As the NBA Championship gets closer, we look back at a time when sports and comic fans lived in harmony to review one of the the world’s greatest battles:
Godzilla vs. Barkley
During the 1992 MTV Movie Awards, Nike premiered a commercial featuring NBA All-Star Charles Barkley, as seen here:
Being that the 1990s was a glorious time where R-rated movies got children’s toy lines and movies like Wayne’s World and Home Alone 2 received Super Nintendo games, it was very obvious that one year later this commercial needed to be extended into a one-shot comic book.
Granted, Barkley was coming off an MVP season where he led his new team, the Phoenix Suns, to the NBA Finals. Despite coming up short against Michael Jordan’s legendary Bulls, Dark Horse gave us this book.
Inside the front cover lies a sweet pencil sketch. I notice the script writer and my anticipation builds in passing judgment on the career choices of Mike Baron.
Taking a quick glance, Baron did some big work on The Flash, The Punisher, Batman, and Star Wars among other big properties in the 1980s and 1990s. But he also was known for Badger. And this.
But we are really here for Chuck.
Like many Godzilla films, we begin in the ocean, off the coast of California. Boring talking heads about Cargo and stuff I don’t care about until…
Cars go flying in the ocean, some guys shout out the telling final words of, “AIEEE,” before seamlessly transitioning into some beach bods while a young boy named Matthew runs with his Gramps along the boardwalk.
Matthew may be a little older than we think because that really looks like a mustache there to me.
Matthew is running because he sees a camera crew and cannot believe when he sees Charles Barkley is there. The security guard shuts him down on his claim to be Barkley’s biggest fan pointing out all the other freaks and weirdos making the same claim, including a plastic face gold digger.
The security guard wants Matthew to buy a ticket to a game that can clearly be seen out in the open.
Dejected, Matthew leaves with Grandpa, whom tells Matthew how someday he may be a, “great warrior,” like Barkley.
During his spiel, Grandpa gives Matthew a magical coin that his grandfather gave him. That coin helped him pitch a no-hitter. Within two panels of explaining the coin’s power and getting cheered up, Matthew and his grandfather encounter a drowning victim.
The drowning victim is actually Mr. AIEEE himself. He warns the people Godzilla is coming and luckily after plummeting from great heights and floating in the ocean, he only suffers from a black eye and fat lip.
No one but Matthew is aware of who Godzilla is, which leads to a great fight between the mustachioed child and a completely 1990s lifeguard, who uses my go-to argument of choice:
Just like the magical appearing drowning victim, within a panel of this argument, Godzilla emerges from beneath the water.
Grandpa wants to GTFO that beach but Matthew has a better idea.
Matthew is going to use the magic coin to help Barkley defeat Godzilla.
I am going to pay tribute to the new Godzilla film in theaters by not showing the monster for a while.
Barkley’s handlers tell him not only is there a monster on the beach but he has an appearance elsewhere, so he needs to go.
Matthew, knowing the Round Mound of Rebound is Earth’s only hope, takes his skateboard up a conveniently placed ramp and cannonballs into the waiting arms of Sir Charles.
The kid spouts his crazy at Chuck, who actually keeps it real saying he doesn’t have to stop a monster and if the kid wants to give him a dollar coin, just buy a ticket to the game.
Matthew drops the line to Charles that he is, “Earth’s Greatest Warrior,” when the Chuckster realizes the kid starts having a point. Not only does he begin contemplating a battle with Godzilla, he fires his handlers.
Charles takes the kid in his 1990s convertible and easily identifies what kind of magical silver dollar it is. But to use it? How?
Matthew tells Chuck to, “put it in his mouth.”
Godzilla keeps attacking the city and Charles is still reluctant to believe Matthew anyway. So they stop to play one-on-one for the chance for Barkley to believe this child he just met and go fight a giant lizard.
Barkley flips the coin to see who gets the ball first for his pickup game with a 4’10” ten-year old when the magical silver dollar activates.
And once Barkley grows, he sees Godzilla and comes to the most logical of conclusions:
Godzilla has the city in ruins and helicopter reporter JANET PLANET lets us know that no one has died.
Barkley approaches Godzilla and I immediately become bothered that the latest film did not include Aaron Taylor-Johnson referring to the beast as a, “Sorry Suitcase Lookin’ Sucker.”
I know I showed Godzilla’s first appearance but this is a great way to bring him back into the photos:
Barkley will find a building that looks like a basketball hoop. And then the comic hits points where words just do not provide justice:
But then Godzilla becomes a poor sport…
And gets a pep talk.
So Barkley takes the monster to a canyon in Utah and trains him, complete with a new pair of Nikes that are custom made.
Look at those fundamentals.
Now if Adidas re-releases Dikembe Mutombo’s old shoes after a Geico commercial, how come Nike has not re-released the Godzilla shoe yet? Probably turned off by all that Bryan Cranston crying…
But to close the story, Barkley has to go return the silver dollar. He stumbles upon Matthew arguing with some dorky white boy about knowing Barkley and hitting baskets. Matthew, who only ever wears a purple hat with his red shirt gets his silver dollar and dorky ginger’s dollar and knows he saved the world through the power of Barkley.