Denver Comic Con: Q&A with J. Scott Campbell

June 2013

Editor's Note: Contributor Tim Beyers is covering all the news from Comic Con (May 31 to June 2) for 5280.com. Check back Monday for more.

Would you pay $500 for an original piece of art? How about comic book art?

You can bet that many fans attending the second-annual Denver Comic Con (DCC) will pay that and more for a signed page from comic book history. And yet it may be hard to top the freebie they’ll get right at the door: an assemblage of characters drawn on the program cover (pictured, right) by Aurora native J. Scott Campbell. He’ll be on site signing autographs and drawing sketches for fans throughout the show.

A 20-year veteran of the biz, Campbell illustrates intricate comic book covers at a pencil- and pen-covered drawing table in his south Denver basement studio (pictured, below). Memorabilia-filled bookshelves round out the space, remnants of his years spent creating the popular comic book series Gen 13 and Danger Girl.

I chatted with Campbell about hairstyles, comic book trivia, and what makes for a great Comic Con.

On why Comic Cons are becoming more popular: “Cons are a big part of my income. Ten years ago, we’d do it just to do it. Now, we do it because it’s important. If fans can meet us and also have an experience, that’s even better.”

On fashion and comics: “The funniest thing is when you look at a comic book artist who’s been in the business for 20 years, and they’re still drawing the hairstyles from when they started. Time has marched on.”

On his trivia knowledge: “To this day, when people quiz me about the Justice League or even really deep history of the X-Men, I’m not that great at it.”

On the day-to-day of practicing his craft: “I remember [DC Entertainment co-publisher] Jim Lee, my mentor, telling me once: ‘When I go to a dentist’s office, I’ll just sit there absorbing the dentist’s office. I might have to draw Wolverine going to get his teeth fixed.’”

On when he knew last year’s DCC was a hit: “There were so many people there in costume. I thought, ‘Wow, this is a real show.’ You see that element present and it upticks to another level of enthusiasm that I think people really respond to.”

Heads up: This year’s costume contest will be held Saturday, June 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Four Seasons Ballroom in the Colorado Convention Center downtown. Registration is closed, but you can still cheer on the contestants.

Even more: Download the Guidebook app and the accompanying guide for a complete list of DCC events.

Program cover image courtesy of Denver Comic Con (art by J. Scott Campbell)

Follow Tim Beyers on Twitter at @milehighfool.