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Sunday, September 18, 2011

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Godzilla, that beloved behemoth, is an international icon that has endured for more 55 years and has more than 28 films to his credit. Godzilla has also been the subject of dozens of books. Amazon has great deals on Godzilla books for all ages. Most of these books I own myself.Godzilla books can roughly be divided into four groups; non-fiction, novels, comic books, and children's books.


The Official Godzilla Compendium: A 40 Year Retrospective by Marc Cerasini
This is a wonderful quick reference book on the movies. It gives a detailed synopsis of the movies from the original Gojira in 1954 to Godzilla vs. Destroyahin 1995. Especially handy are the movie info and cast and credits along the margin of the page. The book has many pictures, including many full color illustrations and original art by famous comic book illustrator Arthur Adams. In addition there are guest essays on many aspects of Godzilla including the making of the films, Godzilla in books and the media, and even Godzilla as a parenting tool. I especially love the one page filmography table in the back of the book for quick reference. The only drawback is that it was published in 1998, so it doesn't include any information on the movies made from 2000 on. Still, it's a great book and a must-have for any Godzilla fan. 144 pages.

 Japan's Favorite Mon-Star: The Unauthorized Biography of "The Big G" by Steve Ryfle
Also published in 1998, this book is much more massive and broader in scope. The culmination of years of research, it not only details the films until 1995, but also tells the story of Godzilla's origins and his many fathers, like director Ishiro Honda, special effects wizard, Eiji Tsuburaya, and composer Akira Ifukube. Godzilla was originally a metaphor for the atomic bomb and was initially envisioned having a mushroom shaped head. The name "Gojira" is the combination of two words, gorilla and "kujira", the Japanese word for whale and was the nickname of a man working on the Toho Studio lot. A wonderful, in-depth book. 374 pages.

Godzilla on My Mind: Fifty Years of the King of Monsters by William M. Tsutsui
This book takes a fresh look at the King of the Monsters. The author combines solid scholarship with witty writing as he details the path of Godzilla in pop culture across the globe over the decade until the present; from issues of nuclear disarmament to science fiction fandom; from toys to TV endorsements for Nike and Dr. Pepper.. Well researched and accessible, it will be be enjoyed by enthusiasts of pop culture and historians alike. 256 pages.

Mushroom Clouds and Mushroom Men: The Fantastic Cinema of Ishiro Honda by Peter H. Brothers
This is a biography detailing the life and career of Ishiro Honda, one of Japan's most renown and prolific directors. Honda was one of Godzilla's "fathers" and the the director of the original Gojira movie which ushered in an era of Toho fantasy films. He directed not only most of the films in the original Godzilla series, but other giant monster movies, including Rodan and Mothra. He directed over 80 films over a career that spanned 60 years. Not just fantasy, his films are "beautiful nightmares" and are metaphors for the things which threaten mankind, both real and imaginary. While other directors like Akira Kurosawa get more critical acclaim, it is the movies of Ishiro Honda which have enthralled moviegoers all over the world for more than fifty years. 296 pages.

Eiji Tsuburaya: Master of Monsters: Defending the Earth with Ultraman and Godzilla by August Ragone
Eiji Tsuburaya was the special effects genius who almost single handed, created the entire genre of giant monster movies in Japan. He created the original Godzilla, the first ever man in a rubber suit to be filmed as a giant monster. He was responsible for not only Godzilla and Ultraman, but numerous other movies and TV shows. A must have for fans. 208 pages

A Critical History and Filmography of Toho's Godzilla Series, 2d ed. by David Kalat
This book proves that Godzilla can be the subject of not only fan books, but serious historical scholarship. This book is a direct response to years of abuse and ridicule that Godzilla has received over the years from American critics. Kalat not only gives a synopsis of the first 23 films, but also an indepth analysis of the sociopolitical subtexts. In addition, he reveals to us,another hidden father of Godzilla, Akira Ifukube, a serious classical composer. Ifukube created not only created Godzilla's famous theme music and marches, but the monster's characteristic roar as well. The sound was made by running a resined glove over the string of a contrabass. Though academic in nature, the book is easily accessible and enjoyable. 286 pages.

Random house has published a wonderful series of young adult novels about Godzilla. All the same giant monsters from Japan, but with all original stories. Authors Marc Cerasini and Scott Ciencin have created highly entertaining, fast paced stories that are fun to read. With dazzling titles and fantasticly illustrated cover art.

Godzilla 2000 by Marc Cerasini
This book was published in 1996 and not to be confused with the movie of the same name. Teenager Kip Daniels is grabbed by two agents after breaking records on a new video game called Battleground 2000. The military created the game to recruit new talent for training on a high-tech flying weapon to be used against Godzilla and other giant monsters who have been wreaking havoc worldwide. Kip and five other teenagers agree to join the secret organization called G-Force USA, but do they stand a chance against the mighty Godzilla?

Godzilla at World's End by Marc Cerasini
This sci-fi thriller is set in the year 2001. A team of young scientists head to the south pole in a modern dirigible airship. Miles below the surface of the South Pole, the Ancient Ones, a race of crystalline beings, have awakened after a million years and horrified to find "their" world infected by a plague of humans. To eliminate humanity, the Ancient Ones create an army of cybernetic monsters who lay waste to South America, China, and Russia before descending upon Japan to do battle with Godzilla. The young scientists in Antarctica and Godzilla, King of the Monsters, are humanity's last line of defense against the giant monster army of the Ancient Ones.

 Godzilla vs. the Robot Monsters by Marc Cerasini
The nations of the world prepare to fight back against Godzilla by constructing a pair of gigantic robotic weapons to be operated by teams of teenage geniuses. Unknown to the teams, however, the evil three-headed dragon King Ghidorah has returned. Rebuilt as a cyborg weapon, the creature can only by stopped if the robots now combine their forces and find an ally in the newly awakened Godzilla!

Godzilla vs. the Space Monster by Scott Ciencin
On the outskirts of Fort Wayne, Indiana, twelve-year-old Troy Richmond wishes on a star for more excitement in his life. When a meteorite lands in his backyard, it infects Troy with information about King Ghidorah, the terrible three-headed space monster who is heading straight for Earth. Troy finds himself at the center of a worldwide monster battle when King Ghidorah attacks Monster Island and hurts Godzilla's monster friends Rodan, Mothra, Battra, and Anguirus. Now it's personal, and it's up to Godzilla and a kid from Indiana to join forces and save the world!

Godzilla: Journey to Monster Island by Scott Ciencin
Lost in America, Godzilla can't seem to find his way back to the Pacific Ocean. He meets up with a group of giant monsters created by a scientific mishap and decides to wage war on a fearful military. When the monsters meet two courageous children who have convinced the authorities that the monsters are just looking for a way home, the group is allowed to continue their journey to Monster Island.

Godzilla Invades America by Scott Ciencin
A young Japanese boy is having trouble fitting in to his new American home. So when Godzilla arrives on America's shores, the boy decides to run away to follow him. In the process, he meets a young scientist named Hiro, who is on a quest of his own. The unlikely pair soon find themselves in the midst of an incredible adventure--and at the center of the biggest monster battle America has ever seen!

Godzilla: The Novelization by Stephan Molstad
This is the novelized version of 1998's Sony Godzilla with Matthew Broderick. Scientist Nick Tatopolous must uncover the secrets behind the giant creature known as Godzilla. After leaving a path of destruction across the globe, the trail leads to Manhattan. Can Nick and his team along with the U.S. Military, find a way to stop Godzilla before it's too late? 314 pages.

Comic Books

Godzilla: Age of Monsters
Noriko Yoshiwara's father discovered a large rock that altered the course of her life forever. The stone turned out to be a kind of beacon that summoned the King of the Monsters, Godzilla. Follow Yoshiwara and her team of scientists known as G-force as they track Godzilla as he battles Hero Zero, Charles Barkley and more!
This is a compilation of several stories from the Dark Horse comic series, excellent. Godzilla goes up against a whole new batch of enemies. The original comics were color, but this book has been done in manga style black and white. Necessary for any G-fan. 272 pages.

Godzilla: Past, Present, Future
This is a great book. It includes several of the best stories from Dark Horse. See Godzilla battle a giant mechanized Spider and go against giant aliens who come to Earth to hunt him. Then a power hungry mad scientist with a time machine takes Godzilla throughout human history. Godzilla destroys the Spanish Armada as well and breaks the Titanic in two! Great stuff. This thick, compilation comic is also in black and white. 272 pages.

Essential Godzilla (Marvel Essentials)
From 1977-1979, Godzilla had his own series from Marvel comics. In this version, he was green, scaly, and breathed red fire, but we didn't seem to mind, See Godzilla go up against Marvel's biggest stars, the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. Godzilla shrinks, goes west, travels through time and goes up against many more giant monsters. This massive compilation includes issues #1-24. 440 full color pages.

Children's Books 
Unfortunately, some of these great looking children's books are out of print, but are still available through special sellers

Godzilla on Monster Island by Jacqueline Dwyer
 Out of print. In this gentler story, Godzilla and his monster friends find a strange-looking egg on Monster Island. Knowing that the egg is important, Godzilla protects it from Gigan and Mechagodzilla's attacks. The egg turns out to be a cocoon, and when it opens, it releases beautiful Mothra--the newest monster on Monster Island! 24 pages.

Who's Afraid of Godzilla? by Di Kaiju and Bob Eggelton
Out of Print. Godzilla is sad because everyone on Monster Island is afraid of him. He goes off to live alone on a deserted island, then one day, sensing trouble back on Monster Island, he returns to find that Anguirus, has fallen into a volcano pit. Using his long tail, Godzilla saves Anguirus, and his act of kindness dispels the fears of the other monsters. Happily, Godzilla finally finds a home. 23 pages.

Godzilla Likes to Roar! by Kerry Milliron and Bob Eggelton
Out of Print. The rhyming story follows a day in the life of Godzilla in his Monster Island home. Godzilla roars when he's hungry, when he wants to play with his monster friends, and when he's tired. But eventually, even monsters have to go to sleep! This is a gentle monster "good night" tale for the youngest Godzilla fans. 24 pages.

 Godzilla Saves America: A Monster Showdown in 3-D! by Marc Cerasini
Illustrated in full color. Godzilla coming to America! Hold on to your special 3-D Godzilla Glasses, because you won't believe your eyes. This picture book features the latest in 3-D technology, allowing Godzilla to leap right off the page. Godzilla fans are in for a treat as they watch him battle Ghidorah, a three-headed dragon from outer space. No place in America is safe from this space monster. Godzilla must trek all across America--from the Golden Gate Bridge to Mount Rushmore to a quick shower under Niagara Falls--in search of the demolition dragon. Finally, they meet up in a mega-monster showdown set in New York City's concrete canyons.

Attack of the Baby Godzillas
Movie stills from the TriStar Pictures spring release relate the story of the most famous movie monster in the world. Godzilla has chosen the Big Apple as home for his newly hatched Baby Godzillas! Among those hot on his trail are Nick, a handsome scientist; Audrey, his ex-girlfriend and a novice reporter; and Animal, a daredevil cameraman.

Godzilla: A Junior Novelization by H. B. Gilmore
Godzilla has chosen the Big Apple as home for his newly hatched Baby Godzillas! Written for beginning readers--because it's never too early to read about everyone's favorite movie monster, this novelization includes movie stills. 71 pages.

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