I'll be needing a body for this!
July 14, 2006 6:10 AM   Subscribe

"It's as I always say... all really intelligent people should be cremated for reasons of public safety!"
Hot on the tail of the forthcoming Hellboy animated series, the Sci-Fi Channel has adapted Mike Mignola's marvellous, absurd Eisner-Award-winning comic The Amazing Screw-On Head into a 22-minute animated pilot. The episode is available for viewing on Sci-Fi's site right now.
posted by terpsichoria (33 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Oh my God. That was awesome.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:47 AM on July 14, 2006

Now, that's how you adapt a Mike Mignola comic to the screen! Looks like Screw-On Head revels in Mignola's folklore-meets-Nazis-and-Lovecraft visions instead of trying to parse them down. To get lycanthropes, zombie butlers, steampunk machinations, armed-to-the-teeth-chimpanzee-kings, lost-love vampiresses, ancient demigods of unspeakable power and clumsiness, AND Abraham Lincoln... and for it all to make sense... my, my...

It's nice to see that the Mignola brand has been expanding nicely since (and arguably in-spite-of) the film. BPRD, the spinoff comic series, has been fantastic and the Hellboy proper line has been an incredible exploration of the nature and symbolism of Hellboy's character... Then, you've got these animated series, which are really shaping up to be special. For a Hellboy fan, it's exciting, and I think for anyone who hasn't picked up on the series yet there are a lot of good jumping on points out there now.
posted by pokermonk at 7:07 AM on July 14, 2006


That's genius.
posted by bshort at 7:17 AM on July 14, 2006

This is pure brilliance.

Series. Now please!
posted by Artw at 7:20 AM on July 14, 2006

No way in hell they can keep those voices for the series, right? Is there some way, please?
posted by JeremyT at 7:29 AM on July 14, 2006

Oh, I forgot to mention in the post - if you liked it, don't forget to fill in the survey. They're making a big deal of 'letting the audience decide' whether they pick the show up or not, and as wary as I usually am of this sort of market-research stuff, in this case it seems like a small price to pay for a full series of Screw-On Head.
posted by terpsichoria at 7:33 AM on July 14, 2006

Not just Mignola, but producer Bryan Fuller (Wonderfalls, Dead Like Me) and the voice talents of Patton Oswalt, Paul Giamatti and David Hyde Pierce. Sometimes the stars align. This reminds me of when Mike Doughty recorded a one-man call-and-response song with the melody of "The Rainbow Connection" for They Might Be Giants to accompany a Chris Ware cartoon in McSweeney's, or Spike Jonze and David Eggers' adapting Maurice Sendak with Benicio Del Toro, Tom Noonan, and Catherines Keener and O'Hara.
posted by blueshammer at 8:05 AM on July 14, 2006

The survey appears to be borked when you try to submit the last question. Shame, too. The show is good but they're not going to know that if the survey is down.
posted by Dipsomaniac at 8:11 AM on July 14, 2006

I had no troubles with the survey, and I enjoyed the pilot. Looking forward to it making it as a series.
posted by crunchland at 8:14 AM on July 14, 2006

Excellent. Thanks, terpsichoria.
posted by adamrice at 8:37 AM on July 14, 2006

Great stuff.
posted by grabbingsand at 8:43 AM on July 14, 2006

Godspeed, Screw-on Head!
posted by NoiseTrader at 9:25 AM on July 14, 2006

Survey boinked for me, too. Last question. Maybe they're just swamped with positive feedback. Hopefully.
posted by absalom at 9:44 AM on July 14, 2006

I think the survey craps out if you write too much in the textboxes - I was having trouble getting it to submit earlier, and I'm pretty sure it was cutting down the short novel I'd written in each one that got it working in the end.

It's great to see everyone enjoying this as much as I did - Screw-On Head's one of my favourite comics ever, pretty much, and I couldn't believe it when I heard about this animated episode turning up out of the blue earlier today.
posted by terpsichoria at 9:51 AM on July 14, 2006

Acccording to IMDB Sci-Fi has already decided not to pick it up. Of course IMDB is frequently full of crap.
posted by Artw at 9:55 AM on July 14, 2006

"groin's looking out for your behind, head!" awesomeness.
(crossing fingers, holding breath)
posted by the painkiller at 10:10 AM on July 14, 2006

WOW! That was amazing.

I know that an animated series must be expensive and having a cast like that to do the voices will be difficult to maintain but....

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE make this show.

Perhaps the Sci-fi channel could pass on such stellar movies of the week like...Mansquito or Chupacabra.

Mike Mignola's art is such a pleasure to look at and to see it come to life like this makes me positively giddy.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 10:11 AM on July 14, 2006

I just had a glance at the discussion thread on IMDB, and I think the person who made that edit was jumping the gun a bit (and admitted as much) - the 'status' bit on IMDB was last updated on 17th March, whereas the episode only went up on their site yesterday, and there's a press release from Sci-Fi here that says it's still up for consideration based on the survey results. So I think there's hope yet.

Fingers crossed, anyway.

(On a related note, I can't decide whether it's funny or disheartening that the press release - from the network that's bought the damn show, for crying out loud - is written by someone who thinks Garth Marenghi is real...)
posted by terpsichoria at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2006

Is there a direct link to the survey anywhere?
posted by Sandor Clegane at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2006

(Actually I kind of like the Mansquito concept)
posted by Artw at 10:14 AM on July 14, 2006

/em cries.

This is awesome.
posted by Loser at 10:22 AM on July 14, 2006

Sandor: yep, it's here.
posted by terpsichoria at 10:27 AM on July 14, 2006

Actually maybe I should have looked closer at the page before asking if there was a direct link to the survey.

For what it's worth if any of you are having problems with the survey please shoot an email here.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 10:27 AM on July 14, 2006

"Free at last from my vegetable prison!"

Yeah, this rocks. I'm a huge Hellboy fan and weep that I never heard of this comic before.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:36 AM on July 14, 2006

Consider my Friday made. Thanks!
posted by graventy at 11:10 AM on July 14, 2006

I really dug the animation and smooth transition from Mignola's paneled artwork to the screen - but am I the only one who found the tone and the voice acting a little, uh... annoying? I like Paul Giamatti and everything, but it felt a tiny bit too silly. I'd love to see it develop, though, a lot of pilots suffer from the actors not quite grasping the characters, which they eventually grow into.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:26 AM on July 14, 2006

Smiley: Despite the dark nature of the subject matter it's really hard to look past the silly factor. I mean, this IS a story about a Screw-On Head. I've always enjoyed that fine mixture of horror and humor in Mignola's work and I think it comes accross pretty well in this.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 11:52 AM on July 14, 2006

I think not being able to look past the silly factor is what bugs me - in the comics it's dry enough in writing so that a balance is acheived, whereas in the cartoon the silly factor outweighs the darkness by just a tad too much. But, hey, personal preference.

A cartoon like The Maxx (while not perfect) did a good job (I think) of achieving a good balance between the silliness and darkness of that (very similarly toned) comic. Also, I think it's the pacing - it's hard to go any slower than they did in such a short timeslot - in light of that, they definitely did a great job. I just kind of wish it were a wee bit darker in tone and left the silliness to the subject matter, not the delivery, creating a nicer tension between the two.
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 12:35 PM on July 14, 2006

Now if they'd just base the next Batman sequel on “The Doom That Came to Gotham.”
posted by Tenuki at 1:05 PM on July 14, 2006 [1 favorite]

Oh, I hate this. I've already put together a steampunk campaign based on the Screw-On Head (which, I determined, was actually the Bronze Head of Roger Bacon). How, oh how, will anyone take it seriously now?
posted by SPrintF at 6:38 PM on July 14, 2006


posted by redsparkler at 1:29 AM on July 15, 2006

Magnificent. Thank you.
posted by NinjaTadpole at 6:21 AM on July 15, 2006

Fantastic find! Thanks for sharing this.
posted by UKnowForKids at 8:29 AM on July 15, 2006

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