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CSBG Archive

I Love Ya But You’re Strange – That Time Charles Barkley Played Basketball Against Godzilla

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 bcronin@comicbookresources.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.

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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”).

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Charles and little Matt go into the city and Charles takes the magic silver dollar and grows into a giant…

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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)…

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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…

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The threat now averted, Barkley then meets back up with Matt to thank him for the assist…

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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 bcronin@comicbookresources.com

27 Comments

Still better than Space Jam.

“Godzilla got busy.” is the single most amazing comic panel of all time.

interesting. never knew that Godzilla maybe had some game and could hold his own against some one like even CHarles barkley in a comic. plus love that kids face when he sees matt was telling the truth

I never knew that about “Alan Smithee.” I was always awed at what an inconsistent writer he was.

This book was quite good. I honestly don’t know why Baron didn’t leave his name attached to it.

Baron did. An unnamed plotter of the book did not.

T: It sounds like Baron did leave his name on it, but the plotter (which can be different from the writer) withheld his name.

I actually remember the commercial. Never knew about the comic though.

AverageJoeEveryman

October 29, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Remember getting this at a dollar store years after its release. It was good fun in a wacky, we’re in on the joke, way.

Charles Barkley’s girlfriend is… black? I’ll believe he actually played against Godzilla before I’ll believe that

So were the New York Elites a Negro League club? Or am I just showing my massive sports ignorance?
Cute story, in any case.

Well, it sounds like somebody left the book because of some kind of interference and then Mike Baron had to step up at the last minute and finish it off of somebody else’s plot, a plot which I guess he didn’t want credit/blame for.

Fraser – there were no New York Elites, as far as I can see, but “Elites” seems like it was a common team name in the various Negro Leagues, so that was probably the writer’s intent.

I would definitely want to pick this issue up–then, in addition to Nexus Omnibus vol. 1, I can have it signed by Mike Baron when he comes to Emerald City Comic-Con this year! I wonder if this will stir up some funny memories for him…

This comic was too cool.
I found a copy in the bargain bin and gave to my friend, whose dad is a big Barkley fan.
He framed it and hung it in his office.

“Whoops, There it Is?” is this because “Whoomp” was copyrighted/considered lewd? or an intended pun?

This comic was turrble, just turrble

(i never read it, i just wanted to use his catchphrase.)

This is an EXCELLENT comic. The guy who wanted his name off the book was an idiot. Do you think there’s any possible way to find out who the real plotter was?

Holy! I need this in my life! Time to see if I can find it.

AverageJoeEveryman

October 30, 2013 at 11:07 am

Also I had those Nike Barkley Shoes. They were awesome.

Because the truth will probably never be known, I’m going to say that the plotter was Alan Moore. It makes just as much sense as any other option.

philfromgermany

October 31, 2013 at 5:44 am

Bill Cosby and his TV-wife and Jack Nicholson are cheering CB on!

I agree, I see no reason why someone should be ashamed to attach their name to this stellar work. And I’m not being sarcastic at all. It’s really great.

The only excuse I could see is if as awesome as this book was, the plotter had even more insane ideas that would have made it even more awesome but he was neutered and censored by editors.

I wonder if the “plotter” was whoever came up with the original idea for the commercial, and it’s actually some name director. Maybe Spike Lee? I know he had a brother or other relative that was doing a comic with Dark Horse around that time, maybe that played into it? (I know DH had the Godzilla license at that point, which is probably more why they did the comic.)

This looks crazy fun. I’ll have to see if my one shop has it with their big Black Friday sale.

Comics today need more “Godzilla got busy”

The Angry Internet

November 1, 2013 at 1:11 am

“I wonder if the ‘plotter’ was whoever came up with the original idea for the commercial, and it’s actually some name director.”

Some googling tells me the idea was conceived at Wieden+Kennedy (Nike’s regular ad agency), primarily by Warren Eakins and Steve Sandoz. Perhaps Eakins and Sandoz were contractually barred from receiving credit on the comic and “Alan Smithee” had to to be used instead. That said, the plot of the commercial has nothing in common with the comic beyond the basic concept, so I don’t know why they’d be credited for plotting and not just the idea.

[…] Jeff Butler, and Mike Baron were responsible for creating this one-shot masterpiece of sorts. Charles Barkley vs. Godzilla will always be one of the oddest and cutest mash-up in comic book […]

[…] are just some of the highlights of this instant classic. Not to be outdone, Dark Horse Comics’ Godzilla vs. Barkley – a spin-off comic from an equally campy Nike commercial – featured the scrappy Hall of Famer […]

I really, really want this book now. Just so I can marvel at “Godzilla got busy”.

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