The Great Showdowns
$14.95, color, 144 pages
writer/artist: Scott Campbell ("Scott C")
Silhouettes from Popular Culture
$16.95, B&W with occasional spot color, 144 pages
Writer/artist: Olly Moss
These are two very different projects by two very different artists that nevertheless are very similar. For one thing, the format is identical, a very unusual 6.6" square.
Scott Campbell is primarily known as an artist for children's books, but in The Great Showdowns he has assembled a collection of one-panel cartoons featuring climactic confrontations, mostly from the movies. It's an eclectic group, ranging from Dorothy (with a water bucket) vs. the Wicked Witch, to John Cusack (holding up a walkman) with Ione Skye (in a window) from Say Anything. There's nothing venal about any of them; the characters are goofy and irreverent cartoons and nobody really seems mad at anybody else, even Charlton Heston and a couple of gorillas from Planet of the Apes.
Olly Moss combines a similar spirit with an entirely different method. Moss depicts characters from movies,TV, comics and videogames in Victorian-style silhouettes, like what you'd see on a cameo. And, like Campbell, Moss ranges widely in his subjects, from the Bride of Frankenstein (with the distinctive white lightning streaks in the hair) to Mario (of Donkey Kong) to the Blues Brothers to the Roadrunner and Wile E. Coyote.
In both cases, this is pretty frothy stuff -- it's clever, but not exactly the sort of thing you'll spend hours thinking about or poring over the pages. What you will do -- and where the fun is -- is spend time trying to figure out what each vignette represents. Who is that silhouette? It's vaguely familiar. Who are those two figures facing off? Are they from a movie I've never seen?
I'd get my wife involved when I got stuck, and we had some fun. But whether it's roughly $15 worth of fun for each book is up to each reader.