Fight The Greatest Fight.
'King Kong vs. Godzilla (1989)'
On March 31 of this year, Godzilla vs. Kong will be released domestically. It will, I assume, fix everything.
Godzilla vs. Kong will compel every citizen of Earth to lock arms and weep with joy. Godzilla vs. Kong will eradicate COVID-19 with ease. Godzilla vs. Kong will end racism. Godzilla vs. Kong will mail us a $2,000 check every month until we get back on our feet, and it won’t even be mad if we spend that money on wine instead of a water heater which is really what we need right now if we’re being honest with ourselves.
These may seem like lofty, borderline-unfair expectations from a film starring a sea monster and gorilla (respectively), but not for me, man. I’ve been waiting for this epic Kaiju showdown my entire life. In fact, you could even say I wrote the book on it.
I guess you could also say I’ve been self-publishing my entire life. Even in the 2nd Grade, 32 years ago, I was stitch-binding and rubber cementing wallpaper samples to construction paper. I was pulling all-nighters underneath a buzzing desk lamp in my bedroom. Was I Punk? I was not. Operation Ivy’s Energy and Milli Vanilli’s Girl You Know It’s True were released within a month of each other in 1989, and I think you can guess which cassette I picked up at Camelot Music first.
Nonetheless, I was happily building anticipation and suspense within the walls of Winneconne Elementary School. I knew I had an instant classic on my hands with KKvG:TGF!, and it was only a matter of time before everyone, believer and non-believer alike, was enraptured by the Battle of the Century.
Years later, I became aware that a feature film, King Kong vs. Godzilla, already existed and was made in 1962, a full 27 years before my gritty reboot. You’ll have to forgive me for not knowing this at the age of 7. The Internet was still six years away and our local video store kept in rotation the same 20 threadbare VHS and Betamax tapes from the day of their grand opening to the day it was bulldozed and turned into an accountant’s office. They did, however, have a copy of WrestleMania VI that I rented so many times they eventually let me keep. So things weren’t all bad.
I built up as much pre-release hype around the classroom as I could. Who would emerge victorious? How many cities and innocent civilians would perish in their mighty wake? Would I treat the political, cultural and existential themes with the proper nuance and subtlety they deserved? It was a responsibility I simultaneously felt the weight of, yet felt confident I could shoulder.
My peers were whipped into a frenzy the day King Kong vs. Godzilla dropped. Everyone wanted to be the first to get their hands on it. There were no leaks. No spoilers. Early drafts were shredded and eaten. The master copy was delivered to Mrs. Travanty via briefcase handcuffed to my wrist (time may have fogged my exact memory of this day). The film rights, I determined, would go to New Line Cinema.
The issues became apparent almost immediately.
The concept of an Unreliable Narrator was not in my orbit in 1989, but I appreciate that by saying “Believe me, I don’t know” on page 2 of a novel, I appeared both disinterested and dishonest at the same time. It’s good to establish that as quickly as possible. I wasn’t so much a novelist as I was an in-over-his-head journalist who showed up a few hours late to work and was trying to play it off. There I was, straightening my tie and dabbing spilled coffee off of my slacks while these two schmucks clobbered each other to bits in the background. How did this start? Why are they here? Believe me, I don’t know.
But never fear! For what the text lacked in substance, the illustrations would surely make up for. If you happened to find yourself knee-deep and lost in the labyrinthian, Christopher Nolan-esque plot that was King Kong vs. Godzilla, my drawings would be your North Star. But be forewarned that the intricate and unflinching detail may proverbially leap off of the page and cause nightmares. I was ready for the controversy.
We must be, what, 80-90 pages in by now, right? Better cut the deadwood and get to the good stuff.
With the parlance of a man who had immediately forgotten what he was talking about, I skidded blindly into the climax. King Kong (pictured wearing a ski mask, presumably to protect his anonymity), has tragically gotten his ass handed to him by Big G. Take my word for it. Believe me, I do know.
What a journey. Time to wrap it up and finish strong.
Imagine, if you will, Godzilla. The King Of The Monsters, bellowing “I won!” in perfect English across the decimated skyline. Now tell me you wouldn’t rise from your theater seat, wipe a tear from your eye and cheer.
You’re goddamn right.
I also made the ending vague enough to leave room for a sequel, should the public demand it.
Reviews were mixed. Did KKvG:TGF! receive the unanimous praise I had been hoping for? No. A flop? Also no. A future cult classic? Potentially. Undeterred, I went back to work.
I wrote 5 more books that year. My Awesome Easter Vacation was the most whimsical, while All About Cheetahs and Mysteries of the Unknown attempted to be more informative. All About UFOs was so popular that I had to stitch together a second copy to meet demand. Finally, The Best Dog and Cat in the World was about how I had the best dog and cat in the world (please try to keep up). But in my heart, nothing ever topped the original, even if it was a remake.
On March 31 of this year, Godzilla vs. Kong will be released domestically. Will it fix everything?
Don’t ask me. Believe me, I don’t know.