Wednesday, October 6, 2010
The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects. Mike Mignola, Katie Mignola , Dave Stewart, Clem Robbins,Pat Brosseau, Dark Horse Books (2010)
A great collection of very funny stories that are also wonderfully imaginative adventures, quite brilliants comics too.The first story features one of the most remarkable action heroes I have ever encountered,Screw-On Head is an agent for Abraham Lincoln. A mysterious document fragment has been stolen from by Emperor Zombie, it possibly shows the whereabouts of a jewel that gives monstrous power to whoever possess it. Screw-On Head heads out to prevent disaster, encounters Emperor Zombie and his evil assistants, a demon intending to destroy the world and manages to be funny, thrilling and amazing. The story conclusion is terrific.
The second story is a clever and sharp version of Jack and the Beanstalk that takes the elements and shakes them up in a most unexpected way. The third story "The Magician and the Snake" is by Mike Mignola and his young daughter Katie. The background is provided in the notes at the back. This is a touching and heartfelt story of friendship and magic.
"The Witch and her Soul" is an extended joke, the set up is very well paced and the punchline is funny, unexpected and exactly right. "The Prisoner of Mars" is my favourite, if only because it is by far the cleverest and the funniest riff on H.G.Wells "War of the Worlds" it has been my pleasure to read. It is packed with great ideas, absurd gags and one of the very best endings I have ever read.
The great pleasure of the book is the way that these slight stories are treated with such care and attention to detail. The art is uniformly a pleasure to look at, Dave Stewart's colours subtly support the stories and give them a glowing life. The lettering by Clem Robbins and Pat Brosseau is both unobtrusive and strongly expressive.
When a comic has no intent beyond straightforward entertainment and does so with the confidence, craft and sparkling talent that this one does, it shines. A reminder of the tremendous pleasure to be had from reading a comic.