From Dark Horse Comics, The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects flashes back on the momentous showdowns and adventures in the hero’s service under President Abe Lincoln. Contrary to what its name suggests, the “amazing” in “Amazing Screw-On Head” could use a little more polish.
When Hellboy puts down his sword and kicks back with a good beer, creator Mike Mignola turns to the world of Screw-On Head for a lighthearted story or two. In this hardcover collection, Screw-On Head, the dutiful Mr. Groin, and the reliable Mister Dog pursue the villainous Emperor Zombie; a childhood Abu Gung, who later becomes Gung the Magnificent, “almost conqueror of the entire world,” climbs a beanstalk grown by a devil; a snake inherits his magician master’s estate, the devil steals three souls, and ghosts intermingle with aliens on Mars.
While brief, the stories pour on simplistic humor and almost childlike charm. “The Magician and the Snake,” for one, is written by Mignola and a seven-year-old Katie Mignola (his daughter), and the inclusion gives the book a bedtime story feel. Sprinkled between these short stories are extras: sketches and single-page art pieces, for example. Readers hoping for a book with hard substance should look elsewhere, as The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects is a light purchase: a delightful read, of course, with characters well-faceted with personality, but a read that quietly makes its exit shortly after it begins.
There’s just not enough of Screw-On Head to go around. The book trails lazily from the heroes to the life of Gung, beholder of a powerful jewel; it then moves to the exploits of Dr. Snap, accomplice to Emperor Zombie, finally dabbling in several unrelated pages of witchcraft and wizardry.
Fans of Mignola’s work will no doubt enjoy this hobby collection, but the writer abandons these “curious objects,” unmotivated to delve deeper into the characters’ histories. It’s a shame, too, considering Mignola’s gift for storytelling, but readers will have to settle with what little insight they get.
All they asked was that we let you know you can get it from their website, right here.