Amazing Screw-On Head

By Mike Mignola
32 pages, color
Published by Dark Horse Comics

I think it’s safe to say that Mike Mignola is best known these days for his creation Hellboy, between the numerous comics and the upcoming feature movie. What people might not know as much about is a one-shot comic by Mignola that quietly hit stores last year—The Amazing Screw-On Head. And if you haven’t heard about it before… trust me, you’re missing out on a great deal.

When trouble strikes, there’s only one that President Abraham Lincoln can trust to stop it: the amazing Screw-On Head! With his gallery of available bodies to stick his socket into, his trusted butler Mister Groin, and super-tracker Mister Dog, the Screw-On Head is ready to fight evil-doers like Emperor Zombie and Doctor Snap. But can even the Screw-On Head go up against other-dimensional evils? And just what is the Head’s secret origin?

Mignola’s certainly written some funny Hellboy stories in the past, and even his most serious pieces usually have at least an ounce of humor. The Amazing Screw-On Head, though, is much more of an out-and-out comedy than I remember seeing from Mignola in the past. It’s interesting because on the surface this could have been a Hellboy story, with three beings trying to find a mystic artifact with unknown powers, but Mignola promptly went for the ludicrous. As a result we’ve got a (possibly) mechanical dog in a box that barks out coordinates of the enemy, flying capsules which first get launched into space before going to their destination, and a bouncing head that bites its way to victory. Add in dialogue that whips across the page that vastly entertains, and you’ve got a winner.

The art in The Amazing Screw-On Head is unsurprisingly good. Mignola plays the artwork completely straight, drawing fantastical monsters and Victorian-era inspired machinery with great seriousness. At a casual glance, you’d think it was another Hellboy story, with Dave Stewart’s beautifully moody colors and a wide variety of tentacles, ancient tombs, and zombies on display. All the little touches you’d expect from Mignola are here, from little flies buzzing around Emperor Zombie to ornate pillars within the secret tomb. Over the years, Mignola has made Hellboy a gorgeous book to look at (so much that The Art of Hellboy artbook was released), and he keeps that proud tradition alive here.

From the first page with President Lincoln’s appearance to the strange “oh yeah, the secret origin” ending, The Amazing Screw-On Head is an absolute riot. Hellboy fans may hate me for saying this, but once Mignola does his next Hellboy mini-series, I sure would love to see Mignola concentrate on some more Amazing Screw-On Head comics. Screwball supernatural adventure stories are a good thing in my book when they’re created by Mignola.

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