After multiple controversies and a lot of questions about the book's future, Rat Queens is returning to Image Comics with a new first issue and a new artist, Owen Gieni, joining writer Kurtis J. Wiebe.
Game of Thrones has returned, and though now in its sixth season, it remains one of the most riveting and talked about shows on television. Even after all this time and all this death, we’re still tuning in, hoping against hope that our faves don’t get brutally murdered, and maybe that someone rides on a dragon.
Fantasy stories have been appearing in comics since near the very beginning of the medium, and there are so many great stories and series to choose from for fans looking for more of a fantasy fix. We’ve picked out five of the best independent and creator-owned comics to keep you going through the week as you wait for more episodes of Game of Thrones.
The adventure series Rat Queens from Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch took home the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Saturday. The medieval fantasy series centers on a diverse cast of female adventurers, including lesbian halfling thief Betty.
This year's other nominees were Hawkeye, by Matt Fraction, David Aja, Annie Wu, and Matt Hollingsworth; Lumberjanes, by Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis, and Brooke Allen; Memetic, by James Tynion IV and Eryk Donovan; and Saga, by Brian K. Vaughan and Fiona Staples.
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.
The foul-mouthed, booze-fueled adventurers of Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch's Image Comics series Rat Queens probably wouldn't be welcome on The Disney Channel or Cartoon Network (maybe Adult Swim), but that isn't stopping the Weta Workshop's Pukeko Pictures and the Heavy Metal brand from developing it into an animated series.
The two production companies, which jointly acquired the rights to the series, are hard at work developing a half-hour animated version of the exploits of Betty (thief), Hannah (mage), Dee (cleric) and Violet (fighter). They're planning to pitch it to networks soon.
This week, Chris and Matt are talking at length about Futures End #1 by Brian Azzarello, Keith Giffen, Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire and Patrick Zircher, which continues the killing trend set off by the Free Comic Book Day #0 issue. Then they talk about Rat Queens #6 by Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch and Moon Knight #3 by Warren Ellis, Declan Shalvey and Jordie Bellaire!
Over the past five issues Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch's Rat Queens has 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.
On the surface, Image Comics' new series Rat Queens by Peter Panzerfaust writer Kurtis J. Wiebe and artist Roc Upchurch is a traditional, Dungeons and Dragons-style story. It's got a fighter, a mage, a cleric and a thief going into a cave to clear out some goblins. But there's something...different about it. It's got four female lead characters, for one thing. And kind of a punk attitude.
You can check out the first-issue cover, a Fiona Staples variant, and few (partially NSFW) preview pages from the new series, which debuts September 25, after the jump.