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 J. 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.


I know many readers are asking the ultimate question: What now? I was on vacation with my family when the news broke and I’ve spent the past few days debating what to do. Rat Queens has always meant a lot to me. I’ve poured my heart into the series, and through it I’ve shared my life, revealed my fears and insecurities and it’s helped me cope with lifelong struggles of body image and confidence. 

I want you to know that Rat Queens means the world to me on a personal level and my mission for the series is unchanged. I want to write stories about women that I see in my everyday life, about friendship and to make comics that include and embrace diversity.


As of today, Roc Upchurch will no longer be illustrating Rat Queens. This is going to be a transitionary period for the series as we rebuild and prepare for a new start. I am committed to Rat Queens, to stand by what it has always been praised for and to prove to the fans that they weren’t wrong in loving it.


Thank you for your understanding in this difficult time.

Rat Queens was launched at Image last year and quickly became a hit with its story of a party of hard-drinking, foulmouthed female adventurers in an RPG-esque sword-and-sorcery setting. The series was praised by many fans and reviewers, including ComicsAlliance, for the strong character work and witty action, and in particular for its focus on women in a genre that has traditionally been dominated by male characters.

While the new series artist of Rat Queens has yet to be announced, the next issue, #11, has already been scheduled to feature guest work by Tess Fowler.

Wiebe said his "greatest hope is that in all this there is an opportunity to find help and for healing to take place in [Upchurch's] family."

For those seeking help or other information, please visit the Domestic Abuse Service website.

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