Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rat Queens: Read It.



Ever since I was a young girl I was obsessed with fantasy. This obsession was the result of a steady diet of books like Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, plus Dungeons & Dragons. I read so much fantasy that I was sure I had a budding career as the world’s leading dragon/spell expert. Although I remain a huge fan of fantasy, I am not blind to the genre’s problematic tendencies. My chief complaint about the fantasy novels I cherished in my childhood is the lack of diversity in major characters - hardly any major characters were people of color or women. Though these books brought me so much joy, there were never any characters that represented me. Representation is so important not only to children, but also to adults. 

Diversity is one of the aspects I love about the graphic novel series Rat Queens. I picked up the first volume because of the cool cover (I’ll admit it; I sometimes judge books by their covers) and fun title Rat Queens Vol. I: Sass & Sorcery. Women fighting monsters, magic, and attitude. Could I ask for more? 


Rat Queens, created by Kurtis J. Wiebe, fulfills all of my desires in a fantasy world; namely it is full of badass lady characters who fight monsters and bad guys for a price. Rat Queens is centered on a group of lady mercenaries, who on the surface follow the typical tropes of fantasy (an elvish sorceress, a bearded dwarf lady, a necromancer, and a Halfling), but that is where the “typical” stops.

Hannah the elven mage isn’t snobby the way many elven characters are portrayed. Instead she is deeply flawed and isn’t afraid to practice dark magic if it means saving the rest of the Rat Queens. Violet is a dwarf who rebels by shaving her beard, although she likes to remind everyone she did it before it was cool. Betty is a lesbian hobbit who has a heart of gold; she loves candy and getting high. Dee is an atheist cleric who would rather read than awkwardly flirt at a party.

Rat Queens isn’t a comic for children. These ladies drink, swear, kick ass, and have lots of sex. They also love each other, support each other, and are a great reminder that you can make your own family. It’s refreshing and relatable. It’s just the thing to pick up when you need a break from adulting.  

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