The GeeksverseLeaving Proof 10 | “The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects” Hardcover review

Leaving Proof 10 | “The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects” Hardcover review
Published on Thursday, October 21, 2010 by

[Author’s note: The text in this article originally appeared on on 02 September 2010 and may have had its content changed or edited since its initial online publication]

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects
  • Screw-On cover(Dark Horse Comics, 2010, 104 pages)
  • Story & Art: Mike Mignola (“The Magician and the Snake” co-written by Katie Mignola)
  • Colours: Dave Stewart
  • Lettering: Clem Robins and Pat Brosseau
  • Cover Price: $17.99 US

I’ve always liked Mike Mignola’s minimalist art style. That he managed to carve out a career in superhero comics for so long (he started his superhero illustration career in 1983 with Alpha Flight), a medium whose audience doesn’t necessarily encourage artists and writers to stray from genre norms, is a testament to his talent as a visual storyteller and character designer. Of course, these days, Mignola is known more for his original occult hero character Hellboy, whose critically and commercially successful comics have spun-off into two major studio feature films and three direct-to-DVD animated features.

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects collects a number of previously published one-off short stories Mignola wrote and illustrated over the past 12 years and a couple of previously unpublished shorts. Strictly-Hellboy fans might think this volume inessential reading (due to the absence of the character Mignola has become most famous for), but I’m of the opinion that this hardcover contains some of Mignola’s best work as a writer. The centrepiece of the collection is The Amazing Screw-On Head, a one-shot published in 2002 that won the 2003 Eisner Award for Best Humour Publication. It’s a hilarious tale, somewhat reminiscent of the “mad ideas” comic book tradition but not weighed down by the school’s deliberate obtuseness. But what am I doing talking about the story when I can show it to you? Dark Horse Comics, in collaboration with the Sci-Fi Channel, created an animated version of the short story that in my opinion, apart from a few liberties taken here and there and some unnecessary exposition, is a pretty good recreation of the printed article.

magician and the snakeMignola allegedly wasn’t too happy with the animated version, though, not because it diverged radically from the source material (as is usually the case with print-to-screen adaptations), but because it was too much like the comic book, aesthetically. Mignola didn’t feel comfortable having his distinct art style being adapted for animation, apparently, and plans for a cartoon series were scuttled.

But for me, the most powerful story in the collection is The Magician and The Snake (winner of the 2003 Eisner Award for Best Short Story). Co-written by Mignola’s then-seven year old daughter Katie, the story is a moving account of the loss of a loved one.

An excellent book, highly recommended for all readers regardless of genre preferences.

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