Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Godzilla was a Marvel Character?

Hello, bleeders! Today we're going to take a trip back into time an examine an interesting phenomena over at the much beloved comics publishing house, Marvel Comics. That being the fact that they took licensed characters and folded them directly into the Marvel Universe. What do I mean? Well, let's examine what I mean when I say "licensed characters", alright? Now, I am referring particularly to character that Marvel do not themselves own, instead being owned by other companies who has allowed Marvel to buy the license to publish books about said characters. Marvel has had a ton of licensed books over the years too, but it seems like they're now only doing books directly owned by them or their parent company, Disney.

Which is why there are so many Star Wars books out from them now.

And while some of the licensed stuff is allowed to exist on its own, like with their older Star Wars comics or with their Thundercats or WCW books, there are other books that get to play together. For example, Madballs and Care Bears both had Marvel books and, apparently, existed in the same universe as one another, as the two groups met. That's a odd crossover, right? Sure, but then they took it a step further for some of their licensed properties, injecting them straight into the Marvel Universe proper. Among these properties were G.I. Joe, Transformers, Rom, 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Human Fly, Doctor Who, Shogun Warriors, Conan the Barbarian, Doc Savage, Red Sonja, Micronauts, and the aforementioned Godzilla. I want you to imagine it being a totally normal thing for Spider-Man to go on an adventure with pulp hero Doc Savage or for a superhero to erupt from the pages of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Oh wait, you don't have to....because those things actually happened.

Comic books are so delightfully weird.
But none of those licenses existing in the proper Marvel Universe came off as stranger than the fact that Godzilla stomped around there for a while, especially since they don't talk about him anymore. And wow, let me tell you, it got pretty interesting over in the Big G's Marvel book. You'd know it'd have to be with a giant lizard god stomping around but I don't think many of you realize just how amazing it really was. J. Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man's father figure/number one hater, was face to face with him while yelling at him. Oh yeah, that really happened.

I like to imagine Peter looks back on this moment when he needs a pick-me-up.
He doesn't get burned at all for his trouble either, with Godzilla simply returning his hot air with some of his own, knocking Jameson on his Hitler-mustached ass. Beautiful. But that's just the tip of the proverbial giant lizard iceberg, as he came to blows with many heroes like Hercules, Iron Man, Thor, Vision...hell, there was even a giant robot built to deal with this giant monster problem. But what's so interesting about this is that it actually fits rather well. You see, Marvel has a long-running relationship with giant monsters. Back in the day there were a great many books all about them terrorizing humanity. Even now, those giant beasties still exist mostly on a secluded island called...well, Monster Island. I say mostly because...there have been some that were allowed to leave.

Which we will talk about another day. Oh yes.
Back to Godzilla's own story though, it goes into familiar territory at times, with him fighting other giant monsters. And then there's the bits where they go into crazy super science territory with Godzilla being shrank. This results in things like him fighting a rat in the sewer and Dum Dum Dugan coming after the tiny lizard god. There is literally a comic book with a human-sized Godzilla in a trench coat being led around by a human friend until some muggers cause the shrunken lizard god to reveal himself.

Because we're operating under the logic that people will not be able to tell that a large lizard is wearing a trench coat and fedora.
Sadly, Marvel no longer holds the license, meaning that many of these stories cannot be directly referenced without permission from the current license holders. But the impact of these stories is still around, with things like Red Ronin robot still existing and the villain Dr. Demonicus still being a guy who does things. Yes, Godzilla had a human costumed arch-nemesis. He also fought the Shogun Warriors too, because he was the sort of guy who didn't let the size of his enemies scare him away from being evil. But I can at least say he cared about his creations.

I don't know, man. Something tells me you might not being able stand toe-to-toe with the Big G.
As a comic series, Godzilla: King of the Monsters was ridiculous in the best of ways. It's that sort of comic you look back on wondering if it was all some sort of hazy fever dream, because surely nothing that good could truly exist. But it did and it deserves to be remembered for all the beautiful insanity it was soaked in from beginning to end. It got republished into two different trade paperbacks from Marvel, but sadly neither one was in colour, meaning things like Dr. Demonicus' lovely costume were undersold. Maybe one day we'll get a proper re-release in colour, but I wouldn't hold my breath. You may as well be holding out for IDW and Marvel to release those Rom trades that literally everyone wants.

Yeah, I should probably talk about Rom someday, shouldn't I?
In the meantime, one could always scour online in search of scans or possibly even drop the cash on the original issues. No matter what you do, I can guarantee you that Godzilla's excursion into the Marvel Universe is worth checking out. It hearkens back to a time where comics felt more fun and things weren't all about who is gonna die in the next big event. I'm glad you took the short trip with me, taking a look at this gem of a series and the strangeness of Marvel folding other characters into their own universe of characters. We'll come back some time and talk about some of the other times they did that. For now, we're going to get back into some movies and getting prepped for tomorrow when we'll be talking about another strange crossover. Later days, bleeders.

Just not as strange as Thor and Godzilla pushing a building at one another.

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