This week’s Friday Feature is not a tough sell.
Mike Mignola is already well loved in the comics community. His art is easily recognizable and stylized in a way that it seems everybody loves. He’s best known for writing and drawing the Hellboy series, which gained a boost in popularity with the 2004 movie of the same name.
Hellboy has spawned a handful of popular spin-off series, including B.P.R.D., Abe Sapien, and Lobster Johnson.
In my opinion, however, Mignola’s best work is found in The Amazing Screw-on Head and Other Curious Objects. The title story is about a plucky automaton working as a sort of secret agent for all things paranormal directly under President Abraham Lincoln. He begins the story as nothing more than a robotic head bouncing around on, you guessed it, a screw! When he gets ready to go into the field to take on the evil Emperor Zombie (!) he selects a body from a collection (with the help of his butler “Mr. Groin”) and threads himself into it.
If you’re not already interested . . . well I guess this week’s feature isn’t for you. Amazing Screw-On Head is a ridiculously pulpy, campy, sci-fi adventure story. It reads a little bit like you’re being dropped into the middle of a 1950’s radio serial. All of the characters understand why whatever is happening is so very dramatic, but you don’t – at least not at the beginning. You feel caught up by page four or five, though, and then you’re just along for the ride!
The rest of the stories in the collection are basically disjointed, although there are little things that tie them all together. My favorite of the secondary stories is called “The Magician and the Snake.” This one was co-written by Mignola and his daughter, and the youthful innocence that permeates the story is a real delight to read.
So pass up on that second classy cocktail this weekend, and zip by your local comic book shop to pick up this phenomenal collection!