Cranboyz Online

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

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Darryl Banks is the new artist on West Coast Avengers!!!

Without realizing it going into this weekend's Cleveland Comic Con (Thanks to Shane for bringing it to my attention), I was well on my way to having the entire original lineup of the West Coast Avengers drawn by Darryl. I ending up deciding to get Wonder Man from him this weekend (I only need Tigra now).

I also got Guardsman from Sean Forney.

Popa's Jeremy Haun Art Collection

Before 2008, I think I'd met comic book artist Jeremy Haun once, buying a couple trades off him while he worked on a GI Joe sketch for Shane - probably BeachHEAD.  But I was hanging around Heroes Con 2008 and Shane walked up to me and said 'you need to go talk to Jeremy Haun.'  I asked why and he said 'because he thinks The Creature From the Black Lagoon is the hero of the movie, like you do.'

Given that Haun was clearly a genius, I went over and introduced myself to Jeremy Haun and we started talking about monster movies, quickly realizing we had the same taste in them.  Then we realized not only did we have the same taste in good horror movies, we also had the same taste in bad horror movies.  Here's the thing: lots of people like respectable horror movies, Universal monster movies and the like but a lot of those people don't like sleazy horror movies, slasher movies and their endless and more brain-dead sequels.  But I love those movies and so does Haun.  And I don't mean 'we watch them and make fun of them the whole time.  We LIKE them.  We talked about the overlooked "Black Christmas" remake, a movie about five people on Earth like, but we're two of them.  We talked about "My Bloody Valentine" as if it were a classic piece of cinema.

We started talking the Saturday of that show and I was just starting my horror movie sketchbook.  All that Black Lagoon talk certainly got me interested in getting a commission of The Creature from Jeremy, which he obliged.  I gave him my book and he said he'd do the sketch that night in his room.

The next morning he delivered this gem to my comicbook art collection:

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The funniest part (to me) is that apparently he spent too much time on my piece the night before and didn't get the piece he'd been working on before it done -- which was Shane's sketch that got bumped to the next morning!

Jump ahead to the first C2E2 convention in Chicago which Shane and I attended.  The year before that convention the Cranboyz and I had a theme called "Year of the Serpent" wherein Shane and I got sketches of the Captain America villains The Serpent Society and our friends got other sketches with a serpentine theme.  Well, another thing Jeremy and I have in common is a fondness for childish innuendo, laughing at characters named Snowjob and The Hard Master like twelve year-olds.  Thus I saved the Serpent Society member BUSHMaster for him.  To say he delivered on the ... subtext ... would be an understatement :)

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At that same show, though, I was hanging around BS'ing and Jeremy said 'dude, what are you doing making me draw a superhero, where's the monster book?'  So we chatted a bit about what he might draw and settled on Pennywise the Clown from Stephen King's "It" novel and movie.

Jeremy delivered this perfectly disturbing rendition of that classic villain the next day, a sketch that scares women and children because Pennywise is evil.  The blood running down the drain is a particularly good effect, same with the 'missing children' posters.

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Next time I saw Jeremy was Heroes Con in 2012 and decided to keep going with classics, asking for an old school Leatherface, which I oh so politely called 'full retard version.'  This intense sketch came the next day, love that massive chainsaw in the foreground.

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When this year's Heroes Con rolled around, I planned ahead, asking Jeremy way in advance what he wanted to draw, settling on the options of Candyman or Jason Voorhees but the Friday the 13th part 2 version, where he wore the pillowcase over his head.  Jeremy jumped at the idea of drawing Jason.

When I got to the show I gave him my sketchbook and told him I had reference but he scoffed at the suggestion.  He didn't need no stinkin' reference, even telling me a story that he visited a family member before the show and asked if they had a potato pitchfork he could use for reference to get the angle of the shot right.

Seriously, this piece kicks major ass -  assuming those aren't my hands in the foreground!

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Oh, as an added bonus, I helped support Jeremy's Kickstarter book "Bad Karma" and when I received my hardback, he'd drawn a quick sketch of Leslie Vernon inside the box.  Why Leslie Vernon?  Because, Leslie Vernon's awesome, everyone knows that.

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So thanks Jeremy for all this great artwork -- I'm sure you'll be adding a lot more to the book as the years go on!!   I mean, who else wants to draw the Miner from "My Bloody Valentine?"

Friday, October 18, 2013

Top 5 Favorite Sketch Experiences

I was flipping through my sketchbooks the other day, and it got me thinking about the experiences of getting each one.  I have a lot of great memories in the years I’ve spent collecting original artwork, but there are a few that stand out not only due to the quality of the sketch itself, but also because of experience of getting it.  So, I decided to put together this list of my top five favorite sketch experiences.

5)  Triceraton Warrior by Kevin Eastman

Ive been a fan of the TMNT since I was a kid, and although my fandom started with the 1987 cartoon, it was not long until I discovered the Turtles’ origins in comics with the oversized, full-color graphic novels of Eastman and Laird’s original series published by First.  So when I finally got the chance to meet Kevin Eastman at Dragon*Con in 2012, I was pretty ecstatic to get the chance to talk to one of the creators of the TMNT.  I waited in line for about an hour or so, as Kevin was very gracious and generous to his fans, allowing himself plenty of time to chat, sign books and even do sketches for each one.  When my turn finally came, I asked if he would be willing to sketch a Triceraton Warrior, the design of which I had always loved.  Kevin was really excited to draw one for me, as he didn’t get too many chances to draw them these days.  As he sketched for me, we discussed all things Turtles, including the 2007 animated movie, the new animated series and the latest comic series from IDW.  In the end, I walked away with some signed hardcovers and this great sketch, but it was the chance to meet one of the creators of some of my favorite characters that made this a truly great experience.

4)  J. Jonah Jameson by Brian Hurtt

When Shane, Popa and I first saw Brian’s table at Mid-Ohio back in 2006, we remembered that he had done some work for Greg Rucka’s espionage series Queen and CountryThat evening, after getting back home from the con, I pulled out some trade paperbacks of Queen and Country and decided that I needed to get a sketch from himI did some research, flipping through a couple of volumes of Essential Amazing Spider-man trades only to realize what I needed him to draw was J. Jonah Jameson.  Brian seemed genuinely entertained by the idea to draw Jolly Jonah, and it certainly shows in the energy of the sketch.  We all enjoyed meeting and talking to Brian at the show that year, as he was a very fun guy and a great artist.  This of course, led to myself and the rest of the Cranboyz getting many sketches and commissions from Brian in the years to come, but it all started here with this fun sketch.

3)  Starman by Adam Withers

During 2011, the Cranboyz went without a specific sketch theme for the year, but instead planned to go heavy on DC characters to honor our late friend Adam Hauenstein.  I had decided pretty early on that I wanted to concentrate on getting Starman characters throughout the year, as Adam had introduced me to the series by gifting me his copies of the first 6 issues he had rescued from his flooded basement.  I immediately fell in love with the series and Adam eventually asked me to contribute a Starman sketch to his own sketchbook several years later.  And so, I thought this a fitting theme of my own for the year, and collected several amazing sketches of Starman characters.  Our friends Comfort Love and Adam Withers had recently started doing some top-notch Copic marker sketches, and I decided to set up a couple of them, including this particular sketch of Jack Knight, as a sort of a cap to my year of StarmanIt really couldn’t have felt more fulfilling to pick this sketch up from Mr. Withers…   Not only is it an incredible, detailed sketch of one of my all-time favorite characters, but I feel like it perfectly represents my intent to honor JLAdam with this small series of sketches.

2)  Spider-man by Mike Wieringo

In 2004, I attended my very first Heroes Convention in Charlotte, which to this day is my favorite convention.  That year, I had the opportunity to meet one of my favorite artists in the industry, Mike Wieringo.  I was determined to get a sketch from him at the show, and was thrilled to be one of the first in line at his table on Friday morning, second only to my pal, John Popa.  Popa and I waited patiently for Mike and were rewarded with the first two spots on his list.  Mike himself was a genuinely great guy, very friendly and gracious to his fans.  He was a pleasure to talk to and of course, he delivered some great sketches for us at that show.  Popa received his legendary Shadowcat sketch, and I received this classic Spidey sketch, which is still one of my very favorite pieces of art that I own.  Mike’s passing was a shock to creators and fans everywhere, and I truly feel blessed not only to own a piece of original artwork from the man, but also to have had several brief chances to meet and talk with him over the next couple of years.

1)  Banshee by Paul Ryan

I don’t believe that any sketch experience will top the one I had getting this sketch.  Although it wasn’t my first time at a convention, my trip with Shane Simek to the Motor City Comic Con in 1996 was the first time I had ever went to meet creators and collect original sketches.  There are many great stories I could tell from that convention, but my most cherished one happened when I went to check in on the Banshee sketch I had commissioned from Paul Ryan.  Shane and I went to Paul’s table to see if he had had a chance to work on our sketches, but unfortunately Paul had stepped away from his table.  Paul’s wife recognized us however, and directed us to where Paul was sitting behind the curtains of Artist Alley where he was catching up on some of his sketches from that day.  Paul welcomed us back and told us to grab a seat, as he was currently working on Shane’s sketch of Psylocke.  So there I sat, talking comics with my best friend and Paul Ryan, one of the finest artists in the industry, as he worked on our sketches in front of us.  He made sure to keep each sketch hidden from us until he finished them, so that we still got to experience the big reveal.  Truly, this remains one of my favorite memories of any convention.

Runner-up: Mary Jane Watson by Cliff Chiang

I chose not to count this in my final list because I wasn’t actually there to get the sketch, but I had to at least make mention of it, since it ended up being a truly funny and memorable experience.  I was unable to attend the Heroes Convention in 2007 after the birth of my son, but Shane said he would be happy to take my Spider-man sketchbook down with him to the show to get a sketch of Mary Jane from Cliff Chiang.  While at work on the Friday during the show, I discovered that Cliff Chiang was scanning and posting his con sketches to his blog.  I was pretty excited about the prospect of seeing my sketch before my book even got home, so I made the mistake of telling Shane what Cliff was doing.  So, for the rest of the day, and the rest of the weekend, I continued to check back at Cliff’s sketch blog and check in with my friends to see if Cliff had gotten to my sketch.  Finally, Cliff ended up posting a Mary Jane sketch, but when I looked at the caption, it had one sentence that caught my eye, “Andy, this is still not your Mary Jane sketch.  Your friends are bastards.”  Yes, Cliff.  Yes they are.  About a week or so later, Shane came down to Columbus for the Origins gaming convention, and I finally got to see my sketch of MJ.  Cliff’s sketch turned out great of course, but it was the experience that really it stand out when flipping through my book.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Mile High Comics

I am in Denver,CO for a wedding and had some free time so I went to Mile High Comics. I have seen their adds in comic books since I started reading a million years ago. It is billed as the world's largest comic book store. Here are some pictures. They do not do it justice. A true comic book store Mecca!

Monday, May 6, 2013

I didn't know if anyone had seen my CAF additions so I thought I would post the sketches Ryan and I got at Free Comic Book Day. Ryan got Michelangelo from Sean Forney. I got Mandarin from Darryl Banks. I know I said I wasn't going to but Shane convinced me.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Iron Man 3

I just got home from seeing Iron Man 3 (Who new they had 9 p.m. showings the day before the opening?) I had been looking forward to writing a review but now I don't want to ruin it for you. I will say that if you are an 18-24 year old who only knows Iron Man from the recent movies you will probably like this movie (The majority of the audience applauded at the end). If you have knowledge of Iron Man Comic history before the year say 2000 (maybe even much later) then it may be a toss up. I will end this post with one positive and one negative. The positive:  I enjoyed Don Cheadle's performance as Rhodey much more in this movie than in IM 2. The negative: I am so upset about how The Mandarin was portrayed (Nothing against Ben Kingsley. He did the best he could) that I am not going to have Darryl Banks draw him for me Saturday as I had originally planned. There is a lot more I would like to say but I will save it for a few days until everyone has had a chance to see the movie.


Monday, April 29, 2013

Ready to start the season!

It's 2013 and our Con Season is a mess!

With Pittsburgh moved back to the fall, it feels like we'll never get to a Con!

This weekend is Free Comic Book Day, which is a start! Two weeks later is Motor City and two weeks after that is Heroes Con!  There will be a lot of Cranboyz at Heroes this year, which only makes our favorite show even more fun! After that is the chaos of Dragon Con!  And being as we are mostly in the North Eastern Ohio area, it seems like we have access to a Con every weekend in September and October!  We're still trying to figure out what to do about all of that!

Keeping with tradition, we have a new Sketch Theme for 2013, Out of This World! Any character from Space, another Reality, another Dimension, whatever we can think of! 

Even though there's not much that's "typical" about this year, we are excited to get things started, collect some sketches and visit with as many of our Con-attending friends as we can! See you on the Con floor!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

A (Comic Book) Page Out of My Past

In 1982 I was 10 years old and really getting into comic books.  I only had a handful and loved reading any the kids on my street had laying around.  I hadn't started collecting yet, I didn't really know that was an option.  Then one day at Stop N Shop, I found Team America issue 1!  Wow!  It was red, white and blue with motorcycles! I loved it!  It seemed like only a few trips later and I found issue 6!  This was like a goldmine!  It was around this time that I discovered there were 2 Comic Book Stores in the area and I could buy Back Issues! So Team America was one of the first titles I really started to collect.

You never heard of Team America? Not a big surprise, it only lasted 12 issues.  Team America started out as the Ideal toy company's plan to remarket their Evel Knievel line due to his bad publicity (punching the paparazzi before it was cool!).  They kept the colors and Stunt Cycle and asked Marvel Comics to work up a backstory, like they did with GI Joe.

I had no idea at the time but the book was really thrown together by Marvel, pretty last minute.  It got a little momentum but to a 10 year old kid, bright stories about motorcycle races and stunt shows along with fighting bad guys (even Hydra!) and a mysterious black clad member (The Marauder!) were super exciting!

The reason for this trip into my childhood is that a few weeks ago on eBay I came across a page of original artwork from Team America issue 5! Actually, I came across 6 pages, all from the same seller.  Immediately, I was interested in Page 10 and I ended up winning the auction!  I was really psyched and the seller let me know he would send my page out right away.  He also wanted to know if I would be interested in a deal for the other pages that didn't sell! 

So, I'm proud to announce that I am the current owner of 6 pages of art from Team America issue 5!  One of the very first comic books that I started collecting and I now own the original artwork drawn to make it!

I've included scans of the original pages (which are drawn at 11"x17").  The dark word balloons are due to the fact that at the time, the dialogue and captions were pasted onto the original art, so that is the glue showing through.

 If you search around online, there are a few interesting articles about how the Team America toys and comic book came to be. Otherwise you can just stay here and look at the awesome artwork, with me!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2012 - Dark Cranboyz!

 It's time once again for the Cranboyz to end another year long theme!

The 2102 theme, Dark Cranboyz, was inspired by the villains characters many of the Cranboyz created and played in the game DC Universe Online.  We had so much fun trashing Gotham and Metropolis we decided to keep the ball rolling and see what villain sketches we could knock out!  Now that the year is over, I put together this collection of all of the Dark Cranboyz sketches!
Being X-Men fans, it's no surprise that Apocalypse got 2 sketches this year!
Andy's is by Andy Bennett and Shane's is by Darryl Banks.
Andy Bennett is moving up in the ranks of Cranboyz sketches! 
Popa's Black Flash is also by Andy Bennett.
Shane added a couple of baddies to his G.I. Joe book!
Buzzer is by Darryl Banks and Destro is by Joe Eisma.
Juggernaut is a character that's always turned out well for the Cranboyz.
Shane's is by Ron Frenz and Andy's is by Darryl Banks.
More X-Men villains!
Andy got Scalphunter by Josh Medors and Shane got Dark Phoenix by Comfort Love.
Mega villain Thanos got two Cranboy sketches! 
Popa got his from Mike McKone and Eric's is from Darryl Banks. 
A couple of Marvel villains.
Eric got Kang from Adam Withers and Shane got Sin from Richard Cox.
Eric added two more Iron Man villains!
Goliath by Robert Atkins and Blizzard by Pat Olliffe. 
Two major bad guys for Shane's Titans book!
Dr. Light by Dave Wachter and Trigon by Daniel Govar. 
Dave picked up the classic Spider-Man viilain Man-Wolf by Bridgit Scheide.
More Spider-Man villains!
Karen got Mysterio from Shannon Gallant and Andy got Kraven from Dave Wachter and the Chameleon from Barry Kitson.
Shawn started a classic Transformers sketchbook this year!
His first sketch is the Decepticon leader, Megatron by David Hindelang.
Shane added some key members of the Oktober Guard to his G.I. Joe book!
Col. Brekhov by Shannon Gallant, Daina by Josh Warner, Dragonsky by Jeremy Dale and Horrorshow by Adam Withers.
The original Ravager by Scott McDaniel and Superboy Prime by Darryl Banks, both from Shane's Titans book.
Andy collected some Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle viallains!
The Shredder is from andy Bennett and the Triceraton Warrior is from KEVIN EASTMAN!
Some of Gotham City's Most Wanted!
Shawn got Two Face from Dave Wachter, Popa got Mr. Freeze by Scott McDaniel and Dave got Poison Ivy by Brendon and Brian Fraim.

It was another fun year of hitting the conventions, picking up sketches and hanging out with friends. You really can't go wrong with that combination!  These are just a small amount of the sketches we brought home, in 2012! Be sure to check out all of our Comic Art Fans galleries to see the rest of our collections!

And Happy New Year!