For the first time in paperback, a collection of classic Mike Mignola comics featuring some of his strangest creations. When Emperor Zombie threatens the safety of all life on earth, President Lincoln enlists the aid of a mechanical head. With the help of associates Mr. Groin (a faithful manservant) and Mr. Dog (a dog), Screw-On Head must brave ancient tombs, a Victorian flying apparatus, and demons from a dimension inside a turnip.
Mike Mignola is obviously best known for Hellboy and its various spinoffs over the years, but even he sometimes needs to have a break from that world. The resulting comics have brought him high acclaim and several awards. The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects collects several of these including the Eisner Award winning Amazing Screw-On Head and The Magician and the Snake. Whilst Hellboy isn’t always completely serious, there is never any illusion that there are stakes involved in the storyline, not to mention that is has also built up years of continuity. This is not so much the case with Screw-On Head which is very much tongue-in-cheek.
The premise itself is highly entertaining which Mignola being inspired by the action figures he owned when he was younger that shared the same mold with different heads being the only difference. Screw-On Head has the ability to fix his head to various bodies that serve different functions according to his need (including ones with weapons built in). Both narratively and visually, it’s comedy gold. The side characters are also very endearing, with Mignola going all out in creating whacky individuals who don’t realise how absurd their situations are. But the highlight is definitely Abraham Lincoln who is played completely straight and serious as almost a mentor figure to Screw-On Head in a fun contrast to the more out-there characters in the comic.
That’s not to say there isn’t anything deep in this collection, with The Magician and the Snake being a particularly fascinating tale that can be interpreted in multiple ways. That and the art is as tremendous and deep as you’d expect from Mignola. These are largely stories of a darker colour palette that favour his strong work with negative space/shadows.
Any Mike Mignola/Hellboy fans who missed this collection first time round will definitely want this in their collection. In addition, it makes for a brilliant showcase piece for Mignola’s storytelling skills as both a writer and artist.
The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects is out now from Dark Horse (9781506728759, p/b, £16.99)
Want regular updates and weekly reviews on the latest in graphic novels and manga? Follow us on Twitter @turnaroundcomix.