Art Adams' Creature Features
 Arthur Adams, Steve Moncuse, Randy Stradley, Alan Moore
Pencils: Arthur Adams Inks: Arthur Adams, Terry Austin
Language: English Release: 1996
Publisher: Dark Horse Pages: 104
Colors: Matt Hollingsworth, Laura Allred, Rachelle Menashe Cover: Arthur Adams
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Gekido-Jin V.T.O.L., Type 90 Tanks, DD-122 Hatsuyuki Class Destroyer
Nicholas Driscoll

Thanks goes to Sam Messerly for sending this in for review and the image!

As far as American Godzilla comics go, Arthur Adams may be the best artist at bringing Godzilla to life. His hyper-detailed work has inspired many, and due to its astounding accuracy and passionate awesomeness, he was even selected to sketch up a stupendous collection of artistic yumminess for The Official Godzilla Compendium, as well as one of the most wonderfully wonderful Godzilla shirts in existence. Adams' love of all things monstrous is no secret, so it's fitting that a selection of his kaiju-type work be agglomerated into one place. Hence, Art Adams' Creature Features, which, while it may not include any original pieces, nevertheless pulls together some memorable creaturely creations in one place.

Adams kicks it off with a very faithful sequential-art retelling of Creature from the Black Lagoon. I love the Creature, and consider the original film one of the best old-school monster romps ever made, but Adam's adaptation isn't perfect. I certainly can't fault his depictions of the gill-man, which, for the most part, are stunning, but the rendering of the story consistently feels off somehow. Part of it is the vibrant colors; the original film was in black-and-white, so adding such off-kilter details as gill-man's bright blue eyes can be discombobulating. Also, in trying to fit all the action of the film into about 50 pages, occasionally the layouts become cramped. This may be a personal preference, but I would love to have seen a more relaxed take, with more build-up, character development, and big art that really breathes. Adams also makes little attempt to recreate actor's faces, and his often cartoony expressions look out of place in this somewhat grim tale. Nevertheless, it's an impressive achievement that should be worth a look for fans of the film.

After that, we have what might be the most-frequently reprinted Godzilla comic of them all—ye olde Godzilla Color Special. Much has been said of this classic already; it's a highly entertaining, fast-paced, action-packed tale. If nothing else, it's nice to have the story on crisp, well-bound paper. I still can't believe he named the priestess Ookii Mune, though.

Two brief Monkeyman & O'Brien tales are also included, but they barely give readers a taste of the delectable daikaiju delights that can be found in the longer tales. Basically, all the Monkeyman & O'Brien stories are an unapologetic coalescation (that's not a word, but it should be) of monster movie nerdery—it's a talking ape-man and a giant babe named after King Kong creator Willis O'Brien, for Pete's sake! (You also get to see who this "Shrewmanoid" fellow is that the G-Force members mention in the Godzilla Color Special.) While the stories herein don't necessarily jive with the plots of the full-length stories (collected in a separate graphic novel—pick it up NOW!), they are still enjoyable enough, and even includes our heroes being chased by a Godzillasaurus.

Finally, and most bizarrely, we have an illustrated song. Yes, a song. More like a poem, really. Written by Alan Moore. Yes, that Alan Moore. The one who wrote Watchmen and From Hell and V for Vendetta and etc. And the song is about Godzilla. It's called "Trampling Tokyo," and was originally included in something called Alan Moore's Songbook. The poem includes lines like this:

"And I long for Monster Island
In the late Cretaceous silence
Where every night beneath the stars
The tiny twins hold hands and sing
While Mothra plays guitar."

Respect to Moore aside, it's probably best he didn't make his career in the music business—although I'd be entertained!

Even though the song obviously refers to the Tono universe, apparently when Alan Moore's Songbook was published, they didn't bother to obtain the rights to Godzilla's image. Thus Adams improvises, and creates a sort of dinosaurian beast that looks like a cross between the never-produced American Godzilla from the 80s and a velociraptor. A beefed-up homage to Mothra and Rodan can also be seen in the background.

With its hodgepodge of monsterly material, Art Adams' Creature Features is something of a curiosity, but it's a fun one for those who take the time to search it out. While by no-means a must-buy, for completists the book is a mildly rewarding find.