Monday, March 9, 2009

1970's Flashback: Godzilla, King of the Monsters (Marvel Comics)

Let's kick things of for the second week of "Atomic Month" in the Catacombs with a fond look back at everybodys favorite nuclear dinosaur!

During the 1970's, the famous movie monster called Godzilla starred in a 24 issue Marvel Comics series written by Doug Moench & drawn by Herb Trimpe, however unlike other movie adaptations, Godzilla, King of the Monsters thrust Godzilla fully into the established Marvel Universe. In a nod to the popular Toho movies, Godzilla first appears by exploding out of an iceberg. Despite the great danger that the famed "atomic lizard" posed, he was often the lesser of two evils as he clashed with monsters far more evil in intent than himself. Godzilla generally acted more like an actual animal, albeit one with unusual levels of intelligence. Godzilla regularly encountered not only agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. led by Timothy "Dum-Dum" Dugan & Gabe Jones, but also battled heroes from various Marvel Comic books such as The Fantastic Four, Devil Dinosaur, The Avengers, and The Champions (a belated cameo by Spider-Man occurred in the last issue of the series). Current Agents of Atlas leader Jimmy Woo was also a recurring character in this series. Godzilla fought against other gigantic monsters too, including Yetrigar (patterned after King Kong), and the Mega Monsters. In defeating these three alien beasts, Godzilla saved both Earth and an alien world which had been at war with the true masters of the Mega Monsters. It is worth noting that in the Marvel Comics version, Godzilla only breathed fire, rather than radioactive breath as he did in the films. One character that was created specifically for the series, Red Ronin, would later reappear in issues of Avengers, Solo Avengers, and Wolverine, in which Godzilla isn’t actually named, being referred to instead as a "time lost dinosaur", presumably to avoid being sued by Toho (after Marvel’s usage license expired).

One of Godzilla's primary antagonists from the series, the mad scientist Doctor Demonicus, later captured and mutated Godzilla even further. This altered version of the monster has continued to make rare appearances into the 2000's, but he’s never been directly called Godzilla. Recently, a creature bearing a resemblance to Godzilla made a cameo in the first issue of The Mighty Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Godzilla-hunting ship from the 1970’s series, Behemoth, has also recently resurfaced in The Incredible Hercules #115, now under the command of Amadeus Cho.

1 comment:

Cullen Bunn said...

Another of my favorite comics from the era. As a kid, I was only able to read an issue every now and again, and somehow that added to the charm. My favorite bit from the series was the arc in which Godzilla was reduced in size. He fought a tank full of sharks and a rat. Awesomeness!