When IDW's ongoing Godzilla comic series was first announced, it was likely greeted with some shrugging, as most might've felt it was impossible to create a book of any appreciable quality about monsters breaking things all the time (*koff*FearItself*koff*). The Goon creator Eric Powell felt the same way, until he cracked the nut of just how to do it and brought his friend Tracy Marsh on board to lend a hand, and Godzilla: Kingdom of Monsters is the result. After a stunning bit of tragic futility in #2, a skewering of Lady Gaga in #3 and an outright murdering of the Jersey Shore in #4, this week brought us #5 in Powell & Marsh's 8-issue run detailing the utter decay of civilization as a result of Godzilla, Anguirus, Rodan and Battra roaming the Earth and crushing all we hold dear.
We caught up with Powell and Marsh at the IDW booth at Comic-Con and chatted a bit about what drew them both to this challenging project and how much fun they've had doing it – not to mention dropping a tidbit about an upcoming issue of The Goon written by Evan Dorkin.
Q: How are you enjoying this series? Did you come to Godzilla as a huge fan?
ERIC POWELL: Yeah, I love Godzilla. When I was a kid, I had the big Shogun Warriors figure, and it was the greatest toy ever. Always been a huge Godzilla fan, so I kind of jumped at the chance to work on the book.
Q: Did they just straight-up offer it to you, or did you have a great idea to pitch them?
EP: They offered it to me, and I was like 'no,' because how do you do an ongoing Godzilla story? The movies are kind of formulaic. But I was sitting there, thinking about it – 'well, how would you?' Then the idea came to me – 'oh, you just do the gradual destruction of society.' So basically, we're just making The Road Warrior with giant monsters. So then it sounded really fun to me. I gave them the idea and said 'this is kinda what I wanna do, what do you think?' and they were excited about it.
Q: How did you get on the project with him, Tracy?
TRACY MARSH: Well, I got really lucky, is the short answer. I've known Eric for a long time, many years. I've done some small writing jobs for him. I've got a journalism degree and I've done some funny interviews and things for his website, and when he got offered this from IDW, he was really so busy with his other projects that he always has up in the air, he just needed some help. So he called me, and I mean, the excitement in his voice was just catching. You know, I'm a chick, so I didn't grow up with the Godzilla toys and everything, but I really just started doing a lot of research – and by research, that means eating a lot of popcorn and watching all the movies. I got into it. It's fun, it's just a lot of fun.
Q: Who's your favorite? Mothra, Rodan?
TM: I like Godzilla himself. My favorite movie when I was watching them was the original Gojira. That kind of captured the essence that we were going for, the dark tones of it.
Q: What's the working relationship like between you two? How does your writing process work?
EP: Well, we sit down together and break down the issue, what we want in there, kinda bounce ideas off each other.
TM: Eric will lay out page by page what we've already discussed when we're outlining the issue, and then we'll go back and forth with scripts. Usually, I'll start off and get the ball rolling, and I'll pass it off to him. We might go back and forth a few times, and that's it.
Q. There's an amazingly bleak tone in this. Which one of you has the darker sensibility?
TM: That would be Mr. Powell.
Q: Do you have to pull him back at all from getting too dark?
TM: No, not on this one, because I think the direction that we wanted to go when we first even pitched the idea was more dark and satire, so really, it's the perfect vehicle for him to kind of run wild with it. It's worked out well.
Q: Is there a specific endpoint to it, or will you just keep going as society crumbles?
EP: Our endpoint is issue 8. We're doing two arcs, and then I'm not sure where they're going to go from there.
Q: Any other pop culture figures are you taking aim at, after Lady Gaga and the Jersey Shore?
EP: Do we have anything else?
TM: I don't know if we've got any more.
EP: I think we killed them all. I think they're dead now. By the time issues #7 and #8 come around, lots of people are dead.
Q: Do you have any relationship to the Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths series at all?
EP: No, that's completely separate. The great thing about what IDW is doing is that they're letting a lot of freedom go between the books and the creators, not tying everyone down in a continuity. They're letting people come along and say 'hey, I've got a story I want to tell.' 'Good, tell your story.' That's the really great thing about it.
Q: You're not going to try to do the little doughboy Son of Godzilla, are you?
EP: No. No Son of Godzilla.
TM: I can see the disappointment in your eyes.
Q: I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you how The Goon's going and what you've got planned for him.
EP: Well, right now, we just got issue 34 back out, marking the relaunch of the bimonthly series, so I'm guns a-blazing working on Goon stuff right now.
Q: You just had the crossover with Criminal Macabre come out – how did that happen?
EP: That was all Steve Niles' idea. He brought it up, saying 'hey, these characters are completely different but, then again, they share kind of a sensibility.' Although they are vastly different environments, they're both kind of noir, they're both kind of dark and gritty with horror elements and everything. It was an interesting combination. It was like 'yeah, if we can come up with something that would make sense for them to get together, after that point, it's a no-brainer.'
Q: What's coming up in The Goon's life?
EP: Well, I always try to make each issue self-contained. I want people to be entertained when they pick up an issue. I don't want them to have to go 'oh, I've got to pick up 5 other Goon books now to find out what happens.' Just entertaining, making good comics. Evan Dorkin just wrote an issue that I just wrapped up, and it may be one of my favorites. It's insane. It's insane. So think about the guy who made Milk & Cheese and the guy who made The Goon coming together doing Goon stories.
Q: Wow. And that leads to the inevitable question – can they actually cross over in any way? Would that make any sense?
EP: They don't cross over technically in the story, but there's a nice little treat in the letters column.