Over at the All Things Fun! New Comics Vidcast, we try to do the best we can, but sometimes we make some mistakes. One such mistake came in our last regular show - we forgot all about the trades of the week, and one of them was a biggie, or at least to me it was a biggie - Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers. This trade comes in two volumes, and they are both on sale at, where else, All Things Fun!.
Now, for most of you out there, when I say 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' you're thinking, oh cool, Star-Lord, Rocket Racoon, Groot, the new Brian Michael Bendis comic, and big budget Marvel movie next summer, right? Well, this ain't them. Those are the characters who took the name and ran with it. I'm talking about the originals.
In 1969 Doom Patrol and Deadman creator Arnold Drake, along with noted Silver Age artist Gene Colon, himself famous for his Daredevil, Iron Man, and Tomb of Dracula work, took a look at the Marvel Comics Universe in the 30th century. If that time sounds familiar, yeah, it was a direct shot to counter DC Comics' success with the Legion of Super-Heroes, also set one thousand years in the future.
Introduced in Marvel Super Heroes #18, we were introduced to a new superhero team, one composed of humans who had evolved for survival on different planets that Earth had colonized in the last hundred years. Led by thousand year old astronaut Vance Astro, who along with telekinetic powers and the inspiration of the heroes of today's world, leads this team against the alien Badoon, who have conquered the Earth.
The original members included Charlie-27 of Jupiter, made bigger and stronger by that planet's oppressive size and gravity. There was also Martinex, a crystalline being from Pluto, and Yondu, and weapons master from Alpha Centauri. They were quickly joined by flame-haired Nikki from Mercury, and the mysterious cosmic being Starhawk.
The team fought the Badoon across the backdrop of more than a few Marvel titles before defeating them and freeing the Earth with the help of the time-tossed Defenders. Saving the Earth was easy however, compared to what came next…
A new foe rose from the ashes to take over the 31st century Earth after that. He was part-man and part-machine, named Michael Korvac, a collaborator in the Badoon invasion. Korvac was really nobody until he fled to the twentieth century. There, he tried to download some of Galactus' technology, a stunt that embued him with the Power Cosmic. Now he was somebody. Korvac became one of the most powerful beings in the universe, calling himself alternately Korvac, Michael, and The Enemy.
His master plan originally was to erase the Guardians of the Galaxy from the timeline by killing Vance Astro as a child. The Guardians followed him back in time, and enlisted the Avengers to protect the young boy. Long story short, he decided that universal conquest was a better goal, and when the Avengers and Guardians tried to stop him, he killed them. Yeah, he was that powerful. You can read that story in The Korvac Saga, also available from All Things Fun!.
These are some of the tales that are included in volumes one and two of Guardians of the Galaxy: Tomorrow's Avengers. It is a whole new world of Marvel Comics action and adventure, and one that eventually inspired the latest incarnation of the team, the one that will be featured in next summer's sure-to-be-hit movie.
That movie, it should be noted, might have more to do with the original Guardians of the Galaxy than we thought. Michael Rooker, of "The Walking Dead" fame, just got cast …as Yondu. I guess we'll just have to wait and see!
The newest jewel in the Marvel NOW! crown is the new series of Guardians of the Galaxy by the power duo of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Steve McNiven. Bendis is coming off of a decade plus old run on the Avengers franchise, as well as Ultimate Spider-Man and Marvel NOW!'s All-New X-Men, and McNiven is the artist who dazzled us on New Avengers, and the legendary Civil War. And they aren't the only reasons Guardians of the Galaxy is so hot.
For those not in the know, Guardians of the Galaxy is headed to the big screen in 2014 with a cast that already includes Chris Pratt and Dave Bautista. Here's your chance to get in on the excitement early with a number one issue that is a terrific jumping-on point for new readers. Marvel Comics superstar Iron Man joins the Guardians just as the Earth has been made a target for invaders from space. And it only gets better from there.
For more adventures of these classic Marvel cosmic characters including Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot, Iron Man, and of course, Rocket Racoon - get on down to All Things Fun! and pick up Guardians of the Galaxy #1, on sale this week!
Dark Horse Comics has had the license to make comics based on Star Wars for over two decades, but I have to confess it's flown over or under my radar for the most part. That's not because I'm not a Star Wars fan, no, not at all, it's because I'm an original Star Wars fan.
Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, Darth Vader in armor and breathing mask, Princess Leia, Chewbacca, and even Boba Fett - that's what Star Wars is to me. If it's not those first three movies, I'm sorry, I just don't get it. The majority of the Dark Horse SW books have seemed to be new characters, stuff from other movies or media, or just barely on the fringes of the universe I know. Nothing personal, DH, it just didn't grab me.
That said, a recent offering has gotten my attention, my full attention. A title called Star Wars, no subtitles, no adjectives, and solely about the characters I knew, debuted three months ago. Star Wars #3, written by Brian Wood with art by Carlos D'Anda, brings us to a SW universe shortly after the events of that first classic movie A New Hope.
From the first few pages, this old school Star Wars fan was hooked. Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are at odds over a new squadron of X-Wings and finding a traitor in their ranks. Meanwhile, Han Solo and Chewie are off on their next big adventure, and it starts with a bang!
Great story and art, not to mention full-on nostalgic excitement, highlight this great jumping on point for new readers. Star Wars #3 from Dark Horse Comics is on sale this week at All Things Fun!, just look for the fantastic Alex Ross cover!
Hawkeye the Marksman has come a long way in the nearly five decades he's been around. Clint Barton has gone from minor Iron Man villain to the Black Widow's partner to redemptive and rebellious Avenger to the size-changing Goliath to leading an Avengers team, and even leading the Thunderbolts, to now - a big time movie star in Marvel's The Avengers. Heck, he's even worn a skirt. He's not just a guy with a bow and arrows.
Now writer Matt Fraction and artist David Aja (the team that brought us The Immortal Iron Fist) take Hawkeye in a new direction. In Hawkeye #1, our hero enters the grim and gritty crime noir New York City that this character has never really seen before. Aja's art conjures comparison to Darwyn Cooke and Michael Lark, and portrays the city more real than it's ever been in a Marvel comic outside the Punisher's little corner. And Matt Fraction, Matt Fraction is just the man, and he knows his Hawkeye, this time as if through Quentin Tarantino's pen and camera. Great stuff.
Be sure to check out this new take on a treasured and storied character. Hawkeye #1 by Fraction and Aja, a new ongoing series from Marvel Comics, on sale at All Things Fun! this week.
By Allison Eckel
I defended Superman at a six-year-old's birthday party recently. We were at one of those party places that feature large inflatable slides and bouncing houses, that are big enough to accommodate 50 screaming kids. The rooms are deafening and feature one small bench wordlessly offered to the pregnant mom or the one who chose really uncomfortable shoes. I'm an old hand at this rodeo, so I know to dress for standing and have a full charge on my phone to keep occupied because the room is dark and too loud to hold good conversations.
Regardless, at this party I found myself in a good conversation. I introduced myself to one of the few dads in the room; I am his daughter's scout leader and knew only his wife. Yelling to each other like we were at a club with 20-year-olds, we discussed what we do and I mention that I blog about comic books. At this mention, women usually give me a quizzical look, make an offhand comment, and return to a more familiar topic. Men, however, usually get more focused, express a, "Really?" heavily charged with wonder, bemusement, respect, and a hint of something -- envy? -- even if they don't like comics.
This guy falls into the majority of guys who read Marvel comics in their youth but got away from it sometime before high school and now remember the experience with nostalgia. To that end, he expressed an interest in exposing his eight-year-old son to comics. Well, I replied, all-ages comics is something of a specialty for me. I immediately recommended he begin with the new Superman Family Adventures, which would give a nice introduction to both comics form and the best hero role model ---
"No, I don't really like Superman." He cut me off. I was silent for several seconds. He doesn't like Superman? It's Superman! He saw I was shocked and tried to cover, "He's just too perfect. He always wins and it's easy. I just don't get it." For this reason, he always preferred Marvel's Avengers cast, including Hulk, Iron Man, even Captain America.
This is not a unique perspective on Superman. Indeed, it may be The Man of Steel's biggest adversary: The perception that he is uninteresting because he is too perfect. Many Superman stories in his 75-year-history have involved him simply beating the bad guys into submission or arriving in time to save Lois. If these are the only ones you read, then you would not find him compelling.
Grant Morrison's reboot of the character's canon in Action Comics of the New 52 seeks to change that, as I wrote before. And DC Entertainment just gave us all Superman vs. The Elite on DVD, which brings Action Comics #775 (2001) to the masses. In that issue, writer Joe Kelly grabbed several moral dilemmas much debated by governments and put them in the hands of meta-humans and a Kryptonian alien. Do terrorists deserve due process or should they be killed? Should people with the power to keep humanity safe have the power to define “safe”? How should we define the line between what is right and what is righteous?
The best Superman stories also involve him using his intelligence to solve the problem instead of just his fists. When finally confronting Manchester Black and the Elite, Superman sees that an all-out brawl would solve nothing. His solution for how to teach them a lesson is elegant, intelligent, and humbling.
I like having an infallible hero who I know will always make the right decision. One who will never jump sides or cross that line. When Wonder Woman killed Max Lord in Wonder Woman #219 (2005) she crossed a line. But she’s a trained warrior; her sister Amazons would never have an issue with killing a murdering madman. Yes, she’s supposed to answer to a higher code, but I think it’s Superman who ultimately enforces that code. I would be able to take it from Batman, who in some incarnations takes a perverse pleasure in keeping his adversaries alive so they have to suffer in their continued existence. Death for them would be the easy way out. Superman's view of justice may seem simplistic compared with his two peers, but it is a difficult view to maintain. And stories like Action #775 serve to remind us all why Superman is the greatest super-hero.
But don't take my word for it. Explore Superman on your own:
If you count yourself among comics fans who never quite liked Superman, give the new movie, Superman vs. The Elite, a try.
To read Action Comics #775, you could pick up Justice League Elite, vol. 1 and vol. 2, which includes that issue along with the Justice League Elite mini-series.
To introduce younger readers to Superman and his characters, Superman Family Adventures is on sale now and features the creative team behind Tiny Titans, Art Baltazar and Franco.
And now is the perfect time to re-discover the Man of Steal in the universe of the New 52. The first eight issues of Action Comics will be released August 1 in Superman: Action Comics Vol. 1: Supermen and the Men of Steel.
To say that this is a big week for Marvel Comics and the Avengers would be a serious understatement. With the release of Marvel's The Avengers this past weekend to the highest box office opening ever, I say this is the biggest week for the Avengers.
So if you haven't already, go out and see the movie, and if you've already done it, see it again, then come on down to All Things Fun! and pick up the biggest Avengers comic this week, Avengers Assemble #3.
The cinematic Avengers - Thor, Iron Man, Hulk, Captain America, Hawkeye and the Black Widow - go toe to toe with the new Zodiac in this story by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Mark Bagley, featuring the biggest last page revelation you'll see this side of a Marvel movie end credit sequence.
Do not miss Avengers Assemble #3!
The character of Popeye the Sailor Man is not often thought of as a comic strip or comic book character, but that's where his origins lay, waaay back in the early 1930s newspaper strips by E.C. Segar.
Originating in 1929 in the feature Thimble Theatre, everyone's favorite sailor eventually took over the strip, and then became so popular he moved on to animation, and rarely looked back. Oh to be sure there have been Popeye comics in the years since, but never as popular as his cartoons.
This week, IDW tries to reverse that by bringing to comic shelves the first new regularly published Popeye material in over three decades. This first issue of four written by Eisner Award winner Roger Langridge and illustrated by cartoonist Bruce Ozella faithfully brings to life the Popeye of old and also his entire cast of friends and foes. These guys have done their research, and they know Popeye.
Look for the distinctive cover that supposes Popeye in an homage of Superman's first appearance in Action Comics #1. This is great fun, for kids of all ages, available at All Things Fun! - not to be missed!
By Glenn Walker
The mantra used to be Comics aren't just for kids anymore, but these days things have changed. A thought occurred to me several weeks back while watching the Super Bowl. We have gone mainstream. The nerds have inherited the earth.
I had friends and family call me during the game, not about the game, mind you but about the commercials, pushed to call by seeing trailers for the new Ghost Rider flick, and The Avengers of course. They didn't call me to find out what these movies are because they already knew – they wanted to know what I thought of them. They also wanted to know if there would be previews for The Amazing Spider-Man, The Dark Knight Rises, or even The Man of Steel during the game as well.
None of these things were unknown entities. They were all known quantities to folks who know nothing about comic books. This was not a game of ask-the-geek because he'll know what the hell it is, it was ask-the-geek because he'll know if we should see it. Gone are the days of only nerds knowing how many days until the next comic book movie comes out, now everyone is on that clock.
And for clarification, when I say things like nerd, geek, fanboy, etc., it's a term of endearment, and to differentiate ourselves from this new type of fan, the mainstream fan. Remember the days when nobody knew who Green Lantern was outside of your comic shop? Well, game over, your mom knows Green Lantern now. He's Ryan Reynolds in that flick that bombed last year. But still, there is awareness.
Almost all of our Hollywood blockbusters these days, whether they succeed or not, are based on comic books. Audiences around the world get indoctrinated to geek culture on a weekly basis watching "Big Bang Theory." Kevin Smith just started a nerd version of "Hardcore Pawn" set in his own comic book shop. Comics-based "The Walking Dead" gets better ratings on AMC than "Mad Men."
Comic book culture has gone mainstream. It has already happened. Nerds rule. The bad news is we're no longer special. Just sayin'.
By Glenn Walker
Now that Fear Itself is over, and Iron Man is in recovery from his night of alcoholic excess, bad things are afoot for the Golden Avenger. His arch-enemies Zeke Stane and the Mandarin have been in the background upgrading his old rogues gallery. What better time to take a peek at the Forgotten Foes of Iron Man?
Stane, Hammer, Doom, and more recently Osborn – these are Iron Man’s enemies, right? Yeah, nowadays that’s about right, but the fact is that ol’ Shellhead has one of the more extensive rogues galleries in comics, rivaling Spider-Man, Batman, and the Flash. The problem is most of them are long forgotten.
Let’s start with those that are well known. These have been persistent enemies in the last decade or so…
Norman Osborn: Also known as Spider-Man's arch-enemy the Green Goblin, Norman Osborn is also an industrialist, arms dealer, and rival to Tony Stark. Even if neither had super-powered other identities these two would clash. Most recently Osborn took SHIELD away from Stark and created his own immoral Avengers team to replace the real one when he had them outlawed.
Doctor Doom: It makes sense that these two would eventually butt armored heads and not like each other. They are so similar and yet so different. Both men rule their own empires, both wear armor and wield incredible power. They have crossed paths on several occasions, and it's rarely to have lunch and compare notes.
Victor Von Doom is primarily a foe of the Fantastic Four, but has had bad relations with most heroes of the Marvel Universe, but he has a special place in his dark heart for Iron Man. Scarred by an accident, he sealed himself in indestructible armor and also augments his power with sorcery - another reason the Golden Avenger dislikes Doom. Iron Man hates magic. He can't understand it, he can't control, so he abhors it.
In the Silver and Bronze Ages of comics, Iron Man collected quite a colorful assortment of enemies, most of them lost to the sands of time, some not. Hopefully we'll be seeing some of them again real soon. They are…
The Ghost: The Ghost is an industrial spy, common in the world of high tech business, but he is the worst kind - a super-powered industrial spy. True identity unknown, he uses his 'ghost tech' to become invisible, phase through walls, and basically do as he pleases. He currently haunts the Thunderbolts as a current member.
Unicorn: Iron Man was forged in the midst of the Cold War so many of his adversaries are of the 'Red Menace' type, the Unicorn is one of them. Wearing a costume and headgear designed by Professor Anton Vanko AKA the Crimson Dynamo, the Unicorn can shoot a variety energy beams and other powers from the horn on his helmet - thus the name, the Unicorn. He has most recently appeared on Nicktoons' "Iron Man Armored Adventures."
Spymaster: Employed at different times by Zodiac, Justin Hammer, and Madame Masque, Spymaster is exactly what he sounds like, another industrial spy much like The Ghost. He uses a variety of gadgets to get the job done and is also a trained assassin as well. The original Spymaster was murdered by The Ghost, and since then other men have taken on his mantle.
The Controller: Powered by a super-strong exoskeleton, mind control and his slave discs, scientist Basil Sandhurst tried to conquer New York City, and has since worked with and under many other villains. He has also fought many of the Marvel Universe's heroes, though his primary foe remains the Armored Avenger.
Ultimo: This giant artificial humanoid construct was built by aliens millennia ago and left on Earth. Ultimo has arisen from time to time to fight Iron Man, frequently as a pawn of other villains like The Mandarin and the Yellow Claw. It is known for its few lines of dialogue, the main one being, "If it moves, it dies." Ultimo has appeared in every animated incarnation of Iron Man.
The Living Laser: Usually thought of an Avengers foe, the Living Laser began his days that way before making a name for himself in Iron Man's rogues gallery. Arthur Parks first used laser technology and then infused into himself becoming a real living laser. Notably he was originally a pawn of The Mandarin, and now makes life hell for the Golden Avenger solo. He has also been seen on "Armored Adventures," as well as the new "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes" animated series.
The Melter: Bruno Horgan was an arms dealer put out of business by Tony Stark and then chose to use his heat technology to become the Melter and take on 'Stark's bodyguard,' Iron Man. And old school villain, he was a member of the first two Masters of Evil groups and eventually was killed by the super-villain-murdering Scourge.
Blizzard: On the opposite end of the temperature gauge is the Blizzard. Three men have gone by this name and costume all using cold-based technology to fight Iron Man. The Blizzard has been a frequent animated Iron Man foe in the 1960s, the 1990s and in the 2010s as well.
Madame Masque: Part Catwoman, part Iron Maiden, and all mercenary, Whitney Frost is both lover and archenemy to Iron Man. She is the daughter of super-powered crime lord Count Nefaria, and she hides her disfigured face behind a golden mask. Masque is a double agent to beat all double agents. In the past she has allied herself with, among others, the Avengers, the Thunderbolts, the Maggia, Norman Osborn, and The Hood.
Hawkeye: This longtime Avenger started his career under the tutelage of villains and Iron Man was his first target. The bowman named Clint Barton eventually turned to the good side with help from the also repentant Black Widow. Later he would become not only Iron Man's colleague and friend, but one of the greatest Avengers.
Titanium Man: Another Red Menace villain from the Silver Age, the Titanium Man is Russian KGB Boris Bullski who with an armored suit similar to the Crimson Dynamo tried to destroy the American capitalist hero Iron Man. Titanium bigger and stronger than iron, Boris crush. Don't be fooled by my levity, the Titanium Man is a bad ass.
Alcohol: This foe has taken down the Golden Avenger more than once. Demon alcohol has always been with Tony Stark, as we've pretty much always seen him drinking, usually martinis the way those billionaire types always do. In the late 1970s, writers decided to give Stark consequences, and he became an alcoholic. It got so bad that he had to give up being Iron Man for a while. The bottle remains a dangerous lurking foe for our hero.
Now, finally, let’s take a look at the Hollywood brigade, those that have been portrayed on the big screen so far…
Obadiah Stane: Played by Jeff Bridges in the Iron Man movie, the man who would become the Iron Monger and ignite the Armor Wars is a fairly recent villain, from the late Bronze Age. Again, a rival industrialist, Stane stole Stark's entire company from him, along with all of his armor prototypes. His son Zeke Stane has sworn revenge on the Golden Avenger, and with The Mandarin's help will soon be making Iron Man's life hell.
The Mandarin: In the Silver Age, The Mandarin was Iron Man's main big bad, so big and bad he still tried to destroy Old Shellhead's superhero team the Avengers, even when he was no longer a member of the team! The Mandarin was a leftover of the Cold War as were most early Iron Man foes, but was also based on something much, much older. A villain in the tradition of Sax Rohmer's Doctor Fu Manchu, The Mandarin gained his powers from ten ancient alien rings, each of which had its own dangerous weaponry. He frequently would employ other villains (both other enemies of Iron Man and not) to do his bidding.
The Mandarin appeared in slightly subdued form in the first Iron Man film. Over the decades since he was introduced the concept of the Oriental villain has become one of racial insult and rarely used anymore. The Mandarin appeared in the 1966 "Marvel Super Heroes" animated show, in the 1990s "Iron Man" series, again leading a group of other villains against his enemy, and in "Iron Man Armored Adventures."
Justin Hammer: Sam Rockwell gave life to Hammer in Iron Man 2. In the comics, the character is much less slick, less clueless and much older. Like the film version, he's a rival industrialist (yes, there's a theme here), who tried to frame Iron Man, and then sicced an army of super-villains on him when that didn't work. He was a memorable foe in that his actions made Tony Stark crawl into the bottle with dangerous circumstances for the first time.
The Black Widow: Natasha Romanov is again an old school Communist threat from the Cold War days. Double-crossing and triple-crossing is what the spy game is all about, and this Russian spy used her feminine wiles as well as her martial arts training to get what she wanted. Eventually, with Hawkeye's help, what she wanted was to defect to America and join SHIELD. She has also served with the Avengers, and will be played by Scarlett Johansson in next summer's The Avengers.
Whiplash: Like the Black Widow, Whiplash was in Iron Man 2, but he was the main villain as played by Mickey Rourke. The film origins of Whiplash are muddied by being combined with that of the Crimson Dynamo, so I'll concentrate on the comics here. Mark Scarlotti was a Stark employee who traded sides to the Maggia when they offered him the technology to build a suit with cybernetic whips built into it. He later went by the name Blacklash and was eventually killed by a sentient Iron Man armor. Don't ask, these things just apparently happen every day in the Marvel Universe.
The Crimson Dynamo: The armor has been worn by many men, but the theme is the same. The Crimson Dynamo is an armored superhero, whose power is equal to Iron Man's, and he's loyal to the Communist government of the Soviet Union. Perhaps that bit of datedness is why the producers of Iron Man 2 went with Whiplash. Battles with the Dynamo are always greatly anticipated by readers, and in most cases they are misunderstandings, as in most cases the Dynamo is a good guy. Depends on your perspective of course, and what year it is. If it's 1966, he's a Commie and villain, no matter what, ya know?
There, that should prep you for the upcoming events in Iron Man. It should be exciting when these old foes return in new, improved, and more dangerous form. And as always, you'll be able to check those adventures out at All Things Fun!.
By Glenn Walker
Folks who know me know there are a handful of things that I am really passionate about. First and foremost is The Bride (a whole different kind of passion), followed by stuff like film, music, French fries and of course, comics. You could say I'm a geek about any of those, but there's one other thing that I am a supernerd about -- Godzilla.
I love me some Godzilla. Kaiju eiga (Japanese giant monster movies) is absolutely one of my guilty pleasures. And the thing is, other than appearing in its share of comics, the Godzilla mythos itself is rife with the complexities, continuities, personalities, and even the type of alternate realities that make comics so magical for many of us. Sadly, until now with IDW Publishing, rarely has this rich mythology been utilized. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
For those not in the know, Godzilla, or Gojira in Japanese, is a daikaiju, a giant monster or strange beast, famous from film, television, comics, videogames, books and toys. To be more accurate in the Big G's case, he (and sometimes she or it, depending on the movie and the context) is a fifty-meter- (later eighty and one hundred) tall dinosaur resurrected by atomic bomb tests and mutated to breathe radioactive fire. In fact, in most of his movie appearances he is a living metaphor for the atom bomb.
Over his long movie career he has been villain, hero, and force of nature. The Big G is best known for his battles against other daikaiju, most notably Mothra, Rodan, King Ghidorah, Anguirus, Gigan, Mechagodzilla and even the American King Kong among a great many others. His usual stomping grounds are the islands of Japan, although he has wandered as far as Hong Kong, New York City, and Planet X. And for the record, he's charcoal grey, not green. Just a pet peeve on my part, as some American comics and cartoons portrayed him as green, but only two films, both in this century have colored my boy green, and I believe that was a mistake.
While Godzilla existed here and there in manga form for years, Godzilla's first foray into American comics came in the late 1970s (after the first movie series, known as showa) published by Marvel Comics. This series lasted for a wonderful twenty-four issues featuring the writing of Doug Moench and some of the best artwork by classic Hulk artist Herb Trimpe, and for a few issues, the late Tom Sutton. Godzilla King of the Monsters was a highlight of my young life when it came to going to the drug store to get my comics back in the dark ages before comics shops.
While the comic lacked the characters and mythology of the Godzilla movies, it still featured the Big G himself, and was centered firmly in the Marvel Universe proper. His chief enemies were "Dum-Dum" Dugan and SHIELD who pursued him throughout the series. Superheroes showed up rather quickly as Godzilla faced the Champions of Los Angeles in the third issue. The comic ended in New York City as he battled the Fantastic Four and the Avengers before stomping off into the sunset.
Between those epic battles and superhero teams, Godzilla faced off against a new rogues gallery of giant-sized opponents, as his usual movie playmates proved too expensive for Marvel to license from Toho, the Big G's parent company. These new foes included Batragon, the Mega-Monsters, Red Ronin, Yetrigar (these last two would make memorable appearances in the Avengers franchise), and even Jack Kirby's Devil Dinosaur. Sadly, the Marvel Godzilla would eventually be mutated and assimilated into the Marvel Universe as a completely new creature - a pawn of grade Z villain Doctor Demonicus in Iron Man.
In the 1990s Dark Horse Comics picked up the Godzilla torch and put out multiple series featuring a monster more traditional to the films. This Godzilla was a product of the second film series (heisei) where the monster was more of a force of nature and stories were told around him rather than about him. There were throwbacks to the brawler Godzilla during this era, however, as the Big G fought adversaries like the G-Force, Hero Zero, and, no joke, in homage to a Nike commercial, Charles Barkley. Hmmm, and folks wonder why Godzilla isn't taken seriously.
Recently IDW Publishing took their shot at the classic monster with Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters, written by Eric Powell (The Goon) and Tracy Marsh with art by Phil Hester (Green Hornet, Wonder Woman). There has been much promotional nonsense afoot with this comic as the first issue offered comics shops the chance with a minimum order to be crushed on the cover, and alternate covers of later issues are to feature a different Toho monster -- collect 'em all. Still, with all of that, this is an amazing comic.
Whereas the first two attempts at doing Godzilla in the comics included only the Big G himself, IDW has brought the entire Toho crew along, so the whole mythology will be available. Before, it was pretty much like doing Batman, only without Robin, Commissioner Gordon, the Joker, Catwoman, the Batmobile, the Batcave, etc. Now, at IDW, Godzilla has his Robin and company. And really, no made-up opponent can truly stand up to Godzilla like the real King Ghidorah or Mechagodzilla.
In only two issues Godzilla Kingdom of Monsters has brought me back to the joy I felt reading comics as a kid -- the wonder, the thrill, the adventure. Yeah, this is one of those comics that makes me remember why I love comics. Powell, Marsh, and Hester have created a Godzilla that is true to the character and the mythology, and with issue two, Rodan and Anguirus have joined him. It's only a matter of time before my faves Mothra and King Ghidorah show up. I am on board with this one. Thank you, IDW!