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Interview: Gail Simone Discusses SECRET SIX and Writing Characters She Loves

Gail Simone talks about the SECRET SIX reboot and new ways to cook eggs.

It's been quite a while since fan favorite DC team, Secret Six, have been around. Fans have been clamoring for more Catman and now, they can finally have more of him again. Gail Simone, who was the writer of the last volume of the series, is back and SECRET SIX recently hit shelves. Gail answered a few of our questions about the series.

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COMIC VINE: What's new about SECRET SIX, this time around, minus the fact it's the New 52?

GAIL SIMONE: Oh, a lot, it's a mostly new cast, new secrets, new adversary. New ways to get characters naked, new horrible wounds, new ways to cook eggs...

It's a different tone, but all the fun weird stuff, that's intact, I think. It starts a little desperate, because I love to see characters in desperate situations, but we are absolutely going to push all the envelopes we can.

One thing is that this team is a little wider on the morality scale. They might actually have a hero or two on the team...that changes everything!

CV: Who were your must have characters to be on this team?

GS: It was never going to be Secret Six without Catman. In a big way, Catman represented the entire book, he was the loser no one thought could ever BE anything. So, all discussions started with Thomas Blake.

I really wanted to include Strix. She's one of my favorite new52 characters, and with the Birds of Prey book ending, she doesn't have a home. We are going to show what she is really about.

The rest are characters I really love, but those two were a lock.

CV: What makes those characters so important to the team and team dynamic?

GS: Catman is the wild card. There are a lot of characters who became popular because they were unpredictable, you couldn't know what they would do. But with time, many developed tropes and formulas and lost that edge.

Catman, I think, he adds that bit of gunpowder to the mix, you don't know if he goes good or bad in any situation.

With Strix, I think she adds hear​t​, but also danger. She WILL kill you if she finds you to be a threat.

CV: One of the coolest character arcs in your pre-52 run was the constant struggle Bane had with staying off of Venom but also wanting to protect those around him. You have a way of really appealing to the reader, emotionally. What characters are you really looking forward to focusing in on in upcoming issues?

GS: Definitely Black Alice, she has a different backstory in the new52 and it's a heart-burster. When we first see her, she is desperately looking for SOMEONE to care about her, to love her. I think a lot of people know that feeling very well.

That again is one of the things I love about this book, it's never about who can punch the hardest or who has the coolest weapon, it's all about the emotional stakes of trying to be human and humane, even in inhuman and inhumane situations.

CV: What makes you excited to work on Secret Six again?

GS: Great characters, great editors, great support from DC, and the best artists ever. Tremendous freedom. And a very personal book unlike any other superhero book, I think.

That's a lot of reasons!

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CV: There's a lot of love for your characters within your writing, especially Secret Six and Batgirl. Do you feel the whole writing process can be a bit tougher because of this?

GS: Oh, sure. I had a writing idol of mine write me a long email lecture once, and he meant it in the best way, he was trying to protect me. "Gail, you have to remember these characters don't belong to you, don't get too invested in them."

He meant well, he had had his own heart broken. But the problem for me is, if I don't care, I can't seem to put the stories on the page. If I don't find something about a character to cherish, it never feels honest, I don't know why the reader should care.

If you care, things can be a little harder, and letting go can be harder. But it's the only way I seem to be able to function in shared universe stories. I imagine that sounds a little precious but it's just the blunt truth.

CV: How is it working with Ken Lashley on this book?

GS: I have wanted to work with Ken for years. He was on the verge of a huge title at another company, he and Dale Eaglesham both (they are alternating arcs and covers, which is amazing), and they both dropped everything to do THIS book.

You've seen the pages, right? It's Ken turned up to 100.

CV: What would you say to people on the fence about picking this book up?

GS: I would say there are lots of great books out there, I know it's often hard to try new things. But this is a book with heart that goes places most superhero books don't, right in the middle of the DC Universe, right next to Batman's home turf.

There's lust, violence, jokes, and wrongness in pretty much every issue.

Who doesn't like that?

Thanks a lot to Gail Simone for answering our questions and make sure to check out SECRET SIX, currently available at your LCS or digitally! Check out the preview below!

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