Three days ago, Bleeding Cool reported the news that John Upchurch, better known as comic book artist Roc Upchurch, co-creator of Rat Queens, had been arrested on a battery misdemeanor charge. His ex-wife published a long description of the event and the circumstances around it, from which we quoted, and we also contacted Roc for his version of events. Since then, a number of sites such as Mary Sue and Women Write About Comics followed up on our research.
Today, Rat Queens co-creator and writer Kurtis Wiebe, who we initially contacted regarding the original article, posted an account of his reaction on his blog. During which he announced.
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.
Rat Queens is a creator owned book published by Image Comics, and Roc may still co-own and benefit from the comic and the multi-media spinoffs, but it will now be drawn by a new artist. Tess Fowler had been announced as a fill-in artist for upcoming issue 11, and it seems that she is a favourite to take over the title, but no new artist has been announced.
Rat Queens is a fan favourite title with a strong female fanbase, and since our original report, a number of readers have expressed their intention to stop reading the book. This decision may change some of their minds.
But it is also worth noting, that in the wake of the original report, reorders from stores for the comic book went up, not down.