We are very pleased to exclusively announce that coming this August, IDW will be publishing a brand new Godzilla miniseries, from the creative team of Cullen Bunn (“The Sixth Gun,” “Magneto”) and Dave Wachter (“Breath of Bones,” “Night of 1000 Wolves”)! And what better day to announce it than the day that Godzilla hits wide release in theaters!
Godzilla: Cataclysm #1 (of 5)
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Dave Wachter
Years have passed since the monster apocalypse nearly destroyed mankind. Now it is merely a distant, nightmarish memory for Hiroshi, an elder in one of the few remaining tribes of humans. Little does Hiroshi know that the apocalypse is not over, and that his memories of the past may yet save the future!
We got to chat with Cullen and Dave, as well as debut Dave’s cover (seen above), and two variants, by Bob Eggleton and Mehdi Cheggour.
I’ve been a fan of Godzilla since I was a little kid, watching Godzilla’s Revenge and Godzilla Vs. Megalon over and over again – what were your relationships with the character like before getting this gig?
Cullen Bunn: I am a huge Godzilla fan and have been since I was a child. I have memories of Godzilla going back to when I was very young. When I was four-years-old, I drew a book that I called “Attack of the Monsters” which featured Godzilla heavily. In that book, he breaks out of an iceberg, which leads me to believe that Godzilla Vs. King Kong was one of the first Godzilla movies I saw. I also clearly remember stumbling across Godzilla Vs. Megalon–the airing hosted by John Belushi in a Godzilla suit–and watching it in total awe. My dad also took me to a Godzilla double feature when I was a kid, and it’s one of my fondest memories.
I collected “Godzilla Gang” toys and read the Marvel Godzilla series and still have my Godzilla Shogun Warrior. I love all the movies. Although the Heisei series is by far my favorite, I have an attachment to the original Mechagodzilla and Gigan flicks. I still sometimes where my Godzilla house shoes (which make stomping and roaring sounds) around the house.
So, yeah, I have a strong connection to Godzilla. Working on a Godzilla comic has been on my professional bucket list since before I was a professional.
Is it daunting to work on something that, as you say, has been on your professional bucket list for a long time? Was there the impulse to have to do “the ultimate” Godzilla story to satisfy your childhood love of the character?
CB: Yes, it was a little daunting. As far as I know, this will be my only chance to write Godzilla, so I want to “do it up right.” There’s always a temptation to overload the story, but I’ve learned from past experiences that it’s just as important to temper those impulses. My initial proposal and outline is a bit like a gigantic block of stone and, like a sculptor, I need to chip away until the perfect story emerges.
Dave, what was your relationship with the property?
Dave Wachter: I remember watching Godzilla movies from an early age when they played on Sunday afternoon television. I’ve always thought Godzilla was awesome, but I can’t claim to be the kind of fan a lot of people are. I’ve only seen most of the movies, not all of them. There’s 4 or 5 I’ve never gotten around to.
The last several years at conventions, it’s rare that the weekend goes by and I’m not asked to sketch Godzilla. I love drawing monsters, especially the giant variety. And destruction, I love making things blow up and fall down. So I’ve been trying to get on a Godzilla book since the new comics started up at IDW. I got the opportunity to do an issue of the “History’s Greatest Monster” series, but that was SImon Gane’s book, and I was just keeping his seat warm. WIth this new series, I hope to make my own distinct mark in Godzilla comics.Continued below
Cullen – with most of the characters that get their name on a title of book, you can get into their motivations, their thought process, their personality. You don’t have that with Godzilla; how do you compensate for that without eliminating so much of the character that it ceases to be a Godzilla book?
CB: I think it’s possible to get into Godzilla’s motivations to some degree, but a lot of that will be up to interpretation by the reader. The movies have always used the human characters to provide a insight into Godzilla. In this series in particular, we use the humans characters as windows into what makes Godzilla tick. What I find interesting, though, is that each of these humans have their own take on the monster. So, you have these differing opinions on what’s going on. Some might be way off base, some might be close to the truth, but only Godzilla himself knows for sure.
Dave – what iteration of Godzilla are you drawing the most visual inspiration from? What, to you, is the “ultimate” Godzilla, visually?
DW: The ultimate Godzilla design is the Heisei version. Despite that, I’m using the Millennium design. One reason is that most of the recent comics have been using the Heisei version, and I wanted ours to stand apart from those. Also, I’ve always been impressed with the Millennium re-design. He’s got those cool, huge jagged spines, interesting patterns in the texture of his skin, and that face has tons of personality. It’s extraordinarily difficult to re-create a classic image, and I thought they struck the perfect balance between making something new, and maintaining the classic elements and character that make Godzilla who he is. When I first saw the Millennium design years ago I thought “Yep, that’s Godzilla.”
What is the one feature of Godzilla, visually, that you think needs to be present and upfront, no matter what?
DW: His size. Godzilla is less animal and more force of nature. When his foot falls, the pavement should crack and crush underneath, the buildings shake and crumble, infernos ignite. Whenever I can, I try to have the viewpoint looking up at Godzilla from below, like the ants that we are.
For readers who aren’t familiar with Godzilla in comics, what do they need to know to pick up this book?
CB: I don’t think you need a lot of back story to enjoy this story. In many ways, it’s set in its own little universe. As the series opens, we provide you with the set up–after the kaiju brawl to end all kaiju brawls, the monsters have essentially destroyed the Earth. Cities are crumbling ruins. The survivors have crawled out of the rubble and dust and radioactive fallout to try to rebuild some semblance of society. The monsters have vanished, but the survivors live in constant fear that they might return.
DW: If you know who Godzilla is, then you’re ready to go.
This book doesn’t seem to have too much connective tissue between itself and the new film. Is it hard to present a book with a familiar title that won’t necessarily be too similar to what the film viewer just saw?
DW: What Godzilla doesn’t crush under his feet, he nukes with his atomic breath. Godzilla is Godzilla, and he’s pissed off. So long as the moviemakers remember that, the audience will see a familiar face in our comic as well. From the looks of it, the new movie is going to be incredible. But I can’t worry about what happens in the movie, we have a really compelling story to tell and it’s my job to do it justice.
CB: Right. The book isn’t connected to the new film. Since I haven’t seen it yet (even though I can’t wait) I couldn’t really approach scripting the series with the new movie in mind. All I could do is try to be true to the core idea of Godzilla. There’s a kernel there–a constant–that’s present in each and every one of the Godzilla stories. As long as I’m true to those basic tenets, I think readers will be able to get on board.Continued below
To you, what is the core idea of Godzilla?
CB: I’ve always seen Godzilla as this force of nature (or, more accurately, a force representing abominations against nature). He’s a giant, walking, stomping cautionary tale for how we’re treating the world. At some point, it’s gonna come back and bite us, but we still don’t listen.
Is Godzilla the only kaiju we’ll see in this story?
CB: Not at all. Several other kaiju appear in this story, some briefly, some in much more significant ways.
Dave, What kaiju do you hope to get to draw one day, aside from Godzilla? Is there a Ghidorah lurking in your brain you’d love to get on paper?
DW: Godzilla is king, after that, any other kaiju is a bonus. There are some really great ones I get to work with in this series.
If you had to match the tone of the story to one of the Godzilla films, which one would you say your story most echoes?
CB: The earliest seed for this story was “what if the events of “Destroy All Monsters” went horribly, horribly wrong for humanity. But that’s really not the tone of this movie. I’d say the tone much more closely matches something a little darker, like “Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah: Giant Monsters All-Out Attack” in which the monsters had this much more mystical and spiritual feel. It was a darker approach to Godzilla, the scariest version of Godzilla (to me) since the original.
Dave, visually, what would you say your biggest non-Godzilla influence is for this series?
DW: I’ve been looking at a lot of real world destruction. Researching photos and footage of real city wide devastation, both by nature and that we’ve done to ourselves, from WWII up to the present day. So aside from my usual medley of influences, that’s what I’ve added into the mix.
This is being solicited as a miniseries, but would either of you like to work on Godzilla as an ongoing series? How would the approach be different if you were telling a longer story featuring Godzilla?
DW: If I were to do an ongoing, I wouldn’t be able to maintain the amount of work and detail I’m putting into this series. I’d have to cut back somewhere in order to keep up with a long term schedule. Maybe let someone else take over the coloring duties. But I’m just really happy to be working on this series.
CB: Absolutely! I’d love to tackle a longer Godzilla story.
As far as how I’d approach it differently, it’s difficult to say. As I did with the miniseries, I’d sit down and figure out the major story beats and how to best convey them. With a longer story, the pace could be a little more methodical, but I’d probably approach it the same way.
Finally, what is the one word you can give fans to tease the series?
DW: What’s another word for “apocalyptic”?
Thanks again to IDW, Dave, and Cullen, and make sure to pick up the issue come August!