Meeting a Fellow Godzilla Fanatic: Mark Bailey
I guess because of where I grew up and the time I grew up in (nineties and 2000s), I very rarely met anyone who liked Godzilla, let alone knew who Godzilla was. Thankfully, as I got older, I started meeting fellow Godzilla fanatics little-by-little and became close friends with them. It was no different on Saturday, January 25, 2020, when I got to meet Mark Bailey at Garden State Comic Fest: Winter Edition.
How Did I Find Out About Him?
I first learned about Mr. Bailey through Garden State Comic Fest’s Facebook page. They promoted his panel “Giant Monsters Attack NYC: A History” and I was instantly hooked. I had to learn more about this panel and about Mr. Bailey. According to GSCF’s Facebook post and website, the panel was going to be about why giant monsters like Godzilla, Kong, and ones from movies like The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms and The Giant Claw attacked one of the greatest cities in the world, New York City. The moment I saw that, I turned to my husband and said, “We’re going!”
We’ve attended GSCF in the past and always had a great time checking out the different vendors, grabbing more collectibles (when we don’t have the room for them), and seeing all the different cosplayers. However, they’ve never had anything about the King of the Monsters or monster movies in general – well, at least in recent memory – and I must say that bothered me a little. Thankfully, they read my mind and at their first winter edition of Garden State Comic Fest, they had Mark Bailey present this panel.
"Giant Monsters Attack NYC" Panel
It was interesting to say the least. There were two things I loved about it. One, it was an interactive panel where Mr. Bailey asked questions and talked with his audience. It wasn’t just him talking, which was a nice change. I don’t mind listening to someone talk hours on end about something they are passionate about, but when a speaker interacts with their audience, to me it shows it’s more about the connection they can make with their audience than anything else. That I appreciate! If you want to talk and talk and talk, that’s great, but I think it’s way more important to make that connection as well and I respect Mr. Bailey for doing so.
One of the questions he asked was, “Why New York City? Why set a movie in New York City?” And the answers that came included:
It’s the #1 market.
It has a lot bigger stuff to destroy.
It has bigger crowds.
It’ll have an emotional impact.
It is the most iconic city in the world.
All of these answers were correct because, according to Mr. Bailey, there’s no wrong answer. But then he asked, “Why shouldn’t a movie be set in New York?” Now that the crowd was comfortable, they truly got into it and started spatting out answers like:
There’s a lot of traffic in NY.
It’s too expensive.
You can’t control the weather.
Again, all of these answers were correct.
Creative License vs. Reality
From there, Mr. Bailey discussed creative license vs. reality and gave a great example of this. Back in 1957, when giant monsters attacking different areas of the world were rampaging through cinema, Universal Studios came out with The Deadly Mantis. As its name implies, it is a movie about a giant praying mantis. (I’ll have a discussion about this movie sometime in my blogging career.) Toward the end of the movie, the “deadly mantis” is “brought down” in Newark, NJ (of all places) and it hides in the “Manhattan Tunnel”. Sound familiar?
That’s because just before this movie came out, the third tunnel of the Lincoln Tunnel was built. However, instead of using the actual tunnel, closing it down, creating chaos, etc., they decided to build their own tunnel on a sound stage and renamed it the Manhattan Tunnel. It was less expensive than using the real thing, it didn’t cause any traffic jams, and it looked good in the movie.
Seriously, how fascinating is that?!
New York City Giant Monster Attack Map
The second thing I loved about Mr. Bailey’s panel is a map he created of different areas in and around New York where different monsters and different movies have been. You can find it online at nycgmam.com and it is impressive. Mr. Bailey got inspired to create this map after doing a ghost tour in Boston and a mob tour in Chicago. He wanted to do something similar around New York City about monsters, but figured it would be too expensive to get a bus, so he decided to make it virtual. He started working on it about five years ago and he’s still updating it to this day.
As you arrive to the page, it’ll show a map with Brooklyn, Queens, Manhattan, Bronx, Jersey City, and Newark with foot stomps planted all around. Then to the right of that map is a list of different movies you can click on and see where they’ve been in New York and the surrounding areas. It really is interesting to see where different movies and different monsters have been. However, my question to Mr. Bailey is…will this map expand to places like Boston, Washington, D.C., and San Francisco? I guess time will tell.
Let's Learn More About Mr. Bailey
After his panel, I got to sit down with Mr. Bailey and learn more about him and his fascination with monster movies. Like me, it started when he was young. His parents and older brother would watch these different monster movies and he immediately got hooked. According to him, when he was younger, there really wasn’t much to do on a Saturday afternoon other than sitting in front of the TV and watching different Godzilla and monster movies. Kind of like Saturday morning cartoons, but it was the Saturday afternoon creature feature. His favorite Godzilla film of all time is Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster (which I will be discussing soon). He said it’s because it brings him back to when he was five years old.
Other than hosting this panel from time to time at different conventions, Mr. Bailey is an amateur animator and filmmaker. He’s also a film hobbyist and a self-appointed giant monster movie historian. To learn more about Mark Bailey, check out this website here OR to hire Mr. Bailey for film or animation, check out this website here.
Policies & Disclosure
Please remember, I am not getting paid to talk about this amazing franchise, or promote Mr. Bailey or Garden State Comic Fest. I'm just a fanatic, like yourself, wanting to start a conversation about Godzilla, other monster movies, and fellow fanatics. To learn more, please check out my Policy page. Also, I would love to hear from you, my fellow Godzilla fanatics. You can either comment below (please read my “Comments Policy” on the Policy page before doing so) or contact me.
The photos featured in this post were taken by my husband, John Hodorovych. The first is me sitting and talking with Mark Bailey while the second is me with "Uncle" Mark as we hold my Godzilla plush toy and my copy of The Official Godzilla Compendium.
**This post was originally published on January 31, 2020**