The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects – 20th Anniversary Edition is a 144-page hardcover book that reprints the 2010 collection of short stories by Mike Mignola, adding a few extras. The titular ‘Amazing Screw-On Head’ is a robot secret agent who has a variety of differently-equipped mechanical bodies he can choose between for each mission, which are undertaken at the behest of US President Abraham Lincoln. The Amazing Screw-On Head was published in 2002, hence the anniversary applies to this story and not the 2010 book collection itself. The ‘Other Curious Objects’ were, like this one, essentially all Mignola’s work with no connection to Hellboy, or they were until one short story here later ended up playing a very poignant role in Hellboy in Hell.

This large-format hardcover feels and looks deluxe with its bigger surface area, board cover and cloth spine, and the ‘Mike Mignola/Dave Stewart’ credits are a nice way to acknowledge what a pivotal role the colouring of Dave Stewart plays in establishing the world that Mignola creates. This work would feel very different without Stewart’s colour palettes, and you can see for yourself just how different because the key bonus content in this volume is a never-before-seen 19-page story unearthed by Mignola from his archives, called ‘Axxor, Slayer of Demons’. Planned as 32 pages, but never completed, these 19 pages have no dialogue and are line art only. They have all the weirdness and beautiful angular dynamism of a typical Mignola story but they feel much more abstract without colour to ground them. There is an afterword by Mignola explaining the characters, the setting for the story, and how it was meant to end, along with a page of design sketches. There is another page of notes commenting on the origins of all the other stories in this book with some funny anecdotes, and the 11 pages of sketches at the back of the volume are also annotated.

The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects – 20th Anniversary Edition is a very attractively-produced volume of Mike Mignola’s unique stories. The additional pages of pin-ups (‘New 20th Anniversary Bonus Curiosities’), extra Screw-On Head images and text pages give little glimpses into Mignola’s creative process that will delight any fan.