Godzilla Vs. Kong has kaiju fans buzzing and collectors looking for those keys. While Godzilla may have the advantage in the comic front, King Kong certainly has issues of his own.
When you have been around for 88 years, you tend to have been part of everything, including comics.
After the success of the original King Kong in 1933, the studio began printing comic strips featuring everyone’s favorite giant gorilla. However, these do not count as his first comic book appearances, which would be decades later.
With that in mind, here are five Kong comic book appearances that could gain momentum after the success of the new movie.
Since this is Mad, it goes without saying (but I will say it anyway) that King Kong’s first comic appearance was a satire. As such, it does not necessarily count as his true first. Even so, Mad #6 still marks the first time we see Kong’s likeness in a comic format. Plus, those old Mads are nostalgic – and extremely politically incorrect by today’s standards – collectibles. They are bound to gain value as they age.
In 1956, Adventures into the Unknown would give Kong his proper first appearance in a comic book. This time, it was actually the character, King Kong, and not a Mad parody. In this age of cover collecting, Adventures Into the Unknown #79 would be much more valuable had it featured Kong on the front artwork in all his glory. Be that as it may, this is still a great Golden Age issue that gives you a piece of Kong’s lengthy history.
As best I can tell, this Gold Key classic from 1968 has the distinction of being King Kong’s first cover appearance. It also appears to be the first self-titled Kong comic. What is surprising is that it took until the late ‘60s for this to happen. I wonder how much the giant-monster craze from Godzilla’s United States pop culture invasion influenced the creation of this comic. After all, it was only six years prior that Kong and Godzilla first met on the silver screen.
Here is another diamond in the rough when it comes not only to Kong keys, but also the Godzilla collector.
While the first Kong versus Godzilla fight was featured in 1972’s Monster Madness #2, that comic used still shots from the 1962 movie. It was not until Dark Horse’s Urban Legends #1 in 1993 that the two would square off in true comic book form. Granted, it was only for one page in black and white, but it still is part of the Kong-Godzilla history. To sweeten the deal, it was drawn by the legendary Art Adams.
Three years later, Dark Horse would again etch its name into the Kong-Godzilla battle. In the pages of Negative Burn #30, there is another depiction of the two in an epic throwdown, which was slightly more than what we saw in Urban Legends #1. Considering the number of fantasy movie matchups Dark Horse had printed in the 1990s, it is surprising that the publisher did not commission an entire comic series leading to the monumental confrontation.
After being a pop culture icon for nearly 100 years, Kong Vs. Godzilla will only bring the monster ape to the forefront of a new generation of fans. I expect we will see more comics featuring Kong, and I am sure there will be more movies in the works very soon.