Cover of Rat Queens #1, featuring, clockwise from the top: Dee, Betty, Hannah, and Violet.
|Schedule||Monthly, with breaks|
|Publication date||September 2013|
|Written by||Kurtis J. Wiebe|
|Artist(s)||Roc Upchurch, Stjepan Šejić, Tess Fowler, Owen Gieni|
|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.
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 and won the 2015 GLAAD Media Award.
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.
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. 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. After Šejić left the series in July 2015 for health reasons, Fowler continued the series as main artist, joined by colorist Tamra Bonvillain.
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.
In November 2016, Wiebe announced that "Rat Queens" would return to print with a new series artist, Owen Gieni.
On Reddit, Wiebe clarified that issue #16 (When Beards Collide, Part 1) would not be considered canon following the reboot. Apparently he found it too difficult to wrap that arc up and put the series back on track. He later found a way to reference #16 while writing #9 of the reboot series, but reiterated that #16 will not be collected. The reference is an Easter egg for those that read #16.
Wiebe and Gieni ended their work as the series' writer and artist in March 2019, with issue #15. A new creative team of Ryan Ferrier (writer), Priscilla Petraites and Marco Lesko (artists) resumed work on the series in June 2019.
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 (here called "smidgen") thief Betty, whose idea of a hearty meal is a bag of drugs and candy. They were later joined by Braga, a transgender Orc warrior.
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.
- Hannah Vizari
- A black-haired Elven necromancer who made a pact with a demon named Hazirel and was cursed by the demonic Necrius magic he bestowed upon her, which among other things made her grow horns, which she tries to hide under her haircurls. Later, the corruption causes her to be split into a good and evil half. Initially she has a conflicted relationship with Sawyer Silver, captain of the Palisade city guard, but then finds new love with Sadie, an old Druid acquaintance of the Rat Queens transformed into a birdwoman.
- Violet ("Vi") Blackforge
- A redhaired Dwarven fighter of the Blackforge Clan who became tired of her father's adherence to old-fashioned traditions, which disallowed Dwarven females from becoming warriors even though Violet had the talent. After beating up a guest of her father's who made a slur at her, she banished herself from the clan, cutting off her beard as a sign of rebellion against tradition, although she would let it grow back later. She has a relationship with Dave, an Orc healer, whom she later marries. Her twin brother Barrie, her rival for her father's approval even though he dearly loves his sister, later becomes the leader of a copycat imitation of Violet's team called "Cat Kings".
- Dee (Delilah)
- A dark-skinned Human ex-high priestess of a monster cult who left her faith and her family after she became disillusioned with the horrors they worshipped. She still continues to use her powers, especially for healing, despite her falling-out with her dark deity. She was once married with Mezikiah, another cult member. Although shy in social situations and gloomy about her choices in life, she loves the company of her fellow Rat Queens and will do anything to keep them safe.
- A fun-loving Smidgen thief whose major vices in life are candy, hallucinogens, and large servings of alcoholic drinks. She is also a lesbian, with a long-lasting relationship with a human woman named Faeyri. Formerly called Petunia Harvestchild, she was part of a Robin Hood-type group called The Five Monkeys, who were framed for robbery and all - except Betty - thrown into prison; as a result, the other members of the Five Monkeys, unaware of the actual betrayal, are out for revenge on her. In combat she is a vicious fighter, using her small size and agility to her fullest advantage.
- A huge, one-eyed Orc and former member of the Peaches, another adventuring team which was wiped out during the first Rat Queens storyline. Assigned male and named Broog at birth, Braga was the oldest child and heir to of her tribe's chieftain, but she didn't believe in her people's constant warring. Her ambitious younger brother Voon attempted a coup to eliminate her and take up the chieftainship; after her best friend and lover Kiruk was slain by Voon's minions, Braga killed Voon in revenge and left her tribe, although Voon would later return, imbued with demonic powers, to plague Braga anew. Her transition is not shown in the books but appears to have happened in between when she left her family and when she arrived in Palisades as a mercenary. Already a good friend of the Rat Queens, she later joins them full-time in their exploits.
Rat Queens received critical praise. It was nominated for the 2014 Eisner Award for best new series, and won the 2015 GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Comic Book for its portrayals of LGBT characters. The first compiled volume, Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery, was nominated for the 2015 Hugo Award for Best Graphic Story.
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. 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. 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, and praised Upchurch's "expressive and unique" character designs.
|Sep. 9, 2013||Kurtis J. Wiebe
|#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 Šejić||Jenny Frison|
|#10||Apr. 8, 2015||Stjepan Šejić|
|#11||Demons||Aug. 19, 2015||Kurtis J. Wiebe||Tess Fowler||Tamra Bonvillain||Stjepan Šejić|
|#12||Sep. 16, 2015|
|#13||Nov. 18, 2015|
|#14||Dec. 30, 2015|
|#15||Mar. 16, 2016|
|#16||When Beards Collide||May 4, 2016||Kurtis J. Wiebe||Tess Fowler||Tamra Bonvillain||Tess Fowler|
and Tamra Bonvillain
|#1||Cat Kings and Other Garys||Mar. 1, 2017||Kurtis J. Wiebe||Owen Gieni|
|#2||Apr. 12, 2017|
|#3||May 24, 2017|
|#4||Jul. 5, 2017|
|#5||Aug. 16, 2017|
|Orc Dave #1||Sept. 27, 2017||Kurtis J. Wiebe||Max Dunbar||Tamra Bonvillain||Fiona Staples|
|#6||The Colossal Magic Nothing||Nov. 22, 2017||Kurtis J. Wiebe||Owen Gieni||Owen Gieni|
Sweeney Boo (v.)
|#7||Jan. 3, 2018||Owen Gieni|
Jim Valentino (v.)
|#8||Feb. 28, 2018||Owen Gieni|
Mindy Lee (v.)
|#9||May 16, 2018||Owen Gieni|
Leila Del Duca (v.)
|#10||Jul. 11, 2018||Owen Gieni|
Joseph Michael Linsner (v.)
|Special||Neon Static||Jul. 18, 2018||Kurtis J. Wiebe||Will Kirkby|
|#11||The Infernal Path||Sep. 12, 2018||Kurtis J. Wiebe||Owen Gieni||Owen Gieni (v.)|
|#12||Oct. 24, 2018|
|#13||Dec. 19, 2018|
|#14||Feb. 13, 2019|
|#15||Mar. 13, 2019|
|Special||Swamp Romp||Apr. 10, 2019||Ryan Ferrier||Priscilla Petraites||Marco Lesko||Priscilla Petraites|
|#16||Ryan Ferrier||Priscilla Petraites||Marco Lesko|
|#1||"Magesitting"||Nov. 23, 2016||Kurtis Wiebe||Mike Norton||Sweeney Boo|
|#2||"Goodbye"||Nov. 30, 2016||Isaac Goodhart|
|#3||"Trippin’"||Dec. 7, 2016||Sweeney Boo|
|#4||"Social Warrior"||Dec. 14, 2016||Justin Osterling|
|#5||"Whackball"||Dec. 21, 2016||Max Dunbar||Sweeney Boo|
|#6||"The Absent King"||Jan. 11, 2017||Ben Rankel|
|#7||"Rat Queens Inc."||Jan. 18, 2017||Kyle Charles||Sweeney Boo|
|#8||"Bedtime Stories with Braga"||Jan. 25, 2017||Will Kirkby|
|#9||"Girls’ Night Out"||Feb. 1, 2017||Stjepan Šejić|
|#10||"Bad Omen"||Feb. 10, 2017||Sedona Parnham|
|#11||"Identity"||Mar. 22, 2017||Linda Šejić|
The series is being collected into trade paperbacks and hardcovers:
|Rat Queens, Volume 1
Sass and Sorcery
|March 26, 2014||
|Rat Queens, Volume 2
The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’Rygoth
|May 6, 2015||
|Rat Queens, Volume 3
|April 13, 2016||
||Tess Fowler and Tamra Bonvillain||9781632157355|
|Rat Queens, Volume 4
|October 11, 2017||
|Rat Queens, Volume 5
The Colossal Magic Nothing
|July 25, 2018||
|Rat Queens, Volume 6
The Infernal Path
|May 15, 2019||
|Rat Queens Deluxe Edition, Volume 1||December 2, 2015||
|Rat Queens Deluxe Edition, Volume 2||November 20, 2018||
Dungeons & Dragons
Issue #14 of Dragon+ features a role-playing adventure penned by Kurtis Wiebe, called The Hangover.
Role Playing Stream
Starting on February 13th, 2019 the Twitch channel Hyper Rabbit Power Go (Hyper RPG) will be airing a tabletop RPG series based on the Rat Queens. With Emily Jacobson as gamemaster, Jessica Lynn Verdi (Flip the Script Podcast, Ripley Improv), as Hannah, Laurie Jones (Wishbone Theatre, Ripley Improv) as Violet, Aliza Pearl (Nerdist, Geek & Sundry) as Dee, Michelle Nguyen Bradley (Hyper Rabbit Power Go, Senpai Buddies Podcast) as Betty, and Riley Silverman (SYFY FANGRRLS, Nerdist) as Braga 
- Ching, Albert (22 November 2016). "INTERVIEW: Rat Queens Starts Fresh with a New #1, New Artist". Comic Book Resources. Retrieved 22 November 2016.
- "2014 Eisner Award Nominees Announced". Comic Book Resources. 15 April 2014. Retrieved 21 July 2014.
- Washington, Arlene (21 January 2015). "26th Annual GLAAD Media Awards Nominees Announced". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- Esposito, Joey (2 May 2013). "Rat Queens Pays Homage to D&D". IGN. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
- Pitts, Lan (21 November 2014). "Roc Upchurch Off RAT QUEENS After Domestic Violence Arrest". Newsarama. Retrieved 21 November 2014.
- "Image Comics/Shadowline welcomes new artist on RAT QUEENS". Image Comics. 11 December 2014. Retrieved 11 December 2014.
- Johnston, Rich (1 July 2015). "Tess Fowler, The New Ongoing Rat Queens Artist, With Tamra Bonvillain". Bleeding Cool. Retrieved 1 July 2015.
- Jude Terror. "Fowler Speaks on Rat Queens Departure, Upchurch's Return; Wiebe Denies [Updated]". The Outhouse.
- Johnston, Rich (2016-07-13). "Kurtis Wiebe Continues Rat Queens As A Webcomic For Now, With Mike Norton, Cecilia Dupuy And More". Bleeding Cool.
- 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.
- Wiebe, Kurtis. Reddit https://www.reddit.com/r/ImageComics/comments/5dglau/rat_queens_returns_with_new_artist_new_1/da4eu67/. Retrieved February 25, 2018. Missing or empty
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- Chiu-Tabet, Christopher (January 26, 2019). "Ferrier, Petraites and Lesko Taking Over "Rat Queens"". Multiversity. Retrieved June 20, 2019.
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #12
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #7
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #10
- Rat Queens Vol.2 #8-10
- Rat Queens Vol.2 #15
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #8
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #5
- Rat Queens Vol.2 #1
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #6
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #3
- Rat Queens Vol.2 #10
- Rat Queens Vol.1 #1-2
- Rat Queens Special #1: Braga
- Rat Queens Vol.2 #12-15
- "Will Eisner Comic Industry Award Nominees 2014". San Diego Comic-Con. Archived from the original on 1 October 2014. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
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- Walter, Damien (April 6, 2015). "Are the Hugo nominees really the best sci-fi books of the year?". The Guardian. Retrieved July 10, 2015.
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- "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 Šejić was listed as sole artist for this issue until early December), but in this case the claimed release date is reasonable.
- "Rat Queens #15". Image Comics. Retrieved 17 March 2015.
- "Rat Queens #16". Image Comics. Retrieved 26 November 2018.
- "Rat Queens #1". Image Comics. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- "Rat Queens #2". Image Comics. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
- "Rat Queens Vol. 2 #3 | Releases | Image Comics". imagecomics.com. Retrieved 2017-08-08.
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- "Rat Queens Special: Orc Dave #1 | Releases | Image Comics". imagecomics.com. Retrieved 2018-02-17.
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- "Rat Queens Vol.2 #15 | Releases | Image Comics". imagecomics.com.
- "Rat Queens Special: Swamp Romp | Releases | Image Comics". imagecomics.com.
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- Graser, Marc (13 June 2014). "Heavy Metal, Weta Workshop's Pukeko Pictures to Adapt 'Rat Queens'". Variety. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "'Rat Queens' Live Play RPG Coming From Hyper RPG". Comics.
- Rat Queens at Image Comics