Iconic Movie Characters (and Sometimes Objects) Collide in Scott C.’s ‘Great Showdowns: The Return’

This interview will appear in November’s issue of Cool & Collected – The Magazine for Pop Culture Collectors

We’ve highlighted the art of Scott Campbell (known to many as Scott C.) here before, mainly because it’s awesome. Any artist whose work includes pieces featuring the Greatest American Hero, Voltron, and Ned Nederlander is clearly operating on a higher level.

Titan Books published Scott C.’s The Great Showdowns in 2012, with a foreword by Neil Patrick Harris. Campbell is back in 2013 with Great Showdowns: The Return, this time featuring a foreword by Edgar Wright. The book is a fun, breezy page-flipper that once you pick up you will not set down until you’ve decoded every glorious Showdown.

From Amazon:

Since the beginning of time, there has been struggle. The epic clash of being against being. Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Triceratops. Giant Squid vs. the Sperm Whale. The Circle vs. the Square.

This is a chronicling of some of the greatest confrontations in FILM HISTORY. These are the GREAT SHOWDOWNS.

We were honored to talk to Scott C. recently about Great Showdowns: The Return.

What was the very first Great Showdown you ever painted?

Well, I painted 10 at once.  They were Ghostbusters, Exorcist, Raiders, Fistful of Dollars, Predator, Star Wars, 2001, Rocky 4, and Planet of the Apes.  They were for a show at [Gallery] 1988 in 2008 or so.  I was experimenting with the creation of groups of little happy paintings that went well together. As the years went by, that the family of showdowns grew to a overwhelming size.


I read in a recent interview that you’ve done over 600 Great Showdown pieces. How long does it take to complete each one?

I would say about 3 hours from start to finish per showdown, but I do them in groups in a conveyor belt style.  I go from a master list and gather as much reference as I can for the movie moments I want to depict.  Then I doodle them all at the same time, compose at the same time and then paint at the same time, groups of 5 to 10.

Not everyone can make a volcano or Imperial Probe Droid look happy. What has been the most difficult inanimate object to assign happiness to?

It is easy to just slap a happy face onto things; I encourage everyone to try it! But I suppose Gravity was the most difficult.  That turned out to be Sandra Bullock versus SPACE.  I just put her floating there in her space suit amongst blackness and stars.  Then I put a smiling face in front of her.  It was a tough nut to crack, but it came together alright. This one is not in the book though, it’s on the Great Showdowns website. Perhaps in the third collection!


I love that each Showdown features no accompanying text, which makes some of them a fun challenge to decipher. There are some fairly obscure references, do you find that there are particular ones that people have more trouble with than others?

Some people might struggle with the more obscure ones, but it all comes down to some movies you have seen and some you have not. I am the worst at trivia because I just hope for a question based on one of the few subjects I know a lot about, but that question rarely comes, so I often fail. But that’s alright. People seem to have a hard time with films like Quadrophenia and Tucker and Dale Versus Evil because they just haven’t seen them yet. But other times, people really kick themselves when they find out what it is.  “Oh yeah!  Of course! Dang, man!”  …I hear sometimes.


In Great Showdowns: The Return, Clark Griswold appears twice (which is fantastic). Are there any other pop culture characters that have appeared in more than one Showdown?

Oh for sure! Han Solo has appeared a number of times. Indiana Jones as well. Harrison Ford and Arnold Schwarzenegger have probably been in the most showdowns. But I am merely guessing.  I should go in there and figure it out at some point.


What upcoming projects can you tell us about?

I have a children’s picture book that I have written and illustrated coming out next year called HUG MACHINE.  I am working on a few other book projects as well. A video game that I did a bit of pre-production design work on comes out next year from Double Fine.  It is called Broken Age. And I am still making showdowns all the time at GreatShowdowns.com!


Scott C.’s Great Showdowns: The Return is currently available at Amazon and selected retailers.

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