Rat Queens

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Rat Queens
Cover of Rat Queens #1, featuring, from top to bottom: Dee, Betty, Violet and Hannah.
Publication information
Publisher Image Comics
Schedule Monthly, with breaks
Format Ongoing series
Publication date September 2013 – March 2017
No. of issues 17
Creative team
Written by Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist(s) Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Šejić, Tess Fowler, Owen Gieni
Colorist(s) Tamra Bonvillain
Collected editions
Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery ISBN 978-1-60706-945-4
Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth ISBN 978-1-63215-040-0
Volume 3: Demons ISBN 978-1-63215-735-5

Rat Queens is an American comic fantasy comic book series written by Kurtis J. Wiebe and published by Image Comics since September 2013. The artwork has been drawn by Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Šejić and Tess Fowler. The series was put on hiatus in April 2016 and returned in March 2017 with the new artist Owen Gieni.[1]

Recounting the exploits of a party of four rowdy, foul-mouthed adventurers, the series has received critical praise, was nominated for the 2014 Eisner Award for Best New Series[2] and won the 2015 GLAAD Media Award.[3]

Publication history[edit]

Writer Kurtis Wiebe described the series as a "love letter to my years of D&D (...) and fantasy" with a modern twist, and the concept as "Lord of the Rings meets Bridesmaids". Originally intended to be funded through Kickstarter, it was picked up by Jim Valentino at Image Comics a week before the funding campaign was to start. Rat Queens was intended to be published at a pace of ten issues per year, with two-month breaks between collections.[4]

After artist Roc Upchurch was arrested on charges of domestic violence in November 2014, Wiebe announced that Upchurch would no longer be illustrating the series.[5] In December 2014, Image Comics announced that Stjepan Šejić would continue the series as artist beginning with issue #9 in February 2015, preceded by a special issue about the orc warrior Braga by guest artist Tess Fowler in January 2015.[6] After Šejić left the series in July 2015 for health reasons, Fowler continued the series as main artist, joined by colorist Tamra Bonvillain.[7]

In April 2016, Fowler left the title, and Wiebe paused work on it. In May 2016, Fowler wrote that Wiebe pushed her out to make room for Upchurch's return after the fourth arc. Wiebe denied this and said that the collaboration not working out creatively was the reason for Fowler's departure and the comic's hiatus.[8]

In July 2016, Wiebe announced that Rat Queens would continue as a webcomic. Early strips in this format would be drawn by Battlepug creators Mike Norton and Cecilia Dupuy.[9]

In November 2016, Wiebe announced that "Rat Queens" would return to print with a new series artist, Owen Gieni.[10]


The eponymous "Rat Queens" are a rambunctious party of adventurers in a medieval fantasy setting. They comprise the rockabilly elven mage Hannah, the hipster dwarven warrior Violet who shaved her beard before it became cool, the atheist human cleric Dee, who hails from a family of Lovecraftian monster cultists, and the hippie halfling thief Betty, whose idea of a hearty meal is a bag of drugs and candy.[4]

The first five issues follow the group's exploits as they try to defend themselves against assassins intent on killing them and other adventuring groups that have been roughing up their home town of Palisade. The second story arc sees the Rat Queens trying to prevent a vengeful businessman from summoning Dee's people's many-tentacled gods to lay waste to Palisade. The third arc has Hannah return to her sinister alma mater after her father is arrested for attempting a coup.


Rat Queens received critical praise. It was nominated for the 2014 Eisner Award for best new series,[11] and won the 2015 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book for its portrayals of LGBT characters.[12] The first compiled volume, Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery, was nominated for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.[13]

In Paste, Robert Tutton noted that the "rowdy, sarcastic and intensely loyal" personalities of the main characters drive the series, and praised its seamless transitions from "gore to humor, sprawling action to small personal moments", as well as artist Roc Upchurch's skill at portraying facial expressions.[14] Augie De Blieck from Comic Book Resources appreciated the "dark, twisted, and hilarious" series for its fast pacing, Wiebe's witty (and foul-mouthed) writing, and the humanity and personality with which Upchurch infused his drawings.[15] Writing for IGN, Benjamin Bailey described the "mix of D20 adventures and modern angst" as perfecting the formula of injecting humor and wit into sword and sorcery tropes,[16] and praised Upchurch's "expressive and unique" character designs.[17]


Issue Title Release date Story Art Colors Cover
Rat Queens
special preview
Sep. 9, 2013 Kurtis J. Wiebe
Meg Dejmal
Roc Upchurch
#1 Sass and Sorcery Sep. 25, 2013 Kurtis J. Wiebe Roc Upchurch Roc Upchurch
Fiona Staples (variant)
#2 Oct. 23, 2013 Roc Upchurch
#3 Nov. 27, 2013
#4 Jan. 15, 2014
#5 Feb. 26, 2014
#6 The Far Reaching
Tentacles of N’Rygoth
May 7, 2014 Kurtis J. Wiebe Roc Upchurch
#7 Jul. 16, 2014
#8 Oct. 1, 2014 Roc Upchurch Tyler Jenkins
Michael Avon Oeming (v.)
Braga #1 The Once Prince, Now Bastard Jan. 14, 2015 Kurtis J. Wiebe Tess Fowler Kelly Fitzpatrick Tess Fowler
Roc Upchurch (v.)
#9 The Far Reaching
Tentacles of N’Rygoth
Mar. 4, 2015 Kurtis J. Wiebe Stjepan Sejic Jenny Frison
#10 Apr. 8, 2015 Stjepan Sejic
#11 Demons Aug. 19, 2015 Kurtis J. Wiebe Tess Fowler[18] Tamra Bonvillain Stjepan Sejic
#12 Sep. 16, 2015
#13 Nov. 18, 2015[19]
#14 Dec. 30, 2015[20]
#15 Mar. 16, 2016[21]
#16 When Beards Collide Apr. 27, 2016[22] Kurtis J. Wiebe Tess Fowler Tamra Bonvillain Tess Fowler
and Tamra Bonvillain
#1 Cat Kings and Other Garys Mar. 1, 2017[23] Kurtis J. Wiebe Owen Gieni
#2 Apr. 12, 2017[24]

Collected editions[edit]

The series is being collected into trade paperbacks and hardcovers:

Title Release Date Collects Cover Format ISBN
Rat Queens, Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery March 26, 2014
  • Rat Queens #1–5
Fiona Staples Trade paperback ISBN 978-1607069454
Rat Queens, Volume 2: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth May 6, 2015
  • Rat Queens #6–10
Stjepan Sejic ISBN 978-1632150400
Rat Queens Deluxe Edition, Volume 1 November 25, 2015
  • Rat Queens #1–10
  • Braga #1
Oversized hardcover ISBN 978-1632154927
Rat Queens, Volume 3: Demons March 16, 2016
  • Rat Queens #11–15
  • Braga #1
Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain Trade paperback ISBN 978-1632157355

TV adaptation[edit]

In 2014, Pukeko Pictures and Heavy Metal magazine announced their intent to adapt Rat Queens as a 30-minute animated television series.[25] There has not been any new information about the development of the series since.


  1. ^ Ching, Albert (22 November 2016). "INTERVIEW: Rat Queens Starts Fresh with a New #1, New Artist". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 22 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "2014 Eisner Award Nominees Announced". Comic Book Resources. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014. 
  3. ^ Washington, Arlene (21 January 2015). "26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Announced". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 February 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Esposito, Joey (2 May 2013). "Rat Queens Pays Homage to D&D". IGN. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  5. ^ Pitts, Lan (21 November 2014). "Roc Upchurch Off RAT QUEENS After Domestic Violence Arrest". Newsarama. Retrieved 21 November 2014. 
  6. ^ "Image Comics/Shadowline welcomes new artist on RAT QUEENS". Image Comics. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014. 
  7. ^ Johnston, Rich (1 July 2015). "Tess Fowler, The New Ongoing Rat Queens Artist, With Tamra Bonvillain". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 1 July 2015. 
  8. ^ Jude Terror. "Fowler Speaks on Rat Queens Departure, Upchurch's Return; Wiebe Denies [Updated]". The Outhouse. 
  9. ^ Johnston, Rich (2016-07-13). "Kurtis Wiebe Continues Rat Queens As A Webcomic For Now, With Mike Norton, Cecilia Dupuy And More". Bleeding Cool. 
  10. ^ Skinner, Kevin (17 November 2016). "Rat Queens to Return from Hiatus in March, 2017 with new Artist Owen Gieni". Fox Force Five. Retrieved 17 November 2016. 
  11. ^ "Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees 2014". San Diego Comic-Con. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  12. ^ Melrose, Kevin (23 March 2015). "‘Rat Queens’ wins GLAAD Media Award". Robot 6. Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 5 April 2015. 
  13. ^ Walter, Damien (April 6, 2015). "Are the Hugo nominees really the best sci-fi books of the year?". The Guardian. Retrieved July 10, 2015. 
  14. ^ Tutton, Robert (28 March 2014). "Rat Queens, Vol. 1: Sass and Sorcery Review". Paste. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  15. ^ De Blieck Jr., Augie (1 April 2014). "Rat Queens". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  16. ^ Bailey, Benjamin (25 September 2013). "Rat Queens #1 Review". IGN. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  17. ^ Bailey, Benjamin (27 November 2013). "Rat Queens #3 Review". IGN. Retrieved 20 April 2014. 
  18. ^ Salazar, Kat. "Fowler and Bonvillain join the Rat Queens". Image Comics. Retrieved 28 October 2015. 
  19. ^ Kurtis Wiebe [kurtisjwiebe] (26 Oct 2015). "Rat Queens #13 Four Page preview! Out November 18th!" (Tweet). Retrieved 28 October 2015 – via Twitter. 
  20. ^ "Rat Queens #14". Image Comics. Retrieved 15 December 2015.  The Image Comics web pages for Rat Queens are frequently out of date and incorrect before release (Stjepan Sejic was listed as sole artist for this issue until early December), but in this case the claimed release date is reasonable.
  21. ^ "Rat Queens #15". Image Comics. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  22. ^ "Rat Queens #16". Image Comics. Retrieved 17 March 2015. 
  23. ^ "Rat Queens #1". Image Comics. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  24. ^ "Rat Queens #2". Image Comics. Retrieved 22 February 2017. 
  25. ^ Graser, Marc (13 June 2014). "Heavy Metal, Weta Workshop’s Pukeko Pictures to Adapt ‘Rat Queens’". Variety. Retrieved 14 June 2014. 

External links[edit]