Saturday, March 11, 2006

Big News for Gojira/Godzilla Fans (Like Me)!

This just in, and I mean just in:

The Complete, Uncut, Japanese Original Available on DVD For the First Time Ever On September 5, 2006
The Release is Part of a Monster DVD 2-Pack, Which Includes Both Gojira and the US Version, Godzilla: King of the Monsters
NEW YORK, NY (March 10, 2006) – Move over King Kong!  Godzilla is back!  On September 5, Classic Media will release the complete, uncut, Japanese original, Gojira (Godzilla), on DVD for the first time ever in the US.  

From legendary Japanese filmmaker Ishiro Honda, Gojira quickly became a monster classic.  Gojira will only be available as part of a special DVD 2-pack that also includes the re-edited US version, Godzilla: King of the Monsters, starring Raymond Burr. Both versions have been digitally remastered in HD widescreen. The Gojira/Godzilla: King of the Monsters DVD 2-pack stomps onto retail shelves late summer for $21.98 SRP. 
Robert Mayo, SVP of Home Video at Classic Media, said, “It’s really exciting to be able to finally bring this classic film to DVD for the American audience.  Fans have been looking forward to the release of Gojira for several years.”
For more information and updates closer to release date
[and a peek at the trailer! - SRB], fans can log onto
  • Gojira/Godzilla on DVD!

    A Monster Metaphor

    Ishiro Honda’s 1954 black-and-white classic spawned a new genre called the “kaiju eiga” or, Japanese monster movie, giving way to countless sequels.  With its 50th anniversary theatrical re-release in 2004, audiences rediscovered the strong anti-nuclear message of the original Gojira film.
    Gojira contains 40 minutes of footage that was not seen as part of the re-edited, re-dubbed Americanized Godzilla: King of Monsters. In the US version 40 minutes were cut and 20 minutes of new scenes were added, starring Raymond Burr as an American reporter.  As a result, the original tone of the movie was changed and the anti-H-Bomb message dropped. 
    Gojira (1954)
    Run Time:  98 minutes
    When several ships mysteriously explode and sink off the coast of Japan, the country begins to panic.  Authorities are convinced that the unexplained activity was caused by underwater mines or volcanoes and sends officials to Odo Island to investigate. Days later, something comes ashore and destroys several neighboring houses, killing many locals.   Renowned paleontologist, Dr. Kyohei Yemane (Takashi Shimura), is called to lead a new expedition and uncovers the source of the problem – a 400-foot tall mutant dinosaur the natives call Gojira.  The Doctor insists that the monster, which was awakened from a million-year sleep by nuclear bomb tests in the South Pacific, be studied not destroyed.  Gojira soon begins a rampage that threatens to destroy Japan.  Can the powerful monster be eliminated before it is too late?
    Godzilla:  King of the Monsters (1956)
    Run Time:  78 minutes
    When American reporter Steve Martin, played by Raymond Burr, investigates a series of mysterious disasters off the coast of Japan, he comes face to face with an ancient creature so powerful and terrifying, it can reduce Tokyo to a smoldering graveyard.  Nuclear weapon testing resurrected this relic from the Jurassic age, and now this behemoth is stomping and smashing his way through the city.  Conventional weapons are useless against him; but scientist Dr. Serizawa has discovered a weapon that could destroy all life in the bay – including Godzilla!  But, which disaster is worse, Godzilla’s fury, or the death of Tokyo Bay?
    About Classic Media

    Classic Media owns and manages some of the world’s most recognizable family properties across all media including feature film, television, home video and consumer products. The company’s extensive library features a diverse collection of popular animated and live-action characters such as: Casper the Friendly Ghost, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, The Lone Ranger, Lassie, Underdog and Rocky & Bullwinkle.


    Let's hope this release sees light of day! Back in the good ol' days of laserdisc, I was a subscriber to the Criterion Director's Series. The final announced Criterion laserdiscs were Toho-sanctioned releases of Gojira and (if memory serves) Terror of MechaGodzilla -- I still have the flyer in my files -- but alas, Criterion folded its laserdisc division before those were manufactured, and that was all she wrote.

    I caught the nationwide release of the original Gojira on the big screen (at Dartmouth's Hopkins Center) last year just about this time of the year, and it was a joy to behold. As countless folks and sources have noted over the years, the Honda original is a much different film from the US version we all grew up with -- somber, atmospheric, haunting, and unexpectedly potent even today (though of course the audience laughed at some of the 1955 special effects sequences, a number of Eiji Tsuburaya's illusions and compositions silenced the laughter, especially during Gojira's destruction of Tokyo).

    Of course, diehard kaiju eiga fans have been circulating bootleg editions for years on vhs and DVD, but it'll be nice to have a legal edition available at last.

    Per usual, I welcome any links anyone cares to post on this matter -- updates, rumors, critiques, criticisms, fears, etc.
    Emails and Updates

    Heads up from emailers, alerting me to tomorrow's New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure feature on Alan Moore and his upset over the upcoming V for Vendetta movie, which actually looks like the best of the adaptations of all Alan's works to the big screen. From London, my UK friend Kim Newman noted it was indeed the most faithful (Kim having already seen it), but that's neither here nor there in the realm of what it is Alan's carping about.

    This just in, compliments of HomeyM: the latest evidence of the abuse of power the President's been so bully bragging about (his wiretapping of US citizens):

    [PS: Thompson has run a number of stories embarrassing to the regime, based on information from Bush administration sources]
    DOUG THOMPSON, CAPITOL HILL BLUE - In recent weeks, the FBI has issued hundreds of "National Security Letters," directing employers, banks, credit card companies, libraries and other entities to turn over records on reporters. Under the USA Patriot Act, those who must turn over the records are also prohibited from revealing they have done so to the subject of the federal probes.
    "The significance of this cannot be overstated," says prominent New York litigator Glenn Greenwald. "In essence, while the President sits in the White House undisturbed after proudly announcing that he has been breaking the law and will continue to do so, his slavish political appointees at the Justice Department are using the mammoth law enforcement powers of the federal government to find and criminally prosecute those who brought this illegal conduct to light.
    "This flamboyant use of the forces of criminal prosecution to threaten whistle-blowers and intimidate journalists are nothing more than the naked tactics of street thugs and authoritarian juntas."
    Just how widespread, and uncontrolled, this latest government assault has become hit close to home last week when one of the FBI's National Security Letters arrived at the company that hosts the servers for this web site, Capitol Hill Blue.
    The letter demanded traffic data, payment records and other information about the web site along with information on me, the publisher.
    Now that's a problem. I own the company that hosts Capitol Hill Blue.

    So, in effect, the feds want me to turn over information on myself and not tell myself that I'm doing it. You'd think they'd know better.
    I turned the letter over to my lawyer and told him to send the
    following message to the feds:
    "Fuck you. Strong letter to follow."

    Well, this is something we'd seen coming, in't it? Is Bush
  • the New Nixon -- or Worse?
  • The abuse of power has been characteristic of this President and Administration since before he was sworn into office. Why should anything change -- except for the worse?

    And in case you're one of the millions of Americans fighting rational-enough depression over the ongoing state of affairs in our country, here's some more bad news:

    Business More Important Than Health at the FDA

    Despite a unanimous recommendation by FDA scientific staff not to approve an implanted device used to treat depression, Dr. Daniel G. Schultz, director of the Center for Devices and Radiological Health at the agency, kept its application moving up the ladder and eventually decided to approve it.... The device in question is a surgically implanted vagus nerve stimulator produced by Cyberonics Inc. In its one and only clinical trial, it had no apparent effect on depression. This caused FDA scientists to repeatedly recommend rejecting it.... Susan Bro, an FDA spokeswoman, claimed that the device had been approved because of the seriousness of persistent depression. Cyberonics argues that the device is the only "safe and effective" option for chronic, treatment-resistant depression. The vagus nerve stimulator is surgically implanted in the upper chest, and stimulates a nerve leading to the brain. Side effects can include:

         *     Voice alteration
         *     Shortness of breath
         *     Neck pain
         *     Difficulty swallowing
         *     Heart problems
         *     Vocal cord paralysis
         *     Death

    ...Internal correspondence within the FDA show that reviewers were bewildered by Dr. Schultz's continuing support for the device after the complete failure of its clinical trial.

    Not depressed enough yet? More info on this recent story awaits you over at
  • The Spartanburg Herald-Journal for February 17, 2006.
  • "KAFKA KAIJU EIGA" finished this morning...

    (And speaking of Godzilla...)

    I finished drawing and lettering my little four-pager for my son Dan's upcoming zine, Hot Chicks Take Huge Shits, this morn. It's entitled "Kafka Kaiju Eiga" and it worked out pretty nicely, if I may say so myself. Turning it over to editor Dan tomorrow when we get together for a birthday (mine) supper -- a real breakthrough for the ol' 51-year-old pop I am, as we'll be joined by my daughter Maia Rose and hopefully her beau Matt -- which I'm greatly looking forward to.

    This strip has already inspired two more I'm going to draw up this week, the first of which will be "Ubu Yog".

    Existential/Dadaist kaiju eiga comix are my new calling in life -- this phase may have as fleeting a lifespan as an adult lacewing, but hey, I'll savor it while it lasts.
    Rick Veitch's Latest On Sale! Get Can't Get No!

    Hey, over at John Rovnak's Panel To Panel.Net awaits that site's first exclusive item. If you quick-like-a-bunny pre-order Rick Veitch's eye-popping new graphic novel from DC/Vertigo, Can't Get No, you'll receive a full-color signed tipped-in plate created exclusively for Panel To Panel.Net.

    Ordering information and a review are already available at
  • You Can Get No Can't Get No at PaneltoPanel!

  • While you're there, check out Rick Veitch's one-of-a-kind Little Omens strip, which is also exclusive to Panel To Panel.Net, and Rick (who, unlike Bissette, never ever misses a deadline) posts a new strip every Wednesday.

    More on Rick's latest opus later this week...
    So, Rummy Was Saying...

    Overheard amid Rumsfeld's behind-closed-doors discussion of planned US handling of the impending Iraq Civil War:

    "Go and break through the lines -- and remember, while you're out there risking your life and limb through shot and shell, we'll be in here thinking what a sucker you are."
    OK, OK, that was really Rufus T. Firefly... who, over his long and extinguished career, was always more believable and reliable than Rummy.
    The Hill Has Will, as does Quick-Draw McGraw...

    Following up on the email I posted yesterday from Richard Arndt, it turns out that two country western stars have been speaking out against Bush's pathetic performance in the thrall and wake of Katrina.

    All I can say is, "Christ-Limpin'-on-a-Broken-Crutch, it's about time!" Reckon they gave Prez the benefit of the doubt and ample time before realizing how badly Bush and Administration have failed.

    Faith Hill and Tim McGraw are the two speaking out with appropriate (if belated) ire. A little homework this morn revealed this all spilled out at a Wednesday AM press conference in Nashville for ABC News Radio (so you can find the links thereabouts). Reflecting my same form of "grocer capitalism" my amigo Mark was somewhat appalled at earlier this month, McGraw said, "There's no reason why someone can't go down there who's supposed to be the leader of the free world and say, 'I'm giving you a job to do, and I'm not leaving here until it's done, and you're held accountable, and you're held accountable, and you're held accountable." That's three accountables, mind you, which is three more than Bush has called for. Continuing: Tim concluded, "This is what I've given you to do, and if it's not done by the time I get back on my plane, then you're fired and someone else will be in your place."

    Now, I like Tim reference to Bush setting deadlines based on when he gets back on his plane -- which is a hell of a lot quicker than Bush has been setting deadlines -- and I applaud his adoption of my own "grocer capitalism" model. You do your job, or you get fired. My God, what a concept.

    Being a Louisiana native, McGraw was understandably a bit more outspoken than Mississippi native Hill, who voiced her opposition and outrage a bit less pragmatically or forcefully. I reckon Tim must have held down day-jobs a little more in his previous life than Faith did, but I can't say fer sher.

    Anyhoot, it's about time, I say, and a little sprig of hope in our spring season that more Americans may pull the heads they've kept firmly fixed up their asses out and wake up to the abysmal record and reality of you-know-who and call for some change -- maybe even in time for the coming election. GOP out -- anyone else in.

    Grocer capitalists, start campaigning!