It's been more than fifteen years since the King of Monsters stomped through a major comic book metropolis, but in March the giant green lizard returns in a big way, courtesy of IDW Publishing. The new “Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters” will feature not only the titular big-screen baddie but also a healthy selection from the rest of Toho's bestiary. The creative team behind the book is a monster, as well, with “Goon” creator Eric Powell co-writing with Tracy Marsh and artist Phil Hester bringing it all to life. Powell will also be providing covers to each issue, and “Godzilla” #1 will feature an alternate cover by Alex Ross. CBR News spoke with writers Powell and Marsh about the series and good ol' fashioned carnage.
Before the giant lizard comes to town, the world of “Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters” is one that has never before seen the likes of such creatures. And, Marsh told CBR, “it’s about as prepared to handle the attacks as it was to handle September 11 or the earthquake in Haiti. The results are much the same as they were after those events—everything goes haywire. People are scared, hurt, dead, homeless, in need of resources they can’t get. But in 'Kingdom of Monsters,' it happens over and over. SNAFU!”
Powell added that he and Marsh were keen to look at the effects of a monster invasion beyond the initial ruined architecture and lost lives. “We set out from the very first conversation to look at the premise of giant monster attacks in a more consequential way,” Powell said. “What would really happen if giant monsters popped up? Well, your infrastructure would be screwed. It would be like Katrina and the oil spill times giant frickin' monsters.”
As to who the heroes or point-of-view characters would be, Powell told CBR that “Kingdom of Monsters” would have a revolving cast. “But,” Marsh added, "all the characters’ stories have a common thread, which is trying to cope with the increasingly deteriorating world around them. Instead of following one or two main characters, we wanted to follow the monsters themselves and show glimpses of their effects on lots of different people.”
Godzilla himself, though, will not be a point-of-view character. “We won't be giving Godzilla thought balloons, if that's what you mean,” Powell said.
Asked for their perceptions of who Godzilla is and what he represents, the writers had slightly different takes. “Godzilla was originally an allegory for the nuclear age, and we’re definitely going for a modern-day interpretation of that,” Marsh said. “But readers want to see Godzilla and his buddies eff stuff up. So that’s what they’re gonna get.”
Powell, for his part, said, “To me, he still represents what he represented when I was seven. He's a big giant cool looking monster that breathes fire and smashes buildings. Which is awesome.”
“Luckily, that’s really fun stuff to write, too, so it all works out,” said Marsh.
The writers will waste no time getting to the destruction promised by a title like “Godzilla.” “Like with every story, you have to lay the ground work. Here's what the world was like when it was normal and then... monsters. Things get bad quick and go downhill fast,” Powell told CBR. “I don't want to give too much away, but we've laid in plenty of satire about the world we live in.”
The plural “monsters” may lead readers to assume that other familiar destroyers might be on the way, and such assumptions would be entirely correct. “Yep, we got Rodan, Mothra, Anguirus, King Ghidorah, and more,” Powell said. Asked whether the appearance of so many monsters might lead people to believe the end times are nigh, Marsh said, “We don’t plan to delve too deeply into the characters’ psyches, but, like I said before, we’ll definitely try to show how they’re struggling with the whole Hell-in-a-hand-basket scenario.”
Godzilla is, of course, a universally recognizable character, but Marsh is a fairly recent convert to the monster's lore. “Yeah, I wasn’t really focused on giant monsters as a kid, unless you count the times that my brother chased me around the house with his toy Godzilla that was taller than I was,” she said. “I’ve been watching tons of movies to research the monsters and get into the spirit of things, but I’ve always known who Godzilla is. That’s what I think is so cool about getting the opportunity to work on this comic. EVERYBODY knows Godzilla.”
Powell's experience is somewhat different. “I've been a fan as far back as I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of watching Godzilla movies that would come on sometimes on Sunday afternoon.”
Even before taking on “Godzilla: King of Monsters” for IDW, Powell's dance card was already quite full with his return to writing and drawing “The Goon.” Yeah, I'm booked up for 2011. I decided to take on Godzilla as my one outside project because I got a good idea on how I thought it should be executed,” he said. “That's what gets me excited about a project. If I'm enthusiastic about the idea.” The time constraints, though, meant he would need some help, and thus Marsh was enlisted. “We're working together on a rollerderby book and I really needed some help to write this book because I didn't want to be drawn away from working on the 'Goon,'” Powell told CBR. “Luckily, Tracy was able to help out.”
“Yeah, and I’m psyched about it,” Marsh said. “Eric and I have known each other for years, and I’d done some small writing jobs for him in the past. But nothing like this. He was so excited about the project when he approached me. His enthusiasm was catching.”
Rounding out the team is artist Phil Hester, known for writing and drawing a slew of comics including “Green Arrow,” “The Irredeemable Ant Man,” “The Darkness,” and “Firebreather,” which was recently adapted into an animated feature. “We’ve seen some of his pages, and they’re incredible,” Marsh said of Hester's work on “Kingdom of Monsters.” “I can’t think of a better way to kick off the series.”
“I was super excited to get Phil for this first arc,” Powell added. “The stuff he's doing looks great. Better than I even imagined.”