Black Mass’ Brings Body Horror to the King of Monsters

Horror

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'Godzilla' Kaiju Masterclass II

Man, we Godzilla fans are eatin’ good lately. Over the past several months, we’ve had not one, but TWO theatrical releases featuring our favorite atomic allegory. Not to mention all the comics, shows, short films, books, and video games popping up along the way. Hell, a Goji flick won an Oscar. I’ve never been happier to be a fan of Big G, and it sounds like the momentum isn’t slowing down. If anything, much like the towering daikaiju himself, interest in Godzilla has risen up from the depths to cause mayhem across the public consciousness yet again, stronger than ever before.

This return of Godzilla isn’t localized to just official works, however. Fans have been adding their rays into the beam-clash as well, including criminally cute animations, unnerving analog horror, informative kaiju size comparisons, and—of course—fan-fight scenes, putting every sort of monster from the franchise against each other. While each one is worth checking out for any G-fan out there, there’s another fan work that I think takes the franchise in a new, exciting direction we haven’t quite seen before. One that brings a new type of horrific sheen to the atomic beast is Godzilla: Black Mass!

This webcomic takes Goji from his radioactive roots in favor of the pursuits of an unchecked mad science. This isn’t too much of a stretch, given that mad science was a key component of Godzilla vs. Biollante, after all. The comic’s creator Metal Neck dials it up to 11 in this outing, with some imagery that’s as terrifying as it is awe-inspiring.

Before we study the Petri dish of G-cells that is Godzilla: Black Mass, let’s talk a bit about Metal Neck himself. Turns out, his love of art has been around for just about as long as he has.

Metal Neck said:

“Well, as far as art goes, I’ve been drawing ever since I was a toddler. Growing up, I’d usually sit in class drawing monsters and fantasy stuff during quiet time, and it eventually grew into something. My inspirations come from all kinds of places, media, and, honestly, various everyday artists you end up coming across within a community. Though if I had to pick people who’ve had a major influence on me, I’d say Guillermo Del Toro and Hideaki Anno are probably the top two. As for the name Metal Neck… Best way I can put it is I really liked Metal music and the name just rolled off the tongue (almost sounds like a galloping horse if you say it three times fast).”

Recently, Metal Neck was inspired to tackle his own version of Godzilla during this resurgence of interest in the monster, resulting in an incredibly horrifying take of a familiar reptilian face.

Metal Neck said:

“I was a huge fan of the original film and Shin Godzilla. Godzilla being portrayed as an indestructible force humanity had to overcome was always intriguing to me. In a way, I wanted to make a love letter to Ishiro Honda’s original film, but add a more modern horror spin to it. For the most part, I started from scratch. I looked to nature for a lot of the design elements. Sharks, hippos, and bears come to mind, while stuff like extra limbs protruding from the neck as well as his amphibious background came from images of mutated frogs found around Chernobyl. With my version, I really wanted to highlight the mutant aspect of Godzilla, so I made sure he was deformed and his skin was drooping off the bone.”

Metal Neck’s efforts have not been in vain, having created a terrifying Godzilla worthy of destroying cities with the nastiest of them, like Shin and Minilla. Despite Black Mass going its own direction narrative-wise, it still feels very much like a Godzilla story, specifically in line with the early Heisei films.

Metal Neck said:

“To me, it’s always important for an adaptation to understand the essence and soul of the material rather than just using the surface-level stuff everyone’s familiar with. If you understand the core of what makes a character, setting, or story work, you can have free range to do whatever as long as it stays true to the core.”

I think it’s safe to say that Metal Neck understands the assignment, all while taking advantage of that “free range” he mentioned. I mean, just look at the scene below!

Godzilla’s dorsal plates BURSTING OUT OF HIS BACK?! Tearing through flesh, with copious amounts of blood spewing everywhere?! That’s so COOL! Where did he come up with that?!

Metal Neck explained:

“It’s funny cause a lot of my ideas just pop into my head. The idea sort of spawned from Shin Godzilla’s evolving scene. I wanted to take it a step further, however, and have the spikes be mutations themselves. It was a sort of ‘Man, how come no one’s done this before!?”’moment for me.”

From what’s been shown of Black Mass so far, Godzilla is cast in a more sympathetic light rather than a malicious glow. Metal Neck made it known this was the idea.

Metal Neck said:

“It’s intentional. Ishirō Honda’s quote on giant monsters being too big, too powerful, and how they’re not evil by choice comes to mind. My Godzilla is more of an animal that’s unaware of the world around it. He doesn’t seek vengeance on humanity, but at the same time, his movements alone cause too much damage to his surroundings. He’s a giant in a world not meant for giants.”

Speaking of giant monsters, Metal Neck also mentioned the possibility of introducing other Toho monsters to the Black Mass universe.

He said:

“I’ve drawn Black Mass versions of a lot of the well-known Toho characters like Rodan, Hedorah, Ghidorah, etc. Whether or not they’ll actually be in later comic entries is up in the air, but I’d like to give it a shot. As for the one going right now, that’s Godzilla’s solo story, so sadly he’s on his own for that one.”

Currently, the series is a hobby that Metal Neck enjoys doing with no set release schedule. You can check out Godzilla: Black Mass right here, and follow Metal Neck right here!

Metal Neck concluded, “To any writers and artists, keep doing what you do and hone in on your craft. Some people might not like what you make, that’s a given. But always stay true to your vision and your skill.”

Giallo Julian’s Twitter – Facebook – Letterboxd

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