For all the conventions focused on comic books and anime, one staple of geekdom that’s gone underrepresented is the giant monster or the genre of “daikaiju” (Japanese for “giant strange creature”). Movies, TV shows, comics, and more featuring the likes of Godzilla, King Kong, and others have pervaded popular culture for decades. However, aside from G-Fest in Chicago, they’ve been largely neglected by event organizers. Kaiju Go! is looking to change that. With vintage vinyl toys, artist galleries, and screenings of two retro Godzilla movies, the event aims to make North Texas as tasty as Tokyo to giant monsters — and the people who love them.
Kaiju Go! is the brainchild of two locals: Denton’s Chas Foreman, a graphic designer and independent toy creator, and Grapevine’s Jay Key, owner of the soft vinyl and monster toy site Toku Toy Town (TokuToyTown.com). The two arrived at their big idea in a pretty non-strange way: over drinks. Key, who handles the screenings and art while Foreman manages the vendors, described Kaiju Go! as a “showcase of Japanese monsters from the vantage point of the movies, the toys, and the art.”
The movies are represented by the two screenings, the toys by a curated room full of classic and independently made soft vinyl or “sofubi” monsters, and the art by two famed Godzilla illustrators.
But don’t call it a convention.
“We try not to use the word ‘convention’ or ‘toy festival,’ ” Key said. “It’s not any of those, but it’s all of those.”
Instead, Key described it as “an intimate, cool experience people can’t get in a giant con hall, not exclusive but more intimate, where they can engage more with artists and vendors.”
That means a tight focus on the toys, the art, and the movies.
“There’s a ton of toy shows here,” Key said, but Kaiju Go! is special because “it’s solely focused on kaiju toys and really cool, designer, vinyl sofubi toys, unique pieces from Japanese companies, and local artists. It’s a very curated gallery of seven or eight vendors.”
Including Key’s Toku Toy Town, attendees can see work from the likes of Chance Priest of Victory Comics and his Warriors of the Universe toy line made in North Texas. Then there’s Michael Morse, who makes “Big Boji” figures, mashing up Godzilla and the Big Boy burger mascot, and co-founder Foreman will be there with his Bang Kongs, sofubi King Kong-like idol figurines.
The art section is covered by illustrator Bob Eggleton, long known for his Godzilla pieces, and comic artist John Yurcaba IV.
“Bob Eggleton is truly the greatest Godzilla artist maybe of all time,” Key said, going on to recount the man’s awards, including numerous Hugos and Asimovs. “To counterbalance the other end is rising comics star John Yurcaba, who does the cover illustrations for IDW’s Godzilla: Monsters and Protectors comics. He’s done five or six covers and is a wonderful artist as well.”
The screenings include 1964’s Mothra vs. Godzilla and 1973’s Godzilla vs. Megalon, two films from Godzilla’s classic or “Showa” period.
Key said he truly believes that Mothra vs. Godzilla represents “golden-age Toho,” the studio behind Godzilla, and to him is “the strongest film, ignoring the first, which is in a league of its own.”
Indeed, 1954’s Gojira usually ranks near the top of Godzilla fans’ favorites. Godzilla vs. Megalon usually comes in a little lower and was even featured on an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000.
“Really, it’s two points,” Key said. “It’s Godzilla vs. Megalon’s birthday, so we wanted to show it some love, and it’s something silly, goofy, and zany. How can you not smile watching Godzilla vs. Megalon. It’s so silly!”
It’s also one of Eggleton’s favorites, and Key wanted to show movies that fans likely hadn’t seen on the big screen, as both were released years before most attendees were likely born.
Then there’s the venue. The Isis Theater was renovated and reopened in 2021, and Key couldn’t be happier with the Stockyards setting. “To other theaters, we were just another event, but [Isis owner] Jeff [Smith] got our idea and was very excited. … It’s a great single-screen theater, something people will get a kick out of, and they will see these movies on the big screen as intended.”
Why Fort Worth for Tokyo?
“I hope all our events are in Fort Worth,” Key said, “and we know people will come. They want to go to the Stockyards and hang out in the day and go to Kaiju Go! and make a weekend out of it.”
4pm Sat at the Isis Theater, 2401 N Main St, FW. $30. 817-808-6390.