by BEN KROMER & r & & r & The Amazing Screw-On Head & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & K & lt;/span & ids today don't have Saturday morning cartoons to look forward to, so they do meth. It's not just the empty hours. DVDs of failed cartoon pilots are little testaments to a vanishing art form. That's depressing.
Take The Amazing Screw-On Head. Adapted from a one-shot comic by Hellboy creator Mike Mignola about a Civil War-era android that answers directly to Abraham Lincoln, Head investigates ye olde paranormal phenomena with an assortment of bodies that his head screws into. (Mignola's original concept was: "makes a cool action figure.") His comrades are an Alfred-esque manservant named Mr. Groin and a stuffed dog. His arch nemesis is the droll Emperor Zombie. Other villains include vampires, werewolves, more zombies, and Ancient Evil -- all in the one issue.
That's a good premise for a comic and a great premise for a cartoon. The show was made for the Sci-Fi channel without further assistance from Mignola, and Korean animators put his singular art style into motion. Paul Giamatti voices Screw-On Head, David Hyde Pierce is Emperor Zombie and Molly Shannon plays their vampire love interest. I respect them all the more for lending their talents to a basic cable cartoon.
If the creators didn't appreciate or understand the source material, all the Korean animation and famous voice actors in the world couldn't save AS-OH. But magically (or so it seems after enduring so many bad comic adaptations), the cartoon mimics the comic's formula enough to serve as a start for a series.
AS-OH is a cartoon in the Saturday Morning vein rather than what the kids today see on Cartoon Network or Adult Swim. Instead of irony or gross-outs, there is physical comedy (a la recent Disney movies) and the inherent humor of hearing over-the-top-dialogue delivered deadpan. It's also educational: The pilot ends with the real origin of the Homestead Act. It's a good show, or would be, and I say that after viewing it in the present day instead of through the nostalgic glaze of hazy memories of TMNT and The Real Ghostbusters. Presently, Screw-On Head, the cartoon, only exists as a one-shot DVD; it's suitable mostly for people in arrested development who enjoy being frustrated.
The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.