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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #174

Earlier this week, we had a head that was a planet. Today, we have a head that is detachable. I’d say this is a really twisted comic. Screwy, even.

(Yesterday was Bruce Campbell’s birthday, and today, another of my heroes celebrates the anniversary of his life debut– Joss Whedon! Congratulations, dude– I got you this archive link.)


174. The Amazing Screw-On Head

Screw On Head 1.JPG

Occasionally, I have trouble coming up with ideas, and seek to cure my writer’s block by rifling through my comics collection, or skimming about the internet, or perusing the 365 Reasons Suggestions thread on the CSBG forums. So, thanks to Omar Karindu for suggesting this one! Lots of people have suggested some good columns, and I have used several ideas from the forums, usually without credit. I apologize, friends. Sometimes I come to them independently, as well, but you beat me to it. Everyone who posts there is awesome! Thank you.

The Amazing Screw-On Head was a one-shot created, written, and drawn by the uncanny Mike Mignola, who was a Reason to Love Comics himself. The comic is absolute genius on paper– truly. Our titular hero is a hopping, talking, disembodied head who can screw himself onto multiple robot bodies. With his faithful manservant, Mr. Groin, by his side, he goes into battle against the evil Emperor Zombie and his henchpersons. Oh, right. Did I mention that Screw-On Head works for the president? And that the book takes place during the presidency of Abe Lincoln? Oh yeah. It’s that awesome.

Screw On Head 2.JPG

We’re all fans of “mad ideas” on this blog, and this wee little comic has a ton of them. From Screw-On head himself to his pet dog that can smell evil to steampunk-y science to a zombie/vampire romance to a parallel universe located inside a turnip to giant old-timey monsters from said turnip universe to three horrible old women and a monkey, this comic has everything you could ever want. It deftly tosses a bunch of genres into one place and pulls it off magnificently. The dialogue is sharp and funny and the plot, while simple, is rip-roarin’ and energetic. It’s old-timey adventure storytelling and it really works.

The art’s great too, of course, but we expect this from Mike Mignola. The layouts and design work are tremendous aesthetic achievements. It’s inky and moody and seems perfectly solid and serious, which serves to carry across the dry wit. Colorist Dave Stewart bathes everything in sepia to give it that warm, old-fashioned tone. It’s a work of beauty, it really is. Here, have more art and see for yourself (click to enlarge):

Screw On Head 6.JPG

Screw On Head 4.JPG

Screw On Head 5.JPG

Last year, the book was adapted into a half-hour animated special on the Sci-Fi Channel, starring Paul Giammati as Head, David Hyde Pierce as Emperor Zombie, and Patton Oswalt as Mister Groin. It’s currently available on DVD, but it can also be found on Google video (but let’s keep that on the down-low, eh?). It’s brilliantly acted, terrifically animated (it looks just like Mignola art, only– it moves!) and absolutely hilarious. Some will call this blasphemy, but I’d say it’s even better than the comic, fleshing out the world and the characters and adding in more humorous moments. I loved it– but then, what else should I expect from the producer of one of my all-time favorite TV shows, Wonderfalls? Thanks, Bryan Fuller. I wish Sci-Fi would pick this up for a series! I’d watch it religiously.

If we can’t have more of Screw-On Head in animation, however, I’d love to have more in comics form! I know Mike’s busy with Hellboy, but c’mon! Throw us a Screw-On Bone, good sir! It’s been too long, and the Amazing Screw-On Head is an awesome concept with a lot of potential. Bring him back!

The Amazing Screw-On Head was a marvelous comic that was well-written and gorgeously drawn that became a cartoon that was well-written and gorgeously animated. Both were made with love, and it’s clear that yeah, Screw-On Head is a true Reason to Love Comics. It’s truly original and crazy and wonderful. We need more stuff like it in the comics industry.

Take us home, Mr. President!

Screw On Head 3.JPG

‘Nuff said.


Sci-Fi actually premiered the animated version on their website, with a survey at the end asking whether you’d watch such a show. Apparently, those of us who thought it was great were in the minority, though, because I’m not actually sure the pilot ever aired on television.

Also, Brian Fuller’s absolutely brilliant. I hear great things about Pushing Daisies this fall, though I suspect I’ll miss his presence on Heroes, and that Pushing Daisies, like every other Fuller project, will be fantastic and no one will watch.

Yeah, the pilot was on TV. I saw it. I loved it. Sci-Fi should have picked it up!

The Kirbydotter

June 24, 2007 at 7:49 am

I don’t know why, but I have yet to get and read this book. Now I know I just have to get my hands on it. Thanks an excellent post.

Here are a few suggestions for upcomming posts: Great Lakes Avengers, Kirby’s DEMON, Original (hetero) RAWHIDE KID, ATLAS/SEABORD’s line of comics (great potential entries in there) ans magazines (ditto), 1970’s MArvel Romance (OUR LOVE, MY LOVE with Romita, Buscema, Steranko art, etc.), Pacific Comics’s TWISTED TALES and ALIEN WORLDS EC-inspired antholies, INVADERS, Marvel Bronze Age’S reprints of old moster comics (WHERE MONSTERS DWELL, WHERE CREATURES ROAM, WEIRD WONDER TALES, etc.), ATLAS AGENTS, John Romita’s WESTERN KID (Tex Dawson Gunslinger), Joe Maneely, SANDMAN MYSTERY THEATER, DC’s 48 pages format from the Bronze Age (especially those in Kirby’s Fourth World tiltles with those great golden age reprints), NEWSBOY LEGION, YOUNG AVENGERS, NEW INVADERS (Blazing Skull was hilarious), D.N.Agents, John Byrne’s Fantastic Four, Disney’s Christmas Parade, Jack Staff, John Byrne’s NEXT MEN and DANGER UNLIMITED, Roger Stern, Moench and Sienkiewicz’s MOON KNIGHT, Wein and Wrightson’s SWAMP THING, Joe Orlando’s HOM and HOS anthologies, CREEPY and EERIE, LONE WOLF AND CUB, James Robinson’s STARMAN, James Robinson’s FIREARM (best Malibu title), Atomic Knights, Star Hawkins, Ditko/Wood STALKER, ZOT!, UNDERSTANDING COMICS, LEAVE IT TO CHANCE, NEW FRONTIER, CAMELOT 3000, James Robinson/Paul Smith’s GOLDEN AGE, 1999 summer crossover one-shots ALL-STAR COMICS, Bronze Age ALL-STAR WESTERN/WEIRD WESTERN series, Strange Sport Stories, SUPER DC GIANTs, Strnad/Kane’s SWORD OF THE ATOM, a weekly series on dual-girlfriends (Gwen Stacy/MJ, Betty/Veronica, Lois Lane/Lana Lang, Spidey’s weirdest villains of the Bronze Age (Gibbons, Grizzly, Jackal, Hammerhead, etc.), and the list could go on! Good luck and hang in there!

Curse you Sci-Fi for not picking this up. David Hyde Pierce was brilliant!

I love this book more than a man should love anything made of paper, but I wonder if even the Mig could capture this kind of genius again. Maybe we’re better off with one flawless diamond than a gaggle of lesser gems.

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