Last night at Boomerang was the book club and we read Rat Queens by Curtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch. It is a new refreshing approach to fantasy lead by a diverse group of female heroes. Violet, a beard shaving female dwarf with family issues, Dee, the Wizard of the group who has family issues. In the group is also Betty the Halfling, a rogue who probably also has family issues but she’s so crazy we haven’t gotten that far yet, and Hannah, who may be a dark elf with family issues.
First, I will say what I thought. It was good. It was raunchy and started off a bit too… in your face, maybe? Dee makes what is obviously a cell phone call, only it can’t be a cell phone call because this is fantasy, so instead it’s an enchanted rock. My first thought was, “oh hell, how are they going to thrust Instagram into this and somehow make it fantasy”. Betty drones on about how they need to get high in the woods and they all want to bang and it really seemed forced. But, I learned in some freshman writing class, sometimes you bring out the shock and awe before you get to the meat of your story just to keep people reading.
The story does take a quick turn toward the end of the first issue and we end up out of the realm of tank girl and more into a real fantasy story. There is an obvious mystery afoot and the team takes some hardcore knocks. Even some of the other teams introduced early on, who I thought might end up being a sort of antagonist on their own, end up teaming up or taking their own heavy losses. It gets deeper, and though the raunch stays there and these ladies never fall into line the intrigue and the beat downs struggle through. It’s like they are always one yard from the goal line and always playing through the pain.
As I read on I eventually warmed up to each character, and I definitely love the all lady approach to the fantasy team up. There’s even an orc-woman, Braga, who I really hope becomes a regular. They do fun twists on the genre and the story never stops being playful. Maybe this is where s&m aims for because the whole thing is like candy and blood, sweet and sour, a laugh before ripping your throat out. It may not be for everyone but I am really glad I was introduced to it because I will keep reading. I also liked the Daves. Need to say that before I wrap up my thoughts on it.
We met up at an Applebees to review this week. A bit different from our yooj. First and foremost all agreed that the beer made the whole thing more fun. Someone made a rat queens cherry pie which, though I was too full of 5.00 long island iced teas and Guinness to enjoy pie, looked amazing.
After talking with the gang I felt like the ladies in the group felt a strong connection to the book, at least the females in the boom club this night. The single issues of Rat Queens are only on book six, one past the trade, and these girls get on the web chat the Curtis and Roc host the Saturday before every new issue and had already put together a Rat Queens cosplay months prior. I love a lot of stories and have been moved to the soul by some amazing comic arcs, but I can’t think of a story that had me so roped-in with-in the first 4-5 issues. Everyone liked the book and it was really well excepted, I’m going to continue to pick it up in trades, but we were def with the hardcore fans. It deserves hardcore fans and I’m glad it has them, I just can’t say I understood all of that (I was also a little distracted by all the ESPN coverage of Suarez biting everyone at the World Cup).
Image was sold out of the print so it was fortunate we were all able to get a copy of the book, or DL it from Comixology. It was impressive that you get such a solid run for less than 10$. The reviews and the group did a lot of comparison to Buffy and D&D, which has is there. We didn’t touch much on the art, which I feel was amazing, though there was a brief touch on how Roc doesn’t skip the detail even when doing the more filler scenes and rapped fire shots. The cover art is obviously amazing and if you go online there is a fun shot of Orc Dave naked by Fionna Staples (Saga).
What it all came down to was that we all enjoyed it, more or less. Strong female characters who break the mold of traditional female leads and a wholly new approach with the fellowship of the Rat Queens. It has a strong following and I can definitely see it going the same way as Kick-Ass or The Walking Dead, a slow starter that becomes cult hit. It has already been picked up for an animated series.
We haven’t picked next months book yet, though there was some talk of Afterlife With Archie. I’ll add-on later once it is known and keep you posted. In the mean time feel free to disagree below or @werewolforigin on twitter.