GODZILLA KINGDOM OF MONSTERS:
AN AUSPICIOUS BEGINNING!
This piece was originally published April 11th, 2011.
Since his final film, 2004's Godzilla Final Wars, the big guy—who so many of us have come to love over the decades—has pretty much been tucked away in cold storage.
However, as someone who has been a lifelong fan and collector of Godzilla, I knew that it would only be a matter of time before he would once again rise up from his slumber in the murky depths, to frighten, ravage and entertain the masses.
Toho, owners of the original Japanese franchise for Gojira, will every so often make a statement that they have released their last film featuring him—but that only lasts until the next one comes along. According to Toho, they would take a break from producing any Godzilla films for ten years.
|The first Godzilla gets a hug from a couple of his co-stars|
Godzilla is just too much of a worldwide iconic character to stay under wraps for very long, and he always comes back, be it in the form of films, toys, or comics.
|Godzilla, as depicted in the 1977 Marvel classic|
Mostly it has worked out pretty well and left an indelible stamp of quality fun, that is until a disastrously misguided attempt at making an American Godzilla film which became Roland Emmerich's 1998 Godzilla for Sony Pictures.
While the original discussion of making an American Godzilla film went back to the 1980's and actually seemed like it could have worked as a fun take on the monster using both rubber suit and then current special effects, by the time the first of Sony's proposed "trilogy" of films came to life, it had been plagued by numerous script rewrites and budget disputes that had the original director abandoning ship early on.
Overwhelmingly disliked by both critics and fans, this 1998 film featured a complete redesign of Godzilla, so much so that it felt more in line with a rather boring Jurassic Park dinosaur, thereby losing most of the charismatic charm that the original Godzilla always maintained.
Due to a huge amount of hype, curiosity, fans with an everlasting love and longing for more Godzilla product and non fans who just wanted a big budget monster flick, the film didn't financially tank. Sadly, it made enough money to warrant, not another couple of features, but instead a follow-up animated series that also featured the monster as depicted in the film, and once again, it wasn't something for fans of the original Godzilla.
Since that '98 monstrosity, there have been rumors, talks, tons of fake trailer videos and then in March of 2010 an announcement of the rights acquisition from Toho by Legendary Films to finally produce a Godzilla film with the promise to be what fans have waited for and not merely a bashed out sequel to the '98 film or some revisionary disaster. Legendary created some promotional artwork and an interactive t-shirt that was part of the 2010 San Diego Comic Con.
Recently, the wonderful folks at IDW Publishing (30 Days Of Night, G.I. Joe, The Art Of Ditko, The Rocketeer Complete Collection, and The Complete Bloom County to name but a tiny few of their many illustrious titles) have licensed the Godzilla franchise from Toho and released issue #1 of Godzilla Kingdom Of Monsters.
I couldn't be more excited since the series will feature loads of Godzilla's foes from the past films with many introduced for the first time in comic book form, as well as some new monsters created especially for the series.
Thankfully there certainly is no shortage of talent on board as co-creator, writer and artist for GKOM includes Eisner Award winner Eric Powell (The Goon) as well as writer Tracy Marsh, the great painter/illustrator Alex Ross and artist Phil Hester (Kevin Smith's Green Hornet).
The kickoff debut issue came with what is a first time event in the history of comics, no less than 80 (!) variant covers, 75 of which were a comic store promotional device that allowed shops to pre-order a select number of the title that then guaranteed a cover would be painted to feature the mighty foot of Godzilla stomping their individual shop.
|One of my fave stores has a featured variant cover: Newbury Comics get the foot crush|
The idea not only worked out well sales-wise with sell outs nationwide, but the covers are so beautifully rendered I know I am tinkering with the idea of hunting down each and every one of them, of course no easy nor inexpensive task, but really these are nothing short of fantastic.
As someone who is extremely picky when it comes to tampering with Godzilla, be it a new film, or in this case a new Godzilla storyline and comic, I'm truly happy with the results of issue #1 and am thrilled with being able to anticipate each new issue, something that had become more and more rare for me these days when it comes to any new comic book series.
When and if it ever arrives, any new Godzilla film can come close to the perfection that IDW's Godzilla Kingdom Of Monsters has achieved with their debut issue, then it looks like we just may have another sparkling era in store for fans of Godzilla, Mothra, King Ghidorah, Rodan and Mecha Godzilla etc.
Hey! did someone say Minya?