Friday, October 10, 2014

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects


With THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD AND OTHER CURIOUS OBJECTS, Mike Mignola gives some of his more unusual creations a nice little showcase of their own, and while his work is just as creepy and off-putting as ever, the collection has more than a few laugh-out-loud moments.
 The star of the show is THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD, which was originally published as a one-shot comic, and was later adapted into a Cartoon Network special. (At least I think it was Cartoon Network...It may have been SYFY, back before they changed their name's spelling to accommodate illiterate assholes.) Screw-On head is just who you think he would be- A robotic head with a threaded neck that can be screwed onto various robot bodies. Screw-On Head works for Abraham Lincoln, has an assistant named Mister Groin, a psychic dog named Mister Dog, and an enemy named Emperor Zombie. This story is Mignola's SIR EDWARD GREY, WITCHFINDER on acid. I rarely laugh out loud at printed matter, but I got a few belly laughs out of this. Great stuff, and I wish Mignola would revisit this character.

 This is followed by ABU GUNG AND THE BEANSTALK, which originally appeared in Dark Horse's SCATTERBRAIN mini-series. ABU GUNG AND THE BEANSTALK features the mummified character from THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD as a child, as he encounters a couple of emaciated old women whose sister squandered all of their money on that old chestnut, magic beans. Abu Gung climbs the inevitable beanstalk in an attempt to get the old women their money back. Another laugh-filled short. (You wouldn't immediately put "Mike Mignola" together with "Laugh-out-loud", but he seems to be a genuinely funny guy.)

Next up is THE MAGICIAN AND THE SNAKE, a collaboration between Mignola and his then-seven-year-old daughter Katie that was originally printed in Dark Horse's HAPPY ENDINGS anthology. This is a beautiful, heartfelt little fable about the friendship between a Magician and his snake. Great stuff.

 The book is rounded out by two new tales, THE WITCH AND HER SOUL and THE PRISONER OF MARS, which are both outstanding. I also appreciated the subtle (And sometimes not-so-subtle...) ways that Mignola ties all of the stories together. The collection also includes brief story notes, and a large sketch gallery. Highly recommended stuff!