Prolific New York Times bestselling writer and Hollywood showrunner Rick Remender (Tokyo Ghost, Deadly Class, Seven to Eternity) is adding to his impressive array of engaging projects with a rowdy new comedy superspy series arriving this October from Image Comics — and SYFY WIRE is delivering an exclusive preview of this outrageous fall offering alongside comments from its main architect.
The Scumbag (Oct. 21) showcases a murderers’ row of revolving artistic talent, with the premiere issue spotlighting the remarkable pencils of Lewis LaRosa (The Punisher), and upcoming chapters and covers courtesy of acclaimed artists like Andrew Robinson, Eric Powell, Tula Lotay, Wes Craig, Roland Boschi, Simone Di Meo, Duncan Fegredo, Yanick Paquette, Mike McKone, Dave Johnson, and Moreno Dinisio.
The Scumbag tells the tale of a true man out of time named Ernie Ray Clementine, who's a lewd, profane, illiterate, drug-addled biker with a grammar school education and the innate ability to make anyone hate him within minutes of meeting him. But when this wasted burnout accidentally injects himself with a power-imbuing serum that transforms him into the world’s most imposing superspy, he's unfortunately the last best hope between us and certain Armageddon.
Ernie is a pathetic relic of a bygone era, the last living embodiment of the destructive sex, drugs, and rock and roll culture. This presents a particular problem for the secret spy organization that needs to enlist his assistance as they try to bribe, persuade, and manipulate Ernie to pick between his own self-centered interests and actually doing what's right.
"In the last few years I've become a fan of mixing disparate elements and genres. 'Dirtbag 007' is that," Remender tells SYFY WIRE. "The idea of taking The Big Lebowski or Matthew McConaughey from Dazed and Confused all grown up and giving him a super serum tickles me. Because you can tell a serious story, build real danger, but the person that you're relying on to save the day is wholly unreliable."
"Ernie Ray Clementine is apolitical and not involved in the troubles of our day, he hides from reality with booze and drugs and by all logic should be dead long before we meet him," he adds. "But now, unfortunately, he's the one we're all relying on to make the right choice to stand up and help us. But will he? That question drives the first arc, and the answer is a bit of commentary on our current climate in the U.S."
Remender has spent the last few years writing dramas, so he was desperate to do something a bit different.
"So while there are some very serious topics tackled here, and hopefully something being said, at the heart of it is a comedy with a character I have a lot of fun writing as he is insanely ill-equipped and completely out of time. He's a relic from the late '70s, where he was working on his primer gray Camaro, drinking Coors, and listening to Iron Maiden on a pair of blown out house speakers. Ernie's mutation is extinct, he is the last of his breed, and our future is in his hands."
LaRosa considers Remender to be one of the most creative writers in the biz.
"His premise for The Scumbag is genius" he tells SYFY WIRE. "I was given a lot of freedom to create the look of the book and some of the cast, including Ernie, who needed to have his own distinct build, posture, mannerisms, costume, textures, and smells to really sell the character and his world. One look at the guy and you know exactly what he's about.
"The Scumbag allowed me to step out of my comfort zone and pull from my love of Mad magazine and Jack Davis, those fun bouncy, lively exaggerated caricatures that are both technically brilliant and artistically beautiful. Looks like Rick recruited an incredible line up of artists to pass the pencil on to. Definitely looking forward to seeing them take Ernie to some new lows!"
Now dip into our exclusive preview of Image Comics' The Scumbag #1 in the full gallery below.