Gail Simone’s booth at C2E2 had long lines this weekend, as fans looked to get their favorite Simone book signed. From Deadpool to Wonder Woman, Birds of Prey to Secret Six, and Red Sonja, Simone autographed them all with a smile, and friendly banter. While her past work is something to explore and admire, her current work is exploding with popularity and her plans for ambitious comics in the future.
At Vertigo, the psychological horror Clean Room is a highly rated series that has been described as “something you read if you don’t want to sleep again.” Simone explained that the idea came from her home state of Oregon.
“There is a really, pretty high percentage of Cults in Oregon,” Simone said. “I’ve been aware of that for years growing up there, so I was kind of fascinated by that, and also in our culture today how we have these self-help gurus and people who follow blindly.”
The book focuses on the themes of control, and what it takes for people to be willing to give up their own decision-making abilities. The story is about a young, charismatic cult leader named Astrid, who runs a self-help organization in an office in Chicago. Her office building has a room called the “Clean Room” where Astrid has her followers go if they have a secret she wants to know. Needless to say, those who go in don’t come out the same, and some don’t come out at all.
“A lot of shit goes down in the Clean Room that’s very terrifying,” Simone joked.
Clean Room is Simone’s first foray with Vertigo, but she’s still working with Vertigo’s larger company, DC Comics. There Simone has had the chance to redefine one of her most famous series, Secret Six. While the classic series focused on a group of loveable loser mercenaries her new series of the same name has a very different tone with some new characters and some older characters she had the chance to redefine.
“Some people will say that this current version of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Batgirl, whatever, is not my version,” Simone said. “What I think about these characters that have existed for 70 plus years is that times change. Characters need to change in order to grab the current audience to talk about things that are important to us now rather than so many years ago.”
She wanted to reflect the changing of time in the new book in some way, and so each character was redefined to help show the current times. It’s certainly a different book from its predecessor and focuses on the internal struggles of these characters that can be very relatable. However, it still has a dark sense of humor and a strange sense of heart with all these characters who find they have a family with each other even when they don’t really like each other.
The future is where Simone showed her most excitement. Especially with a book called Wonderfall. It’s not Simone’s dark, twisted genre that has been featured in this article. Instead, it is an all-ages fantasy epic that takes place in the future, but it is quite a different take on the genre in general.
“It takes place in our world, but it’s completely different, land masses have changed and rearranged, rivers have changed direction,” Simone explained. “It’s not what you would call a typical English style fantasy.”
Co-created with Walter Geovani, Wonderfall focuses on a young girl named Yala, who lives in this bizarre new future that has a lot of rain forest like terrain, and South American aesthetic. There’s no civilization as we know it left, but villages are rebuilding their lives. New creatures are evolving, the world has changed and our hero, Yala is very curious about everything and wants to explore it all with her two Greyhound dogs.
“In [Yala’s] culture, it’s extremely frowned upon and rude to ask questions,” said Simone. “Yala is so curious that she can’t help herself, so she’s in trouble a lot, and she has this secret power that nobody knows about that they thought was lost when the Fall happened.”
Simone went on to describe the upcoming comic as a unique, gorgeous book that explores what’s important to society and humanity in an entirely different way. While also having a “discovery of self” theme. She also hoped that the comic would be a great kids comic that grown-ups could read too.
“There are a few images online, and you can tell that this is going to be amazing,” Simone said.
Clean Room and Secret Six are available for purchase now, along with her other book Surviving Megaopolis. Wonderfall has not had an official release date yet, but be on the lookout for a release date soon.