Dear Ian Thorne,
Thank you for writing the Monster Series for Crestwood House. When I was a child, I read them all, repeatedly, gawping at the lush b&w pages, slavering over the details, yearning to see the actual movies. But thank you especially for writing Godzilla, a book I checked out from the library so often that my use of it wore down the cover to the extent that it stuck out amidst its brethren in the series. Your book was an inspiration to me.
Don't get me wrong, Mr. Thorne. As far as factual accuracy goes, your book is abysmal. You cover all the Showa Godzilla movies except Terror of Mechagodzilla (1975), and include somewhat detailed synopses of the original Godzilla (1954), Godzilla Raids Again (1955), Rodan (1956), Mothra (1961), King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962), and Mothra vs. Godzilla (1964) especially, with slightly shorter sets of details about most of the other movies. (I got the feeling you would have preferred not to mention Godzilla vs. Megalon at all, you have such a paucity of information about it.) But couldn’t you have been troubled to get your information a little less wrong? Were you the one to manufacture that ultimate of Godzilla movie urban legends—the twin endings for King Kong vs. Godzilla, one ending for Japan, one for America? Where, oh, where did you get the idea that "Gigantis" was a female monster? And why did you claim "Anzilla" was a fire-breathing armadillo? What’s more, "Gigantis" and "Anzilla" did not attack Tokyo, as you claim—they raid Osaka. You made it sound like the entire Infant Island was populated by six-inch people, and misspelled the name of the love-interest from the original Gojira as Imiko. You even botched the order of the movie releases, putting Godzilla vs. Hedorah (1971) after Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973).
But how can I blame you, man? You didn’t have stacks of Godzilla DVDs to check and double-check as “research,” nor even those archaic whatchamacallits my mom always talks about—video tapes? It must have been hard keeping facts organized, especially if the last time you saw a particular movie was twenty years ago. And I forgive you because you included so many totally awesome pictures of the monsters, and some of those shots I have never encountered again. (Where did that picture of Godzilla fighting Anguirus on top of a building come from anyway?) That said, couldn’t you have at least bothered to match up the shots with the movies you were discussing? Why was there a picture from Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972) mixed into your Destroy All Monsters (1968) pictures? And a Destroy All Monsters pic tossed into your Rodan piece? And that’s just the start of the confusion.
When I was a child, I drew a series of Godzilla comics. I based those comics and stories on your book, and for the longest time I drew two giant spiders with the names “Gamakuras” and “Spiega” all because of you. (I was even more confused later when I heard of a possible third spider named Kumonga…) And you should have seen the ludicrous Hedorah I came up with based partially off the shadowy picture you have here! But without your awesome book and its great pictures, I probably would never have drawn those comics at all. And the little description in the back of how Godzilla movies were made, though barely touching on the creative teams behind the films, was enough to fill my little brain with sparkling dreams of creating my own monster epics.
How can I fault you too deeply, sir? Your book is regrettably poor, but so full of vim and spirit and enthusiasm! It touched off my love for Godzilla, and aroused my awareness of a strange Asian country called Japan that would become even more endearing to me than any suited beast of film. This is a book for children, and I celebrated it as a child. Sir, your errors may be like thorns in the flesh of thin-skinned fact-snobby adults, but I will always love your little orange-and-white monster books. Thank you.