Personal blog - and temporary home page until new website is finished - of writer, editor and graphic artist Christopher Mills

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Go, go Godzilla

Driving to Free Comic Book Day at Casablanca Comics in Portland, Maine last Spring, I told Brandi that there was only one trade that had come out this year that I really needed to pick up (of course, I couldn't afford more than one!), and fortunately they had a copy in stock – Marvel's ESSENTIAL GODZILLA.

What a great book! From the days when the Marvel Universe was a wild and wooly place, fun, and anything could happen! (Am I the only one who misses those days?)

Heavily restricted by Toho Studios in regards to what they could do with the character, Doug Moench and editor Archie Goodwin slightly revamped the big G's origin (although not dramatically) and had the saurian supreme emerge from the North Pacific to take an American tour, pursued by Dum-Dum Dugan and S.H.I.E.LD. As Godzilla crossed the continent he ran into the Champions in San Francisco, battled the evil Dr. Demonicus and his monsters, fought a giant robot and giant Bigfoot in the Grand Canyon, was harassed by cowboys, trashed Las Vegas, beat up a trio of alien monsters, was shrunk by Henry Pym's shrinking gas, tossed back to the time of Devil Dinosaur (via Doc Doom's time machine), battled the FF and the Avengers... and then disappeared into the Atlantic, never to rear his scaly head in MU again.

Herb Trimpe did a great job on the art, with Tom Sutton turning in a nice two-parter, as well. Kinda surprised, considering that with Moench and Trimpe were the creative team, that Godzilla never ran into the Hulk, but maybe if Marvel had sprung for another year's license, they would have gotten around to it.

A lot of G-Fans complain about the book, annoyed with Trimpe's rendition of the character and Marvel's decision to make him green, but the tone of the series is actually very close to the films that Toho was making in the Seventies. And reading these now (I have a few issues in my collection, but not a complete run), its clear that Moench was having a grand time... and his fun was contagious!

A big "thank you" to Marvel for dusting these off, paying the license fee, and making them available again!


Anonymous said...

I was always hoping to see team ups with Rodan and Mothra, etc.

Such was not to be alas.

Christopher Mills said...

Unfortunately, Toho wouldn't let Marvel use any of their other kaiju characters, without paying seperate (and prohibitively expensive) licensing fees.

This prohibition similarly hindred Dark Horse's various Godzilla comics.

But then, it was the integration of Godzilla into the Marvel Universe that made those comics so much fun. Seeing ol' Godz duking it out with Devil Dinosaur is one of the high points of my fannish memories. The best Dark Horse could mangage was to have the Big G meet their character "Hero Zero" from their short-lived super hero line.

And somehow, that didn't have the same magic.