Gail Simone Challenges Comic Writers to Sell Art for Black Lives Matter

Gail Simone, veteran comic book writer and editor and one of the most effective people in entertainment at getting thing to trend on Twitter, today challenged fellow comic book writers to sell a piece of art from their collection, with money going to Black Lives Matter. So far, a handful of writers are getting in on it, with Simone herself kicking off the hashtag with a Wonder Woman-themed lot featuring art from George Perez, Colleen Doran, and a signed and personalized script and Wonder Woman omnibus, both by Simone herself. She's been joined by a handful of other writers already, including Arrow co-creator Marc Guggenheim.

For his part, Guggenheim offered up a page from the Arrow tie-in comic with art by Mike Grell, as well as a piece from Arrow concept artist Andy Poon. He also offered up any script he has written or been associated with, signed, which is a reward that fetched quite a but during the Creators For Comics auctions.

Tony Lee has also joined in, with a page of original art from Ryan Stegman's Midnight Kiss, signed by both Lee and Stegman.

Since the hashtag is fairly new, you can check out a rolling update of listings here.

As with the Creators For Comics event, fans will donate directly to the charity and then provide evidence to the creators, at which point their item will be sent.

Since the start of the novel coronavirus pandemic, with a massive economic downturn and people around the world facing unemployment or underemployment in huge numbers, members of the comics community have been rallying, and Simone has been a big part of it. The story that is attached to her Wonder Woman page from the auction is a touching one. You can read the full thing here, or check out the first part below.

Okay. This is going to take a bit of explanation and I will probably mess it up. Let me get all this out and hopefully it will make some sense. It's about Wonder Woman, and current events. It shouldn't take too long.

Okay, I've said this often but when I was a kid, we were farmers in the boonies, we were dirt poor. I love comics but buying them in a store was a luxury we couldn't afford. Sometimes my cousins gave me theirs, sometimes we would find them at garage sales.

I've also often said that Wonder Woman was THE catalyst that made me love comics, and that's true. But it's a bit more nuanced than that. See, I read her in a JLA issue, and she was cool and amazing. But the few issues of her own book I found actually had the opposite effect.

I didn't see her as the Wonder Woman from that JLA book I loved, where she was powerful and compassionate. The issues of her own book, she was unsure and felt she had to prove herself, and it was confusing to me, as a very young kid.

Hang on, I promise, this isn't some weird awkward fable, it's going somewhere. Anyway, the long story short is, I loved her, but I always loved her more for what I thought she should be rather than how she was in her own book. Until George Perez.

The hottest artist of the day, with a string of hits behind him, decided to cast his ridiculous talents on Wonder Woman. And it changed EVERYTHING. Nearly everything great that has happened with her character since then started with George's run, as writer and artist.

When you ask any WW fan's favorite runs, a lot of names come up, it's different for everyone. Except George, everyone has George on that list.

Everyone who has written Wonder Woman, if they are worth a damn, has read those books and studied them, and is at least a LITTLE bit worried they will screw up what he built. I also want to say that George is the kindest, most generous person in comics.

Whenever I met him at a con, I would stammer and shuffle, and he was always incredibly kind. It made me happy to my SOUL that the guy who made me love Wonder Woman, the character that made me a lifelong comics fan, was also a great human being.

Long after his run, I got to write the Wonder Woman monthly, and it always felt like George was watching so I'd BETTER NOT SCREW UP. Then this upcoming issue was coming, a big anniversary, Wonder Woman #600.

Some of editorial wanted their own team on WW, and when that happens, they tend to pretend a LITTLE bit that the previous team never existed. It's not malice, it's just kind of keeping the machine going. So I didn't hear about this anniversary right away.

But then I get a call from the editor of that issue. And he says, "George Perez is doing his farewell to Wonder Woman story in this issue and he wants to know if you would write it."

I'm sure you have all gotten that email at some point, where you just stare at the monitor like you can't figure out what is being said, you can't parse it. George Perez, the best WW writer ever, wanted ME to write his FINAL Wonder Woman story? WHY?

I mean, I'm not being falsely humble, I'm proud of my WW run, but I could not make sense of that and I told them so. George didn't need me and I would just be intruding. But George was adamant, he wanted me to write it and him to draw it and THAT was the scariest idea ever.

But I did it because I LITERALLY knew that I would be on my deathbed years later, yelling at myself for turning it down. So I wrote it, just a sweet little seven page story with all my favorite characters from his run.

George was saying goodbye to Wonder Woman after all his years of hard work, and my son had graduation coming up. So I wrote the story about saying goodbye with love, not just sadness, and it was called 'Valedictorian.' In it, Julia Kapatelis graduates, and she says goodbye.

She's been a bit hurt by Diana's not being there when she needed her. We've all felt that.

But she forgives her, and Diana has a quote to her that ends the story.

"Vanessa, the seeds grow, and the leaves fall. But I will never be away from you. Because circumstances change...

...but the love endures."

It was our goodbye to Wonder Woman, his goodbye to drawing comics, it just had layers and layers of meaning for all of us and many, many people still come up to me and say that for them, it's about some parting in their own lives that had to happen, but was still a struggle.

Guys, I have never been so worried sending in a story. I sent George a note saying, PLEASE tell me anything you want changed, no matter how small or large.

George wrote back.

"It's beautiful. Don't change a word."

Did I cry, why yes I did, quite a lot.

And the art came in and OF COURSE it was incredible, it was as good as his best, just impossibly gorgeous and every page, he adder more panels and more emotion, it was amazing.

So what I didn't find out til LATER is something no one told me, George never even mentioned it. It hadn't been the editor's idea for me to write the story.

George had told them he would ONLY do it if I was the writer.

He never even mentioned that. Found out ages later.

Okay, so you are asking, why are you talking about a ten year old comic book story when everything is on fire?

Fair. The thing is, I wanted to do something, but I don't have a clue how to start a huge auction like the comics 4 creator thing, I don't even have paypal.

And I am an organizational mess.

But there are some things I know I can do.

One is, I can donate directly to #BLM causes. I'm doing that this morning.

Two is coming a little later today.

Three is in this thread.

So there's just a little more to the story of that Wonder Woman tale.

A few days after the issue comes out, I get a package out of nowhere, I had nothing coming that I was aware of.

It was big and flat, but I still didn't put it together.

It said OPEN CAREFULLY, so I did, I opened it like I was defusing a bomb.

It was the last two pages of the original art, by George Perez, for his very last Wonder Woman story. OUR story.

He just sent them as a gift.

Without a word to me. It just showed up at my door.

Now, I know this story went long, as always. But I still very much condensed how important Wonder Woman became to me, and to this day. Because of George. When I cried in the theater watching the movie, I was thinking, "Oh, my god, George must be LOVING this."

It's just everything to me, so much of who I am, so much of what I believe in.

So I put those two pages up framed, where I can see them all day every day, to remind me of good things and good people and good hope for good futures.

I'm not great with money, I don't value it as I probably should. I don't care about possessions much. But when someone gives me something, it means a lot to me, I have kept every comic, every trinket, every piece of fan art I have been given at cons since I started in comics.

What I'm getting at is, of all the art I have been given, all the things I possess, I can't think of anything that I have that has more value to me than this. I can't think of anything that makes my heart swell the same way, because it's not just art, it's EVERYTHING.

It's ridiculous to call this a 'sacrifice,' when people are putting their health and safety and security on the line. But all the same, it feels like we SHOULD be giving up something it stings to lose.

So this was a long story to get to this point. Sorry.

I want this to be clear. I wouldn't sell or trade either of these pages if I was down to having a dime to my name. I have said many times, and meant it, they are the first things I would grab out of my house if it was on fire, after my husband, son, and dog.

So I am offering up an auction for a Wonder Woman package, and it includes the very last page of George Perez's legendary Wonder Woman work, from right off of my wall.

Signed by George, I'll sign it too, if you like.


I mean, if you are a Perez fan, or a #WonderWoman fan, or just a fan of legendary comic runs, this thing has only been two places in its existence...George's drawing table and my wall.

He sent the 'goodbye' pages because they meant the most.

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