On November 3, 1954, Japanese audiences were introduced to Gojira. Directed by Ishirō Honda, Gojira plumbed Japan's post-war nuclear trauma to create a new sci-fi monster that lives on today as one of Japan's most famous pop-culture icons.
After American audiences were introduced to the king of monsters in 1956 as Godzilla, he was already well on his way to forging a new genre of monster movies in which men in rubber suits destroyed miniature sets and battled each other like clumsy latex wrestlers. Although this brand of monster movie fell out of popularity in the 60s and 70s, Godzilla survived. He also survived a 1980s reboot, a disastrous 1998 American take on the big lizard from director Roland Emmerich, and a basketball battle against Charles Barkley for Nike.
Although Godzilla has been absent from theaters for nine years, his influence is still felt in giant monster epics such as Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim. But fear not, G-fans. In 2014, marking Godzilla's 60th anniversary, the king of the monsters will return to the big screen in Gareth Edward's highly anticipated reboot.