Godzilla - Marvel Comics Series (1977)

By: Karl Stern (@dragonkingkarl, @wiwcool, karl@whenitwascool.com)

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Toho Productions famed movie series monster Godzilla had been a cult classic for years by the time 1977 rolled around.  Godzilla had stomped all over Tokyo, Japan previously in numerous movies but, mid-year, Marvel Comics brought the giant monster to the United States and into the Marvel Universe.  Around the same time Mattel toys had licensed Godzilla to be part of it's tremendous Shogun Warriors line of toys and Marvel acquired the comic book license for that comic as well.  However, Godzilla was kept apart from the other Shogun Warriors in the comic books and the Shogun Warriors comic books failed to acquire the license for the most famous of the Shogun Warriors giant robots - Great Mezinger.

Despite these inconsistencies, Godzilla: King of the Monsters comic book had a 24 issue, two year run and Shogun Warriors ran for 20 issues with both series proving relatively popular, especially for licenesed comics.

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The Godzilla - King of the Monsters comic book started the way many Godzilla movies do, with very little continuity.  Godzilla just shows up in an iceberg, breaks free, and heads toward the West Coast of the United States.  Godzilla gonna do what Godzilla does. 

The comic book series, which ran for 24 issues, follows Godzilla as he unleashes destruction across the United States and is set firmly inside the Marvel Universe with S.H.I.E.L.D. tracking him and trying various schemes to stop him during his trek from coast to coast.  Late in the series the Avengers even show up to try and stop him as do the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man. The series is written by Doug Moench, drawn by Herb Trimpe.  

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Obviously, it was going to be problematic when the finite license deal with Toho for the Godzilla character ran out after having such an iconic monster running rampant in the Marvel Universe for a couple of years.  Marvel worked around this problem by having the character Dr. Demonicus capture "Godzilla" in the pages of Invincible Iron Man (issue 193) and mutate him to the point he no longer resembles the Toho version of Godzilla.  This unnamed mutated Godzilla then appears in a few random issues over the next several years of Iron Man (and a few other) Marvel comics.

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Godzilla-like monsters have continued to appear in the Marvel Universe even up to the present day though they are usually altered in appearance and often nameless nods to the famous Toho monster.  

Godzilla: King of the Monsters issue 1 hit news stands in April of 1977 and sold for thirty cents.

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