The Amazing Screw-On Head

The Amazing Screw-On Head was a one-shot comic book by Mike Mignola. Published in 2002, it went on to win an Eisner award for Best Humor Publication. Mignola’s idea with Screw-On Head was that his Hellboy stories never quite turned out as bizarre and weird on paper as they did in his head. ASOH was his attempt to depict a Mignola story in its purest, unadultered form.

The plot centers around the title character, a sort of sentient robot who works for Abraham Lincoln. Screw-On Head lives in a mansion with his servant, Mr. Groin, and a talking stuffed dog called Mr. Dog. He has a number of different robotic bodies that he can swap his head to, similar to Iron Man (except for the temporary decapitation). His arch-nemesis is the skull-faced Emperor Zombie, who, in the one-shot, is seeking the key to Shambhala.

The comic reads much like the weirdest Saturday morning cartoon you could ever imagine, so it’s fitting that the SF Channel bought the rights and produced a cartoon based on the comic, starring Paul Giamatti as Screw-On Head, David Hyde Pierce as Zombie, and Molly Shannon (?) as Zombie’s vampiric assistant. Of a necessity the cartoon provides a lot more backstory to the ASOH universe, if only to make the whole thing somewhat coherent.

In an interesting new tack, the SF Channel has put the entire pilot episode up on their website (on surprisingly high-quality streaming video) and is asking viewers to answer a short survey afterward to help determine whether or not to pick up the show. You can watch the pilot here:

The Amazing Screw-On Head

I encourage everyone to give it a shot. It captures a lot of the humor (“Be bold—I COMMAND YOU!”) and they did a good job of emulating Mignola’s art style. If for no other reason, do it for me, so that the SFC gets good numbers on the download and picks up the show for at least a season.

If you’d rather watch it on television, it will be broadcast on the night of July 27.

  1. Ugh… I feel like I owe it to you to watch this thing since I already bashed Mignola a bit. How long is it?

  2. It’s about 22 minutes, I think. And you may be pleasantly surprised–it’s funny, even if you don’t like the style.

    What’s interesting, though, is I’m involved in a discussion on the official Hellboy forum about how I think the animated Hellboy movies (there are two planned, with the first premiering on the Cartoon Network in October) made a good decision not to use Mignola’s art style because it may not be commercially viable right now. In fact, I used you as an example that the casual comics fan often doesn’t like Mignola’s style.

  3. Dude, I’ve been reading comics for 20 years. I am hardly a casual fan. I think his style is fine for his own creations, but I hated, hated, hated what he did to my beloved mutants…

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