April 27, 2020

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Scud: Just a Murderbot Trying to Make Ends Meet.

Scud: The Disposable Assassin -  The Whole Shebang
Written and Drawn by Rob Schrab
Published by Image Comics

In the most absurdist of times I can only recommend something even more absurd. Scud: the Disposable Assassin is the comic that we need today more than ever.

Written and drawn by Rob Schrab, Scud (voiced by John Malkovich. Just go with it) is an assassin droid that you can hire to take out your 4th period history teacher to avoid Friday’s test straight out of an everyday vending machine off the street. Once hired for a hit, the too-self-aware bot discovers that he self-destructs once his target has been killed and fulfilled. In this case the target is Jeff, a monolith female mutant voltroned together with knees that scream iconic tv dialog like war cries with mousetraps for hands (no, I’m not making this up). To circumvent his timely self-detonate ending, Scud maims Jeff enough to land her on life-support where the hospital bills rack up and Scud has to take freelance merc jobs to keep Jeff alive in order to avoid a fireball termination.
Scud is the relatable, blue-collared working man’s suicide droid with Joe Strummer catch phrases. Jumping from one menial job to the next to pay bills, while finding love in Sussudio (a closet robosexual voiced by Gweneth Paltrow. We’ll get to that), and going toe to toe with regal statesman, founding father, and leader of the underground’s zombie legion, Benjamin Franklin. Waging war between Heaven and Hell where both God and the Devil have been taken hostage by even more nefarious beings on both sides that want to push the apocalypse agenda to it's final end. Again, I am not making this up.



Schrab is a longtime collaborator of Dan Harmon (who even fills in on writing duties for several issues when his cyborg Scorsese mockup creations, La Cosa Nostroid appear). The development of Rob’s comedy beats and scene setting that would turn into his particular brand are apparent before he went on to work writing and directing shows like Community, Parks and Rec, and Children’s Hospital
The series was a tent-pole of 90’s indie comics. Especially of the black and white variety. In just 20 issues, Scud spawned a couple of video games, small spin-off series’ (Scud: Tales from the Vending Machine, 5 issues each done by a different creative team / The Drywall & Oswald Show, which featured his B-cast), a potential Oliver Stone project, and a fight over the ownership rights of then publisher, Fireman Press.

Every issue featured voice casting for it's characters (there it is) as well as soundtrack suggestions for each scene as you read along. Sadly, like most of the 90’s underground comics from that scene came delays, falling outs, and controversy. After 20 issues, Fireman dissolved and the end of the series was never seen. The last issue being one of the greatest cliffhangers in comic history that you never read and dedicated fans were forced to repress in therapy. 

In 2007, 10 years after issue 20, Image published Schrab’s epic final 4 issue arc of Scud: The Disposable Assassin and concluded the series.

2011 saw Image collect the series in trade and released it as Scud: The Whole Shebang! Entire, wildly insane story details even more crazy than what I have let you gleam here have been omitted in the hopes that you pick this book up and discover it. Just please read it in John and Gweneth's voices.