Interview: Writer Frank Tieri Talks 'Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons II'

See what Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons II - Sons of Giants #1 writer Frank Tieri has in store for the sequel to the Eisner-nominated comic series.

Fresh from receiving two Eisner Award nominations for Best Limited Series and Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team, writer Frank Tieri and artist Inaki Miranda are back for more Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons at IDW Publishing. Launching June 26 in comic shops and online, Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons II - Sons of Giants #1 will explore the conspiracy that drove Sir Francis Drake to hide his treasure on Monster Island, and the secret society influencing events from the shadows. We got in touch with Tieri to learn more about the sequel series. Read on for the full interview, plus an 8-page preview of the first issue. How does it feel to have Godzilla: Here There be Dragons receive two Eisner Award nominations for Best Limited Series and Best Penciller/Inker or Penciller/Inker Team?

Frank Tieri: Very, very pleasantly surprised. And equally very, very grateful.

Look, for me personally, I’ve been doing this for over 20 plus years. I’ve had a nice career during that time where I’m known for doing a lot of stuff like Space Punisher and Yogi Bear vs. Deathstroke and Jughead: The Hunger. So, maybe comics that fans like but not the type of comics that would get Eisner consideration, ya know? lol

The truth is, I like doing projects that are off the beaten trail… and certainly a book about Godzilla and pirates fit that bill, right? And thankfully, this book just hit with people. We came up with this crazy ride with giant monsters, pirates, historical figures, lost treasure, secret societies, etc—and people really dug it. They supported it. Especially Godzilla fans. And believe me, I love ‘em for it. We’re not here right now talking about a sequel or an Eisner or anything like that if not for them.

And might I add we’re not here right now talking about any of this without the incredible team behind this book. Jamie, Inaki, Jake, Eva, Nate… everyone brought their A game to this. I can’t thank them all enough for making me look good. Here There Be Dragons II introduces new characters and new time periods to the story you set in motion in Part 1. Did you have this fuller story in mind from the beginning? Or did you discover this next phase as you worked on Part 1?

Frank Tieri: Well, credit where credit is due, (IDW Publishing Editor-In-Chief) Jamie S. Rich saw the potential in this having a life beyond the initial series right from the start. That’s why he rescued it from developmental hell. (Mark Irwin originally brought me into IDW when he was there, I developed the pitch with John Barber and then it sat for a year and a half until Jamie came along) But honestly, if you’re asking if we thought there’d be a definite sequel from the start… well, we really didn’t plan for it that way. Hoped was more like it.

We knew the Sons of Giants—the secret organization that has existed for centuries and is behind the conspiracy in Godzilla: Here There be Dragons—would be the focal point if we were going to do something beyond the original series. There was such more story to tell there… who are the Sons? Where did they come from? What surprising historical figures are members? And most importantly…What is their mission when it comes to the kaijus? We’ll learn all this and more through SONS OF GIANTS… and in the NEXT series (Oops. Probably shouldn’t have said that 😉) Godzilla stories always work to balance human and monster cast screen -- or in this case, "panel" -- time. What's your approach to this balancing act?

Frank Tieri: Look, we all know why people buy a Godzilla comic—they want to see the big guy and his giant monster buds and they want to see them destroy a lot of stuff and kick the living kaiju crap out of each other. So we have plenty of that in there. Godzilla, Rodan, Mothra, Hedorah, King Ghidorah… they all play significant roles in this series. (There are others that show up, but I’ll keep that under my hat for now)

But you have to make the human stuff compelling as well. That’s what we did throughout the first series—with this undiscovered lost voyage of Sir Francis Drake-- and that’s what we’ll do here.

We have two major eras at play in the series—1809 and ancient Rome. Our story in ancient Rome begins with a Godzilla attack… and things spiral out from there. In 1809 it’s really the Hamilton/ Burr duel that kicks things off—and things also spiral out from there. And that’s all you’re getting from me for now… Which Godzilla films or other media most shaped your and artist Inaki Miranda's Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons versions of the Toho monsters?

Frank Tieri: Really all the Godzilla movies to some degree, even the most recent ones. Especially when it came to the look of Godzilla itself and the other monsters. I mean, the whole concept of Monster Island as we feature in the series comes straight from the Godzilla movies, ya know?

But story wise we had some other influences as well. Everything from Kong: Skull Island to Pirates of the Caribbean to the works of Jules Verne. Hell, even the TV show LOST was one. Maybe a smidge of Gilligan's Island, too, now that I think about it… As a fan, what's your personal favorite Godzilla movie or other piece of media?

Frank Tieri: I admit I have a soft spot for Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster. It’s really the first Godzilla movie I can remember seeing as a kid, so that plays a big part of it. (And yes, I know the proper title is Godzilla vs. Hedorah, but that’s not how I remember it as that’s not how it was initially released in the US). It’s why Hedorah is probably my favorite of Godzilla’s rogues gallery, and partly why you’ll see him play a more prominent role in the story we’re telling here. We ask everyone this, but which, if any, Godzilla toys do you keep around?

Frank Tieri: I mainly have a number of Godzilla t-shirts and I have a Godzilla figure, but for me it’s mainly about the Godzilla toy I DON’T have… and that’s the Shogun Warriors Godzilla from when I was a kid. It’s like my Rosebud, man. I remember it had this weird feature where you press a button and Godzilla’s hand shoots at you for some strange reason. Like… why? Is there any version of him where he was ever able to do that? Anyway, I lost one of the hands and eventually my mom threw it out (Isn’t that always the case?). So yeah… I want my Shogun Warriors Godzilla back. Preferably with hands.

Read the first eight pages from Godzilla: Here There Be Dragons II - Sons of Giants #1 below:

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