07 May 2020

Logo design: Michael Netzer

Ryusei Sawadi



(New Bedford, MA/USA—May 6, 2020) The Kubert School had their annual scholarship awards event earlier in May via a virtual scholarship ceremony through Google Meet, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic. The Inkwell Awards’ 11th Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Award of $1000 was presented to second-year student Ryusei Sawada. The school posted an announcement of all award recipients on its website.

Sawada is an aspiring artist originally from Tokyo, Japan, whose ultimate goal is to work for publishers like Marvel, DC, and Image as an inker/artist. He entered the Kubert School right out of high school.

Kubert School

Normally, according to The Inkwell Awards’ founder/director Bob Almond, the non-profit would send a representative to the Dover, NJ institution to attend the live ceremony and personally congratulate the winning student. But due to shelter-in-place orders, they were unable to, and school director Carol Thomas informed him that the school had already set up remote learning, which will remain in place until the end of the year.

“There were some timing issues but the virtual ceremony was a great idea,” said Almond. “This way the lucky winner was able to get even more public recognition. Kudos to school director Mike Chen and the Kubert School staff for getting it done despite many challenges. We hope to be there next year to shake the hand of the winner.”

The Inkwells created the scholarship award on behalf of their ink artist friend and committee member, Dave Simons, shortly after his passing in 2009, with the approval of his sister, Bette Simons. Bette shared the following statement:

“We are all navigating uncharted waters in this current environment. With unity, strength and faith we will manage to get through this and be stronger. Even considering all that is happening in the world right now, we must still manage to maintain some sense of normalcy which is why, for the 11th year, I am honored to recognize the recipient of The Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship for 2020.

For those of you that do not know Dave or perhaps even his accomplishments, I can tell you that he devoted his entire life to being the best artist he could be and only wanted to get better. He was always critical of his work, looking for the most seemingly insignificant detail that would have made it even just a little bit better.

He was a mentor to many and was mentored by many of the best in the business. He thrived on interacting with others, sharing ideas and inspiration. He had great successes and crushing failures but with the failures, he never lost sight of the fact that he was doing what he loved most.

It will be 11 years next month since Dave passed and I miss him every day. I have no words to express my gratitude to all of the people that continually support this scholarship program. It takes relentless effort and dedication to be able to make this presentation in Dave’s memory every year. For that, I am eternally thankful.

Congratulations to this year’s recipient Ryusei Sawadi. I wish you much success and happiness.”

Dave Simons (1954-2009) was an American artist known for his work on the characters Conan, Ghost Rider, Red Sonja, Howard the Duck and Spider-Man for Marvel Comics, and “Forgotten Realms” for DC Comics. He was also a storyboard artist for the award-winning animated TV show, “Courage the Cowardly Dog,” while simultaneously handling the art for DC’s comic book spin-off. To date, Inkwells has raised $11,000 in his name to students in need.

04 May 2020


Newsarama reported today that comic book veteran ink artist Juan Vlasco died on April 24 after a complication following surgery. Based in Mexico, full name- Juan Francisco Velasco Hernandez- had worked in mainstream American comics for over 20 years at such publishers as Wildstorm, DC and Marvel. He was nominated for the Inkwell Awards “Props Award” (ink artist deserving of more attention for their work over other pencilers ) in 2011 for Contest of Champions; Superior Iron Man; Legendary Star-Lord; Amazing Spider-man; Nova [Marvel] and in 2016 for X-Men and Deadpool. The Inkwells family sends its condolences to Juan’s many loved ones and fans.

17 Mar 2020

One of the last veteran creators from comicdom’s Golden-age, Allen Bellman, passed away March 9, 2020 at 95. His career and legacy from the start had it’s roots in Timely Comics (now Marvel) history where he penciled and inked throughout the 1940’s and early 1950’s at the Timely-renamed Atlas Comics and at Lev Gleason. Senior Inkwell Contributor Steven Freivogel, Allen’s agent, webmaster and fellow Floridian neighbor, wanted to honor his good friend by sharing some memories in the tribute below. We at the Inkwell express our sincere condolences to Allen’s wife Roz and all their loved ones. Bob

What can be said about a man who was kind and caring to not only myself and my family but many lives and people he came across and touched?

Allen’s life story began when he started working for his parents’ bakery shop in Manhattan. Being very much into art and cartoon strips, Allen studied at the High School of Industrial Arts. He saw an ad and almost missed his chance to work at Timely Comics but his father told him to go. He started out doing backgrounds (and “junk work” as he stated) as a teenager for Syd Shores but became a full time staff member working with Gene Colan, Syd Shores, Sol Brodsky and even Stan Lee as well as many titles including Captain America Comics, The Human Torch, The Sub -Mariner. He also self-created his back-up crime feature “Let’s Play Detective”.

His stories included not only Timely Comics , of which he recounted with superb memory, but seeing Jackie Robinson play, buying the firstAction Comicscomic book, having his artwork stolen out of his car (he stated “who knew?” as they just either threw it away or kept the art in odd places), his family life and New York.

He eventually left comics stating that he never could remember why, started and sold a business and, with his first marriage behind him, he did meet his “Wonder Woman” and true love Roselyn and they were married for 57 years as of April 15, 2019.

They moved to South Florida and Allen took up photography and joined the art department for the Sun Sentinel.

The first time I met him was through my wife who was an editor on a story about him. Joyce stated – “Do you want to meet a comic book artist I know in Tamarac?” I did not know much about him or his history but was intrigued. She called him and we came over to meet him and Roz. I still remember that first time coming to his place with my Captain America comic books and just sitting and listening to his stories. After meeting him that first time, we spoke a few more times. I then offered to help get him back out there and make his name more mainstream. It started with a few public appearances (the first was Florida Supercon with promoter Mike Broder) and it grew and grew and grew to twelve plus years to where I had Allen attending conventions, having a full-fledged website, signings and finally getting the recognition he deserved so very much.

We met many, many times and spoke many, many times. He and Roz were also there from the beginning even when my daughter was born. They were truly and always great, supportive friends.

Like Dr Seuss said, “The stories I could tell…” as there were too many great ones to count but a joy each and every time to ask and hear about them.

I continued to help Allen and Roz in what they may have needed for booking conventions (later on with Kathy Gummere’s help and much needed knowledge from Dr. Michael Vassallo, Terry Cronin, Stan Lee, Jackie Estrada, Nancy Shores, Joe Goulart and Michael Uslan), to Allen’s website to even changing the light bulbs in their place. Allen and Roz’s kindness and connections were also evident with other people the Bellmans came across including Claudia Wells, Bob Layton, the Delbos, George Moss, Reb Brown, Bruce Macintosh, Allen Stewart, Chip Cronkite, Mike Zeck, Tate Ottati, Andrew Satterfield, Danny Fingeroth, Roy Thomas, Joe Staton, Joe and Mark Sinnott, Mark Hodges and the Simons (if I forgot anyone, I apologize).  I also consider myself lucky to have had the first-hand experience and knowledge to visit weekly and speak to Allen almost everyday, not just about Timely but about life in general.

No few words can sum up what Allen Bellman has done for not only Timely, the Navy (did you know he painted the logos on the planes?) and my family. With his lovely wife Roz by his side, he was solid and true to the end.

For Captain America comics and the world, we have now lost the last piece to a great puzzle of history.

I will miss you, my dear friend.

(L-R, back row) Terry Cronin, Steven Freivogel (L-R, front row) Allen Bellman, Mike Broder to celebrate the Bellman’s wedding anniversary

(Back) Steven Freivogel (Front, L-R) Al Plastino, Allen Bellman and Nick Cardy at the 2013 Florida Supercon


14 Mar 2020

Our host show the Great Philadelphia Comic Con! was forced to shut down for April 3-5 by the Governor of PA as a precaution for the Covid-19/Coronavirus pandemic. The show and our awards ceremony has been rescheduled to September 4-6, 2020. Here is the statement from the promoter of the show: “We regret the disappointment and inconvenience this turn of events has caused. Like every business we are all at the mercy of the status of the virus and the preventative actions of the federal state of emergencies. We will be monitoring and reporting any relevant convention changes for us. Thanks for your understanding.”

12 Mar 2020

In response to the Coronavirus/Covid-19 virus pandemic the state of Massachusetts called a state of emergency and after much deliberation the Ace Comic Con: Northeast- Boston decided to cancel the show March 20-22 in the hopes of rescheduling it again, but with no guaranties. We are in communications with our Inkwell host-show the Great Philadelphia Comic Con! and while the show is presently expecting to be held along with our awards ceremony, we’ll keep you posted here should these plans change.

06 Mar 2020

Newsarama reported yesterday that DC, Marvel, Charlton Comics ink artist Frank McLaughlin had died March 4 of undisclosed causes. He was 84. The Inkwell Awards give our condolences to his family, friends and many fans.

Photo from Frank’s Facebook page, his final profile photo, taken by unknown.

Judomaster was created by Joe Gill & Frank McLaughlin. Cover of Special War Series #4 (Nov, 1965). Art by Frank McLaughlin.

22 Feb 2020

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New Bedford, MA/USA—February 21 2020) The Inkwell Awards, the only non-profit organization devoted to public education and promotion of the art of comic book inking, is asking fans and professionals to choose their industry favorites. The official public ballot will be available on the Inkwells’ homepage from February 23 through 29.

Voting is open to all in five categories: “Favorite Inker,” “Most Adaptable,” “Props” (inkers deserving more attention), “The S.P.A.M.I.” (Small Press And Mainstream/Independent for non-Marvel/DC work) and “All-In-One” for artists who ink their own pencils. The ballot covers all printed American comic books cover-dated 2019.

“This is the second ballot with our revamped nomination procedure where inkers could submit their work in addition to those chosen by our internal nomination committee,” said Bob Almond, founder and director of The Inkwell Awards. “It made a huge difference and we’re thrilled to see many inkers submit their own work and several get nominated.”

He also added, “For years, too many inkers are passed over and go unnoticed by most awards events. Ours caters specifically to ink artists, allowing them to be recognized and appreciated for their best work. We encourage any and all who appreciate great artwork to participate and share on social media; the more voters, the better.”

The winners, along with the internally-chosen lifetime achievement accolades, the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame award and the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA), will be announced at the live awards ceremony during The Great Philadelphia Comic Con! in Oaks, PA the weekend of April 3-5.

16 Jan 2020

Some of you might have noticed that for the past week this site had a different look. We’ve been working over the past year+ with new senior contributor Steven Freivogel to upgrade the venue and while it’s now uploaded it’s still a work in progress as we try to fine-tune it. This is the third site for our non-profit, the first being set up by committee member Jim Tournas in 2008 and the second version set up by committee member Sarah Covert (now Gerhardt) and Bob Almond in 2011. But now in 2020 as we are entering our second decade of existence the team wanted us to progress with the times. Much kind thanks to all the time & effort on the parts of not only Steven but Mike Pascale, Rhys Evans and Tim Aslat w/ Daniel Best (both who’ve been our webmasters since 2008 and were instrumental with the changeover). We continue to work at making our site the one-stop resource for all things inking!

16 Jan 2020

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (New Bedford, MA/USA—January 13, 2020) The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit advocacy for comic-book inking and ink artists, is retiring its original “Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge” after eight years.

Created by founder and director Bob Almond, the Challenge involved Sinnott, the organization’s first special ambassador, drawing or loosely sketching two characters for which he was known (or not have ever rendered) and then professional and amateur artists inking and/or embellishing them. The program was designed to educate fans, the public and other professionals regarding the process, contribution and inherent value of inking, a major part of the Inkwells’ mission. All of the blueline inked pages, signed by Sinnott and the inkers, were later donated by the contributors and auctioned on eBay, providing valuable fundraising for the organization.
Sinnott issued the following statement (signed with his Marvel nickname, “Joltin’ Joe Sinnott,”):

“As you all know, this past year, with the cancellation of the ‘Spider-Man’ syndicated strip, I decided to retire from comic-related work. This also included my participation in the Inkwell Awards’ annual Inking Challenge. It was a great privilege to play a part in all of these challenges, and I always enjoyed seeing everyone’s take on embellishing my pencilled drawings. I look forward to the release of the upcoming collection of the Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge in book form, and was glad to be a part of this for so many years. Now it is finally time for me to sit back, relax, and enjoy a well-deserved retirement. I look forward to seeing many great things from the Inkwell Awards. I thank you all for supporting them and being a part of this great organization.”

The Inkwells have also collected each year’s pencils-to inks comparisons in book form and a final, sixth one will be available in the coming weeks. Almond said, “We are immensely proud of this series of books as launched by Jim Tournas, Enrica Jang and Renee Woodruff. We truly thank Joe and son Mark for their stellar cooperation and accomplishments over the years. He more than deserves his happy retirement and we all agree that we want Joe to be nothing but happy and healthy after an extraordinary career of almost 70 years.”
The Challenge spin-off program, The Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight, which focuses on a different veteran or contemporary all-star artist, is still active and recently completed its fourth event.