{comic} curiosities

amazing screw-on head

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects

by Mike Mignola; Dark Horse Comics, 2010.

“The Amazing Screw-On Head” is the first short story of the collection wherein President Abraham Lincoln calls Screw-On Head to action. The Emperor Zombie who in life was Professor H.G. Manifold has gotten hold of a dangerous manuscript that no one has been able to translate until now; “It’s as you always say, sir. All really intelligent people should be cremated for the sake of national security.” Screw-On Head is just as his name implies, his head can screw onto any number of mechanical bodies when not hopping around on its own. Things only get more bizarre from here on out—exciting, isn’t it? In addition to the bizarre and slightly ridiculous (a radish?), Mignola’s sense of humor has excellent timing. This short won the 2003 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication when released on its own in 2002.


{from “The Amazing Screw-On Head”}

Portraits of a werewolf, a cannibal, and a criminal lunatic only confirm suspicions about the figures from those Victorian era sittings in sepia.

The story “Abu Gung and the Beanstalk” confirm any growing suspicion that Mignola has something to do with Hellboy (if you didn’t know already). We met Gung in the previous story, and this provides an amusing glimpse into his origin-story, as well as a nice dark take on the Beanstalk story. (Redrawn and expanded from its inclusion in a 1998 Dark Horse anthology Scatterbrain)


Next is “The Magician and the Snake” co-authored w/ a 7 year old Katie Mignola. This is a strange and lovely story of the Magician who, with his friend snake, is determined to live out the rest of his life as happily as possible understanding that the end is inevitable. Even so, there is something to be said of a legacy of friendship and living a life loved by someone. This won the 2003 Eisner for Best Short Story.

In “The Witch and Her Soul” the devil comes to collect. The witches servants of wood become his own—and at her making. It holds a nice laugh-out-loud moment as the devil makes himself recognizable to the oafish little puppets (see below).

asohaoco devil

“The Prisoner of Mars” involves Victorian gentlemen in space—well, their spirits anyhow, one placed into a Martian body, another a Martian robot of similar (but indestructible form). Really, if you are going to have a figure come back as a ghost to smoke cigars with his friends at his club, why not squiggly diabolical aliens? Victorian gents can be the cause of hilarity all on their own, but throw in the aliens and inescapable executions and this is a lovely dark romp in the park.

The last is “In the Chapel of Curious Objects” a brief tour of a chapel wherein the statue of the Magician rests, a hidden panel opened, and…

There are story notes and sketches (w/ notes) at the end of the volume.

I picked this up while studying at the library, hoping for a nice vacation into the pleasantly bizarre and morbid, maybe a good laugh or two. A quick flip let me know I’d like the artwork and recognizing the name Mignola, I wasn’t worried about how the form would play out as story. I was not disappointed. This comic is an easy sell.

I will remind us of it around Carl’s R.I.P. challenge this fall, but it was a full-sun afternoon and the stories still came across delightfully.

{images are Mike Mignola’s and Dark Horse Comic’s}

Published by L

I read, and I write. and until recently, I sold books.

2 thoughts on “{comic} curiosities

  1. If it is Mignola, it has to be good, right? At least that has been my experience. Love Screw-on Head! 🙂

    Mike Mignola was originally slated to be at Spectrum Fantastic Art Live this past weekend, like he was last year, but it fell through. Disappointed as it would have been fun to see him again.

    There are some great comics out there, but when Mignola is on there are few that are as engaging as his. The atmosphere practically wafts off the page into the room with you.

  2. Mike Mignola is one of my favorites, especially when he’s writing and illustrating something. His style is so clean-cut, somehow simultaneously busy and not. I haven’t read this collection, but from your review I’m thinking that I’m gonna have to remedy that. Thanks for sharing, L!

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