When taking a look back through the history of supersized monsters, one name stands tall above all… Godzilla! The immense beast has been causing chaos in cities and defeating enemies for 65 years now. To celebrate the release of Godzilla: King of the Monsters we are taking a look back over the transformation of Godzilla over the last six decades, from the iconic comics to the big screen.
From Comics to the Big Screen
The Godzilla franchise, or as it’s called in Japan: ‘Gojira’, has been around since 1954, rendering it 65 years old! The franchise has seen many films, comics, cartoons, video games and toys over the decades. Godzilla first appeared in Manga comics back in the 50’s, alongside the release of the first film, Godzilla. Many of the books that were released were adaptations of unique stories written about Godzilla from aspiring authors. Since Godzilla first appeared in 1954, there have been a total of 35 movies made by movie makers in Japan and elsewhere.
Though it took some time, Godzilla finally made his way into American comics in 1967. The very first Godzilla comic published in the United States was more of a teaser comic and was given out to people visiting the cinema for free. One year after this, Marvel Comics bought the rights to Godzilla, marking a significant turning point for the Godzilla franchise. An exciting new chapter had begun!
The Marvel stories written by Doug Moench were unique and compelling; they chose to place Godzilla within the Marvel universe, thus incorporating the element of disaster that comes with placing a giant nuclear fire-breathing reptile into a world of superheroes. 24 issues were published running from 1977 to 1979. Moench eventually decided to change the representation of Godzilla in to a ‘force for good’. Though it developed over an extended series of issues, fans watched as Godzilla evolved from a ruthless monster into a ‘protector of mankind’.
In 1987, Dark Horse comics picked up the rights and published books featuring the iconic monster, which carried on for a further 12 years. The rights once again shifted to IDW Publishing and they later earned the further rights to many other Toho Movie Monsters. Outside of the on-going series, IDW also published seven mini-series’ including Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths, Godzilla Oblivion and Godzilla: Rage across Time.
The monstrous titan has starred in over 31 self-titled films from the original 1954 film to 2004 film Godzilla prequel to Godzilla: King of the Monsters, with most of these films being made in Japan. The themes vary from film to film, with some focusing more heavily on the political ideologies of the time, and others featuring more of the sci-fi elements – focusing on the adaptation of the aliens and monsters.
The king is back and with a vengeance!
Godzilla: King of the Monsters, the most recent chapter in the Warner Bros. Pictures’ and Legendary Pictures’ cinematic MonsterVerse, is directed by Michael Dougherty (“Superman Returns”) and stars Kyle Chandler ( “The Wolf of Wall Street,”), Oscar nominee Vera Farmiga ( “The Conjuring” films, TV’s “Bates Motel”), Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (“The Shape of Water,” “Blue Jasmine”), Oscar nominee Ken Watanabe (“Inception,” “Godzilla”) and Millie Bobby Brown (TV’s “Stranger Things”) in her feature film debut.
This new story focuses on ancient god sized monsters as they rise again, all the while, crypto-zoological agency “Monarch” rises to face not only Godzilla, but Mothra, Rodan and Godzilla’s arch enemy Ghidorah as they all vie for supremacy, leaving the existence of humanity hanging in the balance.