Cranboyz Online

A place for the members of the Cranboyz to share stories about Comic Books, Conventions and Artwork!

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Eric and I discussed a lot of ideas this past year, and one of the topics we covered was the movie, Captain America Civil War. Eric being our resident Iron Man fan and me being a Captain America fan, we laughed some about our two heroes going head to head. Then as we usually do, we turned the conversation to sketches and came up with the idea for each of us to get a sketch of our favorite hero but have the two sketches face together, like one big piece of art!

We were sold! We were going to do it! Now we needed an artist who we could convince to do this for us. Someone dynamic and intense, we didn't want the characters just standing around with mean looks on their faces. And we wanted it to be someone we knew, this was a personal piece for us so we wanted someone that knew us and understood what this meant to us. And we both came up with the same name, Uko Smith! 

We have known Uko and have been collecting incredible artwork from him, almost as long as we've been doing this! Uko knows the Cranboyz and our diverse tastes and interests and there is nothing static about his work! His art is about as detailed and intense as you can imagine.

We planned to see Uko at a show about a month later and prepared our request. We decided on two other things along the way. We didn't care if these were comic book or movie versions of Cap and Iron Man, as long as they were recognizable, Uko could put whatever spin on them he wanted. The second was a bigger deal. This was going to be a surprise to the rest of the Cranboyz, we wouldn't say anything until the big reveal! This isn't how the Cranboyz do things! Traditionally, almost every sketch is discussed and considered by the person getting the sketch as well as most of the group. But Eric and I were confidant in our decision and acted on it. 

Uko was on board! Honestly, he has probably gotten stranger requests from us over the years! He understood the secrecy and that there was no rush, we wanted it by the end of the year and for him to take his time. We talked over the next several months, online or at conventions. We would discuss details and Uko would share his prelims and ideas. At one point, Uko felt bad about how long it was taking, he knew we understood, things come up and we told him no hurry. But like I said, Uko is a friend and wanted us to know he hadn't forgotten about us. So, going above and beyond, he created these "quick sketches" of Wing Head and Shell Head to thank us for our patience! We were blown away by his kindness and the amazing artwork! 

And then, at Akron Comic Con, November 2016, Uko presented us with our finished Civil War Artwork, but he tricked us! He did the piece as one, oversized commission! He wanted to test us to see if we could actually cut it in half! Popa, Kurt and Andy were present for the event and were shocked by it all. We ended up having Uko do the honors of dividing the art. It had to be done. After all, it was a Civil War! 

A HUGE freaking Thank You to our pal, Uko Smith! These pieces are phenomenal and Eric and I are both thrilled with all of it! If you aren't familiar with Uko or his art, check him out online at or chat with him at a con! He's extremely friendly and an amazing artist to watch! 

Sunday, January 22, 2017


Without a doubt, 2016 was one of our most enjoyable group themes! I'm pretty sure this is the most sketches we've collected for a theme and every one of them is a blast of nostalgia! From childhood classics to forgotten gems to full length feature films! We covered a lot of ground collecting original sketches of our favorite characters in Animated form!

Let's start off with the Wonderful World of Disney! Popa went with the uber classic, Sleeping Beauty by Stacey Lee!  And Angel went with the wild and crazy Stitch by Dave Aikins!

Popa kept things fun with Pinky and the Brain by Dave Aikins and the Scooby Doo Phantom Shadows by Joe Staton!

Next up Popa surprised us with Audrey II, from the Little Shop of Horrors (there was a cartoon) by Dave Aikins!

Eric revisited the heroes of G-Force (or Battle of the Planets. or Gatchaman) with Mark by Brendon and Brian Fraim and Jason by Sean Forney!

We collected a few different DC characters. From the Super Hero Girls, Karen and Alaina got Katana by Chad Thomas! Shane had Nate Lovett draw Slade from Teen Titans! And Andy had Gene Gonzales draw Superman based on the Fleischer cartoons and Kinsey Jenkins drew Supergirl from the Superman Adventures cartoon!

From the Batman animated universe, Popa got an impressive Clayface from Brian Level! Andy got Phantasm by Craig Rousseau and Batman Beyond by Andy Bennett!

And let's not forget Harley Quinn, who was first introduced in the Batman Animated episode Mad Love! Karen got her from Karl Moline and Popa got her from Robert Wilson IV!

Now some classic 80's characters! Shane got a Snake Eyes (GI Joe Resolute) sketch cover by Landon and Brandon Franklin! Popa had our good pal, Darryl Banks, bring Skeletor to the collection! 

Speaking of Masters of the Universe, did I mention our newest Cranboy, Eric's brother Kurt, has started a MotU collection! Boy did he pick a great year to start! First off is Battle Damaged, Batttle Armor He-Man by Darryl Banks! Nate Lovett made sure Battle Cat was around too!

Kurt added a few more heroes from Eternia. MekANeck by AJ Sabino! Man at Arms by Scoot McMahon! Stratos by Sean Forney!

Kurt didn't forget the bad guys, either! Tri-Klops by Aaron Archer and Two Bad by Thom Zahler!

 Kurt also got Beast Man by Jay Fife! Trap Jaw by Andy Bennett! Leech by Glenn Williams!

Kurt may own the most impressive Hordak art, ever, thanks to Dave Aikins! And Hordak has a Horde Trooper by Brendon and Brian Fraim!

 Never one to pass up some awesome Craig Rousseau art, Andy commissioned this Fantastic Four  #259 cover homage featuring the Incredibles and Syndrome!

We picked up a few Marvel animated pieces, too! Eric got this 90's Iron Man by Tim Switalski! Andy went for Spider-Man AND His Amazing Friends by Scoot McMahon! And a stunning Firestar by one of our favorites, Todd Nauck!

Andy didn't stop there with the animated Spider-man love! Pat Quinn drew an inspired Green Goblin! Gene Gonzales drew a sassy Betty Brandt! Scoot McMahon drew a spectacular Spider-Ham!

Eric's a fan of the Next Avengers movie and had Scoot McMahon draw James Rogers AND Thorunn!

Who doesn't love Super Hero Squad! Eric picked up M.O.D.O.K. by Scoot McMahon and Iron Man by Thom Zahler!

Eric also picked up this moody Phantom by Ian Nichols!

Big armored guys?  They had cartoons too! Eric had Darryl Banks draw the Great Mazinger! Andy had Brendon Cahill draw a friggin Veritech fighter! (VF-1 Valkyrie, to be exact!)

It's the flying man! It's the Rocketeer! Andy got Rocketeer sketches by Scoot McMahon, Diana Kresge and Nate Lovett! Nate Lovett's piece even includes a Nazi rocket man from the propaganda film in the Rocketeer movie!

The Cranboyz are all about Turtle Power! Karen and Alaina got Michelangelo by Chad Thomas! Andy got Casey Jones and April O'Neil by Rebecca Farrow! Andy also got Bebop and Rocksteady by Ryan Bodenheim!  Popa got the Shredder by Adam Withers! 

More Than Meets the Eye! Transformers! Shawn got Autobots, a Clliffjumper sketch cover by Brendan Cahill and Prowl from Chris Giarrouso! Popa got Decepticon Rumble by Brendan Cahill! 

Andy couldn't collect animated sketches without getting the Iron Giant! K Lynn Smith drew this one for him.

Shane used the Animated Adventures theme to get several Young Justice sketches! Blue Beetle by Nate Lovett! Bumblebee and Beast Boy by Scoot McMahon! Red Arrow by Tressina Bowling!

Brendon and Brian Fraim drew Aqualad and Robin! Mike Norton drew Superboy and Miss Martian! Comfort Love and Adam Withers drew Kid Flash and Artemis! And Brandon and Landon Franklin drew Nightwing!

As for the "villains", Black Manta AND Tigress are by Sean Forney! Cheshire is by Tim Smith III! 

Our final sketch for the collection is Zuma from Paw Patrol! Sebastian Piccione drew him fro Karen and Alaina!  

That's a lot of original art, covering all kinds of animation!  As always, we had a blast collecting these sketches, talking about them, planning them and sharing them! Stay tuned for our 2017 theme! I don't want to say too much but it's a big one, a definite reason to celebrate!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Popa's 10 Favorite Planetary Quotes

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"Planetary" is easily one of my favorite comics of all-time.  Each issue Warren Ellis, John Cassaday and Laura Martin took a scalpel to one of our great fictional archetypes and explored what made it relevant.  I'm pretty sure everything was hit - westerns, pulp heroes, super heroes, 50's science fiction, Japanese monster movies ... it went on and on.

And Ellis was NOT taking the piss out of these archetypes, quite the opposite, in many cases he was exposing the souls of the work, showing us why these stories matter far beyond their plots or the simplicity of what are, in many cases, simple action stories.

Below are my 10 favorite quotes from the series, they won't all make sense out of context but these are the ones that still punch me in the gut when I reread the book, all these years later.

10. 'You're never what I expect, Jakita.' - Issue 7.
9. "People always said The Dead Ranger always shot to wound, but that wounded badmen died of shane. Nobody ever worked out that the bullets were poisoned." - Issue 21
8. "Good morning, Dr. Dowling. From here things will only get worse." - Issue 15.
7. "Bomb makers could be heroes, in 1962." - Issue 0
6. "This where we made the monster movies. I was killed here." - Issue 8
5. "Why did you invent me?" - Issue 9
4. You want to know the secret of the world. It's this: save it and it will repay you, every second of the day." Issue 5
3. "Time to be someone else." - Issue 7
2. Brass: "You should have been around with us in the thirties, Mr. Snow. I can't begin to tell you what you missed. Glories."
Snow: I was busy. - Issue 5
1. "And then they brought me back. Just to see if they could." - Issue 8

Sunday, January 24, 2016


 I have to start by saying that this feels like one of our biggest collection of theme sketches, yet! Everyone seemed to get into the spirit of things and we have a diverse collection of sketches to prove it! 2015 was also a banner year for us in that 2 new Cranboyz began sketch collections, Angel and Nick! And they both got Armed and Dangerous sketches, too! Also in 2015, Eric comleted his Iron Man sketchbook! He still has big sketch plans, so don't think a full sketchbook means he's done! Now, let's get onto some ARMED And DANGEROUS Art!

Popa and Jeremy Haun love them some horror movies and Jeremy did this American Mary sketch in Popa's Horror book!

 Proving that Armed and Dangerous can still be cute, Dave  got this Danger Mouse sketch by Arthur Ball, Eric got his son this Casey Jones by Scoot McMahon and Andy got Stitch (Experiment 626) by Dave Aikins!

Shane added some Captain America bad guys with this Watchdog by Nate Lovett and Ultimatum soldier by Sean Forney!

A few more Marvel bad guys. Eric picked up Force by Nate Lovett and Unicorn by Andy Bennett while Shane got Red Guardian by Pat Quinn and Taskmaster by Adam Withers!

Now some high level Marvel villains! Eric got Iron Man 2020 by Tom Raney, Popa got Terrax and Kang by Craig Rousseau and Andy got Ultron by Uko Smith! 

Popa brought in 2 Buffy versus Freddy Commissions! The first is by Matt Haley and the second by Jeremy Haun!

Popa also got this water color of Buffy by Gene Gonzales!

This collection of  butt-kicking ladies was all drawn by our good pal, Darryl Banks! Popa got Ballistic, of Cyber Force fame, and Angel got Catwoman and a marker Commission of Wonder Woman!

A few of us enjoyed the Free Comic Book Day festivities at Carol and John's Comics, where they had local artists drawing for the fans! Janie Walland did this Huntress for Angel and Green Arrow for Eric! 

Shane added some Cobra firepower to his GI Joe sketchbook! Copperhead by Tim Shinn and Tomax and Xamot by Brendon and Brian Fraim! 

Of course this meant Shane had to add some good guys to his GI Joe collection! Snake Eyes is by Tim Switalski, also from FCBD! Pat Quinn drew Torpedo vs some Cobra EEls, Outback is from Ron Frenz, Law and Order are from Ron Salas and Wild Bill is by Nate Lovett!

 Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow! Ninja throwdown in the thick of battle! Darryl Banks drew this scene for Shane's GI Joe book!

 Some Marvel Heroes were added to the ranks! Angel got Dare Devil by Darryl Banks, Shane got Captain America from Comfort Love and Eric got Nick Fury from Ron Salas! 

Eric added to his Iron Man collection with the Mark 2 armor by Arvell Jones, War Machine by Uko Smith and Ultimate Iron Man by Adam Withers! 

Nick didn't mess around with his Armed and Dangerous sketch, Jonah Hex by the masterful,  Francesco Francavilla!

From the screen to the sketchbook! Popa got Dr. Horrible by Comfort Love and Andy got the Rocketeer by Tom Zahler! 

While it's been proven that all original art is better in person, I need to take a moment to let you know that this scan does not do this piece any justice! The Medusa of Mythology was drawn by Daniel Govar for Popa!

Travis went for the big guns! The Punisher by both Klaus Janson and Dave Johnson!

Andy picked up some color pieces from Craig Rousseau, Hiccup and Toothless, as well as, the Rocketeer and Indiana Jones!

It surprises me that we don't get more duplication of characters within the group but when we do, we do it right! Andy got Silver Sable by Chris Sprouse and Popa got her from Ron Frenz!

Karen picked up some Star Wars sketches for Alaina! Ahsoka by Gene Gonzales and Anakin Skywalker by Silvere Elve! 

Shane took Armed and Dangerous seriously with these Team 7 pieces! Dane (of Wetworks) by Uko Smith, Grifter and Backlash by Scott West (a gift from our friends Christopher and Leigh) and Deathblow by Daniel Govar!

A few Teen Titans were added to Shane's collection! Arsenal by Phil Hester and Wonder Girl by Darryl Banks!

 Never one to miss a chance for some Ninja Turtles art, Andy added these pieces! Leonardo (as a member of the FOOT Clan) by Andy Bennett, Splinter versus Shredder by Dave Wachter and Karai by Landon Franklin!

Karen had Jaiver Avila and Tony Kordos create this Lady Sif for her!

Angel went all out on this color commission of Wonder Woman and Catwoman by Brendon and Brian Fraim and she also picked up this Wonder Woman piece by Paco Baidal!

Lastly, and far from least, are Shane's additions to his X-Men art! Cable by Uko Smith and Scalphunter by Dave Wachter! 

There you have it! All the Armed and Dangerous characters we were able to cram into our sketchbooks! Lots of guns, gear, brawn and attitude! Plans are under way for our 2016 theme and big plans are under way for the Cranboyz 25th Anniversary in 2017!