Cranboyz Online

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

Wednesday, January 22, 2020



For the Cranboyz 2019 theme we went back and celebrated the early days of Image Comics! Not the Walking Dead, Saga, Invincible days we live in now, the original, crazy, turning comics on it's head days of Spawn, Cyber Force and Youngblood!

If you weren't around in the early 1990s for the first releases of Image Comics, you missed out! The founding members, 7 artists who were selling more books for Marvel than anyone had dreamed of, all walked away from the #1 Comic Book Publisher. What did the top artists of X-Men and Spider-Man do without a publisher, they created their own! 

Starting a publishing company where they owned the rights to their creations and  even knocking
DC Comics out of the #2 publishing spot, the formation of Image Comics was a crazy time! And the books we got out of it were every bit as exciting!

Rob Liefeld's Youngblood, Todd McFarlane's Spawn, Jim Valentino's Shadow Hawk,
Jim Lee's WildC.A.T.s, Erik Larsen's Save Dragon, Marc Silvestri's Cyber Force and
While Portacio's Wetworks were just the beginning of what Image Comics would become!

We were around for those "classic" Image days and this year's collection became a nostalgic reminder of the 1990's and the energy and excitement we enjoyed from Image!

Starting off our 2019 collection is Image Comic's longest published comic book, Spawn! 
Popa commissioned this Spawn art by Ron Wagner!

Image Comics Second longest published comic book is Eric Larsen's Savage Dragon! 
Shane got a Savage Dragon sketch by Trav Hart!
Eric got his Savage Dragon sketch by Tressa Bowling!

Andy couldn't pass up the chance to get a Shadow Hawk sketch and had
Brandon Franklin draw it for him!

Shane wanted a Youngblood sketch and had Brandon Franklin draw Shaft!

Being a Wetworks fan Shane got a Pilgrim sketch from Landon Franklin!

"I remember being really blown away by Image, because up until that point, I had only known Marvel and DC, anything else was low quality/weird independent crap.  I read Team 7/Gen 13, Pitt, WildCats and Spawn. I got the Fairchild sketch because I always liked the way she was portrayed as a natural leader."
- Jason Beswick
Beswick got his sketch of Dale Keown's Pitt by Andy Bennett!

Gen 13 might have been one of Wildstorm's and J. Scott Campbell's biggest successes!
And Caitlin Fairchild was definitely the star of Gen 13!
Beswick got his Fairchild sketch (sporting a Cranboyz t-shirt!) from Tressa Bowling! 
Shane got his Fairchild from Comfort Love! 
Popa got his Fairchild sketch from Jeff Moy!

Shane also got a sketch of Gen 13's Rainmaker from Tressa Bowling!

Shane had the chance to pick up an original Joe Chiodo color guide from Gen 13! This one features Rainmaker, John Lynch and Deathblow!

Danger Girl was a creator owned book from J. Scott Campbell, published through
Wildstorm Comic's Cliffhanger Imprint! 
Popa got sketches of Abbey Chase from Tressa Bowling and Sydney Savage by Nate Lovett!

Straight out of Erik Larsen's Savage Dragon comics comes Super Patriot! 
Shane got his Super Patriot sketch from Chris Campana!

"Groo - The image year 
So when Marvel hit some troubling financial times (way to recover, by the way; Thanks MCU!), some of the titles were apparently auctioned off to other publishers. In this process, it appears that Image comics lost, because they ended up with the publishing rights to Groo. After a 120 issue run at Marvel (Epic), the switch to Image was the beginning of the end for a monthly Groo title. It ran for one year, but then Sergio and Mark decided they needed a hiatus. Shortly after that, the rights were sold to Dark Horse, and there have been several mini-series since then, but no more monthly mags. 

 The Image year was both interesting, and status quo all at the same time. There was no 'reboot'; There is an intro on the inside cover (which was regular for a pretty much all of the Marvel publication) in which Sergio thinks Mark is joking when he's told that this is a new Issue #1. There were no new character introductions, and they just kept writing similar schtick with Groo and Rufferto. I do remmeber that the quality of the book itself seemed to take a leap. Better paper, clearer artwork. 
So, as I was not very much into other Image books, my main participation in Image United was a sketch of Groo and Rufferto. As Sergio was not on my con schedule this year, I went with Scoot McMahon, who did a great job (as always)."
- Kurt Osier

"Years ago, before the digital age and before I discovered comic book stores, there were two ways I could get comics. The comic rack at the grocery store and mail order. Back in 1982 my school had a magazine drive and I ordered a comic book about space heroes called The Micronauts. My first issue was issue #41 and I was immediately hooked. 

Unfortunately the first series ended after 59 issues. It was followed by a 20 issue disaster subtitled The New Voyages. In the past 10 years IDW, Devils Due and Image have all rebooted the 
Micronauts. The Image run lasted only 11 issues and was just getting interesting when it ended. 

The Image United theme gave me an opportunity to revisit this run but also continue to expand my sketch focus into this realm."
-Eric Osier

Eric got his Acroyear sketch from Tim Switalski! His Baron Karza is from Robert Walland!

"Of all the Image guys, Marc Silvestri was MY guy. Marc was the first artist I ever travelled to a con to meet! He was my first favorite artist back when he took over "Uncanny X-Men." He took them from being a little clunky into being stylish and fresh. And, man, he made the girls look just like a then 16 year-old me hoped they'd look! Even then, though, I kind of knew he was holding back at Marvel, that he didn't get to cut loose with his art as much as he probably could. "Cyberforce' finally gave him that ability to cut loose with his art! The character designs were sleek and cool - love all that silver mixed in with the dark blues. Everyone was sexy, everyone was stylish, even the baddies like Killjoy. The images filled the page - even overflowed into the next page. 
"Cyberforce" was never great comics, it was splashy and over the top and the stories were, well, a bit of an afterthought. But damn they looked incredible. It was a master class in kinetics and dynamic action and Silvestri proved he was one of the top guys in the business, as I always knew he was. And, oh yeah, his girls looked just like what a then 20 year-old me hoped they'd look! 
 "Codename: Stryke Force" would spin out of the main book and go even further into big time action. It wasn't quite as cool as the main book, but it had its moments (and cool Brandon Peterson art to boot.) 
I didn't read "Cyberforce" to show off my street cred, I read "Cyberforce' because I wanted big action comics to be completely over the top. And I wanted to see my favorite artist - Marc Silvestri - get to show off what he could do! 
 Collecting these characters took me way back, for sure, to the glory days of early Image, when everything was happening so fast, no one bothered to look ahead. Image is where it started to be cool to read comics, a trend that's been building for years and years now, especially with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. We can only hold our breath for an Image Cinematic Universe to come next - right??"
-John Popa

Popa got a sketch of Cyber Force and Codename Stryke Force leader, Stryker,
by Top Cow alumni, Brandon Peterson! 

Popa collected a sketch of Cyber Force bad girl, Ballistic by Uko Smith!
His Ripclaw sketch is from Brian Level!

 Popa's Cyblade sketch is from Richard Cox! 
His Heatwave sketch is from Brandon Franklin! 

 Nate Lovett drew Popa's Velocity sketch!
 Impact is by Wilfredo Torres!

 Cyberforce did have a few villains to fight! 
Popa got his Mother May I sketch from Alex Konat!
Killjoy was drawn by Drew Moss!

Popa was also able to add an Original Color Guide by Joe Chiodo from Cyber Force 4, 
featuring Stryker and Ballistic!

Let's not forget the Cyber Force spin-off title, Codename Stryke Force!
Popa got a sketch of Black Anvil by Trav Hart!
Popa's Tempest sketch is from Landon Franklin!

While Popa's our biggest Cyber Force fan, he's not the only one! 
Landon Franklin drew Velocity for Andy and Styker for Shane!


"Stormwatch started out for me as another exciting Image release with a great Jim Lee cover. What kept me coming back to this book was the concept of a U.N.-sanctioned team of international super-powered beings running missions with stakes of global proportions. Eventually, I wandered away from the book because it started to feel a little monotonous and boring. Several years later however, Warren Ellis introduced some fascinating new characters, breathed new life into some of the great existing characters, and wrote fresh new stories with the concept I loved."
-Andy Varcho

 You can't have Stormwatch without Weatherman One! 
Andy got the Original Weatherman, Henry Bendix (and Skywatch) and the last Weatherman,
Jackson King from Drew Moss!

Andy commissioned Backlash from Wildstorm alumni, Carlos D'Anda!
Synergy is from Gene Gonzales!

Stormwatch Prime! 
Andy got team leader Battalion from Brian Level!
Nautika was drawn by Andy Bennett!
Flashpoint was drawn by Wildstorm alumni Jason Johnson!

Stormwatch One!
Stormwatch artist Tom Raney drew Andy's Winter sketch!
 Hellstrike is by Jim Towe! Fuji was created by Uko Smith!
Diva was drawn by Tressa Bowling!

Stormwatch Two! 
Ion and Lancer didn't last long in the book but Andy had them drawn by 
Brandon and Landon Frnaklin! 
Fahrenheit is by Adam Withers! And Cannon was drawn by Jose Jaro!

Stormwatch Red!
Travis Mercer drew Tattoo Rose for Andy!
Flint was drawn by Renae De Liz!

Stormwatch Black (later the Authority)! 
Team leader Jenny Sparks was drawn by Tressa Bowling! 
Apollo and Midnighter were created by Darryl Banks! 
Jack Hawksmoor leaps into action by Wildstorm alumni Pete Woods! 
And Swift was drawn by Craig Rousseau!

I'm not sure they both qualify as bad guys so lets just call them antagonists!
Andy got Despot from Trav Hart! 
Pat Quinn drew the High!

 Being a Storm Watch super fan, Andy also got a commission of 
the main team from Landon Franklin!

Andy collected an original Joe Chiodo color guide from Stormwatch issue 3, featuring Synergy, Weatherman, Battalion and Fuji!

Shane also got a Stormwatch sketch of Fuji by Sean Forney!

Pat Quinn drew Jack Hawksmoor jumping across different cities, for Shane!

Kaizen Gamorra created headaches for most of the Wildstorm Universe and a few corners of the early Image Universe! He was also one of our friend Adam's favorite villains! 
Shane got his Kaizen Gamorra sketch from Darryl Banks!
Andy got his sketch from Andy Bennett!

 "I had followed Jim Lee since his time on Punisher and Alpha Flight at Marvel, and then on his runs on Uncanny X-Men and X-Men, so when he left to found Image where he started his new team book, WildCATs, I followed! Sure, they weren't the X-Men but they looked kind of like them and it was Jim Lee! The book was Cool, Exciting, Dynamic and it's a good thing it was so pretty because it wasn't the best comic book ever written. But the characters were interesting and did I mention it was drawn by Jim Lee!? 
The art was bold and dynamic with lots of detail and the best coloring in the industry! The characters had modern designs and they looked awesome fighting bad guys and evil aliens! The book went through it's changes and added new members and lots of guest stars, not to mention the cross overs! 
Grifter was the stand out member to me, which was even cooler when his back story tied him to some of the other tough guys in the Wildstorm Universe from Team 7! 
Grifter from WildCATs, Deathblow, Backlash from Stormwatch, Lynch from Gen 13, Jackson Dane from Wetworks! It was a who's who of gun toting, super powered bad asses! I was all in for Team 7! Especially, since they got some of the best artists with Aaron Wiesenfeld, Chris Warner and Scott Williams, Jason Johnson and Tom McWeeney and even Steve Epting and Klaus Janson! Team 7 only got a few mini series and one shots but I ate it all up! 
 Speaking of mini series, there was the Kindred, teaming up Grifter and Backlash on a mission to save Lynch, all drawn by Wildstorm's own superstar, Brett Booth! More of Team 7 joining forces in the modern day by one of the hottest artists around? Yeah, make mine Wildstorm!"
-Shane Simek

Shane started the year collecting these WildCAT sketches at a Free Comic Book Day event! 
Helspont by Chod! Maul by Robert Walland! Voodoo by Shawny Waltham! Voodoo by Tim Switalski!

Arguably the two stand out characters of WildCATs, Shane got a sketch of 
Zealot and Grifter by Wildstorm Comics alumni, Brett Booth!

Shane went to Jeff Moy for his Voodoo sketch!
Uko Smith Drew Zealot for Shane!

Shane got team leader Emp and Void by Brendon and Brian Fraim!
Warblade was drawn by Travis Mercer!

As a nod to the WildCATs Aliens crossover, Shane had Aaron Archer draw
Warblade versus an Alien!

WildCATs went through a few different memberships. From WildCATs 2.0 Shane got
Mr. Majestic from Gene Gonzales! Ladytron was drawn by Tressa Bowling!
Savant is by Alex Konat! Tao is from Andy Bennett!

Shane picked up the original art to Condition Red's entry in the
Wildstorm Universe Sourcebook by Sean Shaw and Mark McKenna!

If you know Shane, you know Team 7 is his favorite team from Image Comics! 

You can't celebrate Image without some Grifter sketches! 
Shane commissioned Grifter from John Royle!
The Grifter head sketch is from Nate Lovett!

Shane picked up a Grifter sketch from Brian Level!
Jeremy Haun was also commissioned for Grifter!

Shane picked up Deathblow sketches from Image alumni Dan Panosian! 
Also from Drew Moss and Nate Lovett!

Steve Epting was the artist on the Team X/Team 7 crossover and Shane got 2 Deathblow sketches from him!
The first commission Shane picked up for Image United was a of
Jackson Dane from Wetworks with Deathblow
by Wildstorm and Wetworks alumni, Jason Johnson!

Aaron Archer drew sketch cards of Jackson Dane and Deathblow for Shane!

Tressa Bowling drew Backlash leaping into action for Shane!

John Lynch!
Sure he was the mentor of Gen 13 but he was also the Director of
International Operations and the team leader of Team 7!
Shane picked up sketches of Lynch by Drew Moss and Jason Johnson!

Not wanting to leave any team members out, Shane got a commission of all of Team 7 from their glory days by Landon Franklin!

If working on issues of Stormwatch and WildCATs didn't get people's attention, Brett Booth's Kindred mini series certainly did! 

Shane commissioned Backlash and Grifter by Comfort Love!
Wildstomr alumni, Tom Raney drew former Team 7 member Cyber Jack!
And the villain (and former Team 7 member), Blood Moon, was drawn by Alex Konat!

Shane had the chance to get a commission directly from Brett Booth and opted for an classic style shot of Backlash and Grifter!

2019 was the 25th Anniversary of the Kindred mini series so Brett Booth did a pin -up to celebrate, which Shane also purchased from him! 
(You can read more about it and see the artwork inked and colored, here:

Shane also picked up some original Joe Chiodo color guides from the Kindred series, from  Wildstorm alumni, Joe Mendoza!

While Eric isn't the biggest Image Comics fan, he does love Iron Man! He was able to add this original Joe Chiodo color guide to his collection from the period when Wildstom produced some comics for Marvel!

What a trip down memory lane 2019 was! Pretty cool that so many of the craetors we picked up artwork from enjoyed the same nostalgia as us! 

As always, if you want to know more about any of the art we picked up, look us up over at Comic Art Fans!

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