Roc Upchurch To Leave ‘Rat Queens’ Following Arrest for Assault

A few days ago Bleeding Cool reported that artist Roc Upchurch, best known as one of the two creators of the Image series ‘Rat Queens’, had been arrested for battery after an attack on his ex-wife. After confirming the source of the story – a blog post written by the victim of the attack, as well as seeking and receiving a quote Upchurch himself – Bleeding Cool ran the story.

In the days since Bleeding Cool broke this story, the continued existence of the series has been up in the air. – until today, when writer Kurtis J. Wiebe issued his statement on the news, and confirmed that Upchurch will be leaving the series. Here is a partial quote from the blog – please read the whole thing on Wiebe’s site.

I’m not a stranger to domestic abuse. I know that keeping abuse a secret and being afraid to speak about it are why so many people suffer in silence. It is a topic that needs to be openly talked about and there needs to be a feeling of safety and acceptance for those that come forward with their stories. It is why I am addressing this news rather than burying my head in the sand.

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.

He notes that the assault was part of a more complicated story than could be reported, and said that his thoughts would be with all members of the Upchurch family. He also links to the Domestic Abuse Service website, which I’m relinking to here also.

Rat Queens will continue on, and fans of the series will be pleased to hear that – but our best thoughts right now should go to the Upchurch family at this time, first and foremost. This is sad news for all concerned, and our primary hope should be that the situation can be brought to peace, and safety ensured for all involved. Domestic abuse is a very real issue, and one we need to respect, understand, and appreciate.

As stated in a post made by Megan Purdy on Women Write About Comics:

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.

I’m sorry I took so long to report this story on the site.

Pixie Month: Martin Kirby’s Commission from Thought Bubble!

The second commission I got from Thought Bubble came from Martin Kirby, whose webcomic series Freelancer I really enjoyed when I reviewed it a while back. Enjoyed it so much, in fact, that I figured he’s be a really fun person to take on the treacherous task of drawing Pixie. And lo!


The British Comic Award Winners 2014

Taking place at the end of Saturday’s Thought Bubble Festival, the British Comic Awards nominated winners in five categories: best book, best comic, emerging talent, young people’s awards, and the Hall of Fame. Of the five, only one was known in advance: Posy Simmonds, artist and writer for books including Tamara Drew, was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Across the rest of the evening, winners were announced into all the other categories:

BCA Logo

Best book:
The Absence by Martin Stiff (Titan Books)
Celeste by I.N.J. Culbard (Self Made Hero)
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg (Jonathan Cape)
Lighter Than My Shadow by Katie Green (Jonathan Cape)
Sally Heathcote: Suffragette by Mary Talbot, Kate Charlesworth and Bryan Talbot (Jonathan Cape)

Best Comic
Dangeritis: A Fistful of Danger by Robert M Ball and Warwick Johnson-Cadwell (Great Beast)
In The Frame by Tom Humberstone (
Raygun Roads by Owen Michael Johnson, Indio!, Mike Stock and Andy Bloor (Self published)
Tall Tales & Outrageous Adventures #1: The Snow Queen & Other Stories by Isabel Greenberg (Great Beast)
The Wicked + The Divine #1 by Kieron Gillen, Jaime McKelvie, Matt Wilson and Clayton Cowles (Image Comics)

Emerging Talent
Alison Sampson (Genesis, Shadows (In The Dark) – artist)
Briony May Smith (Tam Lin, The Courting of Fair Spring and Red-Nosed Frost, The Mermaid)
Rachael Smith (House Party, One Good Thing, Flimsy, Vicky Park (Leicester Mercury), The Amazing Seymore (Moose Kid Comics))
Becca Tobin (Eye Contact, Peppermint Butler’s Peppermint Bark (Adventure Time #30), numerous short comics)
Corban Wilkin (Dreams of a Low Carbon Future – artist, Breaker’s End, If Not Now Then When (Offlife #6))

Young People’s Awards
Bad Machinery Vol 2: The Case of The Good Boy by John Allison (Oni Press)
BOO! by Paul Harrison-Davies, Andrew Waugh; Warwick Johnson-Cadwell, Jonathan Edwards, James Howard, Gary Northfield and Jamie Smart (Self published)
Corpse Talk: Season 1 by Adam Murphy (David Fickling Books)
Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson (Flying Eye Books)
The Beginner’s Guide to Being Outside by Gill Hatcher (Avery Hill Publishing)

Hall of Fame: Posy Simmonds

It’s always interesting to see how the awards develop across time, from the longlist to shortlist to final winners. This has been a year with some good comics, but I haven’t really noticed anything that’s been the big huge standout thing of 2014. The Encyclopedia of Early Earth has been perhaps the only book to have leaped that gap this year, I’d say, which means the rest of the books have been hard to choose between. Greenberg was the one to beat in her category, but I honestly couldn’t have picked a clear favourite in any of the other nominee groups.

It’s been a good year for comics, but there’s been a consistency rather than anything standout, perhaps?

However I would note victory of Luke Pearson once more in the young people’s award, making him I believe the only person to have been nominated every year of the British Comic Awards’ run so far. He won the same award two years ago, and saw nominations in several categories last year also. People love Hilda, it seems! The awards have really highlighted his ascent through the world of comics, and cemented him as one of Britain’s most respected comic makers.

Pixie Month: Marc Ellerby’s Commission from Thought Bubble!

Thought Bubble was this weekend! And that’s why The Spire has been quiet these past few days – a blogger’s got to sleep sometime, y’know? But here we are now, on a wild Wednesday, and it’s time to continue on with the comics extravaganza which is “Pixie Month”.

I managed to set up a few Pixie commissions from a series of artists whose work I really love – so these next few days will be all about sharing them with you all! Let’s knock the Greg Land images of Pixie off google’s front page and replace them with these ones instead, eh?

First up is Marc Ellerby, best known for his series Chloe Noonan, as well as his most recent work in the pages of Doctor Who: The Eleventh Doctor over at Titan, His style seemed a perfect fit for Pixie – and proved to be just so!


T’Bubs’14: Sam Read and Caio Oliveira Wrap Up ‘Exit Generation’

Sam Read and Caio Oliveira’s four-issue series ‘Exit Generation’ will be concluding at this year’s festival, with the arrival of the fourth and final part of the story. A sci-fi story about humanity trying to leave the planet – and other races arriving – the self-published series has managed to put out four issues in just about under a year. That’s impressive.


The series launched at last year’s festival, and now concludes this year. Perhaps highlighted by Oliveira’s surprisingly detailed, intricate worldbuilding, the series features some superb artwork and lovely colours from Ruth Redmond and Marissa Louise. The premise, as well, is a slight twist on a familiar story, and is as thus:

It’s 2055 and Jack is bored.

20 years ago most of Earth’s population abandoned the planet in search of a less crowded place to live.  But rather than descend into chaos, the world they left became a paradise, free from poverty, war and crime.

In this utopia Jack spends his days hanging out with his friend Mo, and obsessing over action movies and punk records, longing for some real excitement.  But then a bunch of extra-terrestrial visitors arrive, and Jack’s wish is granted…

But enough of such things – let’s show you some pages from right at the start of the series, eh?

exitgen2 exitgen3 exitgen4 exitgen5


You’ll be able to find Sam and the fourth issue at his table at Thought Bubble from tomorrow – but you can also head to his site here to find out more.

T’Bubs’14: Reality Bends as Mike Garley and Josh Sherwell’s ‘The Kill Screen’ Hits the Festival

A computer virus breaks out from the screen and starts infecting the real world in Mike Garley and Josh Sherwell’s ‘The Kill Screen’, which’ll be around at Thought Bubble this weekend. Want to know a WHOLE LOT about the comic? Then head across to our ol’ beloved site, Comics Vanguard, where you can read my interview with Mike from earlier this year.


The series reads a little like a zombie horror, only the zombies are all people who’ve got glitched faces – it’s actually surprisingly creepy, as you can see from the preview below. Issues #1 and #2 of the book will be available at the festival – on Mike’s table – and I really enjoyed them both. It has a sense of humour which stops any kind of melodrama kicking in, and has a really interesting message floating around in the subtext of each issue.


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