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 http://www.ukosmith.com/ or chat with him at a con! He's extremely friendly and an amazing artist to watch!