27 Dec 2011

Sorry about the reference but I’m such a pathetic Avengers geek.

We’ve had a lot of accomplishments this past year but none so much as our membership roster.  For Contributors we added Erick Korpi, Phil Healy and Henry Covert. For Ambassadors we added Cully Hamner, J. David Spurlock, Phil Jimenez, Eric Basuldua and Joe freakin’ Kubert

But for the Core Committee, we lost up to four members!  In March Kris Fenol departed after only three months following his efforts to redo our website (my next blog entry will focus on the history and status of said site). As announced at the Heroes Con Inkwell Awards Ceremony, Bob Shaw retired after three years of service.  As I stated at the ceremony:

I asked him to act as auctioneer contributor in 2008 early in our founding, and he was later in the year the first contributor to ever be promoted to the core committee.  In that three years of service, he established the key aspects to the organization’s fundraising program that we still use to this day. He was our auctioneer for just about the entirety of his term, many times setting up auctions at the spur of the moment and running them back to back for weeks at a time.  He created our Inkwell Awards forum so we could efficiently connect with our audience and use the venue as a spot where learning and veteran inkers could hang out and talk shop.  He set up both our MySpace page and our CAF gallery where we could post our donations online.  When we couldn’t agree on a name for our new small press and independent ink artist category on the ballot, it was this person who coined The S.P.A.M.I. for Small Press And Mainstream Independent.  He brought in Nathan Massengill to the committee and produced our first donation drive book.  And it was he who conceived of a scholarship fund in the memory of Dave Simons.  Not bad.

Oddly enough, while Nathan Massengill was recruited by Bob, he was also the next member to leave following Bob, albeit for personal matters leaving him regrettably incommunicado by late summer.  In his two years of service Nathan assisted with a few matters such as with the creation of Ms. Inkwell.  While I came up with the concept and visual cues and Randy Green visually designed her, Nathan acted as a sounding board, sharing his ideas as we went back and forth on the phone, more than I had with Randy. Nathan leaned towards Randy’s prelim sketch of a majorette but I was stubborn about her veering towards the businesswoman character she resulted in. Nathan did ink the final original art piece used as the cover of the first donation drive book and he digitally colored her as well.  Nathan also assisted me with press releases (when our resident writer Danny Best wasn’t available) as he had a better grasp of language than I did, and he even was essential with the grammatical editing and molding my ceremony speech from the dreck I started with.  After the departure of Bob and before the arrival of Mike Kellar, it was Nathan who acted as interim auctioneer for our vital fundraising through the summer of 2011.  And it was Nathan who recruited illustrator Gina Kirlew to design our first Inkwell brochure and to update the second version, a model that Jimmy Tournasfollowed for the third and latest version.  Lastly, it was Nathan’s southern charm and even-keel, reasonable demeanor that impressed me the most as he brought some much-needed civility to committee discussions that would get intermittently tumultuous. I hope to catch up with him some time and I hope he is doing well. Our door would always be open to him.

The next departure was a big deal but not really since he never really left us.  Since becoming a founding (and possibly most-passionate) member of the committee Daniel Best has had a couple of instances where he seemed to be heading towards dropping down or taking a leave of absence due to his personal life and work load but never really did…he merely would take some occasional respites.  But I made allowances for Danny Boy as he was a founder and had paid his dues along the way.  He’s been our webhost since day one along with Contributor Tim Aslat, except for the brief interim period when Kris Fenol and then Contributor Jason Gouger were.  He’s always paid for all site and domain costs. After Jimmy set up the site, Danny served as the website maintenance person before anyone else and he maintained that for quite some time until Contributors Rich Lane and Ike Sulat took over at the original venue.  He created our Facebook group page.  He wrote all of the summary material in the annual donation books and contributed in producing my Sinnott Inking Challenge book until Jimmy and I took over.  He and Bob pushed for Dave Simons to come aboard in the core committee.  He lobbied for Sal Velluto and Trevor Von Eeden as Ambassadors.  He helped me with press releases and writing in general like with the now-defunct annual Round Table Interviews.  Danny was my wingman in constructing the Inker Database I envisioned and launching it.  He also, bar none, supported us more than anyone to date when it came to financial assistance, whether it being for him winning several of our eBay auctions or for his straight money donations (and he ain’t no rich dude, trust me).  But most unusually, my ruff-n-tumble aussie pal has probably picked more brawls with people than anyone associated with us!  But due to his heart of gold and his generous and philanthropic nature, traits that first drew me to welcoming him aboard in 2008, I would not let our ‘troublemaker’ go (and trust me, he’s offered to leave repeatedly so as to not turn off some in our community).  And I still haven’t, as Daniel-San offered to drop down to the Contributor level this past fall so that he could participate under more reasonable conditions as webhost and in general. But he’s been told he can return to all of the anguish of the core committee whenever he wants.

So with four departures from the roll call who would fill in the vacuum?  Jimmy remains on the team as the sole founding member, outside of me, still producing the donation books among other stuff.  As announced over time, the gap was readily filled in by the additions of Contributor Mike Kellar, Contributor Stacey Aragon and Sarah L. Covert. (I begged Mike and Stacey to upgrade and Sarah contacted us unsolicited to offer help, and I later begged her to upgrade as well).  You can see their bios and duties in the Committee About page and developments on the History About page.  In time their own ‘epitaphs’ will also be written by me here for their many accomplishments.  But for now, I’m at ease simply enjoying their dedication and watching the magic work.