We were all sadly unaware as we raved about Rat Queens on our podcast and here on the blog that there had been some unsettling news surrounding the series. Back on October 31, 2014, John “Roc” Upchurch—the artist who helped create Rat Queens—was arrested for domestic violence after allegedly beating his ex-wife. The entire story has been recounted here, here, and here (you might want to skip the details if you’re sensitive to triggers). While all cases of domestic abuse are tragic and anger-inducing, in this case there’s the added twist that the alleged perpetrator contributed to such a feminist and empowering piece of work.
The Mary Sue had this to say, which sums up my feelings pretty well.
It’s always difficult when someone who creates content you love does things with which you just can’t align yourself. It’s especially difficult when you recognize that stopping your monetary support of said content also punishes the other, not-problematic people who work hard on the final product. You are still allowed to enjoy the content you enjoyed before; but it’s also important to recognize something like this has happened, so that you can make your own informed decision about how you feel about further supporting that particular creator’s work.
The good news is that Upchurch has been replaced with Stjepan Sejic whose style is equally engaging and true to the spirit of Rat Queens. This sneak peek at a teenage Violet as drawn by Sejic pretty much solidifies my optimism for future issues. In more good news, today brings the release of “Rat Queens Special: Braga #1” drawn by interim artist Tess Fowler and it looks fantastic.