Rat Queens artist and co-creator, Roc Upchurch, was recently arrested for domestic violence. The incident occurred on October 31st and was charged with misdemeanor battery in Henry County, Georgia. The details and statements from both Upchurch and his ex-wife can be found at Bleeding Cool. Today, writer and co-creator Kurtis J. Wiebe revealed that Upchurch will no longer illustrate the fan favorite fantasy comic.
In a statement on his blog, Wiebe expressed his sadness and his intentions to address the situation head on.
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.He went on to detail how close the relationship with Upchurch as collaborator and friend has made this horrendous incident all the more difficult to deal with.
When you work with someone so closely on a project that is so personal, you are much more than creative collaborators, you become friends that feel like family. I have a lot of love for Roc Upchurch, I’ve spent a lot of time with him, at conventions and signings and quiet times over dinner when the crowds have gone away. Shannon and I have spent time with his wife, whom we admire greatly. With everything that has happened, I still care about and love Roc and my greatest hope is that in all this there is an opportunity to find help and for healing to take place in his family. They are never far from our thoughts.Amid the arrest news it wasn't clear until today what would happen with the future of the popular and acclaimed series of strong independent maidens who fight orcs, party hard and genuinely care for one another. It's those qualities along with the talents of Wiebe and Upchurch that made it a standout for Image Comics. Thankfully, Wiebe reiterated his love for the work and addressed concerns on every fan's mind.
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.The news of Upchurch's arrest took many by surprise and left fans shocked and saddened. Rat Queens represents a lot of things. The fiercely independent smart and funny women who are every bit the equal to their male counterparts in Queens suddenly took on a dark undertone. The artist whose signature art is ingrained in the minds of rabid fans turns out to be the kind of guy the Queens would kick his ass.
It would be nearly impossible to ask consumers to compartmentalize and detach the man from his work had he remained on the book. This quick and necessary step in his removal either by his own volition or at the demand of the publisher allows for a clean break and a new fresh start.
There should be zero tolerance for abusers especially in an industry with its own shaky treatment of women creators and characters. Upchurch will have to answer to the law while his family picks up the pieces. We wish them all better days.
If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence and need further information of assistance contact The Hotline in the U.S. or Domestic Abuse Services in Canada.