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Review – Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery

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Elf mage.  Dwarf fighter.  Halfling thief.  Human cleric.  Anything but typical.

First a friend asked me if I’d read it.  Then he recommended it on Goodreads.  Then his partner recommended it to me on Goodreads.  Then they asked me if I had a Comixology account.  Then it was in my inbox.  So I reckoned I oughtta read it.

Then I couldn’t shut up about it, so Erin took my Kindle when she put our toddler to bed.  A little while later she came back down with a huge smile on her face.

“I haven’t had this much fun reading a comic since The Adventures of Barry Ween: Boy Genius.”

Rat Queens is that kind of book.  You want tell your friends.  You want them to read it.  You want to spread the word.  It’s fun!

Writer Kurtis J. Wiebe and artist Roc Upchurch are releasing the book every six weeks in five issue arcs with a two month break in between arcs.  It’s not coming quickly, but it’s worth the wait.  They’ve curated a relationship with their fans via Facebook and other social media in the meantime.

I hadn’t read any descriptions when I opened the book.  The cover also, by Saga artist Fiona Staples, told me pretty much everything I needed to know and that I’d probably like it.  An all female adventuring party?  Count me in.

Wiebe initially described it as “a comic series that follows four lady legends waist deep into rivers of blood in the endless quest for gold, guts and grog,” and “a love letter to my years of D&D.”  But unlike many other female lead comic books, Rat Queens avoids objectifying cheesecake imagery and concentrates on story and character.  This is by design.  Wiebe told Newsrama:

One of those things, in particular, is how Roc is illustrating the women. We have four characters with act four distinct body shapes and sizes. Something you’d see in four unique women in everyday life, and I think that’s important.

The thing is, when we started talking about this series, it was the very idea of doing something in a fantasy universe that had modern ideologies in it. How would a twenty-something man or woman act in that kind of setting. I feel like we’ve seen men represented in that situation so many times, I figured it’d be fun to take a female perspective. Lots of the women I know are hilarious and adventurous so I had a lot to draw from.

And yet, it never feels self conscious.  Neither the all female cast nor the Dungeons & Dragons trappings.  It’s just background for compelling characters with some mass appeal.  Variety reports that it’s already being developed for television.

After working on such films as the “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” trilogies, Weta Workshop’sPukeko Pictures is pairing up with Heavy Metal to adapt Image Comics’ “Rat Queens” into an animated TV series.

Last week Betty was named #10 in Buzzfeed’s “12 Kick-Ass Gay Women in Comics and Graphic Novels”  Here she demonstrates what you might call brazen subtlety to the Captain of the city guards.

Recommended for anyone who has ever played D&D or WoW, read fantasy, or likes fun.

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2 thoughts on “Review – Rat Queens Volume One: Sass and Sorcery

  1. I had to go to 6 stores to find it, but it was worth it.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Top 5 Favorite Things of 2014 | The Dinglehopper

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