Mike Mignola may be famous for his “Hellboy” series, but he has dabbled in other non-“Hellboy” comics. One of these creations is the one-shot “The Amazing Screw-On Head” which was published in 2002. This one-shot morphed into various stories that take place in the same universe and are interconnected somehow. This year, “Dark Horse” published a 20th anniversary edition called “The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects” (20th anniversary of the one-shot, not the collection.)
The for “Screw-On Head” is Abraham Lincoln has assigned Screw-On Head to find the ‘Kalakistan Fragment,” a piece of paper that supposedly tells the story of Abu Gung who nearly conquered the earth, after it was stolen from the “Museum of Dangerous Books and Paper” by Emperor Zombie. This is a strange story. There’s a talking dog, a literal zombie named Emperor Zombie and ABRAHAM LINCOLN! It’s a wild ride with some odd things that’s worth reading if you’re willing to overlook the nonsense.
As for the other stories inspired by the one-shot, they vary in quality. Some of the best ones are:
“Abu Gung and the Beanstalk.” A young Abu Gung finds himself in a cave occupied by two old women who sold all their jewelry for food and now have none. The third sister sold her jewelry for three magic beans and the other two sister forced her to eat them, causing a bean stalk to grow out of her. Without spoiling it, the story is a nice touch for an origin story for a character who conquered nearly the entire planet.
“The Magician and the Snake,” written by Mingnola and his daughter when she was seven, is about a magician who spends time with his best friend, snake, before he dies. It’s a touching story and, while feeling out of place here, is still a great story.
“The Prisoner of Mars” about an old man who killed his friend, was sentenced to death and was reincarnated as a robot on the planet Mars, is the least interesting out of all the stories. It’s not terrible, it doesn’t have the same impact as the other stories seeing as the old man is unlikeable and boring.
The artwork for all the stories is fantastic. It shows off Mignola’s well known style and the world looks weird and creepy. The characters look like something from a dark and evil world. It’s no wonder Mignola decided to base the hell Hellboy went to on this world.
“The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects” is a great way for anyone who has not read the one-shot to read it along with several comics that are inspired by it. The collection also has a lot of drawings, sketches and the unpublished comic “Axorr” just to sweeten the deal for anyone thinking of buying this collection.