It's been a tough eight months or so for Image Comics' Rat Queens, art-wise. Artist John Upchurch was removed from the book last November after he was arrested on domestic abuse charges, and his replacement, Stjepan Sejic, has been fighting illness and was only able to draw two issues in the interim.

A Wednesday announcement from Image indicates that clearer skies are ahead, however, as artist Tess Fowler and colorist Tamra Bonvillain have taken the art reins of the series about a band of plundering adventurers full-time, starting with issue #11 in August. Sejic will remain as cover artist through issue #15. Series co-creator Kurtis J. Wiebe remains in place as writer.

Fowler, who was also the artist on Rat Queens: Braga Special #1, is quoted in Image's press release as saying: "I'm excited to be returning to explore the world of Rat Queens with Kurtis. The fact that I'm wading in with Tamra by my side makes the adventure that much sweeter."

Wiebe added: "I am very indebted to Stjepan Sejic for coming to my aid and doing a fantastic job on the two issues he helped us with. Looking to the future of Rat Queens, I needed people who understood what the series has become known for, and there was no other team I could imagine doing a better job than Tess and Tamra!”

There's no mention of it in the release, but it also seems like a smart move to bring on an art team of women to help guide one of Image's most visible comics with a cast of women protagonists. Not just in a PR/visibility sense, but in a story sense, too.

Check out some preview art from Fowler and Bonvillain's first issue below!


Fan art by Tess Fowler