Godzilla Saves America: A Monster Showdown in 3-D!
 Marc Cerasini
Language: English Release: 1996
Publisher: Random House Pages: 22
Genre: Fiction ISBN: 0679880798

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In 1996, American publisher Random House picked up the Godzilla license from Toho. Although they stopped producing Godzilla stories just two years later, the company produced an impressive output. Most fans are aware of the non-fiction Official Godzilla Compendium and the two lines of novels released by Marc Cerasini and Scott Ciencin, but Random House also released five picture books featuring the Big G, with the rarest of these being Godzilla Saves America. Unlike the other four illustrated stories, Godzilla Saves America is a hardcover book with 3-D illustrations. Included in the book are a pair of “Special 3-D Godzilla Glasses”. Unfortunately, I've long since lost mine, but since they're only common anaglyphic lenses (red and blue/cyan), one doesn't need the original pair. Still, it's cool that Random House went through the trouble of making 3-D glasses with Godzilla's face printed on them!

The story is about Ghidorah's arrival on Earth. As he heads towards America from the Atlantic, Godzilla rises from San Francisco Bay and traverses the United States to help Mothra do battle with the three-headed demon in New York. If the story sounds familiar, that's because it is; the very next year, Marc Cerasini would use this story as a template for his novel, Godzilla 2000 (no relation to the 1999 Toho film). Unlike the later novel, however, this story seems to be a standalone piece, although some references are made to previous Toho films (Godzilla has driven Ghidorah away from Earth before; Ghidorah himself is sent to Earth by aliens of the Hunter D Nebula (relatives of the aliens in Godzilla vs. Gigan (1972), perhaps?)). The story is a very easy read that still manages to show a lot of detail. There are very few dull spots and the monster action is descriptive. One oddity here is the inclusion of Rodan, who appears on Mt. Rushmore to lay her (yes, her) eggs, as in Godzilla 2000. While it gives kids a view of the famous monument and a look at another famous Toho monster, it doesn't lead anywhere and it's liable to confuse younger fans familiar with the Rodan character (drawn like the Trendmasters toy, à la Godzilla on Monster Island).

Like the rest of the Random House picture books, this story doesn't feature any major human protagonists and the only dialogue takes place while the militaries and governments of the world try to stop Ghidorah. While Godzilla and Mothra are never given any thoughts or real motives, they are the main characters for whom we root. With this being an illustrated story for children, that's all right.

The illustrations by Tom Morgan and Paul Mounts are above average. Morgan and Mounts were both responsible for the aforementioned Godzilla on Monster Island. Everything is drawn like the earlier book, but the art has improved overall. It's still not as good as the work seen in Godzilla vs. Gigan and the Smog Monster or the later illustrated Godzilla stories, but the book features some interesting illustrations which are enhanced when looking through the 3-D glasses. Speaking of the 3-D illustrations, everything that pops out here is given a thick black outline (obviously the source of the illusion) which isn't all that distracting while looking at the book without the glasses on. In fact, one can still see the pictures without the glasses, which is very convenient for youngsters that might have lost or damaged their pair.

Overall, Godzilla Saves America is a fun little book. Speaking personally, this was always a favorite of mine as a child with the 3-D artwork. Collectors might want to check it out if they can get a hold of a copy, especially with the now rare glasses, but casual fans should probably skip this and pick up Godzilla 2000 for its more mature take on the story.

- Cody Himes