Monday, July 27, 2009


I feel doom hanging over my head. I finished reading Operation Saddlebags, the penultimate Queen and Country graphic novel. Because Queen and Country is absolutely fantastic, I’m going to read A Gentleman’s Game next. It’s a Queen and Country novel set between Operation Saddlebags and the finale, Operation Red Panda.

I know that I have A Gentleman’s Game, Operation Red Panda, and then one final novel which is set after the close of the graphic series, but I’m beginning to feel the sadness that comes from seeing the end of a really damn good series looming in front of me.

It’s not that I’m going to avoid or delay the last books so I can still have something to look forward to, but I kind of wish there was more. Because I’m not done yet.

I want more Chace and Crocker and Weldon and Tom and Chang, and even Chris (it’ll be interesting to see how Chris develops as Minder Three). I think the new C is a complete wanker, but that’s sort of the impression Rucka is giving us through the eyes of Crocker and the fact that the new C isn’t a big fan of operations. I just want more.

Yes, I do know that Greg Rucka is planning a new Queen and Country series that takes place after whatever it is that occurs in Red Panda. And, reportedly, that Tara Chace’s life as a Minder is probably not going to continue – which makes me wonder exactly what direction the series would go. To me, Q&C is Tara Chace and does the series exist without her, or does it work with Chace NOT as a Minder. Keep in mind that I haven’t read Red Panda or the final novel, so any and all of this is based on speculation and maybe one or two lines I sorta remember reading in an interview.

This is all to say, of course, that Queen and Country is absolutely fantastic and gritty and delightful and one of my favorite graphic series out there. Perhaps only second to Fables and right now I have to question even that, if I had the choice between more Fables and more Q&C, I’m honestly not sure which way I’d lean.


V said...

Better than Fables? In what parallel universe?

Kendall said...

Woah, I haven't read Q&C in eons; I forgot it existed, what a shame...I'll have to track down these graphic novels, thanks.

Joe said...

E: Never said "better", just that if given the option between more Fables and more Q&C, I don't know what I'd choose.

Fables is one of the best, but I do honestly put Q&C up in that top tier of stuff I can't get enough of.

V said...

I keep writing an epic response to this and then deleting it. In short: I think part of my problem with Q&C is that I don't often enjoy comics with a female protagonist. I think they are every bit as unhealthy for the collective female psyche as fashion magazines.

Joe said...

Ah. Yes. That would be a problem.

I really don't see that with Q&C. In some cases Tara Chase is drawn as not exceptionally attractive in the face. She's just a woman, but in her job she is extremely competent. The writing is realistic, so some of the bad stuff she does affects the hell out of Tara. But - that's not a female thing, because it affects the male agents just as much.

Which is to say that I don't think Tara is unhealthy for the female pysche.

V said...

It's not just about what women are culturally expected to look like, though. The deadly/adventure skillset thing is as much a part of the standard Male Nerd Fantasy Spectrum as big breasts and spandex.

Joe said...

Okay...but then what is the role of women in fiction?

(Q&C also isn't a guns blazing type book that would suggest your typical male nerd fantasy)

V said...

Well I'm talking about comics in particular. I think the industry caters specifically more to male fantasy than does conventional fiction. It's a different mindset.

Here's a question for you, though: what about Tara Chace, if anything, do you think female readers could realistically relate to?

Joe said...

I think female readers could relate to the fact that Tara is successful in her field on her own merits, that she has risen through the ranks on her own skill and not based on gender. That Tara can do tough stuff, but just be a person and not a man dressed as a woman or inherently a male fantasy.

The male fantasy would have Tara do her job and celebrate after. But, because this is a realistic story - the horrible things Tara has to do affect her (and the men). James Bond is a male fantasy. Queen and Country is the anti-Bond.

V said...

Fair enough! I still think the world needs more Fables than it needs spy stories from a slightly dodgy small comics press, though.