On Business: The Fall of Rat Queens

By | Monday, May 16, 2016 Leave a Comment
The sad and untimely death of Darwyn Cooke over the weekend consumed much of comic people's attention, and that masked some other bad news. Here's Caelyn Ellis to explain...
Fowler confirmed the story herself and added that writer Kurtis Wiebe had been trying to get the original artist (the one who was abusing his wife) back via Image's management and, when Fowler confronted him about it, he flatly lied to her, only to back-peddle later. Fowler has repeatedly said online that it's a really shitty way to do business, but this was just "the weird cesspool underbelly" of comics and she's strong enough to deal with it.

Fowler's actively and repeatedly told her fans that there's no need to pull out the torches, real or metaphorical, but Matt Santori-Griffith smartly pointed out that whoever thought that most fans of Rat Queens would be okay with a known abuser returning to the book is seriously misjudging the book's audience. Not surprisingly, a number of fans have said they wouldn't return to the book whenever it gets back off hiatus.

I get that there's going to be an appeal to some people to want to have the original creative team back on the book. They were the ones who created the characters and, arguably, know them better than anyone else. I get that. But the whole theme of the book centers around strong, independent women, so bringing back an artist that has demonstrated that he's very much against that concept in real life by beating his wife and then telling her that she made him do it is anathema to the book itself.

My understanding in how Image contracts typically operate is that they actually don't have much say in who the creative team is. So Fowler's comment about Wiebe talking with "management" is probably more along the lines of informing them of his decision rather than asking them to facilitate that. Image might be able to cancel the book outright, but they might be hamstrung by the contract there too if it says cancellation can only occur if sales don't meet a certain level. Putting the book on hiatus for any length of time is always good for a drop in sales in the first place, but then trying to return with artist Roc Upchurch on top of that strikes me as the makings for sales between #16 and #17 dropping off the face of the Earth. So even if Image can't do anything about the situation at the moment, I think Wiebe and Upchurch are doing plenty to get the book cancelled on their own.
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