Exclusive Interview: Artist Louie Joyce Talks Upcoming 'Godzilla Skate or Die' Comic

Godzilla: Skate or Die #1 arrives in comic shops and online on June 12.

It's been 20 years since the King of the Monsters stomped into Australia in Godzilla: Final Wars, but thanks to Australian comic book creator Louie Joyce, Aussies once again have a front row seat to a major kaiju battle in Godzilla: Skate or Die #1 on June 12. We got in touch with Joyce to learn more about the five-issue comic series he's writing and illustrating, which puts skate punks at the center of a battle between Godzilla and Varan. Drop in for the full interview below:

Godzilla: Skate or Die #1 Cover A What’s your history with Godzilla like, and how does it factor into your inspiration for Godzilla: Skate or Die?

Louie Joyce: Y'know I can't really recall my first interaction with the Big G. As a kid you just know who Godzilla is (and how much fun it is pretending to be him while you destroy cardboard boxes!). He's one of those omnipresent pop culture icons, like Batman or Spider-Man. For a long time my greatest connection with Godzilla would've been through a huge love for the film posters. As an illustrator it's an incredible source of inspiration! There are so many posters spanning so many years that it's a great place to study different visual styles and trends, how they change over time (and cultures) and how they're applied to a single character/world. I'd often look at the posters throughout my studies, any time I had to design a tee/cover/poster etc. Of course I've doubled down on that since starting Skate or Die!

Film wise though, to be honest the first one I saw was probably the '98 American Godzilla film (which look, I remember liking it but I was 10 at the time so don't hold it against me). As I got older and more into film I went back and watched the original (loved it) and a few others, but had never really done a deep dive until I started prepping for this project. Suffice to say, I'm even more in love with the character and its mythos now. It's such a rich tapestry, and one I feel incredibly stoked to be contributing to! Godzilla has only battled in Australia a handful of times, most notably against Zilla in 2004’s Godzilla: Final Wars movie. How special is it for you to set this story in your home country?

Louie Joyce: It's really special! Beyond just being super excited to bring Godzilla (and Varan!) back to Aus, this is actually a very personal story inspired by local skaters, the DIY spaces that they've created and cultivated over the years and the communities that form around them.

The real life PKDIY was started by a mate and his son during the Pandemic and it provided a valuable place for people to focus on their physical and mental health during those tough times. A whole community flourished around it, so much so that when the local council decided to tear it all down, that community rallied to save it! Another DIY spot in Wollongong wasn't so lucky and is now becoming an apartment block (still my fave spot I've ever skated!). The four main characters in Skate or Die are an amalgam of skaters I've met or watched, my kids and their mates, and my own memories of rollerblading around Newy as a teen. It's all wrapped up in Aus, so to be able to actually set it here and reflect the real life places and people that inspired it feels amazing!

I also love that they're not rocking up to destroy the Opera House or some other iconic Aussie spot y'know? It's a bunch of kids in a small coastal town caught up in this huge Kaiju battle! Why are Godzilla and Varan even in Port Kembla endangering this dingy DIY skatepark? Well, you'll have to read to find out!

Godzilla: Skate or Die #1 Cover B Between your story and the upcoming Santa Cruz x Godzilla collaboration, it’s a big year for Godzilla and skate culture. Why do you think Godzilla pairs with skating so well?

Louie Joyce: They both love to go into urban spaces and tear %#!+ up? They're both brimming with a raw, anti-establishment, destructive, don't-give-a-damn energy that oozes cool and is both beautiful and terrifying to behold!

Seriously though, Godzilla as a visual representation of a lot of the qualities people attribute to skaters is kinda genius, but actually both Godzilla and skaters are so much more than just those things (and if Godzilla spotted your kid having some trouble at the skatepark he would totally teach them how to drop in on the mini ramp)! We haven’t seen a Godzilla story presented in your art style before. What are you most excited to draw in Godzilla: Skate or Die?

Louie Joyce: I mean... it's gotta be big giant Kaiju battles! It's hard to express just how much fun it is drawing Godzilla and Varan (and I still can't decide which I like drawing better). I am having the time of my life and the fact that my work is pretty stylized and I'm getting to go crazy just makes it all the more enjoyable. One of the things I love most about comics as a storytelling medium is the diversity of artistic styles that are possible. Comics, at their best, often provide the purest expression of a creator's (or a group of creators') vision! I love when I'm reading a comic and I think "Wow, only so and so could've done this!". Like you can't imagine that story being told by any other artist? That's great comics!

And of course, so much of this comic is expressing my love of skating. The freedom and joy of rolling around with wheels under your feet! The connections you make because of that shared passion and the ways it can enrich your world. There are few feelings like it, and If I manage to convey even a semblance of that in my drawings I'll be happy. Keen to draw some sick grinds too! Obligatory question: What’s your Godzilla collection look like, and what’s your favorite item?

Louie Joyce: I'm not a huge collector beyond comics, so my Godzilla collection is a little on the light side at this stage. I'm on the hunt for old Godzilla back issues but it's been slim pickings so far. I recently picked up the James Stokoe Godzilla Deluxe Edition though and it is stunning! I just keep flipping through and staring at pages for ages. Lately I've been on a manga deep dive and eyeing off some old Japanese editions, so I think that's where my collection is likely to expand.