My Favorite Monster: Seeing The God In Godzilla [Fantasy Week]
This week is Fantasy Week at ComicsAlliance, celebrating the best in magical fiction and imaginary worlds, and we’ve invited our writers to mark the occasion by celebrating a hallmark of the genre; the legendary creatures and outcast freaks we call “monsters.” This is My Favorite Monster.
Who else but Godzilla deserves the title of favorite monster? Sure, there are lots of great contenders, like werewolves, and Dracula, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. But the Xenomorph and Predator could team up and even they could not topple Godzilla. She has had one of the longest lives of any monster in the world.
Note: I will be calling Godzilla “she” throughout this article, because she’s totally a she. If you have problems with this, I am so so very sorry. Look at my face :-( See how sad it is? So sad.
There are plenty of things I could focus on when it comes to celebrating Godzilla, not least her long canon run as a monster in the Marvel Universe.
(Ah, my favorite comics universe had my favorite monster.)
Or I could discuss the fact that she was surely the inspiration for dozens of other comics monsters, including Fin Fang Foom and several other giant Kirby lizards. Or I could talk about how some of my favorite and first memories were of watching the Godzilla movies, falling in love with MechaGodzilla, SpaceGodzilla, and Ghidorah.
But I most want to talk about Godzilla in Hell. If you write a comic and the title is [Big Time Awesome Character] in Hell, I will buy at least one issue of it.
Godzilla in Hell is a five-issue series from IDW, with each issue by different creators, including Bob Eggleton, Ulises Farinas, Erick Freitas, Buster Moody, Brandon Seifert, and Ibrahim Moustafa. The book follows Godzilla through different regions of Hell, and eventually -- spoiler alert -- Godzilla conquers Hell (because nothing can stop her) and is reborn. Which makes this a fun explanation for how Godzilla can seemingly die and always, always, always come back.
The first and last issues by James Stokoe and Dave Wachter, respectively, are the best, and honestly some of the most powerful Godzilla fiction ever made. (They're also almost completely absent of sound.) Seeing Godzilla as a giant, unbeatable creature --- an unstoppable force, willing to take whatever you throw at her --- who can face down even the horror and perils of Hell is awesome.
Remember in the Gareth Edwards’ movie, when Godzilla uses her laser breath for the first time? Remember how awesome that was, and how everyone started clapping? Okay, imagine that feeling, but as an entire comic. That’s the first and last issues of Godzilla in Hell. (The rest of them are pretty good, too, featuring Godzilla taking on some of her toughest foes and destroying an entire city.)
But overall, the mini-series represents Godzilla perfectly. While a lot of her stories involve her mindlessly fighting against giant monsters, and while that can be a lot of fun, the best Godzilla stories present her as something incomprehensible and larger than life, something fiercer and stronger, something that will never give up.
The best stories present her as a force of power, devastation, and inspiration. Something that demands both devotion and fear.
That's who Godzilla is, and that's why Godzilla is my favorite. Because, she is, as always should be, a God.