Pop culture can be infuriatingly intoxicating if you let, and, no doubt, artist Scott C. has let it. Based on his artistic renderings, he’s allowed movies and books and TV shows and the like to occupy every corner of his fertile imagination. He’s allowed this addiction (of sorts) to take up residence in his brain, and, as a consequence, he’s forever interpreting their shenanigans and turning them out as artwork for the even greater masses at large. The result? He’s become a part of pop culture himself, and his ‘showdowns’ continue to delight, amaze, and amuse more and more people at every turn. He’s back with another collection of these great confrontations, and, while it isn’t quite as inebriating as the first, it’s still worth the time, effort, and money to appreciate.
(NOTE: The following review will contain minor spoilers necessary solely for the discussion of plot and/or characters. If you’re the kind of reader who prefers a review entirely spoiler-free, then I’d encourage you to skip down to the last two paragraphs for my final assessment. If, however, you’re accepting of a few modest hints at ‘things to come,’ then read on …)
At the core, each and every story is about conflict. Man versus man. Man versus woman. Man versus alien. Alien versus man. Woman versus zombie. Zombie versus vampire. You get the point (or, if you don’t, you’re destined for the ash heap of history!). These conflicts drive us – as audience members – to figure out where we stand with the issue. We choose a side, and, Devil be damned, we’ll stick with it until the bitter end.
But it’s that conflict that truly fascinates artist Scott C. Sure, there’s a story built up around the conflict as far as the eye can see, but that contest of wills when “two men enter, one man leaves” is what inspires him to pick up pen, brush, and paper in order to capture it in one seminal frame, trying to force as much meaning and depth into it as is humanly possible. He does what he does with an incredibly practiced eye – one that’s finally tuned for the nuances of a particular character’s look, dress, or mannerisms – and what he produced is indeed as much as flight of fancy as is the project that inspired him.
If you’re unfamiliar with his work, then you don’t know what you’re missing … but, rest assured: it’s never too late for you to board the Scott C. Train To Zanytown at the LooneyVille Station.
GREAT SHOWDOWNS – like the first volume – is the perfect little coffee table book. It’s the kind of entertainment that’s quick and (somewhat) easy that your friends will love perhaps as much as you do. Or, if you’re a corporate trainer or someone who sponsors corporate-style meetings, it’s a great book to have on hand for folks to thumb through while they’re waiting for you to begin. Its simple representations are a delight on the eyes; it’s all assembled with an almost wacky if not uncanny eye for small details; and it produces a warm fuzzy chuckle probably when needed most. Don’t pass up this chance to see pop culture at its finest.
I’ll close with one observation I made regarding the first volume because I think it’s equally relevant: I’d love for these books to be issued with a key or some listing (in the back) as to what movie or show each painting relates to. It isn’t a fault of the artist that I don’t ‘get’ or ‘know’ the flick; it’s just that I’d like to know without having to go to all the work to figure it out because, then, I’d possibly go and watch the DVD. Like I said before, it’s a minor kerfuffle, but a kerfuffle nonetheless. Yeah, it might ruin some of the fun … still, it might enhance it!
GREAT SHOWDOWNS: THE RETURN is written by Scott C. and published by Titan Books. It includes a forward by filmmaker Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD, HOT FUZZ, etc.) as well as an introduction by Scott C., himself. It comes with a cover price of $14.95 (U.S.), a bit steep but definitely worth it if you can make that work in your budget.
HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. As a reviewer, I’ve found it’s always best to be honest with those who follow my humble works, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that I didn’t enjoy GREAT SHOWDOWNS as much as I did the first one; but that’s only because there are many obvious film, TV, and pop culture references in the sequel that I, frankly, just didn’t know. That isn’t a fault of the author; it’s just that he’s far more ‘experienced’ in those areas than I. I still appreciated his art – his fine depiction of the small details that make you realize, “Oh, yeah, NOW I know what this is” – and I don’t believe I’ve been that excited about basic watercolors in all my life. Scott C. is a genius, indeed.
In the interests of fairness, I’m pleased to disclose that the fine folks at Titan Books provided me with a copy of GREAT SHOWDOWNS: THE RETURN by Scott C. by request for the expressed purposes of completing this review.
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