Summer Reading List!

As if there wasn't enough new stuff that needs me to buy it, there are several new books out now that are amazing!

GODZILLA: AWAKENING is a hardcover, 80-page graphic novella that serves as a prequel to the movie (now that the movie is out, and was amazing!)  It tells the story of Serizawa's father, the formation of MONARCH, and the battle with the first MUTO, which is a completely different monster than the ones in the film.
Although the limited page count is crammed full of action, character development, and flashbacks, I found myself confused at several places.  Also, there are three different lead artists, and the juxtaposition of their styles is rather obvious (people suddenly turn sketchy and Frank Millery), and the wispy new MUTO and crowded, irregular panels sometimes make it difficult to tell what's going on.  The story is good, and actually fits in well with the new film, adding to it rather than exploiting it.  Don't get me wrong, there are a couple of pages that are worthy of being framed, it's just that the whole thing felt a bit rushed (or needed another 15 or 20 pages).  The good news is, at $20 retail, I got mine from Amazon for $12, which was a great deal.

STAR WARS STORYBOARDS is something I thought would never happen, and it was worth every penny.  All of the original geniuses are here, and the ones still with us give ample commentary, and share anecdotes.  But the star of this huge hardcover is the artwork! Now, don't misunderstand what an assembly this book is.  In Joe Johnston's words, the organizers had to "cherry-pick" to assemble the sequences, otherwise we would have gotten a huge volume per movie (which would be fine by me), as many versions of many scenes existed.  That said, it still is so well done, you won't mind.  I should point out that there's no reason to delete any scans you have of any Star Wars storyboards, such as any looking like this:
Whereas this is a "complete" board (that contains notes, script information, and numbers), only the artwork is used for this volume, which again makes sense and saves tons of space.  Completists like myself would have loved huge, comprehensive volumes of complete storyboards for each of the original films, but I assume this is the best we are ever going to get, and it's very, very good.  To add to that, the $40 cover price ended up being only $25 for me on Amazon, so the decision was made.

And, we save the best for last.  EIJI TSUBURAYA, MASTER OF MONSTERS, by  August Ragone, is back in print.  I don't know how I ever lived without this book, but somehow I missed out the first time.  Brimming with amazing photos, even hard-core enthusiasts will learn new things.  Ragone's writing is very clear, and he keeps the action moving without feeling rushed, and there is a lot of ground to cover.  Essential.

If that's not enough, soon THE ART OF JAPANESE MONSTERS, by Sean Linkenback, will make landfall, which we will discuss when it hits.  If you haven't ordered this book, don't miss it!


View-Master Show Beam Cartridge (GAF, 1982)

I spoke too soon when I was listing out all the View-Master products, and now this one has been added.  It's the "Godzilla-Godzooky" cartridge from the Show Beam series.  the Show Beam was a 2D flashlight-shaped projector that View-Master made.  
I have a couple of problems with this one.  Firstly, if this is simply a "port" of the regular View-Master reels (as the other Godzilla View-Master products were), that's fine, but those reels had nothing to do with Godzooky whatsoever, and featured Godzilla rampaging through Seattle, as in the second Marvel Comics issue.
Secondly, you know how it goes when dating items like this:  you have to go with the latest date printed on the card, which, even though the Toho copyright is 1980, says 1982 (for both the Marvel and DC characters).  That's also fine, but is pretty late to be trying to utilize Godzooky to sell View-Master products, as even the many reruns of the animated show had ceased in 1981. 
It also occurs to me (because I spend waaaaay too much time thinking about stuff like this) that no other View-Master products tried to use Godzooky's name to sell merchandise, so clearly this was somebody's bright idea in the packaging department, or something.
Still, you have to hand it to the View-Master folks.  They were able to get maximum mileage out of their products without having to come up with new material.  I would make the obligatory Hollywood joke here, but as we are about to get a new Godzilla movie that may be the first actual American Godzilla film, I don't want anyone to misconstrue that as a slight.  I'm going to give Legendary a fair shake and see what they come up with, although I must say, in terms of this new Anglozilla, that Fiat commercial is stupid.


Godzilla Promotional Bumper Sticker (1985)

This is a fast post today, but take a look at this promotional bumper sticker for GODZILLA 1985, which was probably a cross-promotion between New World and Dr. Pepper.  It's funny how things come full circle; it strikes me it is appropriate once again to ask, "Have you seen the new Godzilla"?


Monsters of the Movies: Ghidrah (Aurora model kit, 1975)

I just scored an excellent example of this 1975 model kit made by Aurora.  There was another kaiju kit in the series (Rodan) that I am still tracking down.  I like how the box art exclaims "This Three headed terror known as Monster Zero, attacks a Japanese air base." Even though that doesn't exactly make perfect grammatical (or punctuational) sense, it's nice to see the Monster Zero name used.

The box is a delightfully 70's purple, which helps Ghidrah to stand out.  When this kit was re-issued in 2000 by Polar Lights, they retained the box art, but spruced up the background.
Below are scans of the Instructions.  Before we go there, I have to say that their "Painting Instructions" included some bizarre color choices:
Well, okay, Aurora, if you say so.  I would love to see what this would have looked like...it would have been very trippy, all pink eyes and orange mouths, like a black light poster of Ghidrah or something.


GODZILLA 2000 "Production Information"

Returning to the GODZILLA 2000 Press Kit, there were two stapled packets of papers included.  One was merely the entire list of credits typed out, but it is the other that will hold our attention today.  This is a 12-page article entitled "Godzilla 2000 Production Information," and is dated 8/18/00.  It begins as a run-of-the mill Godzilla history article, but quickly turns into fascinating reading, with lots of details that, to me, imply that the article was supplied by Toho, which makes sense.  

It goes very quickly, but if you don't have the time, at least take away these two amazing quotes:

That, right there, was worth the price of admission. Here is the full article!


GODZILLA 2000 Press Kit (Columbia Pictures, 2000)

It's almost time for a new Godzilla film to play in American theaters, even though this time, it's an American movie.  While the excitement builds, it would be a good time to remember the LAST time a (real) Godzilla film was released to American theaters....14 years ago!
Over the next couple of posts, we are going to look at items from the Press Kit for GODZILLA 2000.  This is a slick, two-pocket Columbia Pictures folder, containing two packets of data, and a sleeve (really more of a white paper grocery sack) of stills.  
Up first, here are some quality scans of the stills that were included with mine.  Enjoy!