RatQueens_07-1Rat Queens co-creator Kurtis J. Wiebe has posted a statement regarding his co-creator Roc Upchurch’s recent arrest for domestic violence after attacking his ex-wife. The upshot: Upchurch is off the book.

After a few days of reflection and going through a roller coaster of emotion, I’ve realized I’m not angry about this revelation. I’m deeply saddened. When you work with someone so closely on a project that is so personal, you are much more than creative collaborators, you become friends that feel like family. I have a lot of love for Roc Upchurch, I’ve spent a lot of time with him, at conventions and signings and quiet times over dinner when the crowds have gone away. Shannon and I have spent time with his wife, whom we admire greatly. With everything that has happened, I still care about and love Roc and my greatest hope is that in all this there is an opportunity to find help and for healing to take place in his family. They are never far from our thoughts.

I’m not a stranger to domestic abuse. I know that keeping abuse a secret and being afraid to speak about it are why so many people suffer in silence. It is a topic that needs to be openly talked about and there needs to be a feeling of safety and acceptance for those that come forward with their stories. It is why I am addressing this news rather than burying my head in the sand.

I want you to know that Rat Queens means the world to me on a personal level and my mission for the series is unchanged. I want to write stories about women that I see in my everyday life, about friendship and to make comics that include and embrace diversity.

As of today, Roc Upchurch will no longer be illustrating Rat Queens. This is going to be a transitionary period for the series as we rebuild and prepare for a new start. I am committed to Rat Queens, to stand by what it has always been praised for and to prove to the fans that they weren’t wrong in loving it.

 
Earlier today I quoted a piece that suggested that Upchurch would not undergo any repercussions for his actions. IN this case, that was incorrect.

16 COMMENTS

  1. it goes without saying that this situation is abhorrent, shocking and sad. Difficult to even talk about it.

    As far as the book is concerned, was he fired from a book he co-owns or just decided to walk away? And what happens with the new artist in terms of ownership? This is where creator-owned gets really tricky.

  2. He hasn’t been convicted of anything yet. I’ll never understand a jump like this. He may have done it, but I see so many people online just acting like it’s a foregone conclusion.

  3. OK, I’m catching up with this, and Upchurch sounds like a monster. I’m sorry he has to lose his gig, and people don’t get to see his art on the book, but why would Wiebe want to work with him?

    Chris, if this is all made up, it’s a pretty detailed lie. Do we have to wait for a conviction, or should we be concerned the moment evidence is presented? This is not a Spider-woman art debate, it’s a real crime.

  4. If Upchurch did what he’s accused of doing, he has no one else to blame but himself. Maybe people shouldn’t cut him loose, but why can’t they when you give them good reason to?

  5. As far as the book is concerned, was he fired from a book he co-owns or just decided to walk away? And what happens with the new artist in terms of ownership? This is where creator-owned gets really tricky.

    Hard to say as ownership contracts (if any) in the indie space probably vary from project to project. The most interesting case of this type of situation is the Walking Dead. Tony Moore co-created it, but Charlie Adlard has done like 95% of the art.

    Does Adlard get as big or bigger percentage than Moore from comic and TV residuals? No one ever seems to ask the question.

  6. If the comic is co-owned by Upchurch, he can’t be “fired”. That’s about all anyone (except insiders) can say for sure. Maybe Wiebe bought out Upchurch’s half. Maybe Upchurch volunteered to step away. Maybe Weibe asked him to. Maybe Weibe demanded it and Upchurch consented. We don’t know. You can speculate about details or motives or whatever, but I’m not sure it’s anyone’s business except those directly involved (i.e. not “the fans”). So unless one of them says more, that ought to be enough info.

  7. Abuse, by a Man OR Woman, is inexcusable.

    At the same time, it disturbs me that someone has to lose a job because of something that happened in their personal life — an arrest, not an actual trial where he was convicted of a crime. At the moment, it’s a “He said/She said” situation where he confirms that there was an altercation but she then called the police after he fought back her attack as per the Bleeding Cool link:

    http://www.bleedingcool.com/2014/11/18/comics-artist-john-upchurch-arrested-on-charges-of-battery-misdemeanor/

    Maybe he should’ve called the cops after she initiated her attack but maybe decided not to because of the effect it would have on their three kids. Maybe he or she should have divorced the other a long time ago to prevent this. Maybe this abuse (be it by him, her or both) was going on for years before it hit this point. Some people just do crazy things do to one another when it comes to love and the potential to lose it.

    There’s just so many variables to consider before deciding something as life-changing as firing someone for their job. Now he loses out on money that not only affects him but his children as well. No one wins in this situation.

  8. MAYBE HE SHOULD NOT HAVE HIT HIS EX-WIFE? Mayb a good reason to not do that kind of thing is because YOU MIGHT LOSE YOUR JOB?

    I feel a lot of sympathy for everyone in this situation, where there are NO winners, but I feel the most for the VICTIMS of domestic abuse. Upchurch admitted that he did it in his statement to BC, and said that he lost his temper after she “attacked him.” This kind of victim blaming makes it all even worse.

    IT is possible that Upchurch will get back on the book. We don’t know what the situation is.

  9. @Heidi
    So Upchurch isn’t a victim? It’s right there, as it’s been reported. Someone who is attacked is allowed to fight back or at the very least, given the benefit of the doubt for their actions in the heat of the moment.

    You can’t have it both ways. You cannot physically or verbally abuse someone, and then be protected from retaliation or reflex because that person is a man and you are a woman. They BOTH made awful decisions, they were BOTH victims, and because we suddenly feel the need to stick our noses into people’s private failings, someone lost their job and maybe their professional credibility because the court of public opinion favors one side over another.

    And yeah, like Joe S. Walker said, Weibe is throwing his partner under the bus to protect the brand. I ain’t going to fault him on that, but call it what it is and don’t BS around saying you love Roc then refuse to stand by him.

  10. I suggest you read the police report and see what their take on this is.

    And by the way, it is not LEGAL or OKAY to beat up someone who verbally abuses you. CHeck with the law on that.

  11. I’m with Chris. He may have done it. It may be that she started it and he escalated it. It may be that he hit her without provication. Regardless, until he has been to court and found guilty, we have no right to condemn him. Its just sensationalist journalism that runs rampant when a celebrity may have done wrong.

  12. I wonder how many people would work with someone who physically attacked a loved one and hurt them horribly. You don’t see it as a bit uncomfortable an environment. This isn’t a typical office, where you’re working next to some guy hired by your company. Upchurch is half the team. Was half the team.

    According to Upchurch’s account, he would have been a victim UNTIL he victimized his wife. That kind of response is not healthy. Can we even agree on that?

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