First, a little bit about the most recent Hellboy movie.
I took some of my rare and valuable free time to go and see this thing. I had already read and heard some reviews of the show, and I was made aware about the sizable butt-print that Guillermo Del Toro had left on this movie, that it didn’t have the same feel as the first film. But, I must say, despite the forewarning, I was caught off-guard by the complete change in tone and feel.
I like Del Toro, and he makes some good movies, and I’m excited by the news that he’s going to be directing the 2 Hobbit movies (whether or not this is still the case, I don’t know; I’m too lazy to google it). But Hellboy 2 felt like it wasn’t so much the continuation of the Hellboy franchise, but the director’s batting practice for the Hobbit. Elves, goofy creatures, and high fantasy are not part of the Hellboy universe that I’m a fan of.
I’m a Mike Mignola fan. He’s the guy behind the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. comics. He was involved with the movies, but sadly, his influence didn’t seem to be as present in the second film. However, he’s putting out comics at a terrifically satisfying pace. And while the Hellboy and B.P.R.D. series are very newcomer friendly, you can jump in just about anywhere and not feel lost because they don’t follow a strict chronology, a series that has 10 or 12 volumes of stories can be a bit intimidating.
Calling Screw-On Head
This is where I recommend the Amazing Screw-On Head. It’s a 32-page one-shot that follows the adventures of the greatest supernatural investigator of the 1860’s.
Here’s the plot synopsis:
The Screw-On Head is an agent for President Abraham Lincoln, fulfilling much the same role as the modern-day fictional B.P.R.D. (Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense). He is summoned by Lincoln to track down Emperor Zombie, an undead occultist and originally a groundskeeper at Hyde Park. Zombie and his henchmen, the vampiress “Madam” and scientist Dr. Snap, have stolen an ancient manuscript. This will allow him access to the tomb of Gung, a warlord who nearly conquered the world over ten thousand years ago with supernatural power gained from “a fabulous melon-sized jewel”, which Zombie obviously plans to use for himself.
With the aid of his manservant Mr. Groin and dog Mr. Dog, Screw-On Head manages to track down Zombie, but not before the villain and his henchmen (including his vampire lover) find the treasure: instead of a jewel, the tomb contains a turnip with “a small parallel universe” inside. Zombie unleashes the demon within, but Screw-On Head manages to defeat it in combat.
The issue is tough to find, I won’t lie to you. It was published in 2002, and has seen 3 printings, but still not available from Amazon. But you can order it through Things From Another World_14975) and get a slight discount as well. You’ll probably need to order some other treats so that you’re not getting completely screwed on shipping costs. I recommend the plushie Abe Sapien.
It is well worth the trouble.
And if you’re still hesitant about picking it up, you can still get a taste of the style and look of the comic by watching the tragically passed-upon pilot that was made for the Sci-fi channel in ‘06. Great voice talent by Paul Giamatti, David Hyde Pierce, Patton Oswald, and Molly Shannon. It’s pretty good. Here, watch: