Interview: Swinging the SWORDS OF SORROW with Gail Simone

The mighty crossover of women from across the Dynamite Universe has arrived, with the first issues of Swords of Sorrow hitting comic book stores this week. We’ve been featuring interviews with the talented writers who are crafting the voices of these pulp giants. Now, the chance to find about a little bit about the inspiration from the woman who launched this idea: Gail Simone.

Gail has been penning the voice of one of Dynamite’s most inspiring leading ladies, Red Sonja, for a few years now. Now she sets her sites on not only is she having Red Sonja traveling through time and space to save the universe, but characters such as Dejah Thoris, Irene Adler, Masquerade, Kato, Black Sparrow, Lady Zorro, Vampirella, Jennifer Blood, Jungle Girl and more. Even the bad girls of Dynamite’s universe are getting in the game with a prequel comic. However, Gail is tackling the main story that forces these women across time and space to collide.

Jessica Boyd: What was the inspiration for bringing all these fantastic women pulp characters together?

Gail Simone: Oh, just a deep love of crossovers. But what fascinated me most was the idea that this was something only Dynamite could do. We have heroines from radio, pulps, literature, comics, the bad girl era, comic strips, and more, and that is something no other publisher could do right now. I found that completely, hopelessly compelling. It’s like having Flash Gordon, Superman and Snoopy in the same story, it’s just so endlessly charming.

TNSwordsSorrow02CovCSubHack[1]JB: For some of these women characters, this is the first time they have a woman providing their voice. Do you think that dynamic will have a bigger impact on the characters, or the perceptions of long-time Dynamite readers?

GS: I hope so, certainly, but not because I think the male writers have done bad work. A lot of AMAZING Red Sonja stories have been told, almost exclusively by dudes, for example. It’s just that I want readers who came to comics for Birds of Prey, or Ms Marvel, or new Batgirl, to experience this rich, lush roster of amazing characters, as well. There’s no Xena without Sonja. Miss Fury was kicking ass in the 40’s. I want people to love them for what they are, kickass women doing amazing stuff.

If people who like my work give Dejah or Sonja a try because I am writing them, that’s a big bucket of hooray.

JB: In other interviews you’ve hinted that the villain, a Prince, has very traditional motivations. How does adding that dynamic to a fantastical setting where time and space collide create a dynamic story?

GS: I felt that if we are doing heroines from everywhere, we should look even further back for villains. That’s all I can say for now about him!

TNSorrow01CovORareLupacchinoV[1]JB: What do you say to new readers who have seen the cheesecake or traditional male gaze presentations of this group of characters in previous books and are wary of trying out Swords of Sorrow?

GS: That I get it, if you only have seen Red Sonja as a pin-up, that’s fine, there’s a place for that and a lot of people love her for those reasons. But there’s so much more, so many wonderful stories. This book is the combination of many brilliant minds, from Robert E. Howard to Edgar Rice Burroughs and so many more. There’s cheesecake in their past, sure, but the characters are amazing, and full of fun, danger and agency. It’s pulp, re-imagined. I feel like this is sort of like the Agent Carter series, where people get to see cool women in a new light.

TNSwordsSorrow03CovALotay[1]JB: How has it been working with the team of women behind the tie-in series?

GS: THE BEST. They are the She-vengers! Seriously, it’s all women I admire. Working with G. Willow Wilson and Nancy Collins? That’s joy. And Marguerite Bennett turned in a DEADLY funny script. Leah Moore’s Dejah/Irene Adler is our sleeper book, it’s simply remarkable. Everyone did amazing work, I am proud of all of them and honored to get to work with them. We never had a cross word between us, nothing but support. It was the team-up behind the scenes!

JB: Anything else you’d like Comicosity readers to know?

GS: Yes. Big stuff is coming at the end. BIG. STUFF.

Seriously, wait til you see!

Swords of Sorrow #1 is out this week (Diamond Code: MAR151171,) and you can check out a preview by clicking here.

If you’d like to make sure your store is getting copies of Swords of Sorrow #2, reference Diamond Code: APR151325. The book hits shelves on June 3, 2015. Swords of Sorrow #3 is available July 8, 2015 using Diamond Code: MAY151221A.

If you’d like to read more about Gail’s work you can find her on Twitter @GailSimone and on Tumblr




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