Emerald City Comic Con granted me my first ever press pass, and it’s all because of the hardworking staff members here at Toho Kingdom. I’d also like to extend my gratitude to all our visitors. Without you, Toho Kingdom wouldn’t be the eminent website it is today.
I had a wonderful experience at this year’s Emerald City Comic Con. There’s nothing quite like walking down the streets of Seattle on a sunny afternoon only to see Thor and Captain America standing in line at a Starbucks, or a sea of impassioned cosplayers and casual fans alike interacting with each other. I hope this feeling of meeting people of similar interests never gets old, because I still remember a time before the internet when meeting, say, another Godzilla fan was the equivalent of waiting for the next leap year. Of course, now it’s different; now you can find others like you with just the click of a mouse. And while this is an important commodity—I should know, as I’ve befriended many remarkable people online—it shouldn’t deter you, not for a single moment, from meeting a fellow fan face-to-face.
Unless they disagree with you, of course. Then all hope is lost.
I should’ve planned this day better. I anticipated traffic and—get this!—I avoided squashing swarms of pedestrians like a pro. And yet I was mostly stuck in traffic for close to an hour, because all the parking garages and spots on the street were taken. With my patience dwindling, I elected to find parking across town. I took the monorail back from there, which, ironically, took less time than what I had just suffered through. I’m only bringing this up as a warning to any intrepid fans out there who will be embarking on similar pilgrimages in the not-too-distant future. Here’s a brief checklist I’ve found to be handy: Don’t just be an early bird, become one with the early bird; carpool with your best pals because it’s more affordable and there’s safety in numbers; and, arguably the most important piece of advice I can bestow, wear shorts like your life depends on it. Yes, you read that last part right. You’re going to be surrounded by thousands of warm bodies that will quickly make you feel like you’ve become Burning Godzilla. So unless you’re cosplaying, I highly advise you to go in wearing shorts even if it’s in the dead of winter.
So being the glutton for punishment that I was, I wore pants my first day. Fortunately my regrets were short-lived, because on my first stop I paid a visit to our friends over at Bluefin Distributions. It’s there I purchased Mechagodzilla (1974), hot off the S.H.MonsterArts assembly line. I’ve had my collector’s eye on this one for some time, and I left satisfied.
After exploring the exhibits, spotting all manner of iconic characters hailing from Japan, I rendezvoused with one of my best friends at the Back to the Future panel. It’s there I saw a fully decked, time-traveling DeLorean, with a flux capacitor to boot. Unfortunately they wouldn’t let me take it back in time to stop Roland Emmerich and Dean Devlin from making a horrible mistake. Oh well. As our adventures continued, I saw custom-made cosplays that blew me away; I crossed paths with the likes of Korg (Thor: Ragnarok), The Night’s King (Game of Thrones), Doctor Doom (Fantastic Four), Darth Zoidberg (Star Wars/Futurama), and about a million Deadpools. There was apparently a squad of people dressed as Jaegers from Pacific Rim. I wish I was there to see them with my own eyes. Since we’re all still alive and kicking, I think it’s safe to assume they cancelled the apocalypse.
A little later, I found the Complete Series of Ultraman Nexus and Megas XLR on DVD. I strongly recommend you, my dear reader, to hunt down the former, as it’s easily one of the most imaginative Ultraman shows I’ve ever watched. As for the latter? Well I’ve been hunting down Megas XLR for years. While the entire show may be available somewhere online, I was keen on adding Megas XLR, one of my favorite cartoons of all-time, to my personal collection. If you dig giant robots—and I have a sneaking suspicion that you do—give this phenomenal series a shot. It’s chockfull of homages to the Godzilla franchise and a plethora of other Japanese tropes that will satisfy your nostalgia.
Today, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting an extraordinary pair of Godzilla artists.
The first was Arthur Adams. One of the first comics I read as a kid was Dark Horse’s Godzilla: Color Special, which Arthur co-wrote and illustrated. Its iconic imagery, intriguing human characters, and unique creature designs changed the way I thought about giant monsters. That panel of the islanders huddling in fear with Godzilla shrieking ominously in the background is truly breathtaking; the one of Godzilla rising out of the sea for the first time still gives me goosebumps! And the very last shot that closes the story? Perfection.
Arthur was kind enough to share some insight in the making of this one-of-a-kind tale. Since Toho didn’t own the character rights to Majin, a vengeful deity that starred in a trilogy of films produced by Daiei Films, Arthur created arguably the most memorable monster from the entire Dark Horse run: Gekido-Jin. A few minutes in, I found out that Arthur once pitched a Godzilla vs. Superman series to Toho back during the ‘90s. I would have loved to have seen that. After having a pleasant chat with Arthur Adams for several minutes, we exchanged our goodbyes. I’m happy to report that he graciously signed my Godzilla: Color Special. Achievement unlocked!
A few hours later, my friend and I were wandering aimlessly down Artist Alley. We had just finished talking with Matthew Willson (Color Artist, The Mighty Thor), when I saw the Godzilla In Hell graphic novel standing proudly on a table. Like Magneto, it pulled me in with its magnetism. I gaped at what had become one of my favorite Godzilla stories in recent years. As I flipped through the pages, exclaiming all manner of hype to my uninterested friend, I soon found myself conversing directly with Buster Moody. Buster was the artist responsible for bringing Godzilla In Hell #3 to life. This was the issue which saw the King of the Monsters face off with SpaceGodzilla, with Godzilla appearing to pass on during their conflict… only to meet his celestial opponent in hell.
In a series packed with terrific artwork done by the likes of Bob Eggleton, James Stokoe, Ibrahim Moustafa, and Dave Wachter, Buster Moody’s work holds its own. As I asked him questions about the underlying nature of the story, it became apparent that Buster knew his stuff. Buster may not have been the writer of Godzilla In Hell #3, but he was undoubtedly an expert on its story and structure. He shared some interesting tidbits about its characters that made me shriek in excitement. Before parting ways, Buster Moody autographed my Godzilla In Hell paperback copy. I’ll never forget our pleasant chat.
It’s important to remember that behind every great story is a person worthy of your time. There are many people at these events worth your time, as you are worth theirs. It’s not just about interacting with artists and creators, which is something to appreciate; no, it’s mainly about celebrating what you like in the company of others and having a good time. I know I did. I’m greatly looking forward to attending next year’s Emerald City Comic Con. With Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) coming out in theaters right around that time, maybe we’ll be the first in line to meet some of the cast and crew?