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.
Earlier this week Bleeding Cool reported that Rat Queens artist John Upchurch, who draws under the pen name Roc Upchurch, was arrested in Georgia last month on charges of "Battery - Family Violence." The report sourced a blog post by Upchurch's wife describing the events, one which she later deleted but that is still available in the form of Web cache. Roc Upchurch confirmed the arrest in a statement to Bleeding Cool.
Following questions of what would become of the series, Rat Queens writer and co-creator Kurtis Wiebe announced on his website that in light of the nature of the charges, Upchurch will no longer be drawing the comic, and that Rat Queens will continue with a new artist.
Over the past five issues Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch's Rat Queenshas quickly become one of my favorite comics on the stands. The story of four Dungeons & Dragons-style adventurers who claim to protect the town while actually being the biggest possible threat to the peace is hilarious, brutal and action-packed, and more often than not, it's all three at the same time.
The first story arc, Sass & Sorcery, wrapped up in the fifth issue last week, so to look back on one of the best debuts of the past year, I spoke to Wiebe about the influence of gaming on his storytelling, the character he relates to, and the almost unprintable original title.
Tuesday marked the second annual Image Expo, the banner event where Image Comics announces its slate of upcoming projects for the year to come. Last year's expo featured announcements of a slew of new comics; this year's had a similar abundance of news, so much of it from established Marvel creators that comics creator Phil Hester took it upon himself to (probably jokingly) announce via Twitter that Marvel's creator-owned imprint Icon "is done."
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