To most at CBR Gail Simone is best known for her weekly column published every Tuesday, You’ll All Be Sorry. You’ve probably heard about her forays into real world comics, working at Bongo Comics, collaborating with Lea Hernandez on “Killer Princesses,” and her highly anticipated debut on “Night Nurse,” one of the upcoming Marvel Comics titles in their mature line, MAX. But it doesn’t stop there.
During the Marvel Comics panel at WizardWorld in Chicago this morning it was announced by series editor Mike Marts that Gail Simone will be handling the writing chores on Marvel’s Merc with a Mouth, “Deadpool.” The process of landing this assignment was months in the making.
“I was asked to pitch for a year of the book, and that went over very well,” Simone told CBR News of Friday. “Deadpool is unique in the Marvel Universe, a funny bastard who sometimes does the right thing. Even if it’s by accident.”
Simone is following in the footsteps a group of high profile creators who’ve worked on Deadpool previously. Creators like Joe Kelly, Jimmy Palmiotti, Christopher Priest, Mark Waid and others have already worked on the title.. Following their lead doesn’t faze Simone. She’ll be following their lead, making the title as entertaining as possible.
“The storyline running through my issues deals with one of the things I find most interesting about Wade, which is that no matter what happens to him, he accepts it and keeps his sense of humor. That’s a rare quality for someone who looks like kitty litter. So that’s what gets tested. Someone’s trying to take even that away from him, but it’s easy to underestimate Deadpool…”
“I want this book to be a motorcycle crashing through your brain. Of COURSE there’ll be guns!”
Simone will hit the road running by injecting her own brand of humor and unveiling a new character for Deadpool to deal with.
“My run begins with a great new villain for Wade,” continued Simone. “Someone who is offended by Deadpool’s very existence, and who enacts a scheme of revenge that leaves Wade in the worst mess of his life If there’s a lunatic, chewing-on-tinfoil, voices-in-my-head side of the Marvel Universe, Deadpool just checked in.
Simone’s run on the title begins with issue #65. As of press time the art team joining her is top secret, but Simone would say “I’ll go on record as saying it’s someone great.”
Simone’s other project for Marvel is “Night Nurse,” a 4 issue series published under the MAX imprint, Marvel’s new mature line of comics. Scheduled for an early 2002 release, Simone will be joined on this title by Eisner Award winning artist Jill Thompson. Simone’s reaction could best be described as ebullient when she heard the news.
“I’ve been doing this for a very, very short time, and have worked with Dan DeCarlo and Lea Hernandez, and now I’m working with Jill Thompson. It’s incredible, because I’ve been such a fan of these people! They announced the news about Jill the same weekend she won two Eisners for the brilliant Scary Godmother. I did a little jig and frightened my dog. He’s still scared, but I don’t care. I’m lucky, very very lucky.”
So, what is “Night Nurse?”
“Lizzie Herrod is the head nurse at an experimental and unique hospital, whose patients tend to be of an occult nature,” said Simone. “She has a celebrity past she keeps trying to put behind her, and people from her past resent her leaving behind her former life as the ultimate Wild Chick. Part Elvira and part Mother Theresa, only with fewer lepers.”
Most comic fans only know of Night Nurse as a Warren Ellis punch line when describing how awful comics of the past were. Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada had the idea and approached Simone about the project. She was swept away by his enthusiasm.
“In a way, it’s kind of fun that the book exists mainly as a joke in people’s minds–it’s going to surprise people when it hits. I love horror, and obviously, I love comedy, so I’m very excited by this book. It’s going to be packed to the borders with manic energy.
Who will this book appeal to?
“Anyone who likes sex, violence, monsters, bad language, white shoes, or rectal thermometers should buy this book. It’s sexy and fun with a healthy bedpan full of black humor. It’s a B movie, a comic you should read while eating popcorn and Jujubes.”
“The writing is finished, and Lea’s working like crazy on the art. This book is very funny, and a little disturbing, and I urge all twisted readers (age 18 and above) to reserve it immediately!”
There are plans for these characters beyond the three issue mini, but it’s premature to say what they are now.
Some might consider Simone’s work with Marvel her first “big” assignment, but Simone’s quick to correct that misconception.
“Just to get this out of the way…I think there’s a perception among mainstream comics fans that Bongo isn’t really the “Big Time.” And truthfully, I see it almost as the other way around. Bongo Comics sell all over the world, their newsstand coverage is excellent, they sell to kids and adults alike, they get collected regularly into TPBs that sell in all major bookstores, and they employ people like Bill Morrison, Hilary Barta, Scott Shaw, Batton Lash, Dan DeCarlo and John Costanza, as well as incredibly talented writers and artists who are well-known in other fields, like Eric Rogers, Ian Boothby, Scott Gimple, and Jesse McCann, not to mention the all-star rosters on the Treehouse specials.
“It’s funny, because several of my pro friends are dying to do something for Bongo because saying they wrote a Simpsons comic means more to their non-comics-reading friends and family than saying they wrote Hawkman. Bongo does great comics, and treats their creators wonderfully. Anyone working with them is fortunate, indeed.
“That said, the attention lavished from fans on a Marvel or DC book is greater by several degrees of magnitude, so, yeah, I don’t want to disappoint the people who really love those companies.”
Finally, what does the future hold for Simone?
“I actually have been asked to submit proposals on my favorite characters, which I’m working on now, and I’m not telling who they are. Oh, except the Marvel Family. I love those characters, and hope to do something with them someday.”
And while her current line of product is humor heavy, that doesn’t mean Simone won’t expand into other arenas.
“This is tricky, because drama is essential to good storytelling, whether the story is a comedy or not. Even in You’ll All Be Sorry, I think the most successful pieces have a decent chunk of story to them. I always feel if there’s no dramatic foundation, the comedy falls flat. That said, yeah, I do hope (and plan) to do some very dark, not-so-humorous stuff very shortly. Heh.”
Be sure to stop by every Tuesday for a new chapter of YABS here at CBR.
CBR News Editor Beau Yarbrough, Contributing Writer Russell Lissau and Shylo Bisnett contributed to this story.