Godzilla vs G-FEST!

Imagine if you spent the the last twenty years meeting annually with a group of like-minded friends for a weekend of fun. Sure, these gatherings were comparitively small, but that was the beauty of it. The atmosphere was relaxed and everyone had an opportunity to participate in the numerous activities provided. Each year you’d see the same faces and even if you didn’t know their names, they somehow felt like family.

Now imagine your intimate group suddenly becomes four times larger. The comfortable venue you’ve always used swiftly becomes claustrophobic and overheated. Navigating the dealer’s becomes a frustrating fight for survival and finding an empty seat at a popular panel a luxury. Where once you’d stay the entire weekend and feel sad when it ended, now you’re anxious to leave. Such is the plight of my beloved G-FEST (Godzilla Festival); an event that appears to have fallen victim to the Legendary Godzilla, himself.

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“Nothing can stop the (C2E2) Juggernaut!”

What a time for comic book fans to be alive! Just this past week, the female-driven Captain Marvel joined the billion-dollar club while SHAZAM (the original “Captain Marvel”) hit theaters in his own fabulous film. In other news, Netflix’s binge-worthy “Umbrella Academy” got renewed for a second season while the creepy, yet original Joker trailer also dropped. Perhaps the biggest news in nerdom was how presale tickets for the much-anticipated Avengers: Endgame managed to shut down movie sites unable to keep up with demand. So whenever you hear someone mention the phrase “superhero fatigue,” don’t say anything. Just casually walk away…and laugh.  Continue reading

20 Years Later: Reconciling the TriStar Godzilla

Last month, G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) celebrated its 25th show. The kids and I packed into Rosemont’s Crowne Plaza like sardines; amazed at how popular this event’s gotten since our first visit 15 years ago. Thanks to the unexpected success of Legendary’s 2014 Godzilla, the world’s most famous atomic monster has been enjoying something of a renaissance these days. Consequently, these last few years have seen G-FEST become something of a giant monster itself.  Of course, this isn’t the first time an American version of the “Big G” made some waves. Two decades ago there was another. One so controversial that die-hard fans will only refer to it only as “Zilla” or GINO (Godzilla In Name Only).  That being said, I was pretty surprised to see “Zilla’s 20th Birthday Party” listed in this year’s itinerary. Almost as shocked by how badly I wanted to be there for it. 

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Shinji Higuchi & the Rise of Shin Godzilla!

Shinji Higuchi is a talented anime’ & SPFX artist who began his career with giant Japanese monsters as an uncredited assistant in Godzilla 1985. He’d later prove himself a master at his profession in the Gamera trilogy as well as a host of other projects before finally returning to Godzilla in 2014. After the success of Legendary’s Godzilla a contractual loophole meant TOHO Studios had a small window to legally create another film with their prized monster. Higuchi would helm the new Shin Godzilla’s design as well as the films SPFX, garnering him the Japanese equivalent of an Academy Award. Shin Godzilla (Godzilla Resurgence) would prove a critical and box office success in Japan while receiving mixed reactions from Godzilla fans in the United States. Higuchi was the guest of honor at G-FEST XXIV where he participated in an interview panel that Saturday. The following photos and narrative were taken from that event…

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Exploring G-FEST XXIV!

Artists Alley is an entire room at G-FEST dedicated to selling original works created by some incredible talents. My son, Luke, and I both commented how much its evolved over the years, going from a handful of artists to filling out an old restaurant at the Crowne Plaza. Since my other son, Alex, was in the military I wanted to pick up a print for his apartment. I had no idea how tough it would be settling on just one! I picked up a Shin Godzilla drawing done by Eric Schuster who was happy to also sign it for him.

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Model Monsters at G-FEST XXIV!

On the morning of Saturday July 15th, my son, Luke, and I arrived at the Crowne Plaza in Rosemont, Illinois wondering what to do first. This was the 24th G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) and my 15th. For me, it’s never been just a convention but more a family tradition. Luke’s been to just about every one since he was born (he’s 13 now) and my four kids together have participated in every G-FEST activity imaginable. We’ve submitted models, participated in the costume contest, Luke won first place in the video game room last year and Alex (my eldest) got the blue ribbon in a Kaiju poetry contest when he was six. My kids and I were so entwined with G-FEST that it was actually painful covering it for this site during the years Alex had outgrown Godzilla, as indicative of the three-hanky sob-fest I posted HERE. Apparently my kids, themselves, weren’t immune to it either. My daughter, Jade, who was more or less dragged to these events growing up said that when she saw the end credit scene of Skull Island (where the existence of Rodan, King Ghidorah, and Mothra were revealed) she was flooded with nostalgia over G-FEST.

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