If ever a showdown could be described as “great,” Avengers: Endgame would be it. You’ve got the Avengers, you’ve got Thanos, you’ve got ships, aliens, and resurrected beings. It’s got it all. Capturing that gigantic sequence in one image might seem like an impossible challenge, but artist Scott Campbell pulled it off.
io9 is excited to debut an epic new painting by Los Angeles-based artist Scott Campbell—and yes, as you might have guessed, it’s based on the epic battle of Marvel’s Avengers: Endgame. For almost a decade now, Campbell, who goes by Scott C., has been painting “the greatest confrontations in film history” featuring characters with happy smiles on their face, moments before a confrontation. He calls the watercolor paintings “Great Showdowns.”
His latest work, featured in the video above, is the crown jewel of “Legend of the Great Showdowns,” Campbell’s upcoming art exhibit, which opens March 6 at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles, CA. Endgame is one of over 250 original paintings that’ll be on display.
Endgame is the biggest, most densely populated Great Showdown he’s ever done, and Campbell documented his work on the painting exclusively for io9—a condensed version of which you can see in our video. This painting actually took about 45 hours to complete and has over 100 elements, all of which are sketched, scanned, and ultimately painted. The same process goes for not just the new paintings in the “Legend of the Great Showdowns” exhibit, but also the near thousand Campbell’s done since he first started doing Great Showdowns almost a decade ago.
“I just enjoy the simplicity of the good guys and bad guys standing there looking at each other and smiling,” Campbell told io9 over the phone. The series began as part of Gallery 1988's group shows called Crazy 4 Cult. After that, Campbell started doing more of them and he got addicted to picking out specific moments in movies not just that he personally loved, but that others recommended to him and that he could discover. Eventually, he started GreatShowdowns.com as a way to keep all of the works in one place. Having the site kept him creating Showdowns almost daily, until he realized he had enough not just for a gallery show, but a book release too.
“I always wanted them to be a little pocket-sized book that you could carry around,” he said. “I’ve always loved the concept of collecting like Garbage Pail Kids or Star Wars cards and things. And that was kind of the vibe that you would have because they’re so small and cute.”
From 2011 to 2014, Campbell did three Great Showdowns gallery shows, turned each one into a book, and thought that might be the end. “I always liked the idea of a trilogy,” he said. “So I just wanted to do three books and three shows. Three seemed like a good time to stop.” So he did.
Campbell continued working on kids’ books, video games, and more, but eventually missed the community his artwork had created as well as the time he got to spend with each of the individual movies he painted. And so the whole operation started up again with an aim at what’s finally here this weekend, a new exhibit. “It seemed like people enjoyed them and were trading them and kind of collecting in a way that I always dreamed would happen,” he said.
Since 2015 Campbell has once again been regularly painting and then posting Great Showdowns on his website, which is one of the most interesting things about his show. You can basically look at 80 percent of what will be displayed right now at this link. Almost everything going back to September 2014 will be on display and for sale beginning March 6. So imagine all of those pieces, framed, totally surrounding you. Plus there will more than a few surprises, including several dozen works that haven’t been revealed yet.
There’s more too. Campbell announced a whole slew of events tied to the show (full schedule here), such as live painting events, parties, a conversation with fan Paul Scheer, and a worldwide treasure hunt. That’s right: Much like he did at his last show (which we introduced here on io9), starting March 16, he’ll have original paintings hiding in 30 different cities in 10 different countries all over the world.
“I just love treasure hunts,” Campbell said. “I’ve always loved treasure hunts.” Campbell didn’t want to reveal any details just yet but if it works as it did in the past, images will be revealed online and fans will have to decipher what movie the images are from, and where that scene was filmed. Then they’ll have to go to the actual location and find the painting. If they find it, it’s theirs.
For fans who may want to own the Avengers: Endgame piece, but can’t make it to the gallery to try and buy the original, rest assured Campbell plans on making prints of it in the future. (He also plans on continuing to do Great Showdowns, possibly aimed at a new show.) Mostly though, he’s just excited people now know this particular artwork exists.
“I always thought that this would the kind of perfect big piece for the show,” he said. “It’s very exciting to think this is going to be something that people could come check out in this setting .”
You can see Endgame, hundreds of other Showdowns, and lots of surprises when Legend of the Great Showdowns is open from March 6-28 at Gallery 1988 in Los Angeles CA. And you can follow @galleries1988 and @scottlava on Twitter and Instagram for more info on the show and the surprises that await.
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