Sunday, November 23, 2014

Weekend & Comic Sads

Huge weekend.  Birthday parties and pre-Thanksgiving family things and out of town visits and so many presents.

There will be posts, I promise.  One will be all the books I really, really want to read absolutely next (spoilers: they are legion).  There will be reviews (possibly brief ones) of Wolf in White Van, Texts from Jane Eyre, Birthmarked, and Lena Finkle's Magic Barrel.  I'll talk about the book I'm reading now, Jackaby

Today, though, I'm just going to mention this briefly, because I think it's important.  I've been running around telling everyone to read Rat Queens, which I maintain is an amazing book.  Last week, it came out that the artist, Roc Upchurch, was arrested for beating his (estranged) wife.  I found out when Aarti posted about it, and I was absolutely heartbroken.  Like, shattered.  I had already been incredibly surprised and impressed that male artists were making a book about such cool women, and I felt like the rug was yanked out from under me.

Here's the article Aarti linked to originally, which contains more useful links.  I think the worst part is that his response to the whole thing was basically, "Yeah, I probably shouldn't have lost my temper."  As though it were perfectly reasonable to desire to strangle someone, as though everyone went around actively controlling impulses to actually throttle people.  The fact that he's not even paying lip service to the ideas that this kind of violence is totally unacceptable is baffling to me--like he doesn't even get what he did wrong.

Anyway, then the writer, Kurt Wiebe, announced that Rat Queens would continue without Upchurch.  I'm glad, and I will admit I was saying to myself, "It's only the artist.  The writer didn't do this thing," even though Upchurch is credited as co-creator.  Anyway, I'm glad he did that, and I thought his statement was actually quite touching, and showed a lot of compassion even for his messed up friend and colleague, whom he clearly cares a lot about.  I think that balance, the fact that Very Bad People are not, for the most part, Very Bad all the time, is am important thing to remember and what makes these moments so hard.

So I give Wiebe full credit.  But there's a part of me that is totally thinking, "Well, the whole success of this thing was based on its appeal to feminist geeks.  The property is worth NOTHING if Upchurch stays attached now.  It's the only move that might even remotely allow Rat Queens to continue to exist."  I don't want to take away from this choice, and the fact that he parted ways with his co-creator because of this.  But it was the only move to make, and part of me wishes I believed with more clarity that the reasoning was a moral stance and not a business decision.

Anyway, this is a complete bummer and I'm not an analyst, but I'm going to be following this story around the internet, and as someone who's been singing the praises of this project, I just wanted to say how sad I am, and how grateful I am that this action was taken, and that I continue to support and follow this book. 

1 comment:

Aarti said...

I know how difficult the situation is. And I struggle with the same - how can someone who created such a cast of wonderful, badass women ALSO be a man who beats his wife?

I think I'll see where the next edition takes the story - maybe there will be some sort of story arc about abuse...