OK, this isn’t so much a review as it is a short yet gushing man-crush piece, because Mike Mignola.
If you haven’t read Mignola’s one-shot, The Amazing Screw-On Head before, please do so now then come back and finish reading this post. No spoilers here, just saying it’s good stuff. It won the 2003 Eisner Award for Best Humor Publication, so…
Anyway, did you know there was also an eponymous pilot made for the Sci-Fi Channel (now SyFy) in 2006? Because I didn’t. If not, you should probably check that out too. Having read the one-and-done comic but never having watched the pilot, I recently took twenty minutes out of my day to treat myself to the TV adaptation. Needless to say, they were my favorite twenty minutes of the day.
The Amazing Screw-On Head is animated in Mignola’s same artistic style and has a great voice cast. (Paul Giamatti is Screw-On Head and David Hyde Pierce is the villainous Emperor Zombie, for crying out loud!) As in the story’s print version, the pilot is firmly grounded in humor and the macabre. Therein lies the bulk of my love for Mike Mignola’s work; he’s got a way of striking balance between the morbid and the deadpan. The man is a guru.
My only criticism is that the humor in the pilot came off a good bit sillier than in the comic, despite both sharing many of the same memorable quotes and one-liners. Maybe I just imagined the delivery of jokes differently while reading the story. The pilot also took some license (still written by Mignola) to give a more substantial back story than did the one-shot, which also put some space between the two versions. All in all, none of this is bad. Just different.
And that’s it! I just couldn’t not share. I love the Lovecraftian elements of the story (predictable much?) but even more delightful is the steampunk element that pervades this Victorian tale. All very Mignola-eque, so if you’re a fan of his then you likely aren’t/won’t be surprised. Check out The Amazing Screw-On Head when you get a chance, and in both mediums!
Image from Dark Horse Comics.