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six questions about Godzilla
answered by J.D. Lees of G-Fan

Godzilla CompendiumHow did Godzilla come about?
Godzilla has two origins. In 1954, when he first appeared as King of the Monsters, he was supposed to be a revived type of dinosaur that was roused from an age-old sleep by H-bomb testing. In the late Eighties he was given a new origin where he was a dinosaur, a Godzillasaurus who survived to modern times and through exposure to radiation became mutated into a 100-meter monster.

Is Godzilla good or evil?
Godzilla can't be classified as good or evil. He has become like a natural catastrophe, like a hurricane. People know he's coming and do the best they can to defend themselves. They wait until he passes and repair the damage after he's gone. I don't think anyone would classify him as evil any more than anyone would classify an earthquake as evil. In the late Sixties he took on the role of a superhero and he was definitely good. We even saw children calling out his name when they needed help fighting off monsters like Titanisaurus and Megalon.

What's your favorite Godzilla flick?
Godzilla vs. MothraI would go back to 1964 to Godzilla vs. the Thing (a.k.a. Godzilla vs. Mothra), which was the first one I saw in a theater. My dad took me to see it. I was a young boy at the time. It happens that it's recognized effects-wise, story-wise and musically as one of the high points of the series. Godzilla was still a deadly menace, and the suits they used were some of the best. It was a fantastic movie. The antagonist was Mothra and her two fairy princesses.

How does Godzilla defend himself?
Godzilla does not breath fire. He emits a beam of atomic heat. A minor distinction, but it's important. He can fly, humiliatingly enough for us fans. In Godzilla vs. the Smog Monster, he used his atomic beam as a jet propulsion unit. But that's the only time that's happened and the hardcore fans think of the scene as a bad dream. Godzilla is 100 meters tall now. When he started he was 50 meters, but he's grown over the years. Some say this is because he needs to keep up with the size increases of the buildings in Tokyo. He's not invulnerable, but his cells are able to repair so quickly that any injury immediately heals.

What does Godzilla eat?
He's never been shown eating. In Godzilla 1985, he did take up the core of a nuclear reactor and seemed to absorb energy from that. I've read books that say he feeds on sea creatures. You have to wonder how a 100-meter monster possibly finds enough to eat.

What did you think of Hollywood's version of the Big G in Godzilla '98?
Blah! Is that concise enough for you? Some physical changes for the classic Godzilla were necessary but they went too far. Godzilla doesn't run from an army, he crushes it. The idea that all they needed to kill him was a clear shot is idiotic. Mankind doesn't try to stop or destroy hurricanes, but because Godzilla is in the form of a living being, human ego tells us we can stop or control him. The directors should have had Godzilla turn New York into a holocaust. Instead, they had the army destroy the Chrysler Building while Godzilla can't even destroy a taxicab. Shall I go on?

Godzilla Match-ups
called by J.D. Lees
Mike Tyson (blown up): Godzilla
King Kong (blown up): Godzilla
LAPD (regular): Godzilla
Power Rangers (blown up): Godzilla
Superman (regular): Godzilla
Mothra (regular): Mothra, in a squeaker

G-FanG-Fan review

There's something about Godzilla that warms your heart, especially if you're standing too close when he sneezes. So the Big G destroys a few major Japanese cities while taking pot shots at other monsters. So he disrupts some traffic patterns and sends a gaggle of badly dubbed scientists into a panic. He's still the King of Monsters, and don't you forget it. J.D. Lees, editor of G-Fan: The Journal of Japanese Monsters, spreads the gospel of Godzilla six times a year with tale-of-the-tape comparisons with other mutants such as Mothra and Rodan (or King Kong or the Power Rangers) and film reviews (Japan cranks out Godzilla movies like America does action heroes). By far the most entertaining part of the zine, even if you're not a monster fan, is the letters column. "I seriously think Fire Rodan would defeat Gyaos even if he lost his ray breath," argues teen fan Robby Walsh of Washington, D.C., noting that Rodan can fly while the rat-like Gyaos can't even turn his head because he has two throats. A few paragraphs later, James Schafer of Salem, Oregon, is asking how exactly the chunky Godzilla can swim so damned fast. "The laws of physics cannot be skewed that much," he writes. Hey Jim, you questioning Godzilla, man? You seen the size of that guy lately? If he wants to swim, he'll swim. ($4 from Box 3468, Steinbach, Manitoba, Canada R0A 2A0)

This material appeared in my fanzine, Chip's Closet Cleaner, Issue 13.

Links: Barry's Temple of Godzilla (site), Japan's Favorite Monster (book)

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