Have a drink. It might help that mortis attitude of yours.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

It's Cool To Be A Robot

So I've been holding onto this post for a little bit, ever since San Diego in fact, but I've found some time to actually do it. So here goes. As I said in the 8/2/2007 podcast edition, my favorite bit of news to come out of the SDCC was this:

Rob Schrab is returning to finish the story of Scud: The Disposable Assassin , and much like Girls, there are plans to publish it all in one book - or as Larsen called it, "one gigantic, mind-numbingly big volume."

So I combed through Internetland and came up with more links, a Newsarama interview and stuff from Rob Schrab's on website. Not to go into too much detail (because you can find out from the links), but the series left off with a cliffhanger, one that has stuck with me for about a decade now. Maybe because I followed from Scud from its inception, I enjoyed it immensely. When the comic suddenly stopped it was like a good friend walking out with a goodbye. Or maybe because I'm a completist at heart, it kills me to know that there is one issue left undone.

The big question, of course, is what is it about Scud that made it so great in the first place?

I was thirteen or fourteen when the first issue hit the stands, during a tumultuous time in my comic reading. It was the start of a two or three year period when I swore off of comics as a whole. With the let downs that were "Maximum Carnage" and "X-Cutioner's Song," Marvel had become passé in my book (yeah I was the type of teenager to think things passe'). In 1995, Oliver Queen was killed so I stopped reading DC in protest. By 1996, even Image, which I had deemed comics for cool kids, had burned me out with "Fire From Heaven." Scud was one of the last comics that I was reading. Although, I would think that Battle Chasers and Crimson were the bee's knees shortly.

Scud appealed to me in the most juvenile way, I was fifteen after all. It was one of the first comics that I remember reading that used swear words, that treated gratuitous violence with humor and zaniness. Schrab recommended a page by page soundtrack and voice casting. It was a comic that said, "Don't take me seriously. Just have fun." The main character fought a robotic zombie dinosaur. It was amazing.

Maybe two years back I dug out the old issues and reread them. What I found was not what I remembered. Sure all the craziness and fun art was still present, but there was a level to the story that I did appreciate at the time. Hidden underneath Voodoo Ben Franklin and the werewolf arm, Scud is an exploration of character and, in some sense, maturity. Here is a being, a modern day Pinocchio (who has no desire to be a real boy), who has been designed for one thing: to kill and then die. Yet, he chooses not to and instead forms relationships and friendships, saves the world and travel realities. As the series progresses, Scud's life became more difficult, more complex. Just like real life as it progresses. It is a classic search for purpose, it just happens to use dialogue like, "That's cool. Can you not poop on me anymore?"

The most interesting part of the series, to me, is that by the end Schrab really hated the comic. He called the last issue "thrown together" and "fatalistic." That his "private life was echoing his art." Wouldn't it be the other way around though? Wouldn't the protagonist's search be a reflection of the writer's search? As someone in his mid-twenties, the same as Schrab when the series was coming out, who is still figuring out my path, this search speaks to me. Its questioning, its search is really very poigniant. I think Schrab really summed up the series best with this panel from issue 13:

Ain't that the truth? I really look forward to issue #21 because maybe, the character will get it.


Blogger Gyuss Baaltar said...

There's something about the comics, girls, and music you loved at 14.

For the rest of your life, these will be the classics you look back on.

To this day, I still get a little sized at the thought of a girl with tall bangs, boot cut jeans, and ropers.

8:36 AM


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