In this consumer-based industry, it can be easy to forget the years of hard work that the people in the business put in. Behind every panel, it takes a skilled writer, artist, inker and colorist to make the product complete. Behind each scene goes hours of preparation. Hush Comics’ weekly article “Respect My Craft” will dive into the history of these comic book and pop culture greats that will hopefully give a new perspective on how the men and women behind the pen (or stylus) contribute to the collective awesome-ness of the nerd world, or at least give you a reason to invest in their work.
Name: Jeffrey Scott Campbell
Profession: Comic book artist
Notable Work: Gen13, The Amazing Spider-Man, Danger Girl
“I draw ‘Iron Man’ and ‘Spiderman’ all the time; people come up to me asking did you see the latest’ Iron Man’? And I say no I didn’t see it, but I’m caught up with ‘Girls’ on HBO. Because to me it’s like what I’m doing all day long, I almost want like this quiet Indie movies that are the exact opposite of what I do for a living. I’m the last guy who sees the superhero movie. – J. Scott Campbell
Chances are, if you’ve picked up a Marvel book in the past few years, you’ve seen the gorgeous cover work of J. Scott Campbell. This man has been quietly killing it on various books in the industry throughout his career. He’s recognized as the one of the Image Comics’ early brain children and for doing iconic Amazing Spider-Man covers, but his nerdy story originated from a place other than comic books – video games. When Campbell was just a kid, he entered himself into the Nintendo Power magazine’s “Invent the Ultimate Video Game” contest. At a young age of fifteen years old, he was published in one of the hottest video-game publications in the country. Even then, his distinct art style gave him the public eye. Another early claim to fame came in the form of 80’s pop culture caricatures.
In the mid-1990’s, Campbell struck big by joining Jim Lee‘s WildStorm Productions. He was hand-picked by Lee and the other pioneers at Image Comics. Right away, he was assigned to issue #1 of Gen 13, a creation of Jim Lee and Brandon Choi. The series centered around a group of teens who escape a government testing facility with powers, which they use to fight the system and reveal secrets about their past; it was very X-Men inspired, but had a modern appeal to it thanks to Campbell’s artwork. He even began co-writing the series for the twenty issue run he was a part of. Although the art is rough compared to his current work, his skill was evident from the get go. In the mid-1990’s, when variant covers were running rampant, Campbell and company came out with thirteen different covers for the debut issue. One of these variants was a “Create Your Own” cover, an idea that is often used nowadays with DC and Marvel.
After leaving Gen 13, Campbell (and a couple others, including Denver Comic Con guest Humberto Ramos) started up Cliffhanger, an imprint of WildStorm. There, he created his own series, Danger Girl. Often referred to as part Indiana Jones, part James Bond, Danger Girl became known for very sexualized women who kick ass. If there’s one thing Campbell did well, it was draw the female figure in a very flattering manner. Danger Girl even spawned its own video-game (PSone baby!) and a whole bunch of comic book spin-offs from industry hotshots at the time (the story was usually outlined by Campbell himself). Right now, Danger Girl: May Day is currently running for IDW Comics. There were even talks of a full-length movie coming out that took place a few years ago, with Mila Jovavich, Kate Beckinsale, Sofia Vergara and Megan Fox being among those in the running for casting. Under the Cliffhanger label, Campbell also created Wildsiderz in 2005, a short-lived but well-received comic about group of teams who could use holographic powers to take the shapes of different animals.
From a young age, J. Scott fell in love with animation. As such, his drawings are rich with expression, and he has often cited his love for Disney films as his inspiration. Some of the most famous drawings of his are of fantasy and fairy-tale characters. In the past few years, Campbell has released a yearly series of Fairytale Fantasy calendars, which feature sexy versions of Disney characters. It doesn’t stop their, though. On his website and twitter acount, which he updates quite frequently, you can find a commission for pretty much anything from Star Wars to Breaking Bad. Doing these commissions and Fairytale Fantasy calendars have given him the opportunity to stay close to the comic book industry, but has still given him exposure to fans who otherwise may not have been interested in comic book art.
J. Scott Campbell has had a fruitful career, and is now known in the comic book community as the guy who does the knock-out Marvel.NOW covers. Since signing an exclusive contract with Marvel back in 2006, Campbell has drawn some of the most recognizable covers in this generation, notably his work on The Amazing Spider-Man. J. Scott is a meticulous artist, and so since it takes him so long to complete his work, it suits him that he sticks primarily to cover art. This works out for him in a few aspects: he’s allotted more time per issue, and he is able to step outside of a single book to work on other genres of comic books. To date, he has done covers for: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Batman, Elephantmen, Wizard magazine and a slew of recent Marvel comics – but finds Spider-Man to be his favorite and most magnetizing character. Campbell was even asked to help bring in and sculpt a 3-D rendering model for Sideshow Collectibles of Spidey, Mary Jane and Gwen Stacy.
Oddly enough, although he feels drawn to Spider-Man as a character, J. Scott Campbell is not a huge superhero fan. His largest comic book influence was through MAD magazine as a kid. He also listens to Adele and Lana Del Ray to put him in the mood to work; basically, he’s not from your typical comic book artist. Now, that doesn’t mean that he has lost touch with the industry; Campbell still frequents conventions, looking to connect with current fans and make new ones. Exploring so many different channels allows him to get maximum exposure, and his fans all appreciate it, too. Best of all, Campbell is a native of Denver, having moved here when he was very young, and considering Colorado home. He even designed the poster from last year’s Denver Comic Con and taking part in the Aurora Rise charity benefit, a non-profit that helps aid those affected by the shooting at the Aurora Century 16 theater shooting.
Join us tomorrow as we continue our countdown to Denver Comic Con with animator and producer Greg Weisman, who’s work on Young Justice and the upcoming Star Wars: Rebels has made him the man in animated TV.
All media belongs to Creative Forces, Image Comics, Marvel Comics