Simone, Hernandez come out with guns blazing in

Thu, February 22nd, 2001 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Beau Yarbrough, Columnist

[Killer Princesses' Charity]
Charity, from Killer Princesses.


[enlarge]

You say that you really enjoy Gail Simone's weekly razor slashes of humor in her You'll All Be Sorry column, but what you'd really like from her is a black and white miniseries featuring heavily armed beautiful women who wear tiaras?

It sounds like "Killer Princesses" is made for you.

"I'd say it's a comic that finally satisfies that long-ignored, yet still crucial demographic group that enjoys stories about assassins who can't cook toast," Simone told the Comic Wire on Wednesday. "Honestly, this is a book so much about Lea and I, it's hard to separate from it enough to describe it quickly. It's about the horrible, not-so-bright 'in-crowd' girls, and what happens when an agency tells them they can do whatever they like, have whatever they want.

"If they agree to kill some troublesome individuals. Which the Princesses can do, because they don't have much in the way of empathy."

As officially announced last weekend at the Alternative Press Expo in San Franciscio, the three issue miniseries will be published by Oni Press starting this coming December.

Of course, women who can put you in the hospital (at best) and look fabulous doing it are hardly new territory for Simone's partner in crime on "Killer Princesses," Lea Hernandez, creator of "Cathedral Child," "Clockwork Angels" and "Rumble Girls."

"I've been a fan of Lea's for a good while," Simone said. "I adore her art, and have tremendous respect for her writing. She's a genius. What I didn't know is that she's hilarious, also. We met at the CBR chat room, and just kept trying to top each other by saying the goofiest crap we could think of.

"Then she made her big mistake: She asked me to write something for her to draw. So, it is my task to make her suffer.

"Actually, we're both having an incredible time working together. When she first drew the Princesses, she got them so dead on, we just knew we had something."

The collaboration has grown since, of course.

"We make each other laugh, and we support each other completely. She's my hero. And we lucked out by getting James Lucas Jones for our editor -- he's been our guardian angel all along. And THEN, the brilliant Laura DePuy volunteered to do cover colors. This book was meant to happen, it feels like."

"Killer Princesses" is currently at a very early stage: "Still at scripts and pencils," Simone said. "We do have a couple sneak peeks planned, though ..."

The concept of "Killer Princesses" isn't one that most people seem to have a problem understanding: These girls were in every high school in America and, perhaps, the world. Simone won't confess to having been one of them, though.

"I was on basketball rally squad for one horrible season, and I was in a lot of plays in high school, but Princesses were people to stay away from, I felt," she said. "Lea was in bugle corps or something ... she was a Princess, but she denies it."

Just because Simone, at least, wasn't a princess in high school doesn't mean that she's not drawing on her high school experiences for the project.

"I think it draws on things EVERYONE remembers from high school, but the series itself takes place when the Princesses are college-age."

The in-crowd girls growing up to become hired assassins is a concept that could go multiple ways, including parody or a straight-forward approach.

"Actually, it's not a parody at all," Simone said. "It's funny, but it's completely a situational type of humor. The girls are funny because their worldview is so skewed, ill-realized and selfish. They're the Spinal Tap of political assassins.

"But even so, it's hard not to like them, a little. I've grown really fond of all three of them."

For comic fans who aren't online -- there are still scattered reports of them being seen in the wild -- Simone's work with Bongo Comics, Oni and on her other as-yet-unofficial projects would seem to come out of nowhere.

"Most all of the opportunities I have coming up have come from editors and pros who have read Yabs, and Yabs itself came about from joking letters I wrote to friends getting circulated via email. So a lot of it is Jonah's fault for having a popular Web site, the bastard!

"The Simpsons work, which I love beyond words, came about because Scott (Oddball Comics -- go read it now!) Shaw! urged me to try. Bongo, for the record, is one amazing company to work for. I've written a ton of stuff for them, and I plan to continue 'til Homer gets wise and Lisa gets dumb.

"It's a bizarre freak-show situation. I literally have to throw my hands up when people ask my advice on breaking into the industry, because my career path is so inexplicable. I'm working with gifted artists, and contrary to a lot of the horror stories out there, the editors I'm working with have been extraordinary ... I feel very, very fortunate."

And Ms. Simone's wild ride isn't done yet:

"I have some stuff that I'll be announcing pending final approval. I've been offered several chances to work on lots of characters I truly love, some major, some less so."

And the price for this success?

"I used to have time to sleep, sometimes!"

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