Dispute Over Reason for RAT QUEENS' Sudden Hiatus & Possible Return Of Original Artist

Image Comics April 2016 cover
Credit: Image Comics
Credit: Image omics

In April, Rat Queens co-creator/writer Kurtis Wiebe announced that the ongoing Image Comics series was going on hiatus after this month’s #16. At the time no reason was given for the sudden change, but over the weekend series artist Tess Fowler said that she was “pushed out” for the return of Rat Queens’ original series artist and co-creator John “Roc” Upchurch.

“I found out I was being pushed out to bring in the original artist,” Fowler tweeted. “The one thing I asked to be warned about.”

According to writer and series’ co-creator Kurtis Wiebe however, Fowler no long works on Rat Queens due to “it not working out creatively.”

“Tess Fowler was not removed from Rat Queens to make room for Roc Upchurch,” Wiebe states. "We made our best efforts to find a new voice for Rat Queens together, but I was unable to get to that place despite her talent and enthusiasm. Ultimately, our collaboration was work for hire, and it wasn’t working out creatively. I do not know what the future holds for Rat Queens. Despite speculation, I have not made any decisions about its future since the announced hiatus other than needing a break to find its voice again. There are no scripts written, and though I’ve been looking for a new team to work with, there is no artist attached.”

Upchurch left the book in November 2014 after it was revealed that he was arrested for domestic violence against his ex-wife in the weeks prior. At the time, Wiebe announced Upchurch “will no longer be illustrating Rat Queens” and he subsequently hired other artists such as Fowler and Stjepan Sejic. Although not a listed participant in the book after Rat Queens #8, he retained co-ownership of the title. 

“They're the creators. I was always respectful of that. It was never mine,” Fowler tweeted subsequently. “Peace be with them both.”

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