“Let’s Get Stabby!!! or a Million Reasons You WILL Conjure a Fuck About RAT QUEENS”
Okay. So for any of you who DO follow me on any form of social media, it’s no news that I fangirl the ballsack out of this title. I’ve made a Rat Queens jack-o-lantern and 2 Rat Queens pies, bought ALL of the merch!!, posted fan art, collect every printing and variant, cosplay is imminent….you get the gist. But I’ve not yet had the opportunity to discuss RQ in-depth or on this type of forum. In all seriousness, outside of the superficial fangirling, I honestly believe that this book is the most
inherently feminist (without being pushy or alienating) and accurate portrayal of women in a long time. Not since Joss Whedon first brought Buffy into our lives, have females been so well understood and I feel that Rat Queens is every bit as exciting, humorous and empowering. I know. BOLD statement. I’m prepared to defend it.
Look. How many times are women pigeonholed in books, films, television, comics? The Madonna or the Whore. Bitch or Pushover. Butch and masculine OR weak and docile. Betty or Veronica (I’m TOTALLY a Veronica. Wait…). None of us are specifically any of these things. This sounds like a very basic statement, but time and time again females are misrepresented in all forms of media. Women are complex and fascinating creatures. Sorry guys, but there is a depth to females that most of you never truly understand. Don’t get me wrong – I love men (I’m looking at you, Fassbender), but it is extremely rare for TWO men to accurately portray women both visually and in writing in a way that is both accurate and empowering. Enter Kurtis Wiebe and Roc Upchurch.
Now I’m not trying to brag or anything (yes I am, I always am), but I’ve been following RQ since the very beginning. When I read on Image’s website that there was a new title which was like “Buffy meets Tank Girl in a Lord of the Rings world on crack”, I was sold. Basically, three of my favorite things in the world had a baby….named Rat Queens. So, after reading that, clearly I had to change my pants (haha jk…I don’t wear pants) and run to my comic store to buy the first issue. And that’s where it all began.
So, for those of you who have not yet read RQ, it is an adventure story about a four girl group of mercenaries or “adventuring party” who kill for hire in the land of Palisade. Our queens include: Violet a hipster dwarven warrior, Dee – an atheist Lovecraftiancultist healer, Betty – a feisty hippy lesbian smidgeon/halfling, and my personal favorite Hannah – a rockabilly elven mage. The first trade (collecting issues 1 – 5) follows the girls on a series of adventures wherein the queens are on a mission to find out who has been attempting to take out all of Palisade’s mercenaries. The book reads like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign and is chock full of profanities and hilarious expletives (fuckbuckets, fucktarts, dickcheese, N’rygoth’s ballsack…I could go on). Booze-guzzling, swearing, yelling, fighting – the Rat Queens put the sexy back in wholesale slaughter. Each character is extremely complex and at times, flawed. I’ve talked to a lot of other ladies who have read Rat Queens and it’s interesting because everyone is definitely drawn to a particular character but can absolutely relate to different things from each of the others as well. It shows a true respect for women on the part of Kurtis to represent them in such an honest and relatable way. In a society full of double standards, it is refreshing to read a book where the women drink and swear like sailors, talk about and (gasp!) love sex, get in fights, are volatile, catch feelings sometimes but DO NOT depend on men. Because that…..is real and it makes these broads some pretty bitchin’ role models.
And the art. The art is insanely beautiful. Roc Upchurch has quickly become one of my favorite artists in the biz. This is not the type of book that has a few beautiful splash pages and every other frame is inconsistent in quality and design. The work is extremely consistent and each panel is like a separate work of art. The character design is perfection. Outside of the obvious diversity (each queen is of a different “race”), Roc also exhibits diversity in body types as well. Seeing women of all shapes and sizes carrying themselves confidently is extremely empowering. The fight scenes? Swoon….to the fucking moon. There is actual movement. I’ve read plenty of books before where action frames grow redundant and boring…..not in Rat Queens. Seeing these bad ass bitches fight while screaming profanities and delivering sarcastic, hilarious oneliners is as exciting as watching an actual action sequence on film. And with that being said……guys – Rat Queens is going to be an animated TV show!!! Squeeeeeeeee!
So what’s going on in the second arc so far? Well, the girls have definitely smoked a lot of drugs, gotten laid, and broken the penis off of a statue called the Gift of Palisade. Classic Rat Queens. They make nice with the town’s mayor and are hired on more merc business. Hannah’s on/off boo, Sawyer, is lured into the clutches of a dangerous enemy hellbent on avenging his dead wife. Bernadette who was responsible for ordering the earlier merc deaths, is found on the street by Hannah and has been blinded. Oh….and Dee’s married. Wut! And this brings us to issue 7 – The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth!!! As Betty hallucinates and attempts to devour Violet whom she has mistaken for a candy person (drugs and candy!), Hannah and Dee begin to recognize a connection between the arrival of Dee’s estranged husband and Bernadette’s blinding. It seems that a much darker power than they’ve yet dealt with is at play. And it is directly tied to Dee’s former cult – N’rygoth’s ballsack!
So…..basically, I am absolutely in love with this book. Top to bottom. The writing, the art, the colors, the tone, the setting…all of it. Everyone needs to read it. EVERYONE. I’m an infamous Rat Queens bully. Just ask anyone in my comic book club. It would be best if you just obey. And all of you fucktarts who don’t….this ends badly for you.
RAT QUEENS #7
Story By: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Art and Cover By: Roc Upchurch
Cover Price: $3.50
Release Date: July 16, 2014