Every week, I will spotlight strange but ultimately endearing comic stories (basically, we’re talking lots and lots of Silver Age comic books). Here is the archive of all the installments of this feature. Feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com if you have a suggestion for a future installment!
Today, based on a suggestion from reader Brendan M., we take a look at one of the few comic book one-shots that was based on a commercial, Dark Horse’s 1993 comic book Charles Barkley versus Godzilla #1!
In 1992, Nike debuted a very popular television commercial featuring then-NBA superstar Charles Barkley playing basketball against Godzilla in the streets of Tokyo. A year later, the ad campaign was adapted into a one-shot comic from Dark Horse Comics, written by Mike Baron (with plot by “Alan Smithee,” a pseudonym people use when they are trying to take their credit off of a project) with art by Jeff Butler and Keith Aiken.
The concept of the comic is that Godzilla is approaching California while Barkley is shooting a commercial on the beach. A young boy (Barkley’s biggest fan) figures that Barkley is the best bet to stop the rampaging monster. Luckily, the boy had just been given his Grandfather’s magic silver dollar.
He finds Barkley and Barkley fires his handlers so that he can help the boy. The basic concept of this scene is Mike Baron playing with Barkley’s controversial public persona at the time (he had just recently debuted a new line of Nike commercials under the slogan “I am not a role model”).
Charles and little Matt go into the city and Charles takes the magic silver dollar and grows into a giant…
He then, naturally, challenges Godzilla to a game of basketball (as he notes, “It is a little known fact that Godzilla is a sucker for b-ball.” He draws the monster out of the city and into the desert where they begin a game in earnest at a military base (using an old shuttle scaffold for a hoop)…
Now defeated, Godzilla is taken under Barkley’s wing and sent to a remote part of Utah to just work on his game for the next century, keeping him out of humanity’s way for the foreseeable future…
The threat now averted, Barkley then meets back up with Matt to thank him for the assist…
It’s really a pretty cute comic book, but boy is it odd!
Thanks to Brendan for the suggestion! If YOU know of a strange comic book you’d like me to feature, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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