Chris Mowry Interview
Fans of Godzilla have yearned for the King of Monsters to return to the pages of US comic books ever since Dark Horse Comics finished their series over 16 years ago. Godzilla is a beast of an icon to bring back to the forefront of comics and one such fan turned professional writer, and Godzilla Creative Consultant, Chris Mowry of IDW Publishing led an internal crusade to bring the monster back to books in 2011. He spearheaded visionary ideas along with IDW executives and their eight Godzilla titles have enjoyed success in print and now digitally worldwide. The secret to any good campaign is the collective drive of individual team members and Chris Mowry’s unit has brought the vast world of Godzilla’s cast of Kaiju characters not seen prior in Western publications to multiple store shelves on a consistent basis. The latest title, Godzilla: Rulers of Earth nears a milestone as Issue #25 will mark the climactic end to the longest running US Godzilla comic series in history! MAT joined Mowry at IDW headquarters in San Diego for a retrospective look at the mission as it came to fruition, creative processes during and after securing the Godzilla license from Toho Studios in 2010, and a future glimpse towards bold new titles with the fourth-largest comic book publisher in North America.
MAT: How did Godzilla make his entrance into the IDW world and what was that process like?
CHRIS MOWRY: I have been with the company now about 8.5 years and honestly—no joke—the first week after working here I felt comfortable enough to approach the friendly staff. I was asking Chris Ryall, our Chief Creative Officer and Editor-in-Chief, “Hey are you looking for licenses, no one is doing Godzilla anymore, you should look into that.” And he said, “We’ll see” and it kind of took a long time, but eventually a couple of years later he emailed me and told me that we are going to get that license. I decided to press my luck a bit and told him that if we got that license, we had to get the other monsters too. Nobody else has done that, and I think that there is only so much you can do and people are going to want something else, other than original monsters. Marvel and Dark Horse both created their own monsters to sort of fill in, but they are not Mothra, they are not Rodan, they are not King Ghidorah, all these monsters that fans are used to and want to see. So, surprisingly we sent Toho an offer and they approved it. They kind of felt it was really time to stretch out and see if these other characters are marketable overseas. I mean, there was the Atari game that had all those monsters, so there was exposure, and through this exposure, I believe they were a little more comfortable in doing it at that time.
Do you think it was perfect timing?
Possibly, I think they had dabbled in some of that and it was time for them to finally see what a Western publisher would do and experiment in original works with these characters, aside from making a toy, or a shirt. “How would someone incorporate them?” they thought and surprisingly I think we have done better than what they expected we would do. It seemed kind of apprehensive at first, but… the general consensus is they are very pleased with the outcome. We have taken the license and treated it well. We treat the supporting monsters with just as much respect as we treat Godzilla.
It looks like you have had about eight numerous titles over the years that IDW has published related to Godzilla books.
Kingdom of Monsters was our first one that came out of the gate, and the original title was Monsterworld and there were a couple of posters that we sent out that had that brand. There was a legal issue with it so everything got changed and there was Kingdom of Monsters after that. First mini-series was called Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths and was written by John Layman. Then after that was Duane Swierczynski and Simon Gane’s Godzilla, or “the Ongoing” as we called it. Then Godzilla Legends was a mini-series that myself and Matt Frank were involved in.
The Art Adams one or the Chris Scaff one?
Both of them.
I was really happy to do the Hedorah issue for that series. And then Godzilla: The Half-Century War, of course. Rulers of Earth, Cataclysm…
History’s Greatest Monster?
That was actually the rebranded Godzilla series. So seven in total, but there is an eighth coming out, which we have not announced yet.
Will this be out by Comic-Con?
That one will be out by Comic-Con, I think. The first issue will be out in July, 2015. It is launching right after Rulers of Earth #25 comes out in June.
Issue #25 is the end of Rulers of Earth, right?
Currently, yes. Who knows what is going to happen, but currently we are ending it at 25. Then we are taking a break with it, possibly revisiting, doing other things. I know I could use a break. So, we’ll see what happens after that. I mean, if the fans and people want it then that could change. At Comic-Con we’ll hopefully have some Godzilla comics with exclusive covers. Unfortunately it is that same weekend as G-FEST so I cannot make it to G-FEST unless we can figure how to get there for a day, then come back. I have to work the show (Comic-Con) and cannot be in two places at one time.
G-FEST is great, but it’s inconvenient that fans cannot do both shows.
I like it a lot and it is great to have a smaller, intimate show. The family atmosphere is really good and everyone is very enthusiastic. But Comic-Con…
It’s like they took a city and put it into the convention center.
It’s been good for IDW, right?
Oh, yeah. For sure! It’s going to be a larger booth this year. The company keeps growing, and growing, and growing, which is great. But at the same time that show is a great thing to be a part of and everyone says, “You are so lucky… it’s Comic-Con.” But I always say, “No, I am lucky that I have a booth I can stand in and stay out of that sea of people shuffling their feet all day long, just to get to who-knows-where.”
Are you going to have any Godzilla artists this year at Comic-Con?
The ones beloved by their fans. Ones like Matt Frank and Jeff Zornow, they will probably be at G-FEST and why not, it’s a great show as we mentioned. But I’m sure people involved from the other books will be there in some capacity. Usually, we don’t find out until a week before.
Right. Obviously, you’ll be there and your Godzilla products.
I will be there, first and foremost I am an employee of IDW. They just allow me to write this book, luckily. It’s sort of like an “All Hands” kind of thing. Everybody works the show and now we are going to have even more items there given IDW’s recent business dealings.
Without deemphasizing Godzilla and related books, we are curious what are the top 5 titles for IDW?
Really without looking at sales numbers, the ones that people really know are: My Little Pony, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is very well-received. Hardcore fans really like it. Kevin Eastman co-creator of the franchise is also co-writer with Tom Waltz, one of our editors. It’s a book for people that grew up with that and who can appreciate the the old and the new.
And the game.
Right. Also Transformers titles are always popular with us. Locke and Key is a great series written by Joe Hill and illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez. Enough cannot be said about this series… it’s great stuff. I believe Universal has optioned it for a motion picture, too.
Who knows what is going to happen with that. Another book that is currently being talked about is Zombies vs. Robots (which we could not find a copy of at our local comic book shop-ed) That was a brainchild of our editor Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood. I think has been optioned by Paramount or somebody. Maybe Warner Brothers. Not sure, but there is a movie planned for that, too.
Interesting. Any others?
Then there are a lot of other books we do including X-Files and Cartoon Network titles. Also Mars Attacks, Garbage Pail Kids, Star Trek… we do a lot here.
Garbage Pail Kids is a title we are interested in. We appreciate how old collectibles like those Topps cards are new. You did not mention Godzilla in those top 5.
Haha. I didn’t want to sound biased. But the truth is that Godzilla just doesn’t sell as well as some of our other titles.
That’s amazing you put so much energy into this, but it’s not generating sales like your other books are.
It’s just a smaller market, and by that, I mean a smaller group of fans and the Godzilla books are not viewed as failures by any means. It is another license we are doing really well with. We are handling it where the fans like it, and we are not getting screams or threats to burn down the place down because we’re doing it wrong.
Right. People buy it.
Yes, yes. Rulers has a very strong following, and that’s very encouraging. We have a Facebook page that we started and I think we are over 7,000 likes on there, which is great because if everybody bought a copy of the book it would be continuing with strong sales, and if it was 2 copies everybody would ask why everyone’s buying this book again. One of the things that IDW does really well is handle their licenses properly. We put the right people on the books that they should be on and we now take chances with things. On a lot of our Transformers titles you see that we are taking chances with those. Sort of like a break from the norm to do a book that’s more dialogue and drama oriented than just action, or it could be a new art style, or whatever. Transformers vs. G.I. Joe is a really well-received book that we’re doing. It’s bonkers! It has an old Kirby-esque acid trip kind of thing going for it. People really like it and it has been on a lot of the top best of 2014 lists. Who would have ever thought that a book like that would do so well? But you know, with the right people behind it. It’s possible anything can happen.
Well, you have made quite a variety of books.
We have Star Trek, too. You name the license we pretty much have it. There are all kinds of books we do.
It seems like the success of this company is the ability to get the license.
It’s definitely the bread and butter. The company started with two books. 30 Days of Night started as a creator owned book with Steve Niles and Ben Templesmith and C.S.I., I think that was our very first licensed book. Both of those did surprisingly very well. So…
It was a great start.
And the bosses thought that maybe we should do comic books and it just kept going. Once we got the Transformers license that really brought a lot of attention to us. It strengthened our relationships with other companies and now, working with Hasbro, we have developed a very strong relationship with them. It’s a great partnership. We kept that momentum going and it turned into getting other properties as well. We have special projects editor Scott Dunbier here, and he’s been in the industry for a very long time. He’s a great guy and has a ton of connections in the art world. We do these books we call Artist Editions, beautiful hardcover printed books. We try to replicate the original art as much as possible. We get the original art in and it gets scanned at the highest quality possible showing all of the blemishes, blue lines, and smudges. It’s a collector’s dream.
And then they are printed on a paper stock that kind of matches what that art would feel like and printed at the exact same size of the art. They are massive books that have really helped expand our catalog.
There are some comics that you think, “wow it’s a great cover” and then you open the book and it’s quite poor. That is not the case with your books.
That’s good to hear. Sometimes I finish a script and I am like, “Oh, I am going to get dragged through the coals for that one.”
It is more like that is a great cover and then you open it up and there are some spreads where you think, this could be a cover also.
You have Dungeons & Dragons. Who would’ve that thought that would have been a comic book years ago? How can you make a twenty-sided die entertaining?
(Laughs.) All these pictures (that nobody reading this can see here in our conference room), that series “Shadowplague,” I don’t remember the team behind that one, that was an awesome book. I lettered that one. It was fun and had sort of the same type of comedy the Lord of the Rings had. It was definitely one of those things that I recommended to people.
Kill the Orcs!
Yeah. The company has grown not only to handle the licenses well, but in new acquisitions, where we are now working books from Marvel and DC and printing their material.
Which books are you printing for them?
We do some of the Library of American Comics type of books with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman some of the daily comic strips, some of the artist editions. We have a whole Marvel Covers one that’s beautiful. Seeing some of the artwork in there people say how did you get the cover? How did you get the artwork to be scanned into this book? We have Frank Miller, Arthur Adams, so many in there!
(Noticing Alex Ross cover in the Conference Room) So that was your first Godzilla?
That was the very first. The first image for King of the Monsters was a giant eyeball by Eric Powell. That Alex Ross cover was the first teaser that was sent out to New York Comic-Con. E.J. Su was the artist I had on issue #4 of Godzilla Legends, “Smog of War” with Hedorah and Mechagodzilla. I thought that if I’m only going to get to write one book, I better have Godzilla show up. He originally did some sketches when we knew we were getting the license. I wrote a few paragraph pitches on a bunch of different scenarios for stories, and we are kind of doing some of those ideas now with Rulers of Earth. It was seeing what we were going to be able to get away with and what can we show these monsters creatively. We wanted to show Toho what we were capable of doing by thinking outside of the box with some of the storylines.
Talking about thinking outside of the box, your relationship with Toho Studios is very good. Your artists and teams have been able to develop that relationship in the books, but there must be some very strict guidelines that they have for your company. How do you adhere to those and how has that situation developed over the course of time?
It’s been just fine. Occasionally in the past there were questions of, “Why can’t we do that?” But things get explained and you go from there. There are actually things in Rulers that we got away with that I never thought we would, but as long as our explanation was valid, we could fight for it. For example, when Jet Jaguar first showed up he was human-size. But he can grow, so I really wanted him to grow large in a grand way.
And burst out of something. So he flew in to Orga’s mouth, grows to his full size and explodes out of the middle of Orga! And the only reason were able to do that is because I talked to Toho and explained that since Orga has regenerative abilities, he can regenerate his body… so he can heal back. They agreed and approved the idea.
So you made it logical.
My thought process, when it’s not scattered with a million other thoughts lately, are “here’s what I am thinking, here’s why I am thinking this, because this can happen if X, Y, and Z occur.” Sometimes it just takes some communication to make it work.
Right, do you think it’s a possibility that some of these ideas and concepts you guys are putting into these comic books are going to make it into the Godzilla Toho movies to come?
That would be great if they did, but I won’t hold my breath.
That’s happened before in the past.
Yes, I know. I’ve heard of that.
Have you ever thought of that?
With our contract, we really can’t do origins and we can’t do anything that directly relates to the movie or counters the movies in any way. So, Biollante was one of the tougher ones, because we can’t say Godzilla cells somehow got into space and they’re mutated. Biollante and the connection between SpaceGodzilla and Godzilla without referencing those movies was…
It was really tough and that’s why people ask us are you ever going to talk about Space Godzilla? Nope, never. He’s a monster, he’s here and in the book. Biollante is in the book, just be leave it at that. So, we try to be vague about those things. And in many ways it’s been fun to leave readers’ interpretations to themselves. “Where do you think they came from?” and questions like that. Some of the ones with Jet Jaguar we did sort of force it a bit. Here’s what the idea of the concept is with him, but it won’t be in the book like this. This robot came from space. He’s the Superman of his planet or whatever place it is that these aliens we’ve introduced (called the Cryog) destroyed many years ago. And through luck I think it was when Matt Frank and Jeff Zornow were doing their designs for the Cryog we talked about them being very squid-like. Cephalopods can always shrink and expand in a way, so we wanted them to be shape-shifters. This kind of animal can do that and Matt and Jeff drew their heads very similar. Jet Jaguar isn’t a Cryog, but the results of those Cryog concepts had a very similar look to Jet Jaguar’s head. There is a panel in one of the issues where Jet Jaguar stands, facing a Cryog and you see the connection. The original idea was that this female doctor was going to be the head of the group called Project Gulliver. So you get small like Lilliputians or you grow very large and that was the play on it. Toho said we couldn’t call it Project Gulliver.
So there is a lot of back and forth, then.
Yeah, it was explaining here is what we are not going to say, but here’s what we are thinking for his origin. An alien from space, who was a refugee, brought this thing here because he refuses to have another planet be destroyed like his was from the Cryog. He adopts this girl who eventually grows to be our doctor who is in charge of the project later on, and then he dies off-screen in Godzilla’s first rampage in the Kingdom of Monsters book.
So you’re expanding the universe of all these Godzilla monsters.
We are trying to do something instead of just a typical “freak of the week” where someone just shows up and does something destructive, which we have to an extent, but not every monster’s going to have such a spotlight on them. We think there needs to be a narrative, and although it’s rather small and weak with our humans and a non-monster cast, the kaiju just can’t move the story that we want to tell. Monsters can’t talk, which is another rule we have to follow.
There’s only one movie where they did that anyway.
Right. I love that movie. (Laughs)
As do many other fans. (Laughs) And a lot of people like that movie!
I did want to try and sneak that Godzilla Vs. Gigan speak in one of the issues where Anguirus is doing something and I really wanted to sneak in a sound effect which says, “OK!”
But you could not do that?
I think I forgot about it. I always have ideas that I want to put into a script, and usually just forget to do it.
So that probably could have gotten through then, maybe?
It might have. The dialogue might have had to be, can we draw this as maybe part of a hotel or a restaurant name where the letters are crumbling next to him?
Ahh, so you have to get that detailed and send a portion of one panel?
We’ll send a full page.
A full page.
It usually goes to proposal and that gets sent in, Toho reviews it. Let’s us know. During that though, there are covers being built, because we have to solicit months in advance. And then the script is being written. Hopefully, I am writing the script by then and once the script gets turned in, artwork starts getting done and all of these are submitted to Toho in those stages, but also routed back through. When I am done with the script I send it to the artists and my editor Bobby Curnow, but as we are waiting for Toho to approve it, everybody will start to work on the issue. It has gotten to the point where I am comfortable with it in that they are not going to find anything subjective in it. There was one thing that we went back and forth on which was what I called the Hirata Initiative, basically a way to wipe out Monster Island. It was basically a counter measure. I love that people are eager to find Easter Eggs and I wanted to use that line somehow in the book. It just got to the point where the explanation for a throwaway line was making it seem to be something more than that, so the line was cut.
But you even go to that detail just to push the envelope with Toho’s property?
We do this in a non-malicious manner and in such a way to demonstrate that everybody involved in this book are huge fans and we love this project. We’re all living a dream doing this and we are trying to see what we can play around with while also having some fun with it.
Have you guys been able to meet with them (Toho) personally and talk about this.
Yes, I have been to their office.
At Toho Studios?
Just their office in L.A., I lived in Japan but have not been back there since I was in the Navy in the mid-90s. I would love to go back though to tour the studio and everything. That is actually a bucket list thing for me to do. Definitely planning on that some day.
Years ago as you know in books on Godzilla from Japan they would talk about Godzilla’s influence around the world and they would highlight for instance, Famous Monsters, a comic book from Marvel and the Monster Times. They have not done that in a few years and we think the next time they do that IDW should have their Godzilla books in there.
I think it would be great.
Particularly, swatches of some of the IDW covers.
I think it would be fantastic. We really do enjoy working with them and the feedback we get from the fans. If no one is trying to drag you down the street, kicking and throwing rocks at you, then you must be doing something right. We get fan mail, and interaction on our message boards, all kinds of comments.
Fan mail from Japan?
Just from people here. It would be nice to see the reaction there if we would ever be able to release something overseas. We are just having fun with these books. These are just our versions of fun comics.
Do you think you might have your books translated into Japanese?
That would be great. I am not sure how we could do that with the license. That is more of a Toho thing than us. That would be fantastic, because I think they might even be shocked at some of the monsters we’ve used. I mean, we have stories with Gezora!
Yes. It’s never been done before. Maybe Gezora had a Champion Matsuri film festival program and some Sonorama record illustrations or coloring sheets for children. Don’t believe there has been any comic books for that character.
I have seen pictures and illustrations.
A few cards, that’s about it.
Interesting. In our book we had the Gargantuas fight Godzilla. That was one of the things when we first got the twelve monsters plus Godzilla, we didn’t include them. But when we renegotiated our licensing agreement, I made sure to include those two brutes.
The dirty dozen plus the King?
Yes, we started with 12 monsters plus Godzilla, so 13 total. Then it became time to renegotiate. I think we were getting digital rights and that was just starting to take off. There was a big push from me that if we revamp our contract with digital rights and really take advantage of this, can we possibly look at getting some more monsters too while we are renegotiating (smiles)? They asked me to give them a list of more monsters.
You gave them a whole list?
I gave them a list and there were ones that were left off. I feel bad that they got left off.
Which ones got left off?
Gabara is one. All of the “Return of Mothra” kaiju, too.
The Mothra trilogy monsters.
Yeah, all of those. Giant Condor, no I am kidding.
King Kong has always been off the table.
Why would you want Giant Condor?
(Laughs) I don’t know. Maybe to just have a giant condor fly around. Kong has always been off the table, even MechaniKong. Even though it is a Toho creation or I guess…
I think that is all resolved, but Toho did not want to deal with it so we left him off. So the Gargantuas were our Kong basically. I am trying to remember who else. I think Ganimes was one that I forgot. Everyone from Final Wars we got. But we went back and thought one of the ones we have to get is the Gargantuas, because they had never been in a comic before in the West really. I don’t know what manga they have been in over there (in Japan) but I know for a fact that a lot of people know this movie, but not a lot of people have seen these creatures. Everyone remembers that movie. I remember as a kid I did not know it was even a “Godzilla” movie, but I loved it.
You heard the quote from Brad Pitt, right?
The movie that got him into acting and everything! We got those characters and I said next, “we gotta get Zilla… you know, the American Godzilla, but they call him Zilla now. “And they acquired him, too. That’s what started with Issue #2 when these two have to fight just to get it over with. It was for the fans that felt cheated by the seconds-long fight in Final Wars. We devoted a whole issue to that.
Do you have any plans outside of print for these books in the future? They seem ripe for cartoons and movies.
Who knows, really. I’d like to see something spin out of this, but I’m not sure what really.
With regards to the reaction you don’t know what such a reaction would be in Japan since you are not in the Japanese market, but across the board do you have a demographic is it: old fans, new fans, young fans because comic book fans have changed over the years?
For sure. I don’t care so much that anyone likes it or hates it, but that they took the time to buy, read it, or borrow it from somebody and actively seek it out–those are the people that I care most about their opinion. There are some who have not liked the book, but overwhelmingly most are at least enjoying it. There have been some of our series at IDW that they haven’t liked but with this one we really tried to make it fun and accessible. Genuinely, older people, young people, male, and females are enjoying it because we try to make it lighthearted and easy to follow. Here are monsters beating the crap out of each other, and even if you say you don’t want to see it, this is what you want to absolutely want to see! That is why people criticized the last American film that came out. Not enough Godzilla! This book is for those people I guess.
You mentioned that you are Creative Consultant at IDW for all the Godzilla titles.
Yes, that’s for all the Godzilla-related titles. It’s an unpaid position. It’s a title that I have because I’m another set of editorial eyes I suppose. When we first started doing this nobody nobody really knew these characters like I did, so I was kind of a first line of review before we sent things to Toho. But now, everyone is better at it. I work on my book at home, but I will still work on all the other books too in the office.
Besides retailers and conventions can people also pick up your books online?
There are numerous retailers and vendors to buy from online.
Godzilla’ return to American comic books is basically something that IDW took charge of when no one wanted to take charge of.
Yeah, and I think we lucked out now with the release of the movie. When I was bugging them to get the license the movie was coming out, but nobody knew the movie was coming out. I heard about it through rumblings in fandom. Hey there’s a movie coming out in 2013, actually it was 2012 at that point. Once we got the license, I wrote a whole publishing schedule. It was quite ambitious… there would be two titles alternating each month and by the time the movie comes out we will five or six trades to sell and we will be in bookstores, boom! I was having flashbacks of 1998 with Barnes and Nobles and their big store standees and everything.
It was still marketed well. The retailers did a good job, I thought.
The film made a lot of money.
Yeah and sponsors got behind it. There is some with the new film, but the push during the 1998 movie was everywhere.
It was a flood of products and commercialism.
I was kind of expecting that, but then they pushed the date out to 2014. So, okay we will just keep working on this towards 2014 to have more titles. Over time, we honed and sharpened the blade if you will, and worked out the kinks that we had with some of the books that were a little too aggressive and just different. This gave us time to work on solid pitches, get new creative teams, and some variety out there.
We still do multiple covers and everything, but ultimately we are trying to please our readers and have people feel good about what they have bought.
It seems like the staple Godzilla titles that you have in these issues are the Kiryu Godzilla or the 1992-1994 Godzilla. Is there something that Toho has said or something IDW has worked out with them where you are not allowed to show the Showa or GMK periods? Is there anything particular about their absence?
Not really, with Godzilla I don’t think anyone has ever thought the Showa Godzilla is threatening if that makes sense.
It makes sense, although the 1954 Godzilla is quite menacing.
Picture though how the 1954 Godzilla would look in Rulers of Earth right now? He would have to be drawn in that style and per our contract we can only use certain powers associated with certain monsters. Godzilla we would get away with because he has the Kiryu look and the Heisei look and the Heisei powers a little bit. Those have been used and we are fine with that, but I don’t see a Showa Goji with a nuclear pulse and conventions like that. At the same time we cannot have him magnetize and start attracting power lines or electrical towers and items like that, either.
One of the stipulations we have in the contract is as mentioned before is we cannot do origins but using a certain look has to be done in a different manner. So, a certain look has to adhere to certain qualities or standards to them (Toho). The Showa Mechagodzilla for example has to be alien in origin, which is why we were able to work it in finally into the story with an alien who shape shifts. They shape shift, they’re disguised as humans… and that took a little bit of convincing. They understood and approved that concept.
And you can’t reference movies directly? Is that correct?
Correct. We also cannot reference movies directly. When it came to Mecha-King Ghidorah, we wanted to use the character just to get the monster out there and that turned into a situation where we had King Ghidorah in Kingdom of Monsters. We mentioned what if we sort of dug that one up, because he was buried and has not been around, people might remember him. I thought that maybe Gigan lop his head off in the middle, maybe while they are fighting, and that explains his middle neck?
Maybe drag the waters of Yokohama bay?
Ha. Toho said we approve of that monster becoming Mecha-King Ghidorah but you can’t go too into too much depth as to what happened.
How interesting. It’s almost like a chess game with the characters.
We respect their opinion and it can be tough at times. For the most part 90% of the time there are no problems. At one point I made a mistake when we got the rights to Minya and while we were renegotiating for the rights I mentioned Baby Godzilla would be cool as in an infant Godzilla in the books.
But he doesn’t appear in the comics anywhere, does he?
No, but I said put Minya down.
So you do have the rights for him?
Yes, they wrote it down and we got the rights and I was thinking about it and silly me I was not thinking in legal terms. I thought Minya was sort of the umbrella term for any type of infant Godzilla character. Later I came to realize there is a Junior Godzilla, Little Godzilla and so on.
There’s Baby Godzilla and now there’s Minya. We are kind of stuck with that design. So we can’t use any of the other Godzillas, but Minya.
Have you used Minya yet?
Not yet. There’s plans, but we’ll see if that happens. There were also plans to use the Showa King Ghidorah. That was going to be a huge thing! Some people were a bit upset, the Mecha-King Ghidorah fight wasn’t very much of a presence. But, King Ghidorah in Kingdom of Monsters wasn’t much either. The plan is to eventually have the real one show up.
Back to the topic of Minya, wasn’t there a plan for a “Minya Saves Christmas” one-shot?
I was going to pitch that and have an idea, but it was so late and since we have to solicit six months in advance we had already solicited that month.
Did you have to go up to the L.A. office to discuss projects with them?
We had to go up there when we were doing Rulers and I went there with my editor Bobby Curnow and I was like look, brace yourselves I don’t actors well, who directed this or that, but I know the monsters and I know the movies and I know what can be done. Here are my ideas for this. They would say that works, that really doesn’t work, okay that’s fine, uh… no on that. So Mecha-King Ghidorah was one of those times where we said we have these two sidekicks that we used before who can control monsters, so if they get rid of one of the heads they can control one of the heads each and they’re in the robot in the middle and they said, yes that could possibly work.
It’s really fun working with them. It really is. They are enthusiastic and they laugh at how enthusiastic we can be about it.
That’s really great! In Tokyo last year at Toho’s corporate headquarters a Legendary Godzilla 2014 banner hung on the skyscraper outside of their office, the same one that Godzilla 1985 smashed in Return of Godzilla. That was very comforting to see. It was a huge poster and awesome to see he was officially back.
That is cool! That’s really cool. I want to go back there just to go, take time and see everything.
You will. What big plans does IDW have for Comic-Con and Godzilla?
We will probably announce another book for the series, probably before then, because it is supposed to come out in July or August. So it should be in Previews by then. We’ll also have a good idea of what the future is going to be for our Godzilla. We should have time to get some new concepts approved by Toho, too. There will definitely be some Godzilla items to be announced at Comic-Con.
Godzilla licensing has greatly changed in recent years. Any thoughts on the Western rise in products?
There are a lot of Western companies now doing related products and when we started we were the only ones doing anything with the license it seemed. There were licensed shirts and some other items, but that was about it. Now, some of those companies get their shirt artwork from us for their products. I saw a whole bunch of different mockups and Matt Frank had a piece with them and Jeff Zornow had one of his pieces on a shirt, too.
We remember the popular Comic-Con 2011 exclusive Diamond shirt design by Matt Frank.
We hopefully will have an exclusive Rulers of Earth #25 and we don’t know exactly who is doing that yet, but it will be really great!
We look forward to seeing it and you there. This was awesome; we really appreciate your time. Thank you.
Absolutely my pleasure. Thank you and thanks to everyone for their support.
Godzilla and related characters TM & © TOHO CO., LTD.
Art and cover illustrations © IDW Publishing
Special Thanks Chris Mowry