Cranboyz Online

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

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010!

It's Christmas Eve and I can't help but sit here and look back at the past year. I know there is still a week left in 2010, but I will be busy New Year's Eve, playing video games with a 6 pack! Tradition is very important to me, sorry.

So much has happened this year, the Cranboyz have taken a couple of big hits. The kind of things that really always stay with you. We lost our good friend JLAdam. Adam was a good friend to each of us and a very solid memeber of the Cranboyz. He was a big piece of the pie and things really are not the same without him. Even when he could not be right there in the thick of things, he was still a part of it and still let you know he was there in spirit. The cons we have been to since have still been enjoyable, but they really feel different. I still believe Adam is there in spirit, but I am greedy sometimes, and I want more.

Not long after Adam's passing, The Cran closed the doors to Land of Cran Comics. It was not by choice, more it was something that had to be done. The Cran did everytying he could, maybe for too long, to keep the ol' gal afloat, but it just wasn't going to happen. Things ended the best they could, and there were Cranboyz in attendance, right up to the last minute. But there would be no Cranboyz without that place! For 18 years we had our semi-official headquarters there. It was a place we all knew and loved and were apart of. I still drive by and it just seems wrong that it's not there.

There will always be Cranboyz though! We will proudly wear the name of the Cran on our shirts and portfolios and other nick-nacks! The Cran is still apart of us and we will never stop representing the name and reminding people where we came from!

How can I say that we will always do that? Well, Dave and Karen did their part this year! Little Alaina has been brought into the world and joined the ranks of the Jr Cranboyz! Actually, counting 2 nephews, the Jr Cranboyz just might outnumber the actual Cranboyz! How's that for keeping things going! I took my nephew to his first Con, which wasn't very good, but I have promised to make that up to him this year!

We had a lot of fun in 2010. We went to a lot of shows, a LOT! The shows we attend are becoming a bit more diverse and we are starting to see members who don't make it to many shows, make it to a few more. Even when the group wasn't going, we still had a member or two ventrure out and make a claim, pretty cool!

We went to the brand new C2E2 in Chicago, which was an experience I would love to enjoy again. Mega Con, Pittsburgh and Hero Con all made the rotation again, that alwas makes us happy! I made it to Joe Con with Robert Atkins, which was a good time like you wouldn't believe! And the Cranboyz also made an impact on Dragon Con, helping Kevin Dockery with his display, The Armory. Ontop of that show being rediculously entertaining, we got to rub elbows with guys like Stan Lee and Tom Feister!

And we have made SO many friends at these Cons! It is always fun to consider all the creators that we now know and hang out with, but we have made a lot of friends just from other people going to the shows and standing in line with us! Christopher, Leigh, Shannon, Billy, Chad and Paul, just to name a few! Cons are no longer just about socializing within our group, but with all of our new friends as well!

So overall, 2010 was not all bad. I am certain it will not be forgotten, possibly ever! And 2011, I am sure will be a good time. It just not might be the good time we are used to.

I would like to thank everyone of the Cranboyz, our friends, and our families for each of their contributions to 2010. It certainly would not have been as good as it was without you!

Merry Christmas And Happy New Year!

Friday, November 19, 2010

DC Universe Online

Just wanted to share with everyone that I was able to join the DC Universe BETA testing team. I had to accept the terms of agreement that included promising NOT to post details on blogs, etc. I will do my best to keep you informed without breaking the terms and any future opportunities to do this. Stay Tuned! You can get the basics here:

DC Universe Online Featured Art

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Heroes of Insurance

So, one of my company's independent agents decided that he wanted a super-hero themed ad campaign. Well, word got out that someone in the office enjoyed comic books, and so, I was assigned the task of creating the artwork for this campaign. I thought you guys might get a kick out of the results. So, here are the pencils for the campaign:



And here is the final artwork:


Ad #1

Ad #2

Ad #3

Click on the pics for larger scans. Enjoy!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Rainbow In the Dark

Hey Everyone!

I'm back again with an update on my foray into comic book coloring! The second issue of Comfort Love and Adam Withers' new comic, Rainbow In the Dark, came out this week, featuring five pages flatted by yours truly! I've got the flatted pages posted below. And go here to download the entire issue for only $0.99! Don't miss out, Comfort and Adam continue to outdo themselves with each issue they create.

Page #3

Page 7

Page #14

Page #18

Page #27

In addition, I've started practicing with toning. With much advice and guidance from Comfort and Adam themselves, I finished my first experiment. I've posted my first official attempt here for you to check out. It's my favorite panel from the second issue of Rainbow. This is just my first attempt, but I will continue to practice and post more in the future. So check back for more updates in the near future!

More soon!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Remembering Adam

Adam and I were kindred spirits, no other way about it. And since this is the Cranboyz blog, what better ways to illustrate it than our love for comics.

I met Adam on the way to a small comic con in Buffalo Shane had invited me to. I'd heard about Adam but had never met him. He seemed quiet at first, which is what a lot of people thought when they met him, of course, over time that image would seem comically incorrect!

After that first show we started chatting on email, at first it was just months of "Simpsons" quotes, then we finally progressed to having an actual conversation. Soon thereafter we all went to Pittsburgh for a con, Adam to meet his favorite artist, Howard Porter and me to meet pro wrestler Mick Foley.

We quickly learned that our obsessive personalities were well matched when the rest of the crew wasn't heading to the con until later but Adam and I decided we wanted to be there as bright and early as possible. So at six in the morning we wandered over to the Monroeville Expomart to wait in line to meet our heroes. At that show a lot of the crew was heading back after one day but Adam and I stayed over one more night. That night was the first time we really talked about our lives both in and out of comics. We watched a hockey game at the local Max and Erma's, I'm not a big hockey fan but I'm a sports fan, another thing Adam and I would talk about incessantly.

In Adam, I found someone I could talk about some of the more obscure and artsy comics. He gave me my first copy of "From Hell" to read, I got him to read "Transmetropolitan." We liked the heavier, Vertigo-type stuff, written by those damned British writers. And, of course, we loved to quote those books and random moments to our endless amusement and possibly to everyone else's annoyance :)

There was nothing we liked referencing more than Grant Morrison and Chris Weston's "The Filth." "The Filth" is an aquired taste, to be sure, with an overtly sexual and crazy science fiction story. Most people gave up on "The Filth" but we loved it, especially bringing up the book's communist monkey assasin, Dmitri-9.

This story probably won't make any sense but I can't stop laughing about it to this day. At my old job I had all the time in the world to email Adam as we both trudged along at our office gigs. An email would start on one topic and within a few responses would venture off to any unexpected tangent. In this case somehow we started talking about Fraggle Rock and I mentioned the old adage from the show that "a doozer that doesn't becomes a Fraggle." Adam responded that he didn't know what it meant because to him it needed a verb, a doozer that doesn't DO WHAT becomes a Fraggle? So he suggested his version would be 'a doozer that doesn't READ THE FILTH becomes a Fraggle.' I didn't stop laughing that day and I found the email again before I left my old job and was cleaning out my old email files. And I laughed just as hard that time. That's what Adam could do, pull a reference out of NOWHERE that was so funny.

I know sometimes people thought we were being smug or condescending but, really, we just enjoyed obscure jokes and loved making the most obscure possible references as often as possible. We were just being funny. Sure, we knew it annoyed people sometimes but, well, we were just entertaining ourselves. We spent so much time together and had all the same interests, we understood that we only made sense to one another. And, of course, sometimes we enjoyed that part of it too :)

And Adam loved super heroes, like we all do. He took the piss out of them a lot and he'd lost interest in the current product but anytime we were out, comics and super heroes came up. The con circuit had worn him out a bit and it wasn't as much fun for him as he wanted it to be, he struggled with anxiety at shows and the lack of sleep and cramped quarters didn't help. But he knew we wanted him to go and tried to keep his interest, even when it was getting too expensive and too much for him.

Every con I go to now, I'll want Adam to be there too. That's never going to change.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Thanks, Adam!

As the years go by, we will all continue to remember JLAdam with every story we tell, every convention we attend and every sketch we get. But there is one thing that will always, ALWAYS remind me of Adam. And that is Starman.

Back when I was in college, I was starting to branch out into the DC Universe more and more because I was enjoying how DC was telling stories dealing with the legacies left by their golden- and silver-age heroes. No title dealt more with this topic than Starman, by James Robinson and Tony Harris. It is still one of my absolute favorite series, and I doubt if I would have even tried it if Adam hadn't given me his copies of the first two trades. Later, at Mid-Ohio Con in 2002, Adam commissioned for me this sketch of Starman from Darryl Banks.

A year later, after many chats about the series, Adam commissioned me to do this sketch in his sketchbook, based on the storyarc entitled "Sand and Stars" where Jack Knight crosses paths and teams up with the Golden Age Sandman, Wesley Dodds. This arc was a favorite of both of ours, and I was nervous as hell to do it for him because I didn't want to screw it up. However, I was very happy with how it turned out, and I like to think that he was also. I've looked at this sketch many times over the past week and a half, and although it still makes me sad to realize Adam is gone, it also makes me remember our shared love for this series.

Thanks for everything, Adam. You are missed more than you can imagine.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


This past week we lost our very good friend, Adam Hauenstein. Adam and I have been friends for over 15 years. Like most of us, we met through Land of Cran Comics.
Adam has been a valued friend and card-carrying member of the Cranboyz. Due to his love for the Morrison/Porter run on JLA, he started a JLA themed Sketchbook and became JLAdam.

Adam loved to joke and have fun, no matter where we were. Movies, comic book store, The Rock, Conventions, they were all made dramatically more entertaining by JLAdam.

A quick gag, a posed photo, or a phone call to Dave's comic book store in Florida, Adam was eager to lay the groundwork, regardless of how long it would take to pay off.

Even starting a Blog, under a friends nick name, knowing that we all knew it was him, he never admitted it. Not once. He always claimed to know nothing about it.
Adam was the mastermind behind my Titans sketchbook. When I was about to undergo surgery, he contacted Darrylax, Andy and Popa and they presented me with a brand new sketchbook with a sketch by Darryl.
I owe Adam Thanks for all he has done for me and put up with. He is greatly missed and will be remembered, always.
God Bless Adam Hauenstein. The Man, The Myth, The Legend.

"The League Needs More Thinkers."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Enter the Dragon

Being a fan of so many things is a tough endeavor. Just the pre check list for our groups trips is enough to kill a lesser man or women. Being an IT Professional mixed with a videogame/comic/pop culture fan and adding a splash of military/law enforcement/security background it can be let’s just say less than affordable. That’s why when I was invited to attend this year’s Dragon Con I was more than a little hesitant. Not that I didn’t think the show would rock, trust me I’ve heard stories but, the shear magnitude of this show is going to be insane. Comic books, gaming, cosplay, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, and celebrities like STAN LEE. I’m looking forward to working in THE ARMORY this weekend. A friend of the Cranboyz author Kevin Dockery will host a series of forums pertaining to all sorts of weapons on display as well as ammunitions, edged weapons, explosives and more. This is going to be a must see and I’m honored and stocked to be a part of it. On Saturday a freakin’ parade will charge through downtown Atlanta just for this event; Guinness World Record Attempts, art shows, contests, sneak previews, live DJ’s spinning tracks across four hotels to the wee early hours of the morning. This show is way bigger than that, it has encrusted a legacy as being the second best con in the U.S. only surpassed by San Diego Con. My own 15 year old daughter who loves cosplay is so jealous that we aren’t allowed to speak of the con until it’s over! Dragon Con has recorded a 1500 member volunteer staff, 1500! Now on its 23rd year this four day show has to have organization down to an art, at least I hope. If it’s as big as it’s 128pg pocket program guide, I will be in heaven.

I’ve downloaded it and thrown it in my dropbox, which syncs to my droid so I can view it on the go. (Just click on the link to download it yourself) You have to ask yourself if you’re a male in his thirties, what could possibly be better than hanging out with friends while helping display an actual ARMORY of military weapons, out of state, surrounded by other geeks – non-stop for a week(besides the freakin’ Super Bowl). I am not going to sleep for four damn days.…nuff’ said.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Unique Tale

It's been awhile since I've posted, so I wanted to share what I've been working on lately. About a year ago, I started playing around with digital coloring in Photoshop. I was reading books, watching tutorials, and practicing by coloring sketches and commissions from our own collections whenever I had free time.

Earlier this year, Shane suggested that I contact Comfort Love and Adam Withers, to speak with them about digital coloring. And now, thanks to the truly amazing Comfort and Adam, I've actually gotten to work in comics! You can check out my first published work here for free, in issue #6 of the Uniques Tales Anthology. In addition, I've posted below the original lineart by artist Dan Campos, my flats for the artwork, as well as the credits page from the issue.

So go check out the Uniques Tales when you get the chance! And be on the lookout for the second issue of Comfort and Adam's new series, Rainbow In the Dark, in which I've flatted several pages. More to come!

Thursday, August 12, 2010


That's right, the Cranboyz are headed to Dragon Con!

Last year I got a brief taste of the Dragon Con Experience, and it was amazing! Like nothing else I have been to.

5 Hotels host Dragon Con and it is wall to wall comic books, gaming, cosplay, sci-fi, fantasy, steampunk, celebreties (and More!!) for 4 full days! It is like the Mardi Gras of Cons! And it goes all night and all day! And just in case that's not enough, Saturday morning the Con hosts a Parade through Downtown Atlanta!
And as if That wasn't enough, this year we are helping author Kevin Dockery present an event titled The ARMORY!

This is going to be a presentation of Military Rifles, Handguns, Ammo, Explosives and Equipment that no one has seen this isde of a Military Museum or the History Channel! if you are going to be at Dragon Con, you really won't want to miss this!

And the Cranboyz will be in on the ground floor! Helping to run the display, on top of 4 days of Con madness!

It has been said that we plan for Conventions like other people plan military operations, now we are doing both!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


That's right everyone! Thanks to the patience of Robert Atkins and the help of some overtime and extra jobs, I have now paid off all 5 covers!
(4 pictured, the other is in an earlier post)

G.I. Joe Issue 21, along with Special Missions trade paperback Volumes 1-4, are all, legally, in my hot little hands!

Thanks Robert! It was fun being indebted to you, but I am a free man, now!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Cranboyz Aren't Hard To Find

Some of us will be off to Heroes Con in Charlotte this coming weekend.

If you see us, say hey!


Tuesday, May 11, 2010


So, not only did the Cranboyz have fun with the Year of the Serpent, we had a lot of positive feedback from artists, as well! Suddenly there was pressure to have a theme in 2010. Year of the Serpent just kind of happened. We didn't plan it, at least not at first. We certainly embraced it, but there was no effort to create a theme. So, we threw around some ideas but nothing really clicked.

Then, one night over a dinner filled with comic book and convention chit chat, JLAdam sai, "What about Armor Wars?" And it just worked! Not only was it a great idea, but a hot topic! The Cranboyz were in fevered debate over what characters were considered armored and who wasn't! I mean, Year of the Serpent was much easier, you were a member of the Serpent Society or you weren't! So, for the sake of our sanity and friendships, Armor Wars was opened up to any and all characters with armor.

We are only part way into the 2010 Convention season but Armor Wars is going strong! Here is a peak at what Armor Wars has brought us so far...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

C2E2 2010

Popa and I made the trip to check out the very first C2E2 in Chicago, IL. We got in Thursday with the show not starting until Friday, which gave us some free time to see a bit of Chicago. I enjoyed our commute from O'Hare on the L Train, however, the Navy Pier was very scenic. Best of all, were the Chicago-style Hot Dogs! I really miss them!

Friday, was show time! We got there way too early (like usual) and had a total blast! It is always great to visit with friends like Uko Smith, Jeremy and Kelly Dale, Comfort Love and Adam Withers, Robert Atkins, Chris and Laura Samnee, Brian Hurtt, Jeff Moy, Phil Moy, Jeremy Haun and I am sure I am missing a few!

I picked up my Covers that I have had on lay away with Robert Atkins. Robert is way too nice of a guy and he has gone out of his way to hook us up.

2010 brings the Cranboyz to our theme of Armor Wars! C2E2 was a great place to enjoy that theme, especially with Iron Man 2 right around the corner! Bob Layton being on hand didn't hurt either!

This was set up as a pretty huge show, and the excitement for it was everywhere! They had it set up as a big show with lots of room. You could tell they did put thought into things and were still learning as they went. I don't think the turn out was exactly what they hoped for, but it wasn't bad.

There were plenty fo costumes at this show, and folks seemed to really be trying. There were not too many lame outfits to be seen!

The show did wear us out. Nothing is close and we were always on the go. Overall, it was a good show, a great time and we got some awesome sketches! The trip was worth it and I would do it again!

And special thanks to JLAdam for picking us up in style!