Six run. Udon Studios did the artwork.

7. “The Darkest House” Secret Six #31-33

Gail Simone and Jim Calafiore bring Secret Six near its finale by going back to how the ongoing series began, with the “Get Out of Jail Free Card.” Scandal considers using the card to save her long-lost love, but soon the team is dragged to hell itself when a team member betrays them all. This story was like a love letter (a dark love letter, but a love letter nevertheless) to longtime fans of the series as there was a lot of callbacks to prior Secret Six tales.

6. “Cats in the Cradle” Secret Six #19-22

In this four-part story by Simone and Jim Calafiore, a group of men try to get Catman to turn against his teammates by kidnapping his son. He instead tells them that he will now treat his son as dead and will now hunt them all down and kill them. The rest of the story is the stark reality of Catman (the “world’s greatest tracker”) doing exactly that, as we see flashbacks to his childhood along the way. And when he discovers who was behind the whole ordeal? It, like the rest of the story, is rough stuff.

The top five is on the next page!

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Cats in the Cradle is so fucking awesome.

Simone’s good stuff is sooo good.

Secret Six was pretty special. I know there are other books like it, but Simone’s take on a gang of villains beholden only to themselves felt really unique.

Of Like Minds was the first thing I ever read by Simone; I’d heard good things about her and Benes + Lei looked amazing, so I picked up the trade. I’d heard it was basically “The Last Black Canary Gets Captured Story of All Time,” which also sounded intriguing. Great story, solid art. Might have to check out Secret Six.

I also realized that Benes should ALWAYS be paired with Alex Lei, it’s a shame that they haven’t really worked with each other since BoP, because they kind of have this more angular/lanky Joe Madureira thing going on, and it works.

Wow. Simon wrote Villains United? I’m not a fan of her, so I barely know about her work. I really liked Villains United, the only part I cared about “The Road to Infinite Crisis.”

I cannot imagine putting those Secret Six arcs in any kind of order (‘cept chronological). They were all really really good.

Concerning “Cats in the Cradle,” did anyone else get the feeling Gail got left the theater after seeing “Taken” and was thinking “If I replace Liam Neeson with Catman…”

joe the poor speller

April 15, 2013 at 9:43 am

“villains united” and “six degrees” are among my favorite dc stories ever.

Lots of love for Secret Six, nice! That series was really cut down on its prime…

I hope The Movement is at least as good as Secret Six was!

Wow, CBR really digs Secret Six.

Well, CSBG really digs Secret Six at least.

Secret Six is one of the reasons I trust Greg Burgas’ recommendations. Our tastes overlap about 75% or so.

Good list. I haven’t read her Deadpool, but I love all this other stuff. I recently revisited “The Circle” as part of my continuing look back on various eras of Wonder Woman (http://theidiolect.com/comics/nazis-and-gorillas-and-aliens-oh-my/), and I really enjoyed rereading it.

I spaced on voting this time around, but I do dearly love her All-New Atom series as well. I mean, it has Jetpack Hitler! And Head may be my single favorite Gail Simone character ever.

Pretty much the only stuff of Simone’s I’ve read is Secret Six and its various minis, but it was one of my favorite comics while it was coming out. So my votes would have pretty much just been a rundown of that entire series. It sucks the series had to end. Glad to see it got so much love from the people that did vote.

Did you mention that the Secret Six is a new incarnation of an old late-60’s team?

Also, typo in the introduction–you typed “Jim Lee” instead of Gail Simone.

I’ve met her, nice lady.

was figuring most of the list would hopefully be gails secret six run for she sure knew how to make one actully care for bad guys not to mention a gift of making characters like catman and ragdoll cool and creepy. espically adding villains like junior . not to mention her wonder woman run

Surprised there are more Secret Six than Birds of Prey. Not disappointed as I love them both just surprised.

Only one I’m not a real big fan of is The Circle. I don’t know why but I’ve never been excited by her Wonder Woman writing. Nowhere near as good as Greg Rucka.

I didn’t vote, but if I did then it would have been all Secret Six- I wonder how many ballots were just like that? I was a bit disappointed by her Batgirl after Secret Six ended, but I may have to go back and check out her Birds of Prey, especially since some of that run placed among the Secret Six entries here. Secret Six was pretty special though; it might have just been the perfect match of concept and writer. I love the way she illustrated how there’s really no place in the world for a b-list super villain besides with other b-list super villains, no matter how singularly deviant they are in their respective ways. The bond the characters formed over their shared sense of nihilism was ironically touching in a way you don’t usually get in super team books. It basically took the “band of outcasts” appeal of the X-Men and pushed it further by focusing on people who outcasts because of the choices they’ve made as much as circumstances they were born into.

From the people who brought you “Chuck Norris Facts”:

1. With a word, Gail Simone could easily raise a nerd army of sufficient scale to get the name of Corvalis, Oregon officially changed to “Tranquility” in under a month. This would be only slightly easier for her than creating a new settlement space by punching the Cardwell Hills into oblivion.

2. “I can taste it with my sniff-sniff” is the best Ralph Wiggum line ever. Yes, including the Unitard one.

3. According to DC editorial, there was absolutely no stipulation in Chuck Dixon’s Birds of Prey contract that his successor for the ongoing series must best him in a knife fight. Despite this statement, Neither Gail Simone nor Chuck Dixon can explain the identical scars they have on their shoulders.

4. IIRC, Gail Simone does not use drugs or drink alcohol. This means every word of Ragdoll’s dialogue was written stone f***ing sober!

5. The amount of “prep time” Batman would need to win a fight with Gail Simone exceeds the projected lifespan of the universe by around 45 minutes.

6. Remember that one issue of Birds of Prey where the story was just phoned in and nothing really interesting happened. Oh, that’s right. There wasn’t one.

7. Given her reputation as one of the most congenial and polite people in comics, it should come as no surprise that Gail Simone has only lost her temper once. That was, as any student of history can tell you, in the Siberian region known as Tunguska on June 30, 1908.

8. Because of the character work in Villains United and Secret Six, the phrase “Catman is a badass” can be heard spoken with once-unthinkable sincerity in comic book stores.

9. Somewhere, there’s a universe where things went right: Secret Six is still being published, Killer Princesses has an animated series and “Ridin’ the Dead End Highway” from Zombie Zeke’s new “Resurrected” tour is on the top 10 charts. Also, Firefly’s still running.

10. Most writers would be content with having the living embodiment of genocide be the scariest character they created within a six month period. Since Gail Simone is not most writers, we got Junior.

11. Punisher Haiku is exactly as entertaining as it sounds.

12. Killer Princesses has the funniest joke about Wookiee pubes I’ve ever encountered, and I have worked at a comic shop for nearly a decade.

13. The character of Oracle is very real and was inspired by G[THE REMAINDER OF THIS POST HAS BEEN DELETED BY THE AUTHORITY OF THE ORACLE. I’M WATCHING YOU!]

joshschr: Hey, that’s cool. Speaking of which, guess which series I’m re-reading right now in preparation for the next Comics You Should Own …?

Greg: Huzzah! I just reread it a week ago, so I’m looking forward to your take on it while it’s still fresh in my mind. I’m missing two issues, forgot to start out with Villains United and make that side trip to the Doom Patrol and Action Comics crossovers, but it was still a fun ride.

SB: #4 gave me the gooseflesh, which would sound totally dirty if Ragdoll had said it ;)

I totally forgot to vote on this round, or I would have put some Agent X at the top of my list, particularly the arc when Gail came back on to finish the title up. The whole limo scene warms me in sensitive yet musky places.

@SB —

The fuck did I just read?

I never got around to voting, but I am glad one Tranquility story made it in the deck. It would have been hard to vote on this, I haven’t read her Deadpool work, but her other series build so much upon each story, that separating them is hard for me to do.

I await The Movement!

Of course, everything sounds dirty when Ragdoll says it.

I had been on the fence about re-reading all of Villains United/Secret Six recently. Not sure why. This list convinced me that I should stop thinking about it because I am just missing out on using that time to devour its sweet, crazy greatness.

I am shocked that Marvel has never published Simone’s Deadpool run in tpb form.

Not a big fan of Simone, but Villains United was just great. Glad to see how it ranked.

Why Corvalis?


Those simone facts are epic (the ragdoll dialogue one and the knife fight in particular).
You Sir just made my week.

Gail Simone is living proof that when people roll out the tired cliche “Oh but Wonder Woman is so hard to get right” or “To get to the heart of Wonder Woman you have to strip away everything she stands for and leave her exposed to her core values”, they are just talking nonsense and should be shunned.

Good list. I would’ve added her two arcs on Agent X (including the “return” of Deadpool, albeit brain-damaged), and the Wonder Woman movie arc. That featured the Queen of Fables (used by Gail in Action Comics warping a WW movie, to the point where Diana’s caption boxes became pure gold.

We need a list of all time female comic creators. Gail should be on that list.

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