Marvel Characters Godzilla Almost Trampled

At the end of the Godzilla 2014 movie, we joked that Nick Fury would show up to recruit the King of Monsters. Well, we make a Nick Fury joke at the end of EVERY movie we see in theaters, but in this case, it has the virtue that Godzilla was once part of the Marvel Universe! That's right, Marvel once held the license to make Godzilla comics, and just like Rom, Shogun Warriors or Micronauts, he was integrated into the MU! His series ran for 24 issues from 1977 to 1979, written by Doug Moench and drawn by Herb Trimpe, and Marvel characters showed up ALL THE TIME. Godzilla even appeared in OTHER series, just to make sure Marvel would have trouble reprinting complete runs of comics in trade format later. So whom DID the First Among Kaiju meet over there? Here are the highlights...

Dum Dum Dugan
Nick Fury's number one guy is tasked by SHIELD to capture, destroy and generally repulse Godzilla from American shores, and appears throughout the series. So you see, there really IS a SHIELD connection. I want to see Godzilla show up in an Avengers film so he can fight a giant creature called Hydra. Come on! You know you now want to as well!

The Champions
Godzilla certainly outlives this team of West Coast Marvel heroes, but look at who was on it! Black Widow? She's the Marvel Studios crossover queen! Angel and Iceman? So Godzilla could go over to the Fox branch and eat some mutants! Hercules? Surely, a Greek god is in the public domain for the WB to use! The Lion of Olympus manages to topple the great beast, by the way, but the battle ends with the monster destroying the Golden Gate Bridge (sound familiar?) and the helicarrier crashing (sound doubly familiar?).
Postscript: Ghost Rider was also a member of the Champions, but isn't in the issue. MORE MOVIE MAYHEM!

The Fantastic Four
More characters with movies to their name, the FF fought Godzilla after he had been shrunken down by Pym Particles (courtesy of Black Goliath), but was growing back to full size quickly. (It give the big lummox the chance to kick taxi cabs around and fight sharks.) After they capture Godzilla, they send him to the past with Dr. Doom's time machine, where he meets...

Devil Dinosaur
Godzilla's smaller size makes him a good match for the red devil of Marvel's primeval Earth, and after tussling for a bit, they team up against aggressors and take part in Kirbyesque splash page fights! (Of course they do.) For reasons of [SCIENCE!!!!], the time machine starts to go haywire and just as the Pym Particles wear off and Godzilla gets big again, he is sent hurtling back to the present. So long DD!

The Avengers
Thor, Iron Man, Yellowjacket, Wasp and the Vision all fought Godzilla in his final issues, and it's unclear if they could ever have won. In the end, it's the kid who was helping SHIELD capture the King of Monsters apologizing that makes Godzilla up and leave... FOREVER. Aw. They made him sad.

J. Jonah Jameson
Godzilla walks by his office window at the Daily Bugle and gets an earful of ranting for his trouble. He responds by blowing smoke at JJJ, destroying his office in the process. The tough-as-nails editor survives, of course.

Spider-Man
Snaps a pic!

After losing the copyright, Marvel would continue to use Godzilla for a few years. Dr. Demonicus, a villain introduced in the series, would return and mutate Godzilla to make him unrecognizable:
In that form, he fought both Iron Man and the Thing (who still referred to him as Godzilla). Later, he'd appear as the "time lost dinosaur" (no name) in issues of Wolverine and Solo Avengers. So though they've had to fudge things a bit, it looks like he was never erased from the canon and IS a Marvel character.

Given how classic Godzilla movies can feature elements from all sorts of genres (alien invaders, superspies, family drama, etc.), why not superheroes in God2illa, eh?

8 comments:

American Hawkman said...

Still love that he had a write-up in the Advanced MSH rpg boxed set.

Martin Gray said...

Good grief, you've actually made me want to read Godzilla comics. Presumably they're not Marvel Unlimited? That Avengers ones is from my favourite era/decade of the team, want it!

Were there any examples of Godzilla appearing outside his own comic which went uncollected in reprints?

What a shame we never got a Master of Kung Fu/Rom/Micronauts/Godzilla team-up!

Siskoid said...

I don't know about Unlimited, but there IS a Marvel Essential that reprints the entire series.

Delta said...

American Hawkman: Huh-what!?! I'm very familiar with that Advanced MSH set and am unaware of that. Can you cite year of publication, page number?

Delta said...

(I once ran Godzilla against my MSH players, but had to write up own stats and used a 20" toy model on the tabletop: link).

Jeffrey Scott said...

This explains the double feature I saw the other day. It started off with Godzilla, but I fell asleep and when I woke up Spider-Man was attacking the Green Goblin. Maybe it was just the one movie and I fell asleep when Spider-Man repelled Godzilla and woke up after he moved on to fighting the Green Goblin. I hear there were multiple villains in the movie.

American Hawkman said...

Godzilla as "giant mutant dinosaur" is listed with the other dinosaurs in the Advanced Judges Book. :)

On a related note, the Iron Man Godzilla issues are in the Iron Monger trade.

Delta said...

Well, perhaps by extrapolation: "This is a moderate example of one such creature, though large ones have plagued Japan and the American West Coast." (p. 58) Thanks for the clarification.

 

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