★★★★★ out of ★★★★★
Godzilla: The Ultimate Illustrated Guide (Welbeck Publishing, November 2022, 256 pages) is a thing of beauty, and a volume that Godzilla and monster-movie fans of all stripes should consider required reading and owning.
Graham Skipper, well known to horror fans as the writer/director of Sequence Break and star of such features as Beyond the Gates and The Mind’s Eye, provides the highly informative text that gives a film-by-film history of the series from Gojira (1954) all the way up through Godzilla vs. Kong (2021), including the anime trilogy that began with Godzilla: Planet of the Monsters (2017). Perhaps the most hardcore of Godzilla fans might already know the majority of the facts that Skipper discusses, but I’d say it’s a safe bet that most readers will learn quite a bit from this book. I know I certainly did. Skipper’s writing is lively, well-researched, and comes from a lifelong fan who is writing from his heart in an accessible style. I feel that the book should appeal to longtime fans as well as serving as a wondrous introduction to newcomers to the worlds of Godzilla.
Lavishly illustrated with posters, promotional photos, images from the films, and behind-the-scenes photos, Godzilla: The Ultimate Illustrated Guide is an eye-popping collection. The book is as much an artful display of kaiju-riffic beauty as it is an informative tome. Besides presenting commentary about each film, the book also takes a look at Godzilla in other media, including the big guy’s manga and comics, video games, and 1978 Hanna-Barbera animated series.
As a fan of Godzilla since seeing Godzilla vs. The Thing (AKA Mothra vs. Godzilla, 1964) on television as a preschooler, I absolutely adore this book. Above all, Godzilla: The Ultimate Illustrated Guide made me realize how long it has been since I have seen some of the Godzilla films, and has inspired me to revisit the legendary kaiju’s filmography, rereading each chapter in this book as I watch each film again.