A masked avenger named Lobster Johnson should always fight a skeleton army with two guns and some kind of glowing-goggle mask. And yet so few people seem to understand this. That's why comic book artist/writer Mike "Hellboy" Mignola, creator of Lobster Johnson and many other mysterious heroes, rules. He is the man who understands how a fight scene should happen. How the monsters should be. How explosions should be. How giant robots should enter the picture, or giant scorpions, or brains inside bubbling vats. More Mignola fights below.
Though Mignola has drawn a million fight scenes for his most famous creation, Hellboy, I think some of his greatest fights can be found elsewhere. I love this action-packed cover Mignola drew for a Lobster Johnson comic because it contains all the most important ingredients of an awesome smackdown: a skeleton, a robot, a disembodied brain, and a scorpion. Really, it doesn't get better than that.
Mignola is also the creator of another brilliantly-named hero, the Amazing Screw-On Head, a robot head who fights giant monsters for President Lincoln in the nineteenth century. The comic, which won an Eisner Award, was made into an animated short featuring the voices of Paul Giamatti (as the Screw-On Head) and David Hyde Pierce (his arch-nemesis Emperor Zombie). Here you can see a great fight from the animated version of the comic book, right after Emperor Zombie raises a monster and the Screw-On Head fights it. Luckily, the Screw-On Head's sidekick Mr. Groin is there to help!
OK, the picture below isn't of a fight, but it demonstrates one of the reasons why Mignola is so great at composing fights. It's a picture of H.P. Lovecraft, his face defined by darkness rather than features. The backgrounds are complicated, murky, and evocative. And then there's the crowning glory, the tentacle snaking out of old H.P.'s pants. That is Mignola all over: a swirl of hyperbolic darkness, punctuated by a carefully-placed joke.
And no celebration of fight scenes would be complete without this great cover that Mignola drew back in 1990, for an Aliens vs. Predator comic book. Teeth! Stabbing! Darkness! Oh, yeah.