Godzilla vs. Megalon
 R.J. Wilson
Pencils: Swiftspear Inks: Swiftspear
Language: English Release: 1976
Publisher: Cinema Shares International Pages: 4
Colors: Swiftspear Cover: -
Monster Appearances: Aliens, SDF, & Misc Appearances:
Godzilla, Megalon, Gigan, Jet Jaguar None
Anthony Romero

One thing has to be said of Cinema Shares International Distribution: they knew how to sell a film. Acquiring the rights to Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), the company engineered a rather modest marketing campaign for its theatrical release. It intentionally mimicked the posters of the recent 1976 King Kong movie from Paramount. Whereas King Kong was situated above the World Trade Center buildings in New York, the poster for Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973) had the two title kaiju towering over the buildings and fighting on top of them. No sequence even close to this would appear in the film, but it was an eye catcher.

As part of this marketing campaign, Cinema Shares created the first, licensed Godzilla comic in America. Simply titled Godzilla vs. Megalon, the short, four page comic gave a basic plot of the monster action in the film to try and sell the production for its release.

Written by R.J. Wilson and drawn by "Swiftspear" (likely a pseudonym), the comic is a loose adaptation of the film. It focuses just on the kaiju action, and gives the story a gothic, grandiose sentiment that is missing from the movie itself. For example, Megalon is introduced as a "colossal, hell-spawned misanthropoid" amongst a dark, fiery scene where it emerges from the water. In fact, it opens with Megalon rising from the water, and then focuses on his attack for the second page. The dam sequence from the movie is alluded to, but the main image here is the kaiju standing in a flaming city.

The story then introduces a rather poorly drawn Godzilla. The King of the Monsters is first seen at Monster Island, standing on a ledge. The story shifts characters, having Godzilla call upon Jet Jaguar for help (oddly called "Robotman" here) rather than the other way around. In the next panel Godzilla appears already at the battlefield with Gigan (called "Borodan" for an unknown reason) and Megalon. Godzilla looks like he is doing a happy dance, so a spot of bad artwork, before engaging the two monsters. On the final page, Godzilla is saved by Jet Jaguar. He holds back Megalon while Godzilla defeats Gigan. As the giant robot carries off the cyborg monster, Godzilla laces his teeth into the side of Megalon's face. This attack draws blood and beats the insect monster.

Although Godzilla is drawn in a rather awful fashion, I was impressed with a few of the panels in the comic. The first page is the strongest, and rather consistent while ending on a high note of a close up of Megalon's face. The destruction sequences are okay, as is the shot of Gigan and Megalon first seeing Godzilla in the distance. The art makes good use of shadows, creating a moody panel as Godzilla is bathed in their beams while fighting them. It ends on a low note, like the author was rushed for time, with the last page being fairly poor on all panels though. In all, the art is very inconsistent, but does rise to the occasion ever so often.

The short comic features no cover, and was printed on newspaper stock which was common for comics published during this time. Because of the lack of cover and print stock, the comic is rare to find in good condition.

Surprisingly, the comic makes for a more interesting read than one might expect. This is especially true given it was primarily a promotional tool. It gets a lot of leeway for being only four pages, though, but does well given the page limit. Not worth seeking out for some of the large price tags it fetches, but an important item in Godzilla's history overseas.