Godzilla, King of the Monsters Special
Godzilla, King of the Monsters Special is a 1987 one-shot black-and-white comic written by Randy Stradley and Steve Bissette, illustrated by Bissette and Ron Randall, and published by Dark Horse. It was the publisher's first of many Godzilla comics, establishing the continuity followed by the subsequent Godzilla Color Special and the 17-issue Godzilla series. The story primarily takes the form of a flashback by Noriko Yoshiwara as she recalls how her father's research unintentionally led to the emergence of Godzilla and the destruction of Tokyo when she was a child. Dark Horse published a color edition of the comic in 1998 as Dark Horse Classics: Godzilla #1. That same year, it was included once again in black-and-white in the Godzilla: Age of Monsters trade paperback, along with Color Special, Godzilla versus Hero Zero, the story "Godzilla's Day" from Dark Horse Presents #106, and issues #0 through #4 and #16 of Godzilla.
The BIGGEST character of all time is back--like you've never seen him before! Plus, beginning in this issue, a series of full page pin-ups by Giffen, Moore, Vess, Vietch, Yeates, Gulacy, Chadwick, Warner, Eastman & Laird, Salmons and others!
In the present day, Noriko Yoshiwara stares out the window of a building in Tokyo as a thunderstorm rages in the city. She thinks about how despite the storm's onslaught, the city's towers still stand. The fury of the storm pales in comparison to the fury that once shook the city decades ago on the day the towers fell. While this storm will pass, she will never forget the day that Godzilla awoke. In the years since that day, experts have tried to pinpoint where the disaster began, suggesting that it began with sightings of the Thunderbird around the world, or with the plague of locusts. But Noriko is certain that it began when her father discovered the slab.
Decades ago, Noriko visits a construction site in Tokyo as a child with her father, university professor Morio Yoshiwara. Noriko remarks that the gigantic slab being unearthed at the site looks like a "big rock," but her father explains that it is a very important rock and that his entire department is working on translating the carvings on it. Construction foreman Burton Helzer yells to Yoshiwara that the slab is still holding up construction and reports that someone from the lab says that its radioactivity is increasing. Helzer impatiently says that he told Yoshiwara's bosses at the university that he would give him a week for an on-site examination of the slab before it was moved, but that no one warned him it was radioactive. Yoshiwara tries to explain the importance of studying the slab, but Helzer retorts that he is holding up his company's project for a rock. Yoshiwara states that the slab is incredibly ancient and as important in resolving ancient mysteries as the Rosetta Stone was in deciphering ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. One of the researchers examining the slab, Katsu, suddenly screams in pain as his hand is grabbed by something within a crevice in the slab. Helzer, Yoshiwara, and one of the other researchers pull him free, but a huge leech-like creature is revealed to be biting down on his arm with its sharp teeth. The men kill the creature with a pickaxe, much to Noriko's horror.
Weeks later, Noriko enters her father's study to report that she had a nightmare, but finds him absorbed in studying reports, scrolls, and news clippings. These clippings detail the appearance of a huge locust swarm near a fishing village in Kyushu, and the sinking of the Soviet whaling ship Vinnista. In the latter case, the Soviet government maintains that the ship was sunk by an American nuclear submarine despite survivors' insistence that the disaster was caused by a "sea monster." Noriko's mother, Tomi, enters the study and asks what her daughter is doing there. Noriko reports that she had a nightmare about the "big worm," but Tomi assures her that the creature is dead and that there is nothing to worry about as she leads her back to bed. One day, Yoshiwara rushes to the construction site where Helzer is meeting with university personnel. Helzer tells Yoshiwara that he is too late and that Dr. Hikeda has given him permission to move the slab to the university today. Yoshiwara frantically says that they cannot move the slab to the university, and instead need to dump it into the sea. He explains that he finished deciphering the carvings on the slab, and that they warn about an "Age of Monsters." The slab was put on the Japanese island of Honshu thousands of years ago before it was settled in order to protect the rest of the world from the "Disaster Monsters." Every three or four thousand years, the monsters awaken and are drawn to the slab, he explains. He states that he believes several of these monsters, including Soran the Thunderbird, Inagos the Locust-King, and the Fire Monster Godzilla have already awakened and are heading to Japan. According to the carvings, Godzilla is especially to be feared. Despite Yoshiwara's insistence that he has proof for his claims, Helzer and the university officials do not believe him. Yoshiwara returns home and informs his wife that his superiors deemed him crazy and fired him from the university. Tomi is shocked, but Yoshiwara is less concerned about his job and more about how he can warn the world about the impending disaster. Just then, Noriko reports that she can see countless locusts flying outside the window, much to her father's horror. Yoshiwara takes his family outside of their apartment and boards a taxi, pleading with the driver to take them away from Tokyo as fast as possible. The taxi becomes stuck in a traffic jam, prompting Yoshiwara and his family to continue on foot. When they reach the harbor, they witness countless sea animals writhing in fear in Tokyo Bay. Yoshiwara leads his family to a nearby motorcycle just as a huge monster rises from the bay and lets out a terrifying roar. Yoshiwara immediately recognizes this monster as the dreaded Godzilla. Godzilla observes the metropolis of Tokyo before him and, remembering the primeval world he had once ruled, angrily fires his atomic breath at a nearby building. Yoshiwara drives the motorcycle to the construction site with his wife and daughter in tow.
When they reach the site, they see Helzer waiting next to two transport helicopters. He asks what is going on, only for Yoshiwara to angrily state that exactly what he had already warned him about is happening. As Godzilla appears over the horizon, Helzer immediately attempts to flee but is stopped by Yoshiwara, who says there is work to do. At this time, Soran begins flying over the ocean toward Tokyo. Yoshiwara says that if Helzer runs, the city is doomed. He explains that there are two helicopters here; he will take one and buy Helzer time to use the other one to fly the slab over the sea and drop it into the Japan Trench. Yoshiwara embraces his wife and daughter and says he loves them both as he bids them goodbye. He tells Helzer that he knows how to fly the chopper well enough to do what is necessary and prepares to board it, while Tomi assures Noriko that her father will be all right. Meanwhile, Inagos erupts from a gigantic egg on an island amidst the chants of his onlooking worshipers. As Helzer uses his chopper to lift the slab, Yoshiwara flies his toward Godzilla. Yoshiwara draws Godzilla's attention away from his family and crashes the chopper directly into the monster's face. Godzilla roars in anger and pain before noticing the call of the slab growing fainter. As Godzilla changes direction to follow the slab, Tomi urges Noriko to run before she is crushed to death by falling debris. Noriko cowers behind a wall as Godzilla walks past her, following Helzer's chopper. Soran approaches Tokyo as Helzer draws Godzilla toward the bay, while Inagos leaves his island and begins swimming toward the slab as well. As Helzer flies the slab over the ocean, Godzilla begins swimming and gaining on it. Knowing he won't be able to escape at this rate, Helzer attempts to drop the slab only to realize that Soran is flying just above the chopper. Helzer struggles to release the slab but is finally successful, causing Godzilla and Soran to both dive beneath the waves after it and allowing his chopper to escape. Soran soon surfaces and flies away, unable to continue pursuing the slab, while Inagos turns back to his island home and Godzilla continues his descent into the Japan Trench. As Helzer's chopper turns back toward the smoking ruins of Tokyo, the orphaned Noriko sits next to her mother's lifeless hand amidst the rubble, where she discovers a scale left behind by Godzilla.
Back in the present, it is revealed that Noriko is standing in a laboratory, where she is studying a way to finally kill Godzilla as revenge for the loss of her parents. She holds the scale, promising that should Godzilla ever awaken again, she will be waiting.
Weapons, vehicles, and races
Staff role on the left, staff member's name on the right.
- Writer Randy Stradley & Steve Bissette
- Penciller Steve Bissette & Ron Randall
- Inker Art Nichols & Tony Salmons
- Letterer David Jackson
- Editor Randy Stradley
- Cover Artist Steve Bissette
Great Turtle proposal sketch by Steve Bissette
'Mothra' character proposal sketch by Steve Bissette
Dragon/hydra from space proposal sketch by Steve Bissette
- This comic introduces the monsters Soran, Inagos, and Kamerus, all of whom were mentioned in Dark Horse's Godzilla #0 eight years later in 1995. Soran and Kamerus actually appeared in the series itself in issue #12 through a character's vision. The three monsters were likely stand-ins for Rodan, Mothra, and Anguirus, respectively.
- Co-writer and artist Stephen Bissette created proposal sketches for monsters to be featured in this comic, which included surrogates for Anguirus, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. While his Anguirus surrogate became Kamerus, although slightly retooled, the Mothra and Ghidorah surrogates were never utilized. The insect monster Inagos is still most likely based on Mothra, though not as heavily as Bissette's unused design.
- Godzilla's Japanese name (ゴジラ is written on a diagram of him in Noriko's laboratory near the end of the comic. Gojira)
- The exact year when Godzilla attacked Tokyo in Noriko's flashback in this comic is never directly stated, however in Dark Horse Comics #10, which was published in 1993, Burton Helzer states that Godzilla first appeared "forty years ago."
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