Bryan Talbot’s “Scumworld” re-released on an unsuspecting planet

Bryan Talbot’s long-lost strip Scumworld, first published in the music paper, Sounds, has been republished at last, after an appeal to fans for copies of the strip last year.

The long-lost strip was initially re-released as part of the stretch goals for the recently published biography, Bryan Talbot, Father of the British Graphic Novel, at the suggestion of co-author JD Harlock.

Back in 1983, Bryan was commissioned to create a weekly half-page comic for Sounds music newspaper. His brief – to produce a strip as underground and as outrageous as possible, without the publisher ending up in court!

But as soon as the strip began serialisation, the editor who had commissioned it got cold feet, and the strip was frequently bowdlerized during its run – to the point where whole speech balloons were redacted, and panels literally had a sign declaring “censored” pasted over!

The strip has never seen publication since, until now – and is available for the first time in 40 years, via the digital book service Glassboxx, available for mobile devices and desktop.

(A small caution: the Glassboxx app, on iPad at least, is a trifle basic, with limited navigation to other titles available, or information, but once you’ve downloaded your favoured title, the reading experience is fine. Hopefully this will be improved in due course).

On offer in this version of Scumworld is not just the Sounds version, but the never-before-seen remastered and fully uncensored hi-res version in all its wild, politically-incorrect ghastly glory. (In his introduction, Bryan himself cautions that it is not a strip to be read by the easily offended).

Set on the planet Zerth, the totally lawless planet home to the vilest and most violent outcasts of the galaxy, you’ll follow the exploits of the despicable mercenary with no redeeming features whatsoever, Django Schâggnasti!

After the strip was declared “too heavy for KERRANG!”, its next venue, it was cancelled, but this edition reveals how the story would have terminated.

“Scumworld was basically an underground SF comedy adventure,” Bryan told Pádraig Ó Méalóid in an interview back in 2009. “It was set on a world where the dregs of the galaxy end up – a planet with no law, a place ruled by warlords and gangs of pirates and thugs. The protagonist, Django Schaggnasti was a mercenary with no redeeming virtues whatsoever.

“I was recommended for the strip by Alan Moore when he quit [the paper] after he started working for DC.

“He wrote and drew the previous one ‘The Stars my Degradation’. My brief was to be as hard-edged and underground as possible without them getting taken to court, so it was pretty gross. I was censored on almost a weekly basis. Still, I thought some of it was pretty funny and the story, which involved sentient cacti with a shared consciousness being exploited by human scum, was very original at the time.”

If you’re after a slice of unfettered, uncensored Bryan Talbot craziness, head over to Glassboxx and grab a copy of the digital comic now for just £3.

If such things don’t appeal, you may like to grab the brilliant Bryan Talbot – The Naked Artist instead (for just £2), illustrated by Hunt Emerson. Your call!

Buy a digital edition of Scumworld directly from Glassboxx | Browse all digital downloadable comics from Bryan here

Categories: British Comics, British Comics - Newspaper Strips, Comics, downthetubes Comics News, downthetubes News

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