Sunday, January 24, 2010

Gail Simone Is Writing The Best Book In Comics...And You're Missing It

Secret Six is the best comic book currently being published. By anybody. I make no apologies for that statement, and I put no qualifiers on it. I understand that quality is subjective, and that the criterion for what is "best" is well....slippery at best.

I don't care. And I don't want to hear any nonsense about Chris Ware or Joe Sacco or Peter Bagge, either. Yes, I've sampled all of them. I'm not some rube with a three title pull list. Gail Simone's Secret Six is the best comic currently being published. Deal with it.

You'd never know it to look at the sales charts or listen to the pundits, mind you. The Six didn't crack CBRs "Top 100" for 2009, which only means that everyone associated with it should be fired and banned from making such lists in the future. And the latest results from Diamond show Secret Six checking in at # 94 for the month at an estimated 22, 638 copies. Gotham City Sirens finished higher, and that book amounts to a pale imitation of Simone's Birds of Prey. You should all be ashamed of yourselves.

I blame DC for not recognizing what a gem it has and failing to push the title, and I blame the readership as well, which means I blame myself. We don't talk enough about the work that Nicola Scott does on this book that is absolutely to die for. We don't rave about the fact that our book is better than yours, and oh, by the way, ours comes out on time as well.

We don't talk about how Secret Six defeats all expectations in the most delightful ways, page after page, issue after issue. Or at least, we didn't. I'm going to start.

And the best way to demonstrate is just to show you a tiny example. Here's a quick post-battle scene after new "recruit" Black Alice asks Bane if he's all right:

This is where tough guys are supposed to spout lines like "It'll take more than that put a dent in me, little lady." You won't get that from Gail Simone. And make no mistake, there are tough guy lines available,(usually from Deadshot) but you won't be expecting those, either. There is nothing cliched inside Secret Six.

It also bears mentioning that the panel above features something almost unheard of these days, called "developed characterization." Bane speaks in sparse sentences like that. Matter of fact, you can peel any line from the Six blind and I can tell you who spoke it, because they are all unique entities.

And this is how Bane operates now; as the absurd father figure of the group. Things are a bit strained between Bane and his previous "child" Scandal, and now he appears to have shuffled that need onto Black Alice. For those of you who know Bane only as the chemically enhanced baddie who broke The Bat - would you have guessed that he now plays daddy for a group of psychotics? Unexpected. Always, delightfully unexpected.

So that's that. I promised in Chronic Insomnia Episode # 124 that I would post something about the great Dave Sim Vs. Gail Simone battle that occurred during Sim's promotion of Glamourpuss # 1. So here it is. She wiped the floor with him, by the way. Go figure.

Here's a little snippet that I particularly enjoy:

"I'm not afraid nor overly concerned with Dave's views on my gender. They don't bear much resemblence to myself or the women of achievement that I know. Also having worked at a crisis center for many years, I've seen many a female void get the shit kicked out of her by a male light, so the "by sheer coincidence, the sub-group of humanity that I belong to is clearly the best" thinking falls a little flat for me.

However, I'm pretty close to a free speech absolutist. Dave's free to say whatever he wants and I defend that right even if I find some of it completely devoid of merit.

But extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and in my own reading of Dave's op pieces, I came up with many questions I haven't seen people asking directly. So I appreciate this opportunity, as brief as it might be for me on a day where I have deadlines."

Do yourself a favor and read the rest of that scrum, it's delicious. And if you're not already, start reading Secret Six already, would you???

- Ryan


Chronic Insomnia said...

I wonder who told you to start reading that book? I wonder who told me I was stupid for even suggesting you read it? Oh wait did I give it away? It's a wonderful book and besides Daniel Ways Deadpool, I think it's the best book of 2009 hands down.


Anonymous said...

Wow! I'm gonna pick up Secret Six.

Years ago I love Villians United by Simone.

オテモヤン said...


Anonymous said...

Too bad her Wonder Woman stories can't sell for anything. She mowed the comic down to half it's sales through poor writing. She works better on creepy goth and darker stories like 6...