Spider Silva and American Gangsta Comic CoversReigning UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva and bitter rival and No. 1 contender Chael Sonnen have long been known as two of the most colorful characters in the Ultimate Fighting Championship organization. But that has been taken to a whole new level in a special comic strip that will count down to the UFC 148 main event between the two bitter rivals.

Each day another page of the strip will be published on the UFC’s Facebook page, Facebook.com/UFC leading to the biggest fight of the summer at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas on July 7.

The strip has been drawn by British artist Dave Golding, 37, a professional comic book artist since 2006. Golding was the original artist for the critically acclaimed Dare graphic novel The Hunter, which has recently been optioned by Hollywood, and his work has been featured throughout the medium as well as on designs for various science-fiction shows for British television.

The strip – which launched on Sunday on Facebook – will tell the story of this almost-inevitable rematch of the 2010 fight of the year, and is peppered with in-jokes long-time UFC fans will appreciate.

Golding has also re-imagined Silva – a lifelong comic book fan – and Sonnen as costumed heroes for two special faux comic book covers. Silva dons the tights as “the Silver Spider” and wears an outfit featuring the colors of his beloved Brazil’s national flag. Sonnen, meanwhile, is taken at his word and has been transformed into the “American Gangsta,” and given a patriotic Old Glory color scheme.

“I’ve always been a comic book fan since I was young,” said Silva. “I liked heroes who had everyday problems, but still tried to help people.”

Sonnen had a little different take, saying, “What a thrill, to see myself in comic book form. Never before has a real life super-hero been turned into a mortal in a comic book, you will never see this in your lives again.”

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