What makes a good comic book fight? Specifics may differ depending on the reader or even the writer, but I think there are a few factors that make any kind of fight in any media work. It has to make sense to the story. Whether they’re friends or enemies, the combatants need a good reason to fight, whether it’s a disagreement, a competition, or the old fashioned “good versus evil” beatdown. It has to be well choreographed. The characters (or actors in live-action media) have to look like they’re fighting. It has to showcase the actual fighting talents. If superpowers are involved it has to look even cooler, or what’s the point? Maybe they’re not even fighting a person but challenging the elements of nature itself.
When the defunct website Always Bet On Bahlactus began the Friday Night Fights a lot of people competed. When I found the site I wanted to join in but at the time all I had was a MySpace blog so I didn’t think it would qualify. By the time Fred of the webcomic Spacebooger took over the event BW Media Spotlight was just started. And over the years I worked through my limited knowledge of my comic library through tournaments both themed and unthemed to create some good entries. Some were last-minute, but some I was really proud of. To say goodbye to the Friday Night Fights I’ll be producing a series of my favorite entries of mine. While in the past the Best Of FNF subcategory looked into other fights and linked back to whatever I posted in that tournament, these are the fights that I feel were the most visually interesting, fun, different, or action-packed whether in context to the story or not. These won’t be all my fights but something in the vein of my “best of” anniversary posts for articles and Jake & Leon. So here was how I introduced myself to the Friday Night Fights!
The Final Battle That Wasn’t (The Transformers #4/Onomatopoeia round 3)
I’m happy to say that I’m proud of my first ever entry in the Friday Night Fights. While the format at the time came from not having comic reviews available (that’s why I was using the “pre-fight” section for most of these early rounds) they were good articles. Over time I developed a faster to write format as I had more old comic reviews to point to for the set-up. And had Marvel’s original The Transformers ended here as originally intended it wouldn’t have been a bad way to end the miniseries. Then it was upgraded to a monthly ongoing and it became the first of many fights I offered with Shockwave. For a time it seemed like every tournament had at least one fight from the cyclopic cannon coming from me until Feet Of Fury, which led to the Spacebooger strip I drew.
Clones, Crossover, And Robots (101 Ways To End The Clone Saga/Ka-Pow round 4)
Ka-Pow is the actual name for the “onomatopoeia” tournament. The article is important to BW history for what I believe is the debut of the “Good Ol’ Spider-Brown” image showcasing what the Spider-Writers seemed to think Peter Parker was. (Round 5 would debut my Friday Night Fight logo, which you see as part of the prize belt above.) As for the fight itself, it was probably the funniest of the various suggestions and the success of Onslaught is what led to the Clone Saga becoming the bloated mess it was. The sad part is, as divisive as the Saga was (“we haven’t followed the real Peter for years just because you can’t write a married couple?), marketing interference is what ultimately ruined it and I think it would have been more easily accepted that One More Day. At least Ben Reilly was an interesting character and Satan wasn’t involved in making Peter act irresponsibly. You know, the guy all about power and responsibility?
Solar-Powered Hero (Solarman #1/Ka-Pow round 12)
It’s too bad Solarman didn’t do better. The cartoon wasn’t that bad. Maybe set apart from Marvel but having that Saturday morning Sunbow writing style would have benefited him more. But his only fight with would-be arch nemesis Gormalga Kraal was really good. Better than his fight with Doctor Doom in the second issue that came out years later.
Hulk To The Head (Marvel Adventures: The Avengers #11/One Panel Of Pain round 2)
Looking back this was not a good tournament to be my second one just because I really didn’t have the review format I do now and I was trying to establish it. Although it would lead to the format I would use for the rest of Friday Night Fights so maybe it was a good thing after all. What I had come up with durin Ka-Pow really wouldn’t work for One Panel Of Pain, where we only had one panel to make our marks. It was a good tournament overall but that means you really needed something special. Giant Girl tossing Hulk through the head of It, the living colossus? That works for me!
Demon Meet Angel; Fist Meet Face (Archangels The Saga #5/One Panel Of Pain round 3)
I bet I’m the only competitor to use Christian comics as an entry and this wouldn’t be the last time. But it’s a heck of a punch from our angel.
Poetic Justice, Cybertron Style (G.I. Joe Vs. The Transformers #6/One Panel Of Pain round 6)
Optimus Prime just smacked Megatron with his own fusion cannon. I should have save that for a Prize Fight!
Mongul Takes A Train Ride (Green Lantern #53/One Panel Of Pain round 12)
Kyle using a train construct to save Superman from Mongul is neat, but what really makes this panel work is the smallest detail. He actually had the presence of mind to write “Slamtrak” on the side. Kyle may not have been the strongest of the Green Lanterns in history but he was the most creative, which is why he’s my favorite.
I think this is actually a good place to stop this phase of the retrospective. There will be more next week. I’d like to see the other contributors do similar retrospectives and link here so we can share our favorite punches, slams, and beatdowns.