Chris Mowry is a writer and senior graphic artist at IDW Publishing. He is currently writing GODZILLA: RULERS OF EARTH. Today I spoke with Chris about all things Godzilla and his other works.
Hello Chris! Thank you for taking the time for this interview.
Michael Garone: Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
Chris Mowry: It was really a right place/right time situation. I never really thought about writing, but since I can't draw worth a damn, I was happy to give writing a shot when the opportunity arose.
MG: First job as a writer.
CM: My first creative writing outside of school projects was a "sequel" to the Transformers move called "The Reign of Starscream." It was a situation where I was asked if I wanted to help co-write the story, but then my partner had to drop out to take care of personal matters. Since I was now on the hook to write a five-issue series, I just did the best I could and I think people were mostly pleased with it.
MG: Of all the characters you have written stories about who is the one you connected with the most?
CM: Tough question. I'd probably say Starscream from that first series. He had two lines in the movie and I was able to try and take him in a direction where he wasn't a backstabber, but just really intense and serious about doing what he felt was the right thing. So being able to take a character like that in a new direction and for my first assignment was something that I'll always remember and hold close. Sure, he's a homicidal maniac, but the connection was really in that I was able to start fresh with him and the trust given to me from IDW and Hasbro.
MG: First Godzilla film you ever watched?
CM: I've been asked this a lot lately and I think it has to be "Godzilla vs. Gigan" (Godzilla on Monster Island). I was so young then, so it's hard to remember, but I do remember imitating Gigan a lot. So it could have been "vs Megalon" for all I know!
MG: What was your favorite story arc for IDW’s Godzilla? Is there more than one?
CM: I love James Stokoe's "Godzilla: The Half-Century War" a lot. I like how he was able to incorporate so many different eras of Godzilla into one fun story of someone's interactions with the big guy. John Layman's "Godzilla: Gangsters & Goliaths" is up there, too. I think both of those would make great movies!
MG: Favorite movie version of Godzilla and why?
CM: As far as the look goes, I really do like the way he appeared in "vs. Destoroyah" and "Tokyo S.O.S." because of the drastic changes in his appearance. But for what I think Godzilla SHOULD look like? I would have to go with the GMK Godzilla suit. All-white eyes, huge feet, it has it all. Plus, he was just ruthless in that film.
MG: What in your view makes Godzilla more popular than any other monster out there?
CM: Besides having so many different films, I think it's the fact that people love seeing monsters doing their monster stuff and Godzilla just does it bigger and better than anything else. He's not like Jason or any slasher like that, but there really is a sense of terror that comes from thinking "what if something like that DOES exist?" I wouldn't want to be in that city, I could tell you that.
MG: Now for some Godzilla: Rulers Of Earth questions:
For Godzilla Rulers of Earth you stated that you have access to all of Toho’s characters. What are you allowed to talk about as to what is to be expected in the first story arc (6 issues I presume)?
CM: The series has gone under some drastic changes since it started. There have been times where it was supposed to be five issues (all finding out after Issue #3 was written) and then maybe to eight, and now it's at a solid eight issues. Who knows if it will continue, but that's really up to the fans and people buying the book. I'd love to keep going, but if sales aren't there, I understand the need to end things. With that being said, the first arc really just turned into more of a "let's have this happen and start winding things up" situation. When the book was originally planned out, it was 12 issues. So as you can see, that jumping around has made it pretty confusing. I'm just hoping to deliver some kind of story that people can get into with lots of monsters and a reason for things happening. But some stories we didn't want to cut and you'll see one of those in Issue #5.
MG: Godzilla: Gangsters and Goliaths was in a separate universe from all other IDW Godzilla stories. Rulers is a direct sequel to Kingdom of Monsters correct? Will anything from the Legends storyline's come into play in this new series?
CM: Rulers is what we look at as being the third and final act in the "IDW Godzilla Universe." That universe started with Kingdom of Monsters, continued with Godzilla, and now is with Rulers of Earth. Nothing from Legends will be carried over as those are all separate stories on their own. Although I think Matt did make the CKR uniforms pretty close to what he did in Legends #1.
MG: Can IDW buy the rights to Pacific Rim and do a crossover?
CM: No. Pacific Rim is with another publisher (Legendary) and our licensing agreement with Toho prohibits us from doing any crossover stories with any other license. Sorry, but it will never happen.
MG: Is there a chance you can acquire the rights to Gamera and do a major crossover we kaiju fans have been dying for since 1965?
CM: Again, we can't. We could possibly get the Gamera rights, but the two will (unfortunately) never face one another. Same goes for Ultraman, too.
MG: How much freedom do you have with the Godzilla license? Do you have to get permission from Toho if you want to kill a monster and are you limited by Kaiju appearances in each story?
CM: We have a certain amount of freedom, but we do have limitations based on our contract with them. Those details are confidential, but I don't think killing monsters would be something they'd be interested in doing. Plus, it could make things harder for stories later on. As for monster rosters in a story, there are no limitations, and I think you'll see just how many monsters you can fit into a book with Rulers!
MG: What are your expectations for the Godzilla 2014 film?
CM: I'm really looking forward to it. I think that there's a point the crew are trying to make in that they want it to be NOTHING like the 1998 movie and a strong emphasis on returning Godzilla to the original roots of the monster. I've got nothing but good feelings about it. Granted, we'll all have our own opinions, but I think they're doing everything right so far.
MG: Do you have any current or future projects you can talk about other than Godzilla Rulers of Earth?
CM: Aside from a few personal projects I've been meaning to tackle (a horror story and a fundraising effort for Shark Conservation), nothing yet. I'm hoping that we can continue doing some Godzilla books for a long time to come, though. Maybe even with a new set of issues for ROE!
As of this writing Godzilla: Rulers of Earth is now slated for a 12 issue run. Great job by Chris, Matt Frank and the whole IDW team for making great Godzilla stories! Godzilla is in safe hands.
Godzilla: Rulers of Earth issue 4 is out today. Be sure to check it out! Destoroyah vs. Godzilla!
For more on Godzilla: Rulers of Earth go to the OFFICIAL Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/GodzillaRulersOfEarth, follow Chris Mowry on Twitter @MowryChris, and check out his blog at http:/www.chrismowry.blogspot.com. For all your IDW updates please check out http://www.idwpublishing.com.