From Comic Book Resources
The king of the monsters returns to comics this August in IDW Publishing's "Godzilla: Cataclysm," a five-issue miniseries by "Sixth Gun" writer Cullen Bunn and artist Dave Wachter. "Cataclysm" arrives on the alpha predator's 60th anniversary, which also saw his return to theaters in director Gareth Edwards' "Godzilla" earlier this year.
Bunn recently chatted with CBR News about "Cataclysm," revealing which fan-favorite monsters are tagging along for the ride, what's coming up in "The Sixth Gun," whether he sees Godzilla as a force for good or evil and more.
CBR News: Cullen, what's your new mini-series "Godzilla: Cataclysm" about?
Cullen Bunn: "Godzilla: Cataclysm" is set some time after a "war with the monsters" devastated civilization as we know it. After they stomped all over our way of life, the monsters wandered off and vanished. They haven't been seen in decades. Mankind has started to rebuild, but just barely, and they live in an almost religious fear of the day the monsters will return.
As this story begins, the first signs of the monsters' return have started to surface.
CBR: Can you go into more detail about the "war with the monsters?"
CB: For some reason (which will be revealed over the course of this series) kaiju went on a worldwide rampage several years ago. They brutally attacked each other and laid waste to the cities of man. In our first issue, we get to see what just one of the "hot zones" where monsters went wild looked like.
CBR: What other monsters are rearing their heads in "Cataclysm?"
CB: Aside from Godzilla, there are several monsters in the book. Some play very small roles. Others have more involved parts to play. Mothra, Biollante and Megaguirus are just a few of the creatures we'll be seeing.
CBR: What causes them to return after so many years?
CB:That's a great question, but to answer it might spoil key elements of the series. I'll say this: The return of the monsters might be tied to the same phenomena that caused the monsters to go berserk in the first place.
In the first issue, you'll see the world starting to "wake up," so to speak. This will start to stir the pot, so to speak, causing all sorts of problems for our hapless survivors.
CBR: Who are some of the human faces we'll encounter in this story?
CB: We meet a number of survivors in the story, all of them from the same village. Three in particular become the human eyes and ears of the tale: Arata, Shiori and Hiroshi. Arata and Shiori are younger and only barely remember the world before the Cataclysm. Hiroshi, though, is an old man, and he remembers the world that was all too well. In fact, Hiroshi knows more about why the monsters went on their rampage than anyone.
CBR: Why did you choose to have this story take place in a post-apocalyptic society?
CB: When I first started talking to IDW about doing a Godzilla tale, I knew I wanted something a little different.
I love movies like "Destroy All Monsters" and "Godzilla: Final Wars," where the kaiju seem to wage war on all of humanity. And I thought it might be interesting to see what the world might look like in the aftermath of an event like those portrayed in this.
CBR: Which version of Godzilla stars in "Cataclysm?"
CB: This is the Millennium version of Godzilla, with those great spikey dorsal fins. I didn't necessarily specify a look for Godzilla in the series. Artist Dave Wachter made that decision because he thought it would be the most visually dynamic. It was totally the right call.
It's interesting you say you let Wachter make the call considering how much attention is always paid to how the big guy looks on screen.
It's not that I didn't care. I just had faith that Dave would pick a design that worked. My office is covered in "Godzilla" toys. I'm a fan of every iteration of the monster. Right above my computer screen are my two favorites: The burning Godzilla from "Godzilla Vs. Destroyah" and the Millennium Godzilla -- both darker, more dynamic takes on the creature. When writing the script, I didn't focus on which design of the creature. Instead, I worried about the tone of the book. There were a couple of choices Dave could have made that would have worked for the book, but this was by far the best.
CBR: Do you think Godzilla works best as a hero or villain?
CB: I'll admit, my inner child gets a little thrill when I see Godzilla fighting to protect humanity. However, I think Godzilla works best as a force of nature that occasionally seems to stand in our defense.
CBR: "Cataclysm" isn't your first time writing Godzilla by a long shot. Can you tell us about "Attack of the Monsters," the comic you wrote as a small child?
CB: I think "Attack of the Monsters" might have been my first comic book! When I was very young, I drew a comic in which Godzilla, Mothra, King Kong and a giant snake attacked the cities of the world. In that story, mankind finally defeated Godzilla by flying over him in a helicopter and dropping a giant sword on his head.
CBR: What did you think of the recently released "Godzilla" film?
CB: I liked it quite a bit. It was surprising how much it felt like a movie from the Heisei era of movies. I could nitpick, sure. I know I've heard a lot of people say they wanted more Godzilla. I would probably say I wanted more Bryan Cranston.
CBR: What are your favorite "Godzilla" films?
CB: The answer to this question changes from day to day. From a nostalgia perspective, "Godzilla vs. Megalon" and "Godzilla on Monster Island" are among my favorites. But I think almost any of the Mechagodzilla flicks, regardless of era, offer up the most excitement.
CBR: "Magneto." "The Sixth Gun." "Sinestro." "Deadpool vs. Carnage." "The Empty Man." "Night of the Living Deadpool." And that's just this month. That's an insane workload. Is it tough to juggle so many projects at once? How do you do it?
CB: Some days are tougher than others.
For the most part, I pay attention to the deadlines for each book, and I focus on working on one book at a time. Every now and then, I have to pull some early mornings and late nights. Usually, though, I work from 8 to 5 every day, just like punching a time clock.
CBR: What's coming up in your creator-owned series "The Sixth Gun?"
CB: The end draws near! "The Sixth Gun" wraps with issue #50. Our heroes have been having a rough time of it lately. From the looks of things, the villains are winning and they're taking no prisoners. Drake and Becky have one last chance to stop the Grey Witch from destroying the world, but it's not going to be easy. As rough as they've had it, their darkest days are still ahead of them.
In the last couple of arcs, we're diving head first into a full-blown war between the forces of good and the forces of evil.
We'll also be learning more about Becky and Drake and their connection to the six mystic pistols destined to rewrite all of creation.
In addition, we're working on a new limited series called "Days of the Dead." In this one, we see Brother Roberto Vargas of the Sword of Abraham and Jesup Sutter of the Knights of Solomon encountered each other once before. It's a action-packed adventure about the very gods of undeath. Brian Hurtt and I are co-writing the series, and Mike Norton is illustrating it. Bill Crabtree is, of course, coloring it.
CBR: Finally, if you were a gigantic, fire-breathing monster, what city would be the first one you took out?
CB: There's this little town, right outside Kansas City, Missouri -- I can't even remember the name right now -- but I stopped at a truck stop there once and I'm pretty sure I had accidentally stepped into one of the lower circles of Hell. I'd take that place out in one stomp. Just goes to show you -- your truck stops are the truest reflection of your city.
"Godzilla: Cataclysm" #1 is out this August from IDW Publishing.
From Comic Book Resources
Because one monster rampage is never enough, IDW Publishing is set to follow up its ongoing series "Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters" with the five-issue miniseries "Gangsters and Goliaths." From the minds of Eisner Award-winning writer John Layman and Eisner-nominated artist Alberto Ponticelli, the mini blends elements of Asian cinema, mafia action and of course Toho monsters, as it finds one Detective Makoto Sato fighting alone to bring down the Tokyo underworld while struggling to survive the behemoths of MonsterIsland.
With the first issue set to crash into comic shops in June, CBR News caught up with Layman, best known as the writer and co-creator with Rob Guillory of "Chew," about "Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths" and whatever else he might have up his sleeve.
CBR News: To start, John, what do you remember about the first time you watched a Godzilla movie, or saw one of the other Toho monsters?
John Layman: I've loved Godzilla movies and monster movies for as long as I could remember, the first time seeing them. I'm very old, so I can remember watching Toho movies at weird hours, on weekend afternoons and during late late shows, in the early days before cable, back at the dawn of time. I was absolutely enthralled with the giants of giant frickin' monsters stomping around cities, fighting each other, and smashing shit up.
In IDW's new Godzilla ongoing, Eric Powell, Tracy Marsh and Phil Hester are showing the world's reaction to the first monster rampage. For your story, where are we in terms of monster attacks being a known danger? Are they fairly frequent, or is it just something you have to watch out for, a "if you see something, say something" sort of thing?
"Gangsters and Goliaths" is set in a more conventional "Godzilla" continuity, one where monsters have been around for a while. Godzilla and all the other monsters are well known, and rightly feared, by the citizens of Japan, and Tokyo in particular. There's even a Monster Island where most of the monsters spend their time, on their rampage down-time.
"Gangsters and Goliaths" stars Detective Makoto Sato as your classic cop on a crusade. What led you to take this approach to a "Godzilla" story?
I'm very into Asian cinema, arguably moreso than American cinema, which mostly bores the crap out of me. I wanted to fuse two of my favorite Asian cinema genres -- the monster movie with the hard-boiled gun-fu cops and gangsters movie. So the story is about a framed cop, wanted by the underworld and the police force, trying to clear his name, trying to protect his family, and trying to get revenge. He gets some help when he gets hold of the Mothra Twins, and starts using Mothra to systematically eliminate the families of the Tokyo criminal underworld.
Who are these gangsters Detective Sato is up against? What's his beef with them, and what's theirs with him?
Bad folks, crooks and criminals, and Detective Sato is such an obstinate, hard-headed cop he refuses to take a payoff or a buyout like the other crooked cops on the force. Sato is a familiar police archetype, an Asian Dirty Harry who's gonna do whatever it takes to take down the bad guys, even if he has to go it alone, even if he has to face impossible odds, and he's gonna keep doing it as long as he's drawing a breath.
You've had a few recent projects in addition to "Chew," including the "Identity Wars" story running through the "Amazing Spider-Man," "Incredible Hulk" and "Deadpool" annuals, and now this "Godzilla" series, as well as an as-yet unannounced project with Sam Kieth. Do the various series allow you to scratch a different sort of creative itch than what you're doing in "Chew?"
Yeah. "Chew" has opened some doors for me in that I no longer have to accept anything and everything in order to pay the rent, which I am very grateful for. I'm picking very selectively what I want to do -- and what I have time for -- and you can be sure if my name is on something it's going to be something very near and dear to my heart. Each thing has been satisfying in its own way and is approached very differently than "Chew."
Are there any other series you've got coming up?
I spent the first half of 2010 getting way ahead on "Chew," so I could take on the Marvel annuals, "Godzilla" and the Sam Kieth thing. The books are mostly all done now, but I've lost my giant lead. So I'm gonna bunker down and get about 5 issues ahead on "Chew" again before I even think about taking on anything else. I'm thinking this might turn into my annual pattern. Half year on "Chew," half year doing other stuff. Who knows.
Speaking of "Chew" for a moment, I see you and Rob have a five-pager in IDW's Hero Initiative anthology. What do you have going on in that story?
Tony Chu ingests a designer drug! Five pages of mind-altering madness. [Editor] Scott Dunbier sold us on doing the story in the same book as a story with the original "Sandman" creative team [of Neil Gaiman and Sam Keith], so it was a real honor to participate in the book.