7/16--a day in the middle of summer and without baseball. Something seemed so wrong about this. As much as I like watching the All Star Game, I was yearning to get back to the Green and Gold baseball that makes summer worth the hot and sweaty days.
My attentions, which are usually pointed toward the Oakland A's season, were now without something proper to be directed to. Through this, I decided to address a small problem that has always bothered me suddenly sprouted roots into my brain keeping me thinking in one direction--who is Zebulon?
Zeb--the dino...the legend...
Of course we know Zebulon, the cute vinyl monster rescued by Oakland Athletics team photographer Michael Zagaris during their trip to Japan, but who was he really.
Ever since enjoying Zagaris' posts on his A's thru Z blog, I have been attempting to find the ever elusive Zebulon, his relation to Godzilla, King of the Monsters, and possibly find a way of getting my own Zebulon (I hear they are rather good at eating Rally Monkeys and other nasty little creatures).
Zeb asks Rich if his ramen has Rally Monkey meat in it.
I have a degree in Journalism from San Jose State University (complete with Arnold Scwartzenegger autograph) which has yielded bupkis in terms of a full time career in writing or editing, so I thought what better use of my skills as a reporter than to ferret out the elusive Zebulon for my brothers and sisters at AN.
The first stop for my search for Zebulon was a search on Google. I know it is a far cry from how journalist used to do it. It involves little beat work, no rustling up sources and does not put you in tune with the story from the street, but I figure if I did this the tough old way, I would probably find myself becoming grease spot between the hard ground of Monster Island and the toes of King Ghidorah.
Where can you be?
The problem was that all of my search engine yields could not connect "Zebulon" and "Godzilla" with anything coming close to the pictures Zagaris took. In fact, most of the posts with both those terms yielded a strange mix of the Japanese Super Monster with Zebulon Pike, American explorer and namesake of Pikes Peak in Colorado.
Zebulon Pike (not the dinosaur)
Deterred but never beaten, I decided to turn away from my computer screen and consult an expert in kitschy Japanese Monster toys from vintage toy store, Time Tunnel in South Bascom St., San Jose. After buying a Star Trek TNG Phaser I saw in one of the cases, I conversed to him about my unique dilemma on my search for Zebulon. I led him to the A's Thru Z Web site where he looked at the picture of Zebulon and gave me the vital piece of information that would change the course of my investigation:
Although my dealer at Time Tunnel did not know the particular name of the figure, he confirmed that our Zebulon was not a Godzilla monster, but an Ultraman villain.
Along with showing me a vintage version of Zebulon which he was selling for quite an expensive sum (it looked like our Zeb, but was covered in neon colors, with less detals and articulation), he told me Zagaris was somewhat correct in saying that the dino we know as Zebulon was a distant cousin of Godzilla because both Ultraman and Godzilla were produced by the same Japanese entertainment company. One episode of the classic Ultraman show even featured the Godzilla costume made to look like a villain by adding a "vest" with alien body features, an additional head piece and a horn.
Grandfather of Zebulon?
Reinvigorated by this new information, I poured through Japanese toy company and kaiju (Japanese monster genre) popular culture Web sites, and deduced that our lovable Zebulon was really the ancient beast and Ultraman villain, Gomora!
Also known as Gomola and Gomorrah (leading some people to believe he was named after the biblical city of sin), Gomora, according to its wikipedia entry (I know--but this is a fanpost and I think I already spent as much energy on it as I should) is a 150-year old dinosaur with great burrowing strength, hence his name somewhat sounding like "go mole." Although Gomora would ultimately peril at the hands of Ultraman, the dino is one of the few villains in the Ultraman series to defeat the rubbery hero. It also seems that ol' Gomora would have the terrible injury of having his tail cut off during fights with Ultraman. Successfully using the DL, he would use his superior dino genes to grow back a new one.
Zeb in more violent days.
At first I had only found the name Gamola and would only find its alternate names after a few hours of searching. Through the search, I saw our guy Zeb in different incarnations. There were ministatues and video games which featured him, but what I was looking for was the exact same figure that Zagaris had discovered in that toy store in Japan, thus becoming A's novelty legend.
Osaka doesn't stand a chance.
Looking for Zeb and not HGH Zeb...
Ultraman villain toys are not as plentiful as Godzilla monster, so I was having a hard time pinning down the exact figure as seen in A's thru Z. After seeing modernized versions like Ex-Gomora, and Lights and Sound Gomola, I finally found what I was looking for:
Mr. Zebulon, I presume...
a Bandai Ultraman Monster Kaiju 02 Gomora figure
It was only a matter of time to identify the least expensive place to find Zeb on the Internet--Plamora. This Japanese toy store is selling Gamora for $8.80 plus $7.12 S + H. For about 16 bucks, you too can have your own rally dino which is a better deal than the coli Stomper pupped any day.
Obviously I love A's basebal, but I'm not able to break it down with VORP variations or supplemental draft options What I can do is can give you access to our beloved Zeb. It took me about a day and a half to find Zebulon, which is a statement to me about how much energy I, as well as many others, put into enjoying AN and the Oakland A's.
Shake my hand!
We need a little oomph behind the bats, so why not bring some atomic dinosaur power to the coli to smash the competition.
Thanks for finding me! Y'all come back now, y'hear?
Go Zeb! Go A's!