Thursday, May 22, 2014

Ask Erik: Episode Sixty-Five

To Erik: With the new Godzilla movie out, how has he been portrayed in comics?

I'm so happy you asked.  I really, really am.

Godzilla's been the star of his own book across the decades under a variety of different publishers.  You have IDW and their more modern run, you have the run by Trendmasters, and then you have the Dark Horse comic series which was really good, even if it had what might be the goofiest comic book of all time:

Godzilla vs. Barkley

Seriously, that is my all-time favorite panel of a comic book ever.

However, for overall weirdness and greatness, my personal favorite run is the Marvel Comics run from in the 70s.

Marvel didn't want to just do another "giant monster" comic without making sure they had a link into their regular universe.  Godzilla was in the same universe as the Avengers, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four, so if you're going to have a giant lizard stomp his way around America, it only makes sense for him to encounter other, familiar characters.

Or, barring that, at least meeting the Champions and getting tossed on his back by Hercules.

The story line was pretty simple, Godzilla starts some trouble, SHIELD gets called in to deal with it, and Dum Dum Dugan (a real name) winds up considering Godzilla to be the white whale to his Ahab for a while.  You had story lines where Godzilla fought other giant monsters, where a giant robot named Red Ronin was created to face him (and would regularly team up with him to fight other threats like ...well, monster and giant bigfoots and the like), but then you also had a story line where SHIELD used Pym Particles to shrink Godzilla down to the size of a rat, but then Godzilla got loose in New York City and had to fight a sewer rat.

Of course, when Godzilla starts to grow again, you have an obligatory battle with the Fantastic Four, and a character trying to sneak him out to the piers by dressing him up in a trench coat and hat... about as well as you'd expect.

Later, Godzilla gets to stomp around the Marvel Comics New York City and face off against most of the gathered Marvel superheroes.

And to Marvel's credit, they were willing to let the King of the Monsters do his thing.  The only thing that ever really seemed to hurt him at all that didn't come from a giant monster was when Thor smacked him in the snout with his hammer.

You also had him going back in time (because the Fantastic Four just happened to have a time machine lying around) to fight The

You also had one of the other best panels in comics history...

It's still possible to find the collected Godzilla comic (from the Esssentials series) around, even though it's currently out of print.  I highly recommend it, as it currently has one of the best spots of honor on my bookshelf.

Sadly, Godzilla vs. Barkeley has never been put into a larger trade, as far as I know.

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