Trouble with Comics

Bill Sienkiewicz Criterion Godzilla Controversy

Claiming it’s like “putting Daniel Craig on the cover of Dr. No,” Godzilla fans are none too pleased by the artist’s new Criterion Collection Godzilla packaging, with a monster that is arguably much more like, or exactly like, the 2002 design, rather than the 1954 original film on the disc. Facebook erupted with demands to “fix the error” or offer an apology, but Criterion stomped to the artist’s defense:

"Artist Bill Sienkiewicz used the original, ‘54 Godzilla as reference for his artwork, but all of the renderings are nevertheless, in the end, Bill’s personal vision of the creature, albeit one that is Toho approved. We can see why some viewers consider it to be more akin to the 2002 incarnation of Godzilla because the back plates seem more sharp-pointed and jagged than the curved tips of the ‘54 original, for example, or the tail tapers more to a point, but those plates don’t exactly mirror the ones from the 2002-3 monster either.

We pushed Bill to address Godzilla as a force of destruction, an elemental being, to step away from a rendering that would be purely literal and fetishistic in detail, and think he came up with a terrific interpretation. This is also why there is color in the packaging art. Although the movie is a beautifully-photographed B&W work, we kept leaning towards the elemental aspects of fire and water and wanted the color palette to evoke that.”

I think it’s more interesting that it doesn’t really look much like what comics fans expect of Sienkiewicz’ work, and that he was also hired to provide black-and-white illustrations in the BluRay booklet, which is also kind of an odd use of his talents.