Godzilla and Other Monsters: Single Minded for June 26, 2024

Time for more Single Minded! Today Rob's picking one comic from this week he'd like to talk to you about and convince you to pick up at your local comic shop or favorite digital device!

It goes without saying this wasn't the only book I read this week, but it IS the one I most wanted to talk about. So what registered on my radar? Let's find out...


Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons II: Sons of Giants
Written by Frank Tieri
Line Art by Inaki Miranda
Color Art by Eva de la Cruz
Letters by Steve Wands
Published by IDW

Godzilla is a figure of myth and legend whose story and that of his kaiju kin weave their way from ancient Japan to post-Colonial America in this first issue of the sequel to Tieri and Miranda's first series.

It's really interesting to see how far afield the comics published by IDW go with Godzilla. I've mentioned earlier this month that I was impressed by Toho's willingness to let IDW push the envelope, and even more impressed by how good the stories are. For example, Godzilla is forever tied in popular culture to post World War II Japan and the horrors of the nuclear bomb. That's obviously the shadow looming over his original creation and one that will forever be the source for his greatest stories (though not necessarily his most enjoyable ones). The success of Godzilla Minus One and its well-deserved praise is proof of this.

But like other mythical monsters from Frankenstein to Dracula to Medusa, while never fully separated from the current events that spawned their creation, Godzilla has the ability to be adapted to almost any story or setting. In the case of Sons of Giants, Tieri and Miranda wrap the killer kaiju into the midst of a historical conspiracy. I have to admit, I didn't see that one coming, but I'd have never predicted Godzilla in Hell, either, so what do I know?

The idea of men seeking power looking to an unstoppable force of nature for inspiration makes sense, though, if you stop and think about it. How often do we see this? Lions, bears, tigers, sharks - they're all powerful animals associated with leaders, both good and bad. So it makes sense that Godzilla and the other kaiju can be used this way. However, as we all know, trying to harness Godzilla doesn't tend to end well. It's not stated specifically if this secret society is good or evil, though fans of popular musicals are likely to be against them, at least early on, based on one notable member. Watching how this mystery plays out will be fascinating. 

What isn't a mystery is the quality of Miranda's art. He's able to show off a variety of styles here and the previews focus (rightfully) on his aping woodblock work in the opening sequence, which featured a warrior needing to regain his honor by taking on Godzilla himself.

Big thank you to Tieri and Miranda for posting a few images that I could use, because just look at this!

Man oh man, that's fantastic work from Miranda. First of all, you can recognize immediately the style he's going for. I've seen other creators attempt to do this, and it comes off looking inauthentic, but Miranda is able to find a way to make it work on the comics page. He's clearly studied the form extensively and is able to make it work for the story he wishes to tell while also hewing close to the source material. 

The key to this, I think, is in his detailing. I can't even begin to imagine how much time it took to draw the clothing in that first 2/3 of a page panel. The fallen master is in, by my count, at least 11 different patterns, each of which sporting its own distinctive look with intricate detailing - even if it's only shown in a brief glimpse, like the upper elbow. This would have been spectacular in black and white, but adding de la Cruz's colors really makes the contrasts stand out and pop to the reader's eye. I'm extremely impressed with what they've done with the palette here, too -- a lot of different shades of the same color and yet it doesn't feel drab or repeated. 

Then there's the second page. Again, a 2/3 splash panel, this time looking at the larger level of devastation inflicted by Godzilla. In this instance, we get a more impressionistic take. Things are purposefully taken outside of normal size and perspective so that you can see clearly the death and destruction all around the one living figure. The background is a massive set of swirls that threaten to swallow everything around them. The dead are shown in different states of decomposition. It's a harrowing scene that captures the moment perfectly. Just amazing work here by Miranda. 

I'm starting to read a lot of comics again, and it feels good. I can't write about all of them. Probably couldn't even if it was my full time job. The way to get onto my radar as a comic to write about at length is to do something really outstanding with the art that I can dig my teeth into alongside the plot, the characters, and the dialogue. Little touches like the above really appeal to me these days. 

Now of course, this is a Godzilla comic, so what happens when you do a Godzilla Mock Woodblock?


Even without the words, you can follow this action clearly from the art. I also love the use of perspective in these panels and Miranda's ability to give Godzilla some emotions without overdoing it and making him too human. But really, I'm just including this because it looks really cool, right?

After this amazing set piece, the rest of the issue pivots to the reveal of the society and a journalist who gets caught up within its claws, as journalists who poke too far often do. Miranda's art moves into a more typical one, but his ability to frame pages sets it apart. I really love what he does simply by focusing on an iconic coin. The construction of the panels gives Tieri room to expound on his conspiracy, providing exposition that, while a necessary info dump, doesn't slow the comic down too much because of Miranda's drawings surrounding them. It does mean that we don't get a ton of action following the wood block scene, other than a few flashbacks outlining the fact that Godzilla has had an impact on world events and the inevitable fate of the journalist.

Tieri takes a bit of a risk here in waiting to get back to the action but I think it was necessary for the reader to understand the rest of the series. He's hoping you buy into the mystery, which of course I certainly did, but not all readers might. I am trusting him to make the journey worth it and even if it lags a bit here and there, Miranda's art more than makes up for anything else.

Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons II: Sons of Giants is a bit of a mouthful to type out, but it's well worth biting into and digesting the art, page by page. IDW has yet again put together a great idea for a Godzilla comic, completely different from Godzilla Skate or Die!, also out now, and the two really show just how versatile Godzilla's concept can be. I'm enjoying them both, for different reasons, and I'm looking forward to seeing where this one goes as well as the big lizard romps his way through history.