Long Live The Queens: Rising Star Stjepan Sejic Takes Over As ‘Rat Queens’ Artist
Stjepan Šejic is an artist who's been on the verge of a breakthrough for a while now -- and he's apparently just had two of them back-to-back. Šejic is an excellent artist, remarkably fast, and by all reports very easy to work with, which means he delivers the trifecta for promising talent.
That talent will be put to excellent use on a book in dire need of a great artist; Šejic has been named as the new permanent artist on Rat Queens, the hit fantasy series from writer Kurtis J. Wiebe and Image's Shadowline imprint. This news comes just a couple of weeks after reports that Šejic's creator-owned erotic graphic novel Sunstone received the highest ever advance orders for any book published by Image's Top Cow imprint.
But Croatian-born Šejic is far from a recent arrival; he worked extensively on Top Cow's Witchblade from 2007-2011, and has provided covers for Dynamite and Marvel. His creator-owned comic Death Vigil is also currently published by Top Cow, while Sunstone, a romantic comedy about two women embarking on a BDSM-enhanced relationship, has been published as a webcomic since 2011. Šejic has also picked up a following on DeviantArt for his often funny, often sexy, often beautiful fan-art works, which he apparently produces as warm-ups. Look; he calls this a "doodle":
It was on his DeviantArt page that Šejic recently unveiled some Rat Queens "fan art" that had some readers wondering if he might take over the book, or if he was at least auditioning. Now that question is answered. Šejic's love of lavish fantastical settings and powerful and visually distinctive women make him a great fit for Kurtis J. Wiebe's raunchy and indelicate fantasy comedy about four female adventurers, which won the 2014 Eisner Award for best new series.
Rat Queens' original artist, Roc Upchurch, was arrested last month on charges of domestic abuse. After a few days of personal debate, Wiebe announced plans to continue the book with a new artist, with Tess Fowler stepping in as a temporary replacement. As Upchurch is one of the co-creators of Rat Queens, it's not clear if he or his family will continues to have a financial stake in the comic, or if Šejic will receive any ownership stake in the book.
You can see some of Šejic's fan art and initial work for Rat Queens below, including his cover for issue #10. His first full issue, Rat Queens #12, will ship in May. Šejic told ComicsAlliance he plans to continue with both Death Vigil and Sunstone; no doubt he'll also be juggling half a dozen other projects as well. He really is that fast.