Interview with J. Scott Campbell at San Diego Comic-Con!Thursday, July 25, 2013
Face it Tiger – you just hit the jackpot!
We got a chance to catch up with famed comic book artist and creator, J. Scott Campbell and chat about teaming up with Sideshow on a brand new Spider-Man collection and what’s happening at San Diego Comic-Con!
Here’s the scoop:
So, it’s been a fantastic journey with this collection, a couple of years in the making, and we’re so proud to have it on display during Comic-Con 2013! Can you tell us a bit about design choices and inspiration for each individual character – Mary Jane, Gwen Stacy, and Spider-Man?
J. Scott Campbell: Certainly! Gwen was the first design I worked on. Since her story in the comics is a tragic one, I wanted to hint at those overtones in some way. I think the umbrella, as simple of an addition as it is, adds just enough of that implied weight, without taking away anything from the loveliness of her charm and femininity. The idea that Spidey – Peter – is protecting her from ‘the storm’ is also hopefully implied by the umbrella. It was a goal of mine to give her a real sense of grace and movement that I really think translated beautifully to the sculpt, done by Steve Schumacher at Sideshow.
With Mary Jane, I wanted to capture a sense of the magic that resonated with the fans from the cover I created for The Amazing Spider-Man #601 (below left), where MJ is simply sitting in her apartment with Peter yet again leaving her when ‘great responsibility’ calls. However, I didn’t want to be repetitive either. I think this design was successful in that sense. You get the presence of Spidey in the piece through the use of MJ wrapping herself in Peter’s Spider-Man jersey, symbolizing Peter wrapping his protective arms around her, or perhaps, her wishing it was Peter’s arms making her feel safe.
Spider-Man proved especially daunting. SO many statues and toys have already been created with Spider-Man, so the challenge becomes ‘What pose haven’t we seen?!’ I really like what we’ve done here, successfully capturing Spidey’s gymnast-like iconic body positioning, including showcasing his unique ability to stick to vertical surfaces, while at the same time, really pushing those unique attributes of my artistic style specifically, such as the thinner build and musculature, the hand gestures, and the way I draw Spider-man’s eyes!
Some of your fans got an exclusive sneak peek at this collection without even knowing it! Has anyone recognized these designs from your Ruff Stuff sketchbooks?
JSC: It was fun including these in there, mainly because nobody at the time could’ve guessed what they were exactly. So now, for the fans who have those sketchbooks, seeing these fully realized in three dimension will be like seeing some familiar friends in a completely new way!
JSC: Well, of course the biggest challenge is imagining in 3d. I mean, I already do that to a degree, but forcing myself to view what I’m imagining in my head from not just one angle but from several, that’s the real obstacle. Sometimes something that looks fantastic from the front can look terribly awkward from the side, or from the back. So that’s where refinement comes in, and I’ll often refine the initial pose several times over from multiple angles until the design feels congruent and natural.
As a 2d artist, it’s ALWAYS a thrill to have your work realized in 3d! Having been a huge Sideshow fan from way back in it’s Universal Monster days, it’s a dream come true to have my work so prominently integrated with the brand! But the most exciting part might be seeing the fans enthusiastic reaction to our work, that’s so gratifying.
Well, there’s just such a rush you get walking into Comic-Con, there’s SO much going on, and being right there in the thick of it is always exciting, you never get over that part. And for me, seeing my fans show up, find me in all of that chaos and line up, sometimes for hours, just to meet me and get a few prints and sketchbooks, when there is SO much in that building that they could be doing, it’s a real honor and I’m humbled by that every year.
At my booth I had the Mary Jane Comiquette on display. I was excited to show my 2014 FairyTale Fantasies calendar, the 4th one in the series that I’ve done with colorist Nei Ruffino. This year features fun and playfully sexy pin-ups of fairytale beauties such as Glinda the Good Witch, the lovely Mermaids of the Neverland Lagoon, and the Lady in The Lake! I also have a brand new hardcover collection of my comic book cover work called Ravishing Red, along with many new prints featuring a steampunk look. I’m very excited for my fans to see all of these new projects!
The [Mary Jane Comiquette] is the first release from the J. Scott Campbell Collection. She is available for pre-order now, with Gwen and Spidey soon to follow!