When the Comic Vine staff first started talking about doing this weekly feature, I asked myself "what are my favorite stories of all time?" Most of what came to mind first were these ultra-long Vertigo series that didn't fit the original idea of this feature, but that didn't stop me from writing about Y: THE LAST MAN. I walked over to my bookshelf in my office, which houses the trades for my favorite series, and I took a look. The first thing that caught my mind wasn't the giant, long story arc from Marvel or DC comics. It was the hardcover for a one-shot from Dark Horse by one of my favorite artists/writers, Mike Mignola. The book that caught my eye isn't just one of my favorite one-shots, it's also one of the funniest books I own: THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD AND OTHER CURIOUS OBJECTS.
This Mike Mignola masterpiece was originally published, as a one-shot, back in 2002 at Dark Horse Comics. It won the 2003 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication, and it's one of the most laugh-inducing books I've ever read. So what the heck is this book, anyway? THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD is about a mechanical head that works for President Abraham Lincoln, solving mysteries. Like most of writer/artist Mike Mignola's work, it's heavy with worldly mythology and legend. Screw-On Head takes on Emperor Zombie and a giant monster stuck inside of a vegetable. It's an insanely funny story, but that's not all you get within this collection.
OTHER CURIOUS OBJECTS contains short stories, all written and drawn by Mike Mignola, except for "The Magician and the Snake," which the idea for the story originally came from Mignola's then 7 year old daughter, Katie. Lastly, the hardcover features some story notes and sketches of characters. While there really isn't a lot of connectivity to this whole hardcover collection, it still has a great flow to it all.
While this is the first time, with this feature, that one of the staffers has selected an anthology and not a whole, epic story line, THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD AND OTHER CURIOUS OBJECTS is the perfect "dip" into the world of Mike Mignola. Sure, he's mainly known for HELLBOY, but don't think of this anthology as a collection of "deep cuts." Think of this as a brilliant introduction into the world of Mignola, or as I call it "Mignoland."
Mike Mignola is one of the few duel threats in the industry. He has a phenomenal art style, and he is a fantastic storyteller. One could say that he truly is one of the few "auteurs" of the comic book industry. He has both a distinct art and storytelling style, which is showcased within this book. And while books like HELLBOY do have their own sense of humor, the Mignola treats the readers to one hilarious piece of writing with THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD.The absurdity of the book is one thing, but Mignola really does a great job with the dialogue here, which is just as ridiculous, with strangely memorable lines like "HAHA! Stupid humans! Free at last from my vegetable prison!" I don't know why this line has stuck with me for a decade.
The other stand-out within this book is THE MAGICIAN AND THE SNAKE which won the 2003 Eisner for best Short Story. It's a fun story that originally, Mignola's daughter told to him. The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. In addition, there's some never released stories like a Mignola-revamp of Jack and the Beanstalk.
The only problem is that after you read all of this, you'll really have nothing left to look forward to... or will you? If you're like me and find yourself enthralled by AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD, but want more, then there's tv pilot that aired, but sadly didn't get picked up that you can buy/rent/stream! It's a pretty true to original story and contains some awesome voice-acting from Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, and Patton Oswalt.
So when it really comes down to it why should you read THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD AND OTHER CURIOUS OBJECTS? Well, it's incredibly fun, and a great look at the awesome work of Mike Mignola. It's also one of the few times that Mignola fires on all his comedic cylinders, with the Amazing Screw-On Head story. His art is beautiful throughout, and the collection is worth the $17.99 price tag for everything contained within.
Mat "Inferiorego" Elfring is a comedian, writer, and host of the podcast Mat & Lewis Vs The Internet.