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.
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.