It’s no secret that Nancy, Julie, Frenchie, and I have unlimited love for Image’s Rat Queens. They’re our spirit guides, our inspiration – we’ve each invoked their attitude to get us through many a day. We even tattooed ourselves to attend New York Comic Con this year. Every issue is a party for us – a celebration of our friendship – so we were thrilled to see the latest upcoming issue in our inboxes.
“Conan? He’s my bitch.”
Rat Queens: Braga #1 is a special one-off issue spotlighting Braga, a transgender orc who hangs with the mercenary group, The Peaches. Basking in the afterglow of a one-nighter with one of the four Daves, Braga’s story unfolds when her new paramour asks about her “story”: Broog, the eldest son of an Orc tribe leader, was ferocious in battle, but wanted an end to the violence. When his father sent his younger brother after him- because only the *eldest* son could succeed him, wink wink – Broog knows that his family, his tribe, will never let him live on his own terms.
Anyone who’s been following the latest Batgirl debacle, BATGIRL Creators Apologize in the Wake of Transgender Controversy- Newsarama.com, needs to pick up this issue, out January 14th. Braga’s story is handled with the utmost respect, sensitivity, and intelligence. Being good in a fight doesn’t mean that’s how you want to live your life, and pretending to be someone you aren’t is no way to go on living – that’s pretty much the message in every issue of Rat Queens, and the message is consistent here.
My fellow Rat Queens weighed in, because that’s how we do. Julie acknowledged the drama in the Rat Queens world, with former artist and co-creator’s Roc Upchurch domestic issues making headlines, Rat Queens Artist & Co-Creator Roc Upchurch Arrested For Domestic Abuse – themarysue.com. This issue is a sigh of relief to Rat Queens fans all over, the exhalation to the collective breath holding as we awaited the fate of one of our favorite comics.
Tess Fowler, the guest artist for this issue, and Kurtis J. Wiebe have put together a story that fits neatly within the Rat Queens ‘verse but also does well on its own. Braga’s story is the breath of fresh air we’ve come to expect from the Rat Queens series on a subject that is still too easily disparaged, and I hope it paves the way for future stories about transgender characters–it’s surely set a high standard for everyone who follows. I’m looking forward to the next issue of Rat Queens even more than I was before. My favorite foursome of kickass ladies is still in excellent hands, and I can’t wait to see what Wiebe and Stjepan Sejic have in store for us.
Nancy agreed that Braga’s story was beautifully handled and nicely underplayed. There was no explanation or description, no neon arrows saying, “HEY! TRANSGENDER HERE!”, just a story of how she didn’t fit in- and oh yeah, by the way, she was a guy once. The fact that it focused on her philosophical differences with her dad put everything in the right perspective. Just be who you are and fuck anyone who doesn’t understand or appreciate you is definitely the Rat Queen motto and this book shows it’s for everyone, not just the four leads.
Nancy also has nothing but love for the Rat Queens world is expanding, fleshing out details and more characters. We’ve got the girls’ back stories, and now, secondary characters, making for richer storytelling.
Frenchie also loves this issue and is so happy that this story was so well handled. There’s love for Braga and the fact that her journey isn’t really seen as a progression, because she’s always been who she is; it was just about her being to express that in multiple ways. Her lover both recognizes and echoes the sentiment with his own behavior, simply seeing her as BRAGA, with all that encompasses.
Frenchie also notes that the best and most important part of this story is that being Trans isn’t ALL that a person is – despite what mainstream media may try to tell us. People who aren’t in regular contact with Trans individuals will benefit from this just as much as those who see themselves mirrored in the rich diversity of the comic. The Trans aspect is subtle, yet powerful.
Nancy summed it up for all of us when she said, “Because you can be anything: gay, straight, bi, trans, an orc, or a magick user. As long as you kick ass, you’re okay with the Rat Queens!”
So there you have it, folks – WhatchaReading’s Rat Queens talking about Rat Queens. Now, mark your calendars for January 14, and make sure to get your copy of Rat Queens: Braga #1 pre-ordered and in your pull file.
RAT QUEENS: BRAGA #1
Writer: Kurtis J. Wiebe
Artist: Tess Fowler
On-Sale: January 14, 2015
Diamond ID: NOV140673