Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from Mark, Sue and Andy here at Monsterland Ohio. We're thankful for our fellow G-FANs and everyone who has shared the kaiju experience with us!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Visit with Kaiju Modeler

We recently had the pleasure of spending some time with Ohio's own Kaiju Modeler, Matt Evangelista. We invited him via e-mail to come check out Andy's G-Mazing Collection at the Perry Public Library, and he accepted! What added to the fun was that Matt offered to bring in some of his completed models for inclusion in the G-Mazing Collection. He brought an awesome "Son of Godzilla" diorama, a menacing Godzilla 1954 (complete with train in mouth--see below) and a exceptional Godzilla 1984. Andy eagerly made room for them in the display case.

We spent the better part of an hour talking about all things Godzilla. Matt gave us a crash course in model-building technique and he's got us pretty much hooked on the idea of trying our hand at it (plus now we've got an expert to consult!). We had such a good time that later the comment was made that it was like our own mini-G-FEST. (Interestingly, we had to meet Matt at G-FEST 16 (in Chicago) in order to find out he lives less than twenty miles away from us in Northeast Ohio!)
Not only was Matt generous with his time and personal collection, but he also brought Andy some extraordinary G-gifts, including two copies of Hobby Japan magazine that have become quickly absorbed and have given new meaning to the phrase, "Christmas Wish List." We'd like to sincerely thank Matt for his unexpected kindness. Like Andy said, "We've got a new G-friend." You couldn't ask for a cooler Thanksgiving gift.
More great photos of Matt's work will be submitted to G-FAN magazine along with an article about the G-Mazing Collection's November run at the library. Those shots will eventually surface here, too.
Click the "Kaiju Modeler" link in the right-hand column for a look at some great models Matt has to offer.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Budding Kaiju Artist Presents: Megalon!

Rise, Megalon! Straight from Andy's sketchpad, here is Seatopia's mighty avenger, ready to right the undersea kingdom's wrongs.

Keep watching Monsterland Ohio for some exciting news regarding our "G-Mazing Collection" display at the Perry Library!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Marvel Comics' "Godzilla" Issue # 3 "A Tale of Two Saviors"

Synopsis: Godzilla surfaces in San Francisco, threatening the Golden Gate Bridge. The L.A.-based superhero squad "The Champions" are alerted to Godzilla's appearance, and speed to the rescue in the "Champscraft," landing on the Golden Gate Bridge itself. In the meantime, S.H.I.E.L.D.'s helicarrier is also heading for Godzilla, setting up a clash not only between man and monster, but competing "first responder" teams. Their efforts do nothing to prevent the destruction of the bridge, and Godzilla once again heads back out to sea.

High Point: The destruction of the Golden Gate Bridge deserved a bigger panel, but it remains the payoff moment of this issue.

Low Point: The Champions' Hercules (yes, that Hercules--even though in the Marvel universe Hercules speaks in Elizabethan English...and I quote: "Dost thou know to whom thou speakest, mortal?") "succeeds in the impossible" by straining, Altas-style, under one of Godzilla's feet until he flips Godzilla on his back. I mean, come on.

Hmmm Moment: The theme of "Godzilla as a friend to good-hearted humans" is expanded, ever so slightly, as he "almost playfully" crushes the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier's dorsal fin. Again I quote: "Later one of the crew will liken the curious gesture to that of a wistful uncle tweaking his cute nephew's button nose. The crewman, it should be mentioned, is far more perceptive than anyone suspects...including himself."

Bottom Line: The same story arc has now been repeated three times: Godzilla attacks; defense forces engage him; they are ineffectual in stopping the Big G; and he rides off into the sunset. The most promising storyline--the construction of the anti-Godzilla weapon--is dangled for one page to make sure the reader is still hanging around. The introduction of true comic book superheroes marks a change in tone, taking the series out of the realm of science fiction and into the universe of comic fantasy. There is something fun about that, yet the mix of kaiju and superhero seems uneasy at best--and at worst (i.e. Herc's flip move) it lapses into absurdity. For better or for worse, the series is about to take an even stranger turn...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More "G-Mazing" Photos

Here's another shelf from the Perry Library set-up, with one of my favorite G-FAN covers in the background. Thanks to our friends and family who have stopped by to check it out!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Five Fantastic Features of War of the Gargantuas

A recent viewing of War of the Gargantuas inspired me to jot down a few things that make this film completely awesome.

1. The Green Gargantua. Call him Gaila, Gaira, or just "the green one," this is one of Toho's most irredeemably evil monsters. He eats people and spits out their clothes; he turns on his "brother" who is just trying to help; he's mad at the world. The flashback scene where Gaila is swimming after the sailors is really unsettling. It sets the tone that this is one malevolent (and unforgettable) being.

2. The Plot and Pacing. Going in, you know there are two Gargantuas, but everything is set up in such a way that there is still a sense of surprise when Sanda shows up. The film never goes for long without showing a Gargantua in action, which is a plus.

3. Really Special Effects. This is a no-brainer, of course, but the effects are so good in War of the Gargantuas that they deserve special mention. Part of the quality has to do with the fact that the Gargantuas are not, in fact, gargantuan, which means that the models they destroy are larger and more richly detailed than most. The Gargantua costumes are weirdly anthropomorphic and enhanced by the visible eyes of the actors, which adds tremendously to their realism. I also love the scene where the maser tanks are mowing down the forest as they attack Gaila, and the trees fall over in a laser-straight line. Perfect!

4. Mizuno, Sahara, and Tamblyn. It would easy to pan Russ Tamblyn's performance as the world's most non-committal scientist, but I say it takes hard work to project such ambivalence. OK, I'm kidding. But there is this ambiguity between him and Kumi Mizuno that is just barely resolved near the end, all done very tastefully. And while Tamblyn and Mizuno are out taking walks in the woods, Sahara's character stoically does all the real research and fieldwork. Poor guy.

5. The Words Get Stuck In My Throat. The only way this scene could have been improved is if Gaila had actually eaten Kipp Hamilton, thereby becoming stuck in his throat.

Monday, November 9, 2009

G-Mazing Collection @ PPL

Here's a close-up of one of the display shelves. The figure third from the right is the Prometheus robot from the Ultraman Tiga & Ultraman Dyna movie.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Perry Library "Project G" is a Go (Go Godzilla!)

On Godzilla's 55th birthday, Andy and I descended upon the Perry Public Library ready to unveil the "G-Mazing Collection." We had a great time putting everything in place and watching the reaction of kids who happened to be wandering by at the time (not to mention their parents).

Our first step was to remove the former collection's background, which didn't take long. Then we posted carefully selected G-FAN covers and artwork as the background. The effect was quite striking and would be a great display all on its own!

Then Andy began placing his figures on the glass shelves. With only a few hints from Dad, he did a great job with spacing and balance, and got things looking just right. We also agreed on a high visibility spot for our Kenji Sahara photograph and signature.

We had so many leftover copies of G-FAN covers and artwork that we gave the rest to Ms. Kara Cervelli, the children's librarian--so if you stop by the exhibit, ask for your own mini-poster souvenir!

We plan to do a full write-up of our experience and submit it, along with some great photos, to G-FAN Magazine. We will post some more shots of the finished display in the near future, too. If you have the opportunity, please stop by and take a look, and let us know what you think by leaving us a comment here!
The Perry Public Library is located at 3753 Main Street, Perry, Ohio 44081.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Preparations Completed for Perry Public Library "Project G"

The Perry Public Library in Perry, Ohio has a large display case in its children's section that houses various collections on a monthly basis. Andy reserved the case for the month of November and is going to share his Godzilla collection with Lake County!
Our preparation began by going through issues of G-FAN magazine and selecting artwork that we wanted to include as the backdrop of the collection. That activity was fun in and of itself!
Next, Andy chose which figures and memorabilia he was going to include in the display case. He decided to include Kenji Sahara's autograph that he got at this summer's G-FEST, with a note describing Mr. Sahara's career.
We are all set. Tonight we get to go to the library and set everything up. We both hope that people enjoy what they see. We also hope that they might want to find out more about Godzilla and G-FAN magazine!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Big Fun at...Big Fun!

A couple Sundays ago we very literally stumbled across an amazing toy store appropriately named "Big Fun."

At this location (we would soon learn there is more than one) you are greeted by a silver robot that plays James Brown hits nonstop! And while that is undeniably cool, it can't begin to rival the sensation of walking into Big Fun for the first time and experiencing sensory overload unlike anything since the G-FEST Dealer's Room. Big Fun specializes in vintage toys--and by "vintage" I mean Kenner Star Wars, original Transformers, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe-era toys. I mean Fraggle Rock and E.T. plush. It is a time machine of epic proportions. Elvis and the Beatles memorabilia blends with Michael Jackson and Wham! paraphernalia. Old library card catalogs house countless plastic trinkets, erasers, pencil toppers, and the like. The Wizard of Oz, Popeye, Marvel and D.C. comic heroes--all are represented in one form or another.

While visiting the store pictured here (near Lakewood, Ohio) we learned there was another Big Fun--the original Big Fun--in Cleveland Heights, so we visited there recently too. Of course, it was not quite the same "wow" factor upon entering, but their selection was even better!

What I mean is that the original Big Fun had far more in the way of Japanese superheroes and robots. There were Shogun Warriors, Kamen Rider, and Macross toys all carefully stored in glass cases. But my son really hit the jackpot when he spotted five loose Super Deformed Ultraman figures that became ours for an insanely reasonable price. You see them pictured here, along with the only Godzilla figures to be found--a series of Imperial-like monsters in variable hues. Inexpensive to begin with, the nice guys at Big Fun knocked a dollar apiece off our big G's. Maybe our enthusiasm will lead to more Godzilla merch in the future!

If you're ever in the Cleveland area, you owe it to yourself to experience Big Fun's nostalgic head rush. It is one of the hidden gems of the North Coast--we've been here for eleven years and had no idea it existed! Now that we know, it is destined to become an old haunt. Let us know if we can go and look for something for you--that would give us a reason to go back sooner than later!

For more info about Big Fun, including store locations and hours, visit