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DF Interview: Gail Simone assembles Marvel’s All-New, All-Female team in ‘Domino: Hotshots’
By Byron Brewer
Just in case you were looking for more mayhem with Marvel's luckiest mutant, you're, er uh, welllll… in luck. The creative team behind Domino continues its collaboration with Domino: Hotshots, which sees Domino form her own crew of international women with outstanding skill sets. Writer Gail Simone and artist David Baldeon had a huge hit with Domino's solo title and keep things rolling here in a five-issue limited series with Outlaw and Diamondback as well as Black Widow, White Fox and Atlas Bear.
DF got a chance to again be seated with one of our faves, scribe Gail Simone, and chat up her new LS from the House of Ideas.
Dynamic Forces: Gail, I’m probably gonna embarrass you here, but I want the uninitiated to know (as they should) that you are a pioneer and guiding light not only for women working in our industry but of strong, independent female characters starring in our books. Thoughts on the changes we have seen in comic books just in the years I have been interviewing you, which is about six years?
Gail Simone: You know, that’s very kind, and I appreciate it. I feel like I’ve helped push that boulder uphill for sure, but I also love that it’s not a solo act, there were amazing writers and creators and editors pushing before I ever showed up. People like Ann Nocenti and Colleen Doran and Trina Robbins, and guys, too, like Chris Claremont and more, it’s a long, really heartwarming list.
But the best part is, now, it’s just almost an embarrassment of riches. You can’t easily list all the amazing female creators and characters, not to even mention those who don’t identify as female but still see the value in this kind of move to the future. It’s Kelly Sue DeConnick and Marjorie M. Liu and Shea Fontana and Kelly Thompson and G. Willow Wilson, it just goes on and on, people making the best stuff out there.
I just bought this morning a new Black Widow #1, written by the Soska sisters, identical twins, and they just nailed this joyful but dark tone, it would have been a rare thing a couple of decades back. Now, it’s just part of the tapestry, and I love that. I love having helped cut that ribbon.
DF: How fun has it been to take the reins of a Domino book (meaning her solo series)? Such a great Fabian Nicieza/Rob Liefeld character! Let’s find out who Domino is to you, from a writer’s perspective, as a character, hero and woman.
Gail Simone: It’s a funny story to me because I am blessed in a way, I always have more work offers than I can ever possibly take. It’s a blessing, absolutely, and I would never take that for granted. But it means I don’t have to go pitch things to publishers, they offer me cool things. And I have the luxury, usually, of being able to really consider if I want to do a book. Normally, I think on it for days or weeks.
With Domino, they asked me on Wednesday, I said yes on Thursday, they announced it on the following Tuesday. I’ve never, ever had a book happen like that.
And it’s become one of my favorite things. The art team of David Baldeon and Jesus Aburtov, they just make every page a delight for me, and I now love Domino the same way I love a tiny handful of my absolute favorites. She’s up there with Black Canary and Red Sonja.
I love her because she’s a mutant who survived, who is outliving her trauma. I have been talking to readers who have survived horrendous things, impossible situations, from combat to cults to abuse to illness and accident, just these life-altering things. And when they are putting their lives together, surviving, it feels like a story that needs to be told, even in this comic book way. It feels like it should be celebrated as the achievement it is.
DF: Tell us about the genesis of this new Birds of Prey-esque miniseries. Was it the team concept of Domino?
Gail Simone: Marvel liked the team aspect of the Domino book, and wanted to expand it a bit, and so we are taking a slightly more serious, more espionage-like team and filling it out a bit. It’s interesting to take these very much more serious characters and throw them in with Outlaw and Neena!
DF: I’ve seen some covers but tell us who are these “Hotshots” (a capsule summary would be nice) and a little conversation about what makes them similar and different. Not all femme fatales are going to be Black Widow (although one IS here, LOL) or Red Sonja.
Gail Simone: To me, Black Widow is like, it’s putting Elvis in Radiohead. There’s gravity there, and experience and celebrity, but at the same time, the two sides don’t really understand each other. And White Fox, she’s got an agenda, Atlast Bear has an agenda, and they don’t necessarily share that information with Domino and her friends, who have a bond of trust. But they’re all stars to me, I love them to death.
DF: What is the main storyline for Domino: Hotshots?
Gail Simone: I can’t reveal too much. But several countries believe they have a legal claim to an item that might actually be the heart of the Marvel Universe.
I can’t wait.
DF: Any new characters here ‘bouts?
Gail Simone: The newest is Shoon’kwa, otherwise known as Atlas Bear, a Wakandan exile with some really fierce and scary powers. I adore her, she is sort of the Wakandan girl that doesn’t get talked about in polite company.
DF: How glad are you to be writing a book drawn by your Domino artist, “the incredible David Baldeon”? (Your quotes from Marvel PR)
Gail Simone: Ah, honest to god, sometimes you just get dealt all the aces. David isn’t just the artist, he’s the designer, he’s the heart of everything in the book. Sometimes you just have that connection, and David is that guy for me, he’s like Nicola Scott or Ed Benes, just one of those rare artists that draws what’s in my head almost before I can finish describing it. I think he’s one of the MOST talented guys working today. If he asked me to write him a script for a Planet Terry reboot, I would be there with my notepad Day One.
DF: Gail, as if this wasn’t enough, what else is cooking on the Simone burners, front and rear?
Gail Simone: WEIRD! (laughs)
Okay, it was announced [at the time of this writing] that I am doing the Flash stories in the new Walmart exclusive Flash One Hundred Page Spectacular, with art by Clayton Henry. I am doing some stuff for Marvel that I can’t announce yet, same for Dynamite. But soon!
And I am returning with second seasons of a couple of beloved creator-owned projects.
But one of the happiest things I am doing is being the ‘architect’ for the Lion Forge line of superhero comics, called the Catalyst Prime Universe. This is such a thrilling thing, to watch over some of the best writers and artists out there on this new, exciting world of characters, it feels like comics for today, not fifty years ago. Some of my favorite titles are Superb, Summit, Quincredible and Noble, and more are on the way, including a BIG thing I am writing personally. In 2019, that is a huge part of my focus, comics for a new readership, in the best possible quality we can make.
Dynamic Forces would like to thank Gail Simone for taking time out of her busy schedule to answer our questions. Domino: Hotshots #1 from Marvel Comics hits stores March 6th!
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