This week, IDW’s ongoing Godzilla title reaches a year in age, and like all of its licensed properties, has been taken to new heights without once betraying the origins of the character.
To risk acknowledging that my geekdom is incomplete, I must confess it is only a few years ago that I first learnt of the term Kaiju, said to mean ‘giant monster’ but strictly translating as ‘strange beast’. A word that is about to enter mass consciousness as the name of the aggressors in the upcoming Pacific Rim movie, once again we can be smug in knowing we were ahead of the curve.
Very much a product of their era, resplendent with rubber monster suits that would put Doctor Who to shame and a stunning lack of special effects (at least by today’s standards), Toho studios were bringing us giant monsters long before the Power Rangers were even a glimmer in some Saban executive’s mind. The films were cheesy even then, somewhat formulaic and over-acted, but with a certain charm and an early attempt at releasing an environmentally-themed message.
Many a night in childhood was spent entranced by the black and white repeats of the Godzilla movies on TV, and being what they are, they lose nothing with the passage of time. Free from the Hollywood mentality (and somewhat guided by the smaller budgets), the films contain their own narrative, granting us that wonderful gift of continuity.
Godzilla, Space-Godzilla and MechaGodzilla. Mothra and her Twin Priestesses. Kumonga the giant spider, Rodan and Titanosaurus. Creatures that return again and again, each with a purpose, each with a commentary on mankind. This is the spirit that shines through every issue that IDW has produced.