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Return of the Over-Used Muse
Rob Schrab
Image Comics, 32 pages

Return of the Over-Used Muse
Scud: The Disposable Assassin
Scud: The Disposable Assassin (published from 1994 to 1998, and 2008) is a humorous, hyperkinetic science fiction comic by Rob Schrab about a world in which you can buy weapons out of vending machines, the most popular of which are intelligent robots that kill a specified target and then self-destruct.

The protagonist of the series is Scud, an average Heart Breaker Series 1373 model assassin. On his first mission, he is sent to kill Jeff, a rampaging female mutant with mousetraps for hands, an electrical plug for a head, and a squid for a belt.

Scud: the Disposable Assassin Website
Wikipedia Entry

Past Feature Reviews
A review by David Maddox

In 1994 a small, independent comic from an even smaller independent label, Fireman Press, debuted. Set in the future, the story featured a world where robot assassins could be purchased through vending machines, assigned a target and would self-destruct upon completion of their mission. It was all the brainchild of creator Rob Schrab and he called it Scud: the Disposable Assassin. Weird, right?

But in the ensuing 5 years, 20 issues were released on a more or less regular basis. Readers followed a simple Heart Breaker Series 1373 model who came to just be known as Scud. The suave, yet gangly robot met La Cosa Nostroid (the cyborg mafia, complete with a Voltron-like combiner robot), a plucky dimensional portal named Drywall, Scud's Sean Connery-esque rabbit-headed predecessor Oswald and even Sussudio, the robot's true love. He battled menaces from a werewolf possessed arm to Voodoo Ben, a twisted evil version of Ben Franklin.

The story arced through time and levels of reality, all the while being one of the greatest mish-mashes of pop culture references and innuendo written to comic-book media. I mean John Malkovitch was the suggested voice interpretation for Scud. 'Nuff said. A video game entitled Scud: Industrial Evolution appeared on the Sega Saturn system and there were rumors of a feature film.

In 1998 issue 20 featured a HUGE cliffhanger. Scud was in Heaven, Angels had taken over, imprisoned God and just murderer Sussudio. THEN… nothing.

Ten years passed. Most of us gave up hope.

But all was not lost! Rob Schrab, with the help of Image Comics, has returned! In a four issue series, Scud's loose ends will be wrapped up, adventures will be concluded and ten years of wondering and theorizing will be lain to rest, all with as many pop culture references as possible. There is something to be said for completing a work. Your fans appreciate it and it does lead to personal artistic fulfillment. Don't even get me started on Barry Windsor-Smith's Storyteller magazine…

True, if you are unfamiliar with the early issues none of what I've just said makes ANY sense and I probably am biased with my love for this character. I still have the first and only official Scud trading card and Scud's self-destruct warning label used to grace the dashboard of my old car. However, you'll be doing yourself a favor by grabbing issue 21 (re: 1 of 4) as it really doesn't take much to get into the plot. One page really. Less than that. And from there the story just takes off, joining Scud literally ten years after the cliffhanger as he returns to earth with one mission: Destroy the planet.

Schrab's illustrations are delightfully simple and angular, giving an SF yet cartoony feel to the story. Plus, each of the final four issues will have guest drawn covers. Ashley Wood pens #21 and slated to follow are Jim Mahfood (#22), David Hartman (#23) and Doug Tennapel (#24).

For those wanting to bone up on the early adventures before hand, it is still possible to locate the old collected volumes, Heavy 3P-0, Programmed for Damage, Solid Gold Bomb and The Yellow Horseman. Some are on Amazon, others on eBay, they're reasonably priced and they're well worth the read. But if you'd rather wait, once the story hits its conclusion, EVERYTHING will be released in a massive oversized volume slated for June of 2008.

Whether you're new to the character or thrilled beyond words that he's back, do yourself a favor and grab Scud. It may be the last time we see him, but it HAS been worth the wait. As Schrab himself says in the opening of the issue: "I've been waiting for this day as long as you… Scud the Disposable Assassin lives (for a little while) once again. Let's go…"

Copyright © 2008 David Maddox

David Maddox
Science fiction enthusiast David Maddox has been many things, including Star Trek characters and the Riddler in a Batman stunt show. He holds a degree in Cinema from San Francisco State University, and has written several articles for various SF sites as well as the Star Wars Insider and the Star Trek Communicator. He spends his time working on screenplays and stories, acting on stage and screen and giving tours at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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