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WRITTEN REVIEW: Godzilla Vs Barkley: What Size Sneaker Does the King of the Monsters Ware?

There was once a time in American history, not that long ago, when large companies weren’t afraid to hand over their intellectual property to young, creative filmmakers and artists to come up with new and interesting ways to pitch their product and/or service. This era was called the 90’s.

Love it or hate it, the 90’s sure had it‘s moments. Not necessarily all of which can be chalked up to it’s copious amounts of flannel. No, the 90’s will forever be remembered as “rad”, because it was a decade that had a wild creativity and off beat sense of humor.

The cable networks of the 80’s were finally coming into their own. And boy did those networks need some fresh minds. Fortunately for them the Cold War was over, the economy was in the black and this afforded young American the time to express themselves.

When young people of the 90’s weren’t too busy watching movies about Pauly Shore, or “gettin’ jiggy with it”, some of them actually had jobs and worked for companies that attracted their fresh blood with promises of creative freedom. In my opinion MTV was the first to introduce this sort of creative advertising model into the American business frontier. The quick editing, experimental animation, interesting visual styles and dark humor grew from within the confines of MTV ad space and shows like Liquid Television and Alex Winter‘s The Idiot Box, and could soon be found on Nickelodeon, with shows like Ren & Stimpy.

Before long Americans couldn’t turn on their televisions without seeing a commercial for the Sega Genesis and being scared half to death, before screaming out to the heavens, “What the hell was that?!”.

It was a wild time. Weird was the new normal and if you were willing to stay up long enough, you could catch The Jerry Springer Show two times a day. The 90’s weren’t perfect, but there is much from that decade that I honestly miss. Some of which is what I missed out on. Like NBA MVP Charles Barkley challenging the King of the Monsters to a basketball game. It’s true. It happened. On MTV no less.

"Get ready to see a REAL monster jam!"

This ad was created by advertising agency Wieden & Kennedy and produced by Industrial Light & Magic for a new shoe Nike was preparing to release in Japan. The final product was such an effective ad, Nike decided to use it in the states as well. To build additional hype about the shoe and commercial, a trailer was made which teased the date that the full commercial would be shown. The ad first aired on MTV, September 9th, 1992 during the MTV Video Music Awards.

The ad was a huge hit among TV viewers, and to make sure that they didn’t miss out on any money making that the advert may offer up, Nike decided to make Godzilla Vs Charles Barkley wares.

In December of 1993, Dark Horse Comics, who at that time owned the rights to the Godzilla character, decided to release a Godzilla one-shot that develops the story of the commercial into a full length comic book. Why? Other than to piggy back on the success of the ad to create a money generating novelty, I have no clue. I really don’t. There is no reason in the universe that Charles Barkley should grow to monster size and play basketball with Gojira. But it happened anyway. With that said, let us now take a look at Godzilla Vs Barkley.

This story begins with a Japanese ship traveling off the coast of California. The ships radar detects a large object beneath the ship, rising quickly from the deep. The object is none other that Godzilla himself. Godzilla destroys the ship and slowly makes his way landward.

The following day young Matthew and his grandfather are headed to the beach. Matt heard that a commercial was being filmed there which happens to be starring his all time favorite NBA star, Charles Barkley.

Matt would like nothing better than to meet the star. He tries his hardest to get past Barkley’s bodyguard and handlers, but his attempts was thwarted.

His grandfather tried to cheer Matt up by telling him that someday he will be bigger than Barkley and he’ll be important too. Remember kids, if the 1998 Godzilla taught us only one thing, it’s “Size Does Matter”. To further help Matt feel better about his diminutive stature, grandpa gives young Matt a gift. A 1889 Morgan silver dollar with “magical properties”, so he says.

All these warm and fuzzy feelings come to an end when Godzilla reaches the shore and heads into the city to begin doing what Godzilla does best. Wreck shit!

Matt, without thinking of his grandfather or his personal well-being, takes off. He runs back to Barkley convinced that he will be able to stop the monsters reign of terror. How is this possible, you ask? Well according to Matt, Barkley is “Earth’s greatest warrior”.

Barkley’s handlers, apparently unaware of the danger created by Godzilla, bicker with Barkley about his schedule and how he shouldn’t be wasting his time talking to some kid.

Matt pleads with Barkley that he should go fight Godzilla with help from the magic silver dollar. Barkley isn’t interested in all that monster fighting jazz, so instead he takes this strange boy, who he has never met before, for a car ride into the city, WHERE THE DANGER IS!

Once in the city, Matt demands Barkley to pull the car over so he can challenge him to a game of basketball.

I would just like to stop here and point out that this story exists beyond the realm of reality.
1. Why would Barkley leave alone with a strange child, isn’t that kidnapping? Isn’t Matt’s grandfather concerned?

2. I can’t believe how unalarmed everyone is to see Godzilla in their city. Other than Matt and a few folks in the background, no one seems to care.

So Matt flips the silver dollar to see who will get the ball first, and when the coin hit’s the ground it manages to land upright on it’s edge. An idea stolen right from A Penny for Your Thoughts an episode of The Twilight Zone. Apparently it’s good luck to land a coin on it’s edge, because when Barkley bends down to pick the coin up, the coins magic powers activate in the form of gigantism. Barkley grows to over 300ft. tall.

Now seeing the Godzilla problem eye-to-eye, he realizes that he must do something. After all, he is Earth’s greatest warrior. Barkley leads the monster out of the city by challenging him to a one-on-one b-ball game. “It‘s a little known fact that Godzilla is a sucker for b-ball”, says Barkley. He leads Godzilla to an old air force base fashioned with a space shuttle scaffold that he uses as a makeshift basketball hoop. Let the game begin!

Godzilla holds his own for a while, but soon Barkley takes the lead. Frustrated, Godzilla throws a tantrum, melting the basketball with his atomic breath and Barkley responds by putting his arm around Godzilla, telling him that if he would change his attitude and practice more he could be a much better basketball player. The two walk off into the sunset together as Barkley suggests that he help Godzilla find some new kicks, “I know some people could make you some shoes.”.

The one-shot ends with Barkley giving Godzilla advice about his lay-ups as Godzilla listens while wearing size 13,000 EEE Nikes. The final page shows Barkley returning to the basketball court, now normal size, to return the silver dollar to Matt. Blah, blah, blah… The End

Wow! I should have known right from the start that this was going to be a pointless read. But I have to admit, this strange mash-up is just the sort of thing that catches my attention. Why? I don’t know. I’m weird.

It’s weak link is it’s writing. Sure Barkley growing to monster size because a coin lands on it’s side is dumb, but that didn’t bother me. That was pretty much what I expected. Some quick and disposable explanation to get the story going. But I wish the rest of the comic took itself seriously. It would have made the strange things more fun and would have presented a better narrative. Instead characters do things without much explanation or are disregarded after they are introduced.

Godzilla Vs Barkley would have worked better as a mini series with fully developed characters. But who the hell would want to spend good money buying multiple issues of this story, then sitting down to read it.

In conclusion, Godzilla Vs Barkley is not worth reading. However, if you are a Godzilla fan or are nostalgic for the 90’s, by all means, Godzilla Vs Barkley will fill that void. And to answer the question, "What size sneaker does the King of the Monsters ware?", 13,000 EEE. I know you were dieing to know. lol


★ ½