[[quoteright:308:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/TheFilth.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:308:The cover of issue 11]]
->''"There's a reason they call us The Filth."''

Creator/GrantMorrison's thematic follow-up to ''ComicBook/TheInvisibles'', ''The Filth'' is a ''very'' darkly humourous maxiseries about Greg Feely, a hapless loner who lives alone with his ailing cat and subsists on a diet of chocolate and pornography, who one day discovers that he is really Ned Slade, a gun-toting interdimensional agent. The story is told in 13 issues (August, 2002 - October, 2003).

It seems that Ned works for The Hand, AKA The Filth, a super-secret agency tasked with eliminating anything that might upset the natural balance of the world. Greg Feely is just a holiday persona used by agents who need to take time out in a fictional life to recuperate. Unfortunately, Spartacus Hughes, a body-jumping agent for The Hand, has gone rogue and Ned has been called out of his holiday to go sort things out.

Or it's all a lie and Greg's finally gone crazy.

Meanwhile, a group of micro-organisms created to "hug the cancer away" take over a technologically modified woman named Sharon Jones as their bio-vessel, and eventually take up residence in what may or may not be a puddle on Greg's kitchen floor, containing what may or may not be the ink supply for the whole comicverse. And then there's a GoldenAge comic book hero named Secret Original, who escaped from his pages and was left permanently crippled in the attempt. And there's a little flower shop near Greg's house. And a communist chimp. And kids, kids with ant heads.

The book is a snapshot of Britain in the early 2000s (paedophile-hunting mobs, security cameras on every street corner, etc.) mixed with a mad otherworld that looks like a cross between Philip K. Dick's nightmares and a rubber fetish playground.

Morrison, who believes that his comics are also spells that can magically transform the consciousness of his readers, intended it to be an 'inoculation' against the horrors of modern living as well as a celebration of the nature of filth: something which is an inescapable part of living, but which humanity tends to ignore, bury or flush away.

The series also revisits the concept from ''The Invisibles'' of all humans being cells in a single immense organism and puts a more literal spin on it. For example, Ned Slade is effectively an antibody and The Hand itself is an immune system for reality. Thus, the 'bad guys' represent different illnesses (body-jumping Spartacus Hughes is a virus, Anders Klimakks is an STD, etc.) that must be destroyed in order for the body to thrive. And just as the body builds up a resistance to infections by copying their traits, so The Hand reprograms rogue elements into becoming agents themselves.

This also leads to a return to one of Morrison's long-standing obsessions: the repetition of patterns from one 'layer' to the next. For example, Slade is a living thinking being, but is merely an operative that exists to maintain the being that is reality. This is then replicated in the tiny nano-people that end up living inside Slade, who may themselves create smaller versions to go inside themselves, and so on and so on forever.

This same concept turns up in the form of the comic book that The Hand's agents enter to acquire their WeirdScience: It's possible to imagine a [[RecursiveReality never-ending series of layers to reality]] in which the reader reads a comic about people reading a comic about people reading a comic about... well, you get the idea. Utimately, the comic is a distillation of every concept and interest that Morrison had up to that point, collected in 13 supremely odd issues.

And there's a sweary communist chimp in it and everything.

For porn as a plot device, see {{Filth}}.
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!!Tropes:
* AllJustADream: Implied from the start, then discussed, subverted and deconstructed just to screw with the reader.
* AnythingThatMoves: Tex Porneau is the living embodiment of this trope, going so far as to [[spoiler: create a breed of human-sized flying sperm so that he can LITERALLY FUCK THE ENTIRE CITY OF LOS ANGELES]]. Anders Klimakks, with his career as a porn star/[[spoiler: bio-engineered sex god]] and his nearly 900-woman mating record, is also a perfect example of this trope.
* AscendedFanboy: Max starts out describing himself as this. Then [[spoiler: after he's killed, the body he's worked so hard to get into comic book superhero shape is hijacked and used by another aspiring superman]].
* BodyHorror: Sharon Jones in "Us v Them".
* {{Brainwashed}}: Ned Slade has been brainwashed into thinking that he is sad loner Greg Feely. [[spoiler:But this is subverted toward the end of the series when it is revealed that Feely is the true identity and The Hand are trying to turn him ''into'' Ned Slade.]]
* BrokenAngel: Secret Original.
* TheCallKnowsWhereYouLive
* CaptainErsatz: According to Morrison, the story started out as a pitch for Marvel Comics' ''{{Nick Fury}}'', but was seen as too strange and radical a change for the character - i.e. the reader being told that [[spoiler: Fury is in fact an injectable fake personality inserted into several unassuming saps over the years by a shadowy uber-organisation.]]
** Nevertheless, a few years later Brian Bendis and Jonathan Hickman created a vaguely similar idea for Fury - his organisation, SHIELD, has been puppets of his enemy, HYDRA, since its creation - and it was published.
*** It probably succeeded because it wasn't nearly so radical in comparison.
** The characters from Secret Original's world are also very obvious CaptainErsatz types of famous superheroes.
* ChekhovsGun: The flower shop being referred to as psychedelic at the very start of the story.
* CosmicHorrorStory: Secret Original is a GoldenAge superhero who discovered his world is a comic book. Think about this. It's debatable if ''The Filth'' as a whole qualifies.
* CrapsackWorld: The whole point of ''The Filth'' is to explore the worst excesses of society.
* CreatorBreakdown: The whole series is the result of such a breakdown.
* DeconstructorFleet
* DoubleStandardRapeFemaleOnMale: In "The World of Anders Klimakks".
* EldritchAbomination: Mother Dirt, big boss of The Hand.
* ElectricInstantGratification: Max Thunderstone mentions that scientists have discovered enlightenment is analagous to an epileptic seizure in a certain area of the brain. Part of his plan to uplift humanity is to show people how to push their own "Buddha Button".
* FiveManBand: Ned Slade's "special squad" of the RagtagBunchOfMisfits from the five divisions of the Hand, with Ned as TheHero, Cameron Spector as TheLancer, Dmitri-9 (little, but a vicious killer) as TheBigGuy, Moog Mercury as TheSmartGuy, and Miami Nil as TheChick. Alternatively, since Greg Feely questions everything Ned does you could argue that Feely/Slade is his own Lancer.
* FourthWall: Played with in "Structures and Ultrastructures".
** BreakingTheFourthWall: Secret Original did this, and was broken back.
** [[http://www.cesspit.net/drupal/storeroom/misc/filth1.gif WARNING: Do not fly into the fourth wall.]]
* FridgeBrilliance: What if Feely ''is'' a pedophile, and the Filth (as the "cleaners" of society) are his mind's way of coping, by providing the illusion of an outside group willing to "clean" him up?
* FriendsWithBenefits: Nil and Slade. Sort of.
* FunetikAksent: Cameron Spector. A lot of exposition in the comic is spoken by her, which makes it all the more harder to figure out.
* GenreSavvy: Max Thunderstone. Arguably also a case of WrongGenreSavvy, as he thinks he's the "hero" of the story and the Hand are the villains.
* GranolaGirl: Soon.
* HistoricalInJoke:
--> "Dmitri, you just shot the President!"
--> "[[WhoShotJFK Not my first one.]]"
** [[http://media.comicvine.com/uploads/3/31566/1101280-dmitri_9_super.jpg Sorta like this...]]
* IntrepidFictioneer: As noted in the summary above, this is S.O.P. for The Hand.
* NotSoImaginaryFriend: In "#*%$ Police".
* LimitedWardrobe: Fair enough: The Hand all have standard uniforms... but Greg always wears the same dirty shirt and trousers.
* LonersAreFreaks: Subverted; loner Greg is the most empathic character in the comic.
* TheMenInBlack: Subverted.
* MoreThanMindControl
* {{Nanomachines}}: In "Us v Them".
* NosyNeighbor
* OmniscientMoralityLicense: The Hand [[IDidWhatIHadToDo do horrible things]] in order to [[StatusQuoIsGod maintain the status quo]].
* OutWithABang: In "The World of Anders Klimakks".
* PaedoHunt: Greg is targeted by one after he tries to buck the system.
* PaintingTheMedium: Max Thunderstone projects visible thought bubbles.
* PunnyName: Harlotte Church.
** Also, Moog Mercury. He spends most of the comic being a half-man-half-machine wired to output systems... like moving metal (mercury) or a sound machine with variable output (moog).
* RealityEnsues: For Secret Original.
* RecursiveReality: The Paperverse, created in the labs of The Crack, which in turn is reached by dimension-hopping garbage trucks and is implied to be [[spoiler:a microscopic base on Greg Feely's kitchen floor.]] The Hand is presented as society's immune system, and its agents are antibodies.
* RuleThirtyFour: Secret Original is trying to find a way to save his comic book world after having ended up in reality. His research is stranded because he got addicted to fanmade porn starring himself.
* ShowWithinAShow: In this case a comic within a comic.
* ThatPoorCat: Both off-screen and on-screen.
* ViolentGlaswegian: Cameron Spector.
* VoiceOfTheLegion: I-Life.
* WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic: The cosmic garbage trucks cross dimensions by engaging Ninth Gear ("faster than the speed of wall.") A character in ''TheInvisibles'' mentions that nine is the favorite number of the Hindu god Ganesh, Remover Of Obstacles. Other references to religion and cosmology are sprinkled throughout the story.
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