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Godzilla: Valentine's Day Special, Cover by Dani Pendergast, IDW

Ah… Valentine’s Day, a time to cuddle up with our loved ones, devouring candy, watching sappy movies, cuddling… and kaiju?

It’s in this intersection that readers will find themselves in IDW’s Godzilla: Valentine’s Day Special featuring the creative talents of Zoe Tunnell, Sebastian Piriz, Rebecca Nalty, and Johanna Nattalie. These creators excellently weave what, at a glance, seems like two diverging genres into a touching, hopeful story of romance, monsters, and the military systems created to combat them.

The story follows Piper, a recent college graduate who feels doomed to work in a meaningless, monotonous data entry job for a major cell phone carrier. She has little time to stew long, for the company’s office building becomes the victim of Godzilla’s wrath. Before Piper can even register what’s happening, she’s clobbered by a piece of rubble and wakes up in the hospital. To add insult to her injuries, the company lets her go due to the damage and “corporate restricting”.

With what little severance pay she’s given, she makes it her mission to follow these titanic beasts and report the truth about them and world governments’ responses. In one particularly dangerous outing, she is saved by Lt. Sauveterre of the Earth Defense Force. Little do either of them know, this won’t be the last time they meet.

Godizlla: Valentine's Day Special,Page1, Interior Art by Sebastian Piriz & Rebecca Nalty, IDW

This book has an incredibly strong opening. The final panels of pages one and three are the best kinds of cliffhangers, sucking the reader into the action right away. It’s also extremely efficient, giving enough detail to establish who Piper is and the stakes of a kaiju-filled world, but not making anyone wait on the destructive, monster goodness. I was excited to get to chow down on this story from the jump.

And the team rides this tense, action-packed feeling throughout. The art plays with different layouts and panel shapes splendidly, some even feel like they’re moving along with events of the story, shaking and falling in the wake of gigantic footsteps and fireblasts along with Piper.

The lettering also adds to this intensity through Nattalie’s angular balloons. They demonstrate the edge in every characters’ voice as they navigate nebulous terrains. It also makes Piper and Lt. Sauveterre’s constant bickering even better because it is visually rigid. In addition, her sound effects are marvelously minimalist. They are primarily red against with few flourishes or effects, working nicely with Nalty’s smooth, cool palette and ensuring they never intrude on the art except when necessary.

All of this combined makes Piper and the Leutinant’s “will they won’t they” enemies-to-lovers tale incredibly juicy. Watching these two continually argue is frustrating, but in that good kind of way that only romance can do. The visual and narrative parallels (that I won’t spoil so readers can experience it themselves) in these two’s stories only add to this; the reader is subtly shown that these two are complements to each other, so seeing the endgame is urgent.

The monsters ripping each other to shreds in the background even add a bit of humor to the situation, as these two clearly prioritize their romantic tête-à-tête at the worst times.

It’s got sexual tension, dramatic tension, and action-thriller tension, a three-course meal only a kaiju-infested love story can provide.

Godzilla: Valentine's Day Special, Pages 2-3, Interior Art by Sebastian Piriz & Rebecca Nalty, IDW

One of my few gripes with this story is that the ending feels too sudden. I found myself saying “wait, that’s it?” after turning to the final page. Without ruining it, I’ll simply say the story reaches a romantic and dramatic peak, but then swiftly moves into an epilogue. An extra couple of pages, a few more bites of this already delicious Valentine’s Day dinner, to truly savor the moment and transition into these final moments would have been even better.

There is also a series of pages where the reading order switches to two-column layouts that are meant to be read left side top-to-bottom, then right side top-to-bottom. Though the colorist did a magnificent job signaling this change by making each column a specific hue, it wasn’t clear enough that this change had happened and I found myself confused for a moment. Something additional in the art or lettering could have cleared this up.

Regardless, Godzilla: Valentine’s Day Special is a stunning debut for Tunnell and another notch in Cupid’s arrow for Piriz, Nalty, and Nattalie. This book is the best of romance and thriller, and it's evident this was created in a thoughtful, well-crafted way. Instead of flowers this year, why not tell your partner you love them with a comic that’s monstrously heartwarming?*

*Note: author is not responsible for any potential negative reactions from your partner.




If you like the writing:

  • Blade Maidens by Zoe Tunnell & Valentine Smith

  • Rat Queens by Kurtis J. Wiebe & Roc Upchurch

  • Cosmoknights by Hannah Templer


If you like the art:

  • We Ride Titans by Tres Dean & Sebastian Piriz

  • Black Beacon by Ryan K. Lindsay & Sebastian Piriz

  • Kaijumax by Zander Cannon



Zoe Tunnell (@Blankzilla) – Writer

  • Tunnell is also the writer of the webcomic Blade Maidens which is coming to print through Dark Horse Comics.

  • She previously wrote for Women Write About Comics, ComicsXF, Polygon, and The Beat, reviewing comics and comics adjacent media.

  • Tunnell is also an avid RPG enthusiast, being a member of the cast of the podcast EIDOLON Playtest and editor of the rulebook for the game.


Sebastian Piriz (@SebastianPiriz) - Artist

  • An adept artist, Piriz has drawn books for Vault, IDW, AfterShock, Heavy Metal, and Mad Cave Studios

  • In addition to their interior art, they have constructed variant covers for Dark Horse, Dynamite, and IDW.

  • Piriz hails from Argentina.

Rebecca Nalty (@RebNalty) – Colorist

  • A former background artist for the BBC’s Danger Mouse, Nalty has been coloring comics since 2017, contributing to books from Image, IDW, Dynamite, and Vault Comics.

  • When not making comics, she enjoys cosplay and playing video games.

  • Nalty hails from Ireland.

Johanna Nattalie (@JohannaNattalie) – Letterer

  • Nattalie is a regular letterer and designer for IDW having slapped balloons onto multiple titles including Star Wars Adventures, Star Trek, My Little Pony, and Transformers.

  • She is also a production designer for IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and My Little Pony series.




The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.


All Godzilla: Valentine’s Day Special characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright of IDW or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


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