Kong, Godzilla and the Living Earth

Gaian Environmentalism in Daikaiju Cinema


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About the Book

During the 2010s, science fiction’s immortal adversaries King Kong and Godzilla, representing our conflicts per Carl Sagan’s “dream dragons” analogy, made comebacks in American cinema. The blockbuster Kaiju resurged onto the screen, depicting these protectors of an Earth plagued by mankind’s hubris and folly. With Earth’s future hanging in the balance, their climactic 2021 staging settled a score between the two giant monsters, resolving Toho’s classic 1963 film King Kong vs. Godzilla.
As formidable creatures emerging from Time’s Tomb on Mother Earth, metaphorical Kong and Godzilla are considered here in light of new millennial environmentalism’s stark reality. This book, nostalgic in tone, explores the meaning of Kong and Godzilla as planetary saviors—titanic protectors of a theoretical “living Earth” Gaia—defending the globe from a prehistoric plague of adversaries.

About the Author(s)

Allen A. Debus, a retired environmental chemist, has long been infatuated with dinosaurs, paleontology, science fiction, Godzilla and King Kong. He has written several books addressing prehistoric creatures—both real and fictional—in popular culture, and attends Chicagoland’s Wizard World and G-Fest. He is a member of the G-Fan Hall of Fame and lives in Hanover Park, Illinois.

Bibliographic Details

Allen A. Debus

Foreword by J.D. Lees
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 258
Bibliographic Info:  32 photos, appendix, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8721-6
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4653-4
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Foreword by J. D. Lees 1
Preface: A Future of Biblical Proportions 5
Introduction: Two Towering Titans of Terror and Tumult 13
One. King Kong and Godzilla: Immortal Adversaries—­21st-Century Daikaiju 19
Two. Dinosaur Movies and Cryptozoological, Anachronistic Prehistoric Monsters of Film
and Literature (1853 to 1963): The Path to King Kong and/versus Gojira 36
Three. Merciless Gaia in Geological Time 54
Four. ­Kong-frontations: Introducing King Kong 65
Five. Conjuring Classic Godzilla 80
Six. Let Them Fight 96
Seven. Godzilla and Kong: Primal Struggle 109
Eight. Colossal Conflict 119
Nine. Rematch Demanded 129
Ten. ­Non-Classical Daikaiju: Godzilla in New Millennial Alternate Apocalyptic Media 142
Eleven. ­Paleo-Apocalyptical ­Dino-Monsters: Reflections of Doomsday? 150
Epilogue: C’mon. So What?—You Can Never Go Back. 169
Appendix: An Assortment of Titans, ­Dino-Daikaiju and ­Dino-Monsters 193
Chapter Notes 213
Bibliography 241
Index 245

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Allen Debus’s newest abounds with perceptive, well-informed prose exploring the intersection between Gaia’s apocalyptic overtones and Legendary’s Kong and Godzilla clashes. Nostalgia plus insight—a win-win combination!”—Mike Bogue, author of Apocalypse Then: American and Japanese Atomic Cinema, 1951–1967

• “Another deep dive into the shrouded origins and hidden meanings of giant monster movies that other scholars often miss, this book proves once again that nobody does it better than Debus when it comes to deconstructing dai-kaiju eiga!”—John LeMay, author of Kong Unmade: The Lost Films of Skull Island and The Big Book of Japanese Giant Monster Movies: The Lost Films

• “More than 99.99 percent of every species that has ever lived on this planet is extinct. Extinction seems to be, not something evil, but the inevitable fate for all living things, giving way to something else. Will Homo sapiens be next in line for extinction, succeeded by some other dominant form of life—i.e., the Kaiju? Read Allen Debus’ latest book, then decide for yourself.”—Donald F. Glut, author of Dinosaurs: The Encyclopedia

• “Allen’s tone is conversational, his enthusiasm and fondness for giant monster movies leaping out from each page. …detailed and enjoyable…fascinating factoids… Debus provides vigorous forays into paleo-apocalyptical dino-monsters, tracing their historical and pop culture iterations before, during, and after the 1950s. … In addition to unabashed delight, Debus provides much food for thought, offering insightful analyses. … Debus’s latest tome beckons—dare you disappoint your inner Kaiju Kid?”—Scary Monsters