Godzilla: King of the Monsters – Marvel comic

 

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From 1977 through 1979, Godzilla starred in a 24-issue run of comics written by Doug Moench, drawn by Herb Trimpe, and published by Marvel Comics entitled Godzilla: King of the Monsters.

The series thrusted Godzilla completely into the Marvel Universe. In a nod to King Kong vs. Godzilla, the giant radioactive lizard first appears by exploding out of an iceberg near Alaska; although, how the prehistoric creature came to be trapped again in ice is never revealed. Over the course of the series, he crosses the continental United States and eventually ends up in New York City.

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Godzilla’s appearances in the Toho films are alluded to in a few issues. In at least one issue, Godzilla seems like the lesser of two evils. He clashes with a monster far more evil, who generally acts more like an actual animal, albeit one with unusual levels of intelligence. Despite such allusions to the films, Godzilla is depicted as more animal-like than as the highly intelligent, perhaps sentient, creature depicted in the majority of the films by the time of the comics’ printing (1977).

Godzilla encounters not only agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. during the course of the series but many other heroes in the Marvel Comics universe. Among them are the now-defunct group the Champions (sans Ghost Rider), the Fantastic Four, Devil Dinosaur and the Avengers, along with a brief cameo by Spider-Man in the last issue of the series.

Godzilla also fights other gigantic monsters, including Yetrigar, a King Kong-esque giant primate, and the alien Mega Monsters. Red Ronin, a giant robotic entity created specifically for the series, reappears in AvengersSolo Avengers, and an issue of Wolverine, in which Godzilla is given an oblique nod, being referred to as a “Time Lost Dinosaur,”.

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Despite the loss of copyright, Marvel would continue to use Godzilla for several years afterward. In Iron Man No. 193, one of Godzilla’s primary antagonists from the original series, mad scientist Doctor Demonicus, captures and mutates Godzilla so that he no longer resembles his Toho namesake. His last appearance was in The Thing No. 31, where he is actually referred to as Godzilla.

Outside of this, Godzilla has been referenced or spoofed in other Marvel comics. In The Web of Spider-Man Annual No. 2 from 1986, the character Warlock from The New Mutants turned into Godzilla and then King Kong during a rampage through New York City.  In The Amazing Spider-Man No. 413, Spider-Man battles a huge robot toy Godzilla brought about by the villain Mysterio.

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The Marvel Comics atlas states that the Age of Monsters began in 1954, which is evidently a reference to the original Godzilla film. Additionally, the entry mentions that Godzilla returns years later and is the reason for the construction of Red Ronin and the formation of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Godzilla Squadron.

In 2006, Marvel reprinted the entire 24 issue run of Godzilla, King of the Monsters as a trade paperback collection. Like all of Marvel’s Essential line, the series was published in black and white rather than colour as in its original printing.