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A little late posting this here…
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (New Bedford, MA/USA—April 13, 2019) The Inkwell Awards released the list of winners of its 11th annual awards for excellence in the art form of comic-book inking. Nominees were chosen by a separate and independent nomination committee. This year the process was enhanced by inviting professional ink artists to submit their top work for consideration in each category. Nominators could also submit their own nominees and include inkers from both sources. For the first time, the same candidate could no longer be nominated for both the Favorite Inker and the Props categories. Voting by professionals and fans took place in February for two weeks on the official ballot at the non-profit advocacy’s website. One winner was chosen in each of five categories based on American interior comic-book work cover-dated 2018.
In addition, the Inkwells’ internal committee selected the two inductees of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame and two recipients for the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA). Some of the winners were present (along with special guests) to receive their trophies on April 12 at The Great Philadelphia Comic Con! in Oaks, PA, the new host show for the Inkwells.
Winners are listed below with nominated credits and the percentage of votes received, where applicable. In four of the five categories, winners won with approximately twice as much as the next leading candidate, the largest margins in the awards’ history.
FAVORITE INKER: Walden Wong (48%) (Astonishing X-Men, Captain America Annual, Incredible Hulk, Marvel Two-In-One, Venom [Marvel])
Other nominees: Jay Leisten, Mark Morales, Joe Prado, Trevor Scott, Dexter Vines
MOST-ADAPTABLE INKER: Walden Wong (50%)
(Same above credits.) Other nominees: Marc Deering, Jay Leisten, Norm Rapmund, Cam Smith
PROPS AWARD (inker deserving of more attention): Elisabetta D’Amico (30%)
(G.I. Joe [IDW]; Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Men II [Marvel])
Other nominees: Eber Ferreira, Ruy Jose, Daniel Henriques, Jordi Tarragona, Le Beau Underwood
S.P.A.M.I. (Small Press and Mainstream Independent): Stefano Gaudiano (37%) (Walking Dead [Image])
Other nominees: Andrew Pepoy, Brian Albert Thies, Le Beau Underwood, Ryan Winn
ALL-IN-ONE (pencilling and inking together): Lee Weeks (31%) (Batman, Batman Annual [DC])
Other nominees: Joelle Jones, Mike Perkins, Andrew Pepoy, Liam Sharp
THE STACEY ARAGON SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD (SASRA): Jack Davis and Marie Severin
Other nominees: Pat Broderick, John Buscema, Sal Buscema, Frank Chiaramonte, Johnny Craig, Mike Esposito, Michael Golden, Don Heck, Rick Ketchum, Peter Krause, Erik Larsen, Norman Lee, Steve Lieber, Todd McFarlane, Frank McLaughlin, Dave Simons
Mike Pascale wrote “Today we have two posthumous winners, but they have more than that in common. Both are Atom-Age alumni of the legendary EC Comics:
First is JACK DAVIS, one of the most loved and prolific artists in both comics and illustration. Jack was first published in Tip Top Comics, 1936, at the tender age of 12. After a stint in the Navy, the University of Georgia’s magazine and inking newspaper strips, Jack eventually joined Bill Gaines’s EC bullpen in 1950 as their fastest artist, pencilling and inking every genre including horror, war, western, science fiction, drama and of course humor. He was the cover and lead artist for Al Feldstein’s Tales From the Crypt and a founding member of Harvey Kurtzman’s “Usual Gang Of Idiots” for MAD, where he created laughs for 40 years. Over a half-century, Jack’s intricately inked and controlled color chaos graced the covers of TV Guide and Time magazine, several iconic trading card sets from Topps and others, and dozens of movie posters and album covers. Jack passed away in 2016 at the ripe age of 91. He was a SASRA runner-up in 2015 and nominee again in 2017.
The other recipient is MARIE SEVERIN who’s never been nominated for this category but regrettably left us just last year at 89. Another comedic action master, Marie started in comics in 1949 as a colorist for her brother John at EC. She studied color and its applications, making EC stand out amongst its more garish imitators. Marie’s comics artist career began at Marvel when they needed an artist for an Esquire magazine article. Upon seeing her work, Stan Lee gave her the art chores on Doctor Strange. In addition to a stint as their head colorist, she drew many major characters including a historic Silver Age run on The Incredible Hulk. She won an industry Shazam Award and was nominated for two others in the humor division for her landmark work in Not Brand Echh! and Crazy! magazine. In 1976 she designed and co-created Spider-Woman. She had a 50-plus year comics career and was inducted into the Eisner Hall Of Fame and won a Comic-Con International Icon Award.”
THE JOE SINNOTT HALL OF FAME: Neal Adams and Dan Adkins
Other nominees: John Beatty, Brett Breeding, Karl Kesel, Bob Layton, Pablo Marcos, Allen Milgrom, Bob Wiacek, Bernie Wrightson
J. David Spurlock shared: “Neal Adams is one of the most celebrated artists in the history of comicbooks. His work on Batman, Green Lantern, X-Men, Deadman, and the Avengers is literally, legendary. Adams has likewise been a staunch, innovative supporter of creator rights over the decades, fighting for art returns, royalties for all comics artists, and in the ’70s, he was key to securing a pension for the creators of Superman. This is the first time Adams has been celebrated specifically for his unique virtuosity with brush and ink.”
“Dan Adkins’ career spanned from T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents with Wally Wood, to drawing Dr. Strange in the far-out ’60s, launching Conan the Barbarian with Barry Windsor-Smith, classics featuring the Sub-Mariner and Silver Surfer with John Buscema, to art for sci-fi magazines and Creepy horror comics. Adkins’ work helped entertain millions of people, and he mentored a new generation. It is very deserving that the sometime Pennsylvanian is being honored here and now.”
Joe Sinnott, the award’s namesake and first winner, made the following statement about this year’s inductees: “I was thrilled to learn of the 2 newest members to be inducted into the Inkwell Awards Hall of Fame. Neal Adams has certainly made his mark in the comic industry. When I think of Neal, I am drawn to his work on Batman and Green Arrow. Also running Continuity Associates Studio in NYC that gave many new up and coming young artists their start in comics. Neal and I were fortunate enough to work together on two Thor stories (#s 180 & 181). Then decades later we were asked to work together once more on a Batman blank cover to support the Inkwell Awards. That was certainly a lot of fun.
“Dan Adkins has also had a long distinguished career in comics. Dan was a great penciller in his own right, but primarily as an inker. His work on the Dr. Strange comics is what I remember him best for. Dan, like me, was a very sought-after inker, having inked a number of artists, far too many to count. His ink line sure brought out the best in many pencillers. He is truly missed.
“It is with great pride and pleasure that we get to welcome these two fine artists and inkers into the Inkwell Awards family. Congratulations on your election into the Inkwell Awards Hall of Fame, and the newest recipients of the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award, class of 2019.
“Well done, Gentlemen!”
Joltin’ Joe Sinnott
The live awards ceremony featured an introduction by Inkwell Awards founder and director Bob Almond as host/MC, followed by Guest of Honor and 2012 Sinnott Hall of Fame Award recipient Mark McKenna (scheduled keynote speaker Scott Hanna, a 9-time Inkwell award recipient, was sick and not available Friday) who discussed the art form of comic-book inking and his 30-year career. Both were joined by two hostesses and spokesmodels as “Ms. Inkwell,” portrayed by Hailey Skaza-Gagne and Kathy Denise Taylor. Convention host J.M. Clark presented the five category awards. Clark and Almond each presented one of the two lifetime achievement awards.
Continuing for the second year was the Above & Beyond Award, for organization members who have performed exceptionally (or others in comics who have made special efforts to advance the art form of inking). Two were handed out by last year’s winner, Hailey Skaza-Gagne (the longest-running Ms. Inkwell spokesmodel), to Michael Hoskin, the second person to annually serve on the nomination committee for its 10-year existence; and Shelton Drum, creator/promoter of HeroesCon, who invited the organization to host its first live ceremony at the show in 2011 and annually through 2018.
Almond also awarded “Silver Inkwells” for five years of service to four nomination committee members: Jim Johnson, Edward Harris, Damon Owens and Shawn Pryor. Full acceptance statements from the winners will be found in the “Award Recipients” section of the Inkwell Awards’ website in the near future.