Austin, Texas-based illustrator Matt Frank draws the comic-book series “Godzilla: Rulers of Earth” for IDW Publishing; he’s also the co-creator of the story. With the lizard monster featured in a new movie this summer, Frank was a natural choice for this year’s SoonerCon.
“He’s known as ‘the Kaiju King’ for his work on IDW’s Godzilla in comics and games,” said SoonerCon’s Leonard Bishop. Kaiju is a Japanese word that translates to “monster” or “strange creature.” Frank also works on “Transformers” comics for the publisher.
SoonerCon, a multigenre fan convention, is set for June 27-29 at the Reed Conference Center in Midwest City.
Frank, 28, is originally from San Antonio and has been a Godzilla fan since he was a young child.
“Being a lover of dinosaurs, this guy, the biggest, baddest dinosaur ever, was a natural progression of that love and adoration,” Frank said in an email interview with The Oklahoman. “As a professional? I had been drawing Godzilla fan art for years up to when IDW got the license, and after having an ‘in’ following my work on the ‘Transformers’ franchise, they got me started doing covers for the various series they published. Finally, in 2013, I got to start my own ongoing series along with Chris Mowry, my writer.”
Frank said Batman fans might find some parallels in “Rulers of the Earth,” a follow-up to the last two “Godzilla” comic-book series, “Kingdom of Monsters” and “History’s Greatest Monster.”
“Whereas the first two series are all about monsters destroying the world, ROE is all about monsters trying to save it. Along with some human help, of course!” Frank said. “In our series, Godzilla is like Batman in ‘Knightfall’ — he’s chiefly concerned with ridding the planet (i.e. his territory) of his monstrous enemies, but with all those battles, he’s putting himself through the ringer and may not have everything it takes.”
Two trade paperback collections of “Godzilla: Ruler of Earth” have been released so far.
Frank said the success of the new Godzilla film will allow fans to “hold their heads a little higher.”
“Godzilla has, for a long time, been an extremely niche fandom. As has been noted by fans online, it’s the franchise ‘that everyone knows, but nobody knows anything about,’” he said.
With the movie making $175 million domestically and around $375 million worldwide so far, the character is more firmly in the public eye.
“The last time Godzilla was majorly present in international pop culture was 16 years ago, in 1998,” Frank said, referring to the poorly reviewed film starring Matthew Broderick. “And it’s been this looming shadow the fandom has had to deal with ever since.
“Now that the new movie is out and it’s making TONS of money, Godzilla is firmly establishing himself as a force to be reckoned with.”