Book Review: The Great Showdowns by Scott Campbell

Over the years, I have amassed a large collection of illustrated books. From graphic novels, runs of comic book titles, and children’s Halloween books, I’m always looking for something that has creative artwork with a twist. Scott Campbell’s book, The Great Showdowns, manages to combine just about everything I look for in a book.

The Great Showdowns is a collection of Scott Campbell’s watercolour pictures featuring great battles in the history of film. They’re not all exactly what you would expect either. Sure there’s Ripley versus the Alien, the T-800 versus the T-1000, and Robocop versus ED-209, but what about the Titanic versus an iceberg, or Annie Wilkes versus two feet and a brick.

Titanic, meet iceberg. A fantastic showdown you may not think of.

Figuring out where all the showdowns come from is half the fun. There are still a few that I couldn’t get, and others that I never would have even thought of, like Rosemary versus a baby carriage. There’s a level of creativity here that I haven’t really seen before. Who else would put a showdown from The Running Man into their book!

The art is very loose, emphasizing the level of fun in the book, and there’s no headings to give away what each film featured is. It’s almost like the biggest animated game you’ve ever played. Campbell’s work is featured on his own website, The Great Showdowns, but this is the best way to enjoy his art at home.

A good portion of the book seems centered on classic '80s films, like The Princess Bride.

With over 150 illustrations, The Great Showdowns seems to be just a small sample of Campbell’s work. His website is packed full of incredible pieces, many of which I wish had ended up in this book. Perhaps there’s another book on the horizon, which I would quickly add to my collection. The simple look of each picture adds to the charm of the entire book, it also shows how extremely visual the medium of film really is. Just one piece of clothing is enough to instantly bring a film to mind, and Campbell captures that in every illustration.

The book has already been passed around my house many times, each person challenging another to tell them what film a certain picture comes from. I’ve been stumped quite a few times actually, which leads me to looking at the book numerous times, and not always for the great artwork. There are a few in here that will drive me crazy until I figure them out!

Seriously, I can't figure this one out! I bet as soon as I figure it out, I'll wonder how I never got it in the first place.

Film fans should make this addition to their book shelves. The illustrations are wonderful, and the various showdowns are hilarious. You can find more of The Great Showdowns here, and be sure to check out Scott Campbell’s website here. You can pick up The Great Showdowns now, and be sure to check out Campbell’s previous book, Amazing Everything: The Art of Scott C.

Under the marquee – Will

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4 Responses to Book Review: The Great Showdowns by Scott Campbell

  1. Laer says:

    That last one is Fight Club.

  2. ninfanwill says:

    Ah, it’s soap on the ground! I thought it was a brick for some reason. See, it seems so obvious when you find out what it is!

  3. Charmaine says:


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