Rat Queens to Reboot in March; But Why?

Kurtis Wiebe should just give it up. A Rat Queens soft reboot was announced over at Newsarama, with new artist Owen Gieni and a new #1 coming out in March. Gieni makes the fourth full time artist to work on the title after creator Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Sejic, and Tess Fowler. Upchurch left the title after an arrest for domestic violence, and Fowler more recently left after learning that Wiebe colluded with publisher Image Comics to bring Upchurch back onto the title–and refused to take responsibility for lateness on submitting his scripts.

by Owen Gieni
Rat Queens (created by Kurtis Wiebe & Rock Upchurch) art by Owen Gieni

At the time of its launch, Rat Queens seemed a dream come true for an industry hungry for more female representation (although that representation didnt exist behind the page until Fowlers entrance). Since then, its become another story of men profiting off the backs of women and putting their own male interests ahead of women in the industry. The fact that Upchurch attended New York Comic Con this year comfortably, with Rat Queens fans greeting him and without a peep from the always-compliant and sexist comics industry, makes the title only more toxic. Its hard to imagine why any woman who has heard the full story would want to go within ten feet of a copy of the new #1.

Its a shame, because Gieni is a very talented artist. He did a breathtaking job on Negative Space with Ryan K. Lindsay and deserves all the work he ever needs. If this had been any other title, I would have had congratulations and more for him.

But the time when Rat Queens might have ever been something more than a fantasy comic book with female protagonists is over. Its not the next step toward a feminist comics industry. Its not an incredible work of art, either; enough time has passed where the last arc (or two?) has faded out of a casual readers recollection. Wiebe needs to learn when to let a project–even if its a near blowout success–go. Rat Queens is dead. And thanks to Upchurch, whose creative input really isn’t necessary, it never really was what we thought it was in the first place.

Ray Sonne

Ray Sonne

A comics reader since the first Raimi-directed Spider-Man movie, Ray now works as a copywriter. When not writing or training in Krav Maga, she likes to expand her queer comics knowledge and talk with fellow nerds on twitter @RaySonne.