[Update: Roc Upchurch has since been removed from Rat Queens. You can read Kurtis Wiebe’s statement here.]
Late Tuesday evening, Bleeding Cool reported that Rat Queens artist Roc Upchruch was arrested on October 31st on charges of battery and assault. He paid a $750 bond, was allowed to return home, and has not been contacted by the authorities since.
The arrest came to light through a blog post by Upchruch’s ex-wife (since removed) that alleges a history of fighting and abuse. Rich Johnston of Bleeding Cool investigated its claims, contacting the local Sheriff’s Office, Upchurch, and others directly. Upchurch confirmed the arrest and you can find his statement on Bleeding Cool.
Although the post seems to have been removed, I can attest to the accuracy of Rich’s quotes because I was emailed its full contents last week and have been investigating since, making many of the same inquiries he did. I will not be publishing the email on Women Write About Comics, nor will I be sharing further details from it. I have no facts to share with you about those wider allegations. I consider this a matter of safety and security for all involved.
[Update: Her post is available on Google Cache. I won’t link to it but you can seek it out if you so choose. Please be aware that it may be triggering.]
Many have suggested that the arrest is a private matter, and that his ex-wife’s more extensive allegations have the potential to ruin Upchurch’s career. But domestic violence is not a private matter — it’s a criminal one — and rare is the man’s career that has been ruined by it. Upchurch stands to lose little from our merely speaking about an arrest that hasn’t been further pursued. Rat Queens, remember, is a creator-owned book published by Image, and it has been hailed as a breath of fresh air, a genuinely and breezily feminist comic, around which Kurt Wiebe and Upchurch have been a vibrant and supportive community. That community is unlikely to suddenly disappear in the wake of this news.
Some readers may stand to lose more, though, should we shy from reporting the matter honestly — they may lose whatever sense of safety and trust they have found among us.
We must not shy away from reporting unpleasant facts.
We must not cultivate a culture of silence and polite withdrawal.
Today, and everyday, please be mindful of abuse survivors. Your language matters.