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Godzilla: Top Ten Comic Stories, Ranked | CBR – CBR – Comic Book Resources

The King of the Monsters has been featured in comics by several of the biggest publishers in the industry.
It’s been nearly 70 years since the Big G first stomped his way onto the not quite as big screen. Since then, Godzilla has become a national icon of Japanese popular culture and one of the most easily recognizable fictional characters of all time.
RELATED: 10 Best Godzilla Films, Ranked
With such fame, it’s no surprise that the King of the Monsters has been featured in comics by several of the biggest publishers in the industry. While IDW has been the most notable in his printed history, that doesn’t mean they’re the only company to put out some top-tier kaiju content.
To head things off at the pass, there is a very long and storied history of Godzilla film adaptations and continuations in manga. While in recent years, manga original stories have been all but absent, there was a time when the King was plastered on as many tankōbon and magazines as Toho could afford. While these movie-based stories often told the main plot of each film, they would also spin off into bizarre side adventures involving robotic and magical girls, Cronenberg abominations, and ridiculous art. Reading them all isn’t a hard recommendation, but they’re certainly worth a skim for any self-proclaimed kaiju nut.
The only so-bad-it’s-good pick on the list, this epic battle was part of a marketing campaign by Nike. The story is an expanded take on the original commercial where NBA legend Charles Barkley battles the King of the Monsters in the most honorable battlefield known to man: the court.
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The comic by Dark Horse Comics has become a part of Goji-Meme culture with its bizarre magic coin-based plot and its legendary line “Godzilla got busy.” Godzilla vs. Barkley (1993) was by Mike Baron and a partner credited as Alan Smithee, along with art by Jeff Butler, inks by Keith Aiken, colors by James Sinclair, and lettering by Steve Dutro.
While IDW has maintained a stronghold on the Toho family of kaiju for the last decade, their first attempt was fraught with issues (and not the kind one reads). The Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters written by Eric Powell, Tracy Marsh, and Jason Ciaramella with pencils by Phil Hester and Victor Santos is very strong for the most part. The problem lies in Toho’s disinterest in the darker theme the creatives originally wanted to go with, including the several dropped plotlines left over after the story’s conclusion. However, despite those failings, it’s still more than worth the read. Not only was it IDW’s first big swing with the franchise, but it also provided the foundation for their future endeavors.
Something manga and anime fans learn early on is how relaxed Japan is when it comes to violence in children’s media compared to America. Even heavily edited, Dragon Ball Z was a game-changer when it hit in the late 90s due to the extreme level of blood and gore it contained, especially in comparison to its western contemporaries like Batman Beyond or Gargoyles. The same goes for comics. In 1992, manga publisher Kodansha released two volumes by Hisashi Yasui (with artist Hiroshi Kawamoto) based on Gojira, which has become well known for its brutally gory battles and wild original characters like King Godzilla: a hodgepodge of Godzilla, Battra, Biollante, and King Ghidorah.
Noir is that special kind of genre creators can add to anything to make it better. Spider-Man? You’ve got Spider-Man NoirStar Trek: The Next Generation? Some of the best holodeck episodes are based around Picard‘s favorite crime thriller character, Dixon Hill. The same method worked for Godzilla in 2011 when IDW published Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths by John Layman and  Alberto Ponticelli. Follow Detective Makoto Sato as he investigates a devious crime syndicate in the tropical paradise of Monster Island.
As previously mentioned, IDW’s Kingdom of Monsters ended on a sour note with several dropped plotlines and an unsatisfying lack of a real conclusion. Their follow-up series Godzilla: Rulers of Earth would reinvigorate the fanbase with a thrilling love letter to not just Toho’s big five, but all the most obscure and beloved tokusatsu characters IDW could get their hands on. Chris Mowry is the writer (with Matt Frank and Jeff Zornow on art as well as colors by Priscilla Tramontano). As of writing, it’s also the longest-running Godzilla series of all time, beating out the Marvel series by a single issue.
From inception, Godzilla has always been a symbol of catastrophe. He’s a literal godlike force that cannot be stopped, is unlikely to be survived, and leaves a figurative radioactive scar across those who suffer his wrath. Godzilla: Cataclysm brings the character back to his somber roots in a world where humanity has failed to defeat the onslaught of kaiju and only a small surviving group remains. Godzilla in the post-apocalypse is the high-concept elevator pitch for this harrowing series by Cullen BunnDave Wachter, and Chris Mowry.
Before Wolverine, Deadpool, and The Punisher came to blows with the Marvel Universe, Big G himself battled the House of Ideas when Doug Moench and Herb Trimpe created the 24-issue long Godzilla series for Marvel in 1977.
RELATED: 10 Terrifying Monsters In The Marvel Universe That Could Rival Godzilla
This saw the titanic terror battle everyone – from S.H.I.E.L.D. and Devil Dinosaur to the Fantastic Four and the Avengers. Albeit dated, this series still serves as one of the all-time highs of Marvel’s licensed properties.
Godzilla in Hell was a wonderful experiment by IDW. They took the talents of James Stokoe, Matt Frank, Bob Eggleton (as well as Dave Wachter) and gave them each an issue to explore the high concept premise of the King of the Monsters in the fires of the underworld. It was a stroke of genius. Each issue is self-contained and plays on the idea in unique ways. And the best part is that, unlike many other titles on this list, it requires no prior knowledge and only lasts a scant five issues.
Godzilla The Half-Century War by James Stokoe is the single greatest Godzilla comic. Not only does James Stokoe do a wonderful job – as he always does – on the epic and intimately detailed art, but he also includes a human and emotional story to tie it all together. In short, The Half-Century War has amazing action and plenty of easter eggs for kaiju fans. It’s everything that makes a perfect Godzilla comic. The only gun-to-one’s-head critique that can be given is that the themes of revenge and hate are well-worn ground for the franchise, but as a microcosm of how great Big G can be in sequential art, it only makes sense that the same themes dealt with in the 1954 original are presented here.
NEXT: Godzilla: The 5 Best Rivals From The Movies (& 5 Worst)
Born in Little Rock and raised in Texarkana, Billie Sparkle has only just begun writing professionally within the last few months. She’s a graduate of Texas A&M – Texarkana with a bachelor’s degree in history and holds a fascination for the behind-the-scenes stories of her favorite media. A fan of all things comics, kaiju, and fighting games, she hopes to provide an enthusiastic and peppy vibe to her work.


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