Review | Scud by Rob Schrab

 

Trying to describe Scud in a short paragraph is kind of like trying to stuff a rhino into a fish bowl.  It looks weird and doesn’t really show what you want the viewer to see. 

So, for part three of my ongoing homage to Image, I’m going to talk about a book that actually didn’t start out as under Image, but eventually found its way there as a creator owned concept after its original publisher dissolved.  It’s kind of an oldie, but definitely a goody.  I speak of Scud the Disposable Assassin.

Trying to describe Scud in a short paragraph is kind of like trying to stuff a rhino into a fish bowl.  It looks weird and doesn’t really show what you want the viewer to see.  Still, I’m going to give it a shot.  Scud the Disposable Assassin is about just what the title suggests, a humanoid robot that you can program to kill someone, and then self-destructs as soon as the job is done, destroying any trace of evidence.  They even have a dial on their hands that can control just how viciously they eliminate their targets.  Oh wait, you say, couldn’t you just trace the robot back to its manufacturer?  Surely there can’t be too many of those?  Well, therein lies the rub, because these guys can literally be bought from vending machines on the street.  Scary, right?

Well, one day a guy has a problem with a monster…named Jeff, so he buys a Scud to deal with it.  However, before the Scud has a chance to finish his job, he happens to see a neat little label on his back telling him his reward for success, and stops the kill shot at the last second.  Now, penniless and with Jeff on life-support in a hospital, Scud has to find a way to pay the bills or both he and Jeff are goners.

And that’s just the first several pages.

The story starts from there and travels on a winding journey involving cowboy cults, demons from heaven, angels from hell, and at one point Zombie Dinosaurs.  The man who wrote this epic goes by the name of Rob Schrab.  Rob Schrab has achieved quite a bit during his time, including successes in the realm of television.  Most would know him as the writer, producer, and director of The Sarah Silverman Program on Comedy Central.  He wrote Scud over the course of fourteen years.  He started in 1994, went on hiatus in 1998 and stayed that way for the better part of a decade before finishing the series with a bang in 2008.  With a history like that, it’s no wonder I have trouble defining this as old or new.

[Schrab’s Cover Photo…seriously, it is.]

In the end you can describe Scud as a lot of things, extremely violent, deeply disturbed, bizarre beyond all imagining and in some ways deeply profound.  I haven’t seen a story this random since Invader Zim.  The art is twisted, featuring some of the most bizarre creations the human mind can imagine, all done up in the classic black and white and perfectly suiting the absurd and deranged nature of the story.

[Meet Jeff.  Now run.]

Scud reminds me of the darkness that lurks within the human imagination as well as the light that waits at the end of it.  While it’s true that this book began with another publisher, the fact remains Image took it in even though it was about as far off the beaten path as stories get.  When Image made the choice to shelter Scud under their banner, they made it a shining example of the greatness they were always capable of as a publisher.

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