Monday, 18 July 2011

Why's It So Hard To Make Godzilla Look Good?

Why is that most Godzilla comic books suck? I don't get it. I mean surely the awesomeness is baked right into the concept! He's giant lizard who every so often likes to eat a city, swat a giant, prehistoric moth or slam dunk all over Sir Charles Barkley. You'd think making a great comic out of that would be wee buns...but history has proven otherwise.

In fact the only Godzilla comic that I can think of that could cut the mustard was Marvel's late 70s early 80s series. You know the one where S.H.I.E.L.D. built a giant, red, samaurai robot and then let a little kid use it fight Godzilla in San Francisco?

While it did lack giant robots named after members of Boyzone, Godzilla #21 stands out for me as a particular good issue from that series. It's basically Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe doing a veritable masterclass on how to write a good Godzilla book.

Any comic-book creator worth his salt knows that you got to have a strong opening when writing any book. With Godzilla though you have to remember fans have seen this guy eat Tokyo and punch out King Kong. You want to dazzle them, you've got to come up with something bold and say Godzilla being eaten by a tankful of blood-frenzied sharks while the Fantastic Four watch with gormless looks on thier faces:

I should also point out that Doug and Herb were hampered by the fact that they couldn't use any of the classic Godzilla characters like Rodan, Mothra or SpaceGodzilla thanks to Toho's insanely high license fees. Such restrictions would've crippled lesser creators.

Doug and Herb however used it as an excuse to plug in beloved Marvel characters and crazy made-up monsters at every wheel and turn. Who wants to see 'Zilla fight a giant radioactive moth for like the 90th time when instead they can see Aunt Petunia's favorite, ever-lovin', blue-eyed Thing tiger-uppercut Godzilla right the hell out of a tank of sharks.

Doug Moench don't play people. He may not have Godzilla locked in combat with the fearsome Mechani-Kong or wearing giant sneakers but there's no denying that that is pretty freaking awesome.

Doug's a forward thinking dude too. Involving the Fantastic Four also solves one of the fundamental problems of having Godzilla as your main character. You can't have Godzilla battle Spider-man in New York in #5 then in #6 have him in Latveria chowing down on Doctor did he get there?

Such problems are no sweat for the FF's resident super-genius Reed Richards. You want to get Godzilla from A to B and you want to do it fast? Just strap his big ass to your pantent-pending 'Giant Lizard Roof Rack'.

That my friends is comic-book madness at it's wacky best. As far as I'm concerned you could've packed up shop and gone home right then. I mean we've already seen dinosaur versus sharks, dinosaur versus super-hero and dinosaur versus Reed Richard's cosmic tow package. Any one of those sounds like the plot of an awesome Sci-Fi Channel original movie.

But the guys don't stop there. Doug and Herb even manage to shoehorn a trip back in time into this issue courtesy of Doctor Doom's handy dandy time platform. Let's face it, if you send Godzilla back in time in the Marvel Universe there's only one thing people are going to want to see...

Devil Dinosaur Baby!!

I don't know about you but I love Devil Dinosaur and Moon Boy. A battle between those guys and Godzilla can only be awesome. Perhaps even more awesome than watching Godzilla recieving a lesson in giant-city-eating-lizard sportsmanship

That, my friends, is how you write a great Godzilla comic (when you haven't got the license to use an NBA All-Star or Godzilla Junior of course).

We salute you Doug and Herb. For it seems that only you have the comic-booking chops to make a story that includes dinosaurs, sharks, time travel, cosmic-ray-powered scientists and giant roof racks turn out awesome.

C'mon you other Godzilla writers, no more sucking. Don't make set Sir Charles on you.
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