If you’re a fan of Scud and have come here for the first time, you are probably saying “For real, Schrab. I’ve been waiting nine years for the final issue of Scud. What happened?”
Let me offer up an explanation that’s most likely not a satisfying answer. Which I will take as a compliment.
Back in 1997- Dan Harmon and I moved out to Los Angeles from Milwaukee, with hopes and dreams of making it big in the movie industry. Oliver Stone’s company, Illusion Entertainment had optioned to make Scud into a feature film and Segasoft was premiering the Scud video game for the Sega Saturn. My plan was to continue making Scud and on my free time become a filmmaker. Things seemed so right, we were living in an awesome house, I had a movie deal and we met the guy who played Isaac on the Love Boat –these indeed were the salad days, my friend.
Then shit turned sour.
Illusion Entertainment told us that Dan Harmon and I would not be writing the screenplay of Scud the Disposable Assassin because we were “Comic Book Guys.” Instead they got the guy who wrote Halloween 4 to write my movie. The Scud video game came out and was a flop, and then I broke up with my girl friend.
The pain and frustration of this whole ordeal took its toll. I was responsible for four grown men living in the Fireman Press house, which we couldn’t afford. If the books didn’t come out –everyone would be broke. I was in therapy, on Prozac, I knew I had no friends in LA and 14 year olds would be calling me up asking, “Why does your book suck now?”
The truth was, Scud did suck. After five years of doing nothing but drawing for 12 hours a day, every day, I was sick of it. I remember telling the FireMan business manager – “you know something? I hate comic books. I always have. You know which book I hate the most? Mine.” I decided during issue 19 that I’d do two more Scuds -20 and 21, and then end it. I came out here to be a director, writer or animator, anything but a “Comic Book Guy.” I could’ve done that in Milwaukee.
So Dan Harmon and I decided to, on the side, write a spec (sample) script to prove to the Olive Stones of the world that we could be screenwriters. Meanwhile, I’d finish up Scud.
But I hated Scud. Issue 20 was a sloppy; thrown together mess with bitter a theme of “There is no God.” The scene with Sussudio getting butchered in the end is so tragic and fatalistic- “You have nothing to live for with out her.” My private life was echoing my art. It was making me sick. I was going insane.
Dan and I finally finished our first spec script. It was called Big Ant Movie, “BAM” for short. BAM was an action-comedy about giant ants taking over the world, it was pretty good. Still is, I think.
A certain Mr. Teddy Tenebaum became a big fan of Scud while competing with Mr. Halloween 4 to write the Scud movie for Oliver Stone’s Company. He met with us because he wanted to get into comic books. “Oh wow, Teddy. That’s great, we’d like to get into movies.” So I offered him the job of writing Tales from the Vending Machine #2, in exchange he’d read BAM and maybe hand it around. Awesome.
Soon after this, Scud 20 hit the stands with a cliffhanger that still rings in my head every day. “We have one last job for you, Assassin. Kill the Earth.” As Scud holds the mutilated corpse of the only woman he ever loved, he replies, “Okay. I’ll do it.”
Fans freaked. But they wanted to know where I was going with it. Is Sussudio really dead? And what about The World? Is Scud the Anti-Christ? So many questions that needed to be addressed in one issue. It was daunting. I speculated taking a year off and making a Dark Knight Returns sized book to wrap up everything; Scud, Drywall, La Cosa Nostroid. The thought of that made me want to blow my brains out. I hated drawing so much and writing BAM with Harmon was so much fun, why couldn’t I just do that for a living?
Then the phone rang. It was an Agent from The United Talent Agency. Apparently Teddy sent Big Ant Movie over to her, she read it and loved it. Not only that, she met with Robert Zemeckis’ company and handed it off to them to read and they also loved it and wanted to meet with us! “What? Mr. Back to the Future wants to meet with us? !!” We met with them and pitched them a bunch of ideas. One of them was “Monster House” (coming out Summer, 2006 after only eight years); others included Rot Gut and Black Octopus (See sketch book for the pitch kits). We impressed them so much that they signed us to a two-picture deal. Take THAT, Oliver Stone. Who’s a Comic book guy NOW?
Soon we were meeting with people like Jim Henson’s Company, MTV, Joss Weaton, Michael Keaton, Jack Black and Ben Stiller. We started working a lot and the money was just too good to turn down. Even if it wasn’t, I was doing what I loved and always dreamed of doing- working in movies.
So months turned into years and still no Scud 21. I still get hate mail all the time. I guess I deserve it. It’s 2006 now- that’s over ten years since I drew a book about a little man-boy who put his cents into a box releasing a tall, golden hero. I grew up so much over that last ten years and I owe it all to Scud: The Disposable Assassin. That character was everything I wanted to be and have since become. It’s been a long, crazy journey and it’s not over...
The rights to Scud finally reverted back to me a few years ago and decided I would hold on to them until I got a deal that had nothing to do with money but everything to do with creative control.
I get asked all the time by studios “Can we make the Scud movie, TV show, pod cast, whatever…” And I always say the same thing. “Scud’s mine. Nobody’s directing Scud except me.”
So there you have it, Scud and I have made up. We’re friends again and he’s still the best idea I’ve ever had. Keep your fingers crossed. Hopefully you’ll be WATCHING Scud #21 instead of reading it.
(c) 2006 Rob Schrab