I’ve been a pretty big fan of Scott Campbell for a couple of years now so you can imagine how excited I was to have the opportunity to interview him this year at San Diego Comic-Con. Scott has a very unique and adorable way of reimagining iconic scenes from movies throughout the history of cinema. For the longest time his Great Showdowns Tumblr was the only blog I followed on the site.
His work really is that awesome.
So far he’s released three artbooks through Titan Books and the latest, Great Showdowns: The Revenge, is scheduled to come out on October 6, 2015. However, SDCC attendees that the chance to pick up the book early.
We met up with Scott at his booth on the exhibit hall to talk about Great Showdowns and the new book.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with us.
So how long have you been coming out to San Diego Comic-Con?
I’ve been coming to this comic con for about eight or nine years as an exhibitor [but] I’ve been coming as a fan since the early 90s.
I’d come down to get all my books and comics signed. I was a big collector back in the day. And showing all my drawings to my favorite artists. I was like, “Look at me! I want to be a comic book artist. I want to draw X-Men!” and stuff like that.
You did your first panel this year, right? How was that?
It was great!
Oh, man. It was so fun. My favorite part was doing stuff with the audience. They would throw out terrible things and I would have to make them cute as a sort of challenge. And I got to draw some people in the audience, do a little demo. It was great.
Let’s talk a little bit about the Great Showdowns series.
How do you decide which moments to depict?
If it’s a more iconic scene [the decision] is easier. It’s not necessarily good guy vs. bad guy but just moments that you remember. For some of the movies maybe it is the overall protagonist and antagonist.
But if it’s a movie I haven’t seen or a movie that I kind of missed the boat on or didn’t grow up with – like it came out in the 60s or something, I don’t know the iconic moments. So it’s sometimes a little bit more difficult. I’ve got to talk to people and sort of figure out those moments, you know, just moments that really stick with you.
Oh, and sometimes I’m just really excited about the movie like Guardians of the Galaxy. So I started doing one after that. But really it’s just the bad guy and then the good guys.
And then it’s fun drawing guys like Nacho Libre. People who have very distinctive faces. Jon Cryer. Ducky from Pretty in Pink. I like drawing Ducky’s face.
On Tumblr you do a lot of themes. How do you decide what to draw for those?
I guess it’s just to make things more interesting for myself sometimes. It’s been the same thing for quite a while so it’s fun to have a week that’s something special. I like to kind of think of all the movies that have like, you know, famous rock climbing scenes or things like cars-
I don’t know, I haven’t done either of those. They probably wouldn’t be that great.
It just makes it more fun for me to think about all those movies that have things in common. It mixes it up a bit. So, that’s why I like to themes like that.
Do you have anything planned for your Tumblr followers coming up?
I have a long list of things I’d like to try doing and I think around the time the book comes out I’ll probably do some stuff.
And I also want to do some scavenger hunt kind of things. [They’re] something I really like to do. When I go to towns or different places – or in New York – it’d be fun to do that at some point. Maybe have people figure out where a scene is and go see it. Because I love seeing where things have been filmed. Like I really love it a lot.
Like the Ghostbusters firehouse. Seeing it and just knowing something happened there.
So maybe have people go there – and if they don’t find anything then it’s still okay because they got to see this location.
So, tell me a bit about the new book.
It’s a lot like the other books.
Except it’s more recent scenes. And some older ones, too. Some of the ones that didn’t make the cut into the earlier books. We’ve got some longer showdowns and things.
There’s a lot of intense moments. People having a good time. People having a bad time.
What’s your favorite scene that made it into this book?
Or – if you can’t choose just one – maybe your top five?
Okay, so, I really like the Star Wars ones. I did an Empire Strike’s Back one. I like the dead tauntaun – the moment where Han cuts it open to put Luke in there. Because that’s one of those moments that sticks with you. It’s not one of the main ones at all, you know, but it’s a moment that we all remember.
So that’s why I put a smiley face on the stomach. And this is something I like to do trying to to make a terrible thing, uhm, kind of pleasant. This is before [it’s cut open] so it’s really less about the tauntaun being the character and more about his tummy.
So, I was really happy with that one.
Oh, and this one – this one I always felt a little bit weird about because this really is a terrible moment in The Deer Hunter. When they’re doing the kinda Russian roulette thing. So I felt a little bit weird doing this one because it is such a horrible moment. But their here looking pleasant so… hopefully it’s not too distasteful.
And Prince. Purle Rain I was really excited about. I’m pretty proud of that guy for some reason.
I want to close out our interview by turning this around a bit: what’s one thing you’ve always wanted people to know about your work or your process that no one’s every asked you about before?
Oh, wow. That’s a good question.
Not to put you on the spot.
No, that’s – I’ve never really thought about it before.
Okay, so, I may have talked about this before.
I guess… the thing that I enjoy – one of the things I enjoy about doing these so much is – besides getting to relive moments in all these movies I’ve grown up with – is solving the puzzle of what makes a character look like a person in the simplest ways possible.
That is like my absolute favorite thing to do.
Just drawing a character over and over again figuring out how to move the little dot eyes a little bit closer or a little bit further apart until you know you just move them slightly up and then – it’s them. That is like my favorite feeling in the world, you know? Feeling you’ve hit it – you’ve hit that sweet spot.
That’s probably one of my favorite things about drawing these things: solving the puzzle of simplifying a face so you recognize it. Just solving that puzzle.
That’s really awesome.
And I think that’s probably a good place to end our interview. Thanks so much, Scott. It was great getting a chance to talk with you.
We had a great time talking with Scott and we can’t wait until you guys can get your hands on Great Showdowns: The Revenge. This book has some of our favorite showdowns ever! It has so many awesome movie moments from some really great films.
I know we’ve got a couple of months to go before the new book comes out but never fear.
While you’re waiting for Great Showdowns: The Revenge, you can catch up on Scott’s work on Tumblr or follow Scott on Twitter. He’s also released two other Great Showdown collections The Great Showdowns and Great Showdowns: The Return and worked on a number of other books including Hug Machine; Zombie in Love and it’s sequel Zombie in Love 2 + 1; East Dragon, West Dragon; and more. You can check out his website (and shop) here.