29 Apr 2022

The Inkwell Awards Family sends its sincere condolences to the Adams family and loved ones of artist/writer/publisher/advocate/icon Neal Adams during this painful loss.


Mark Sinnott, Neal Adams, Jim Tournas & Inkwell special ambassador Joe Sinnott (2015 Rhode Island Comic Con, photo: Bob Almond)

Neal & Joe Sinnott (2014 Rhode Island Comic Con, photo: Bob Almond)

Senior spokesmodel Hailey Skaza-Gagne with Neal (2017 FanExpo Boston Con, photo: Bob Almond)

Neal Adams accepts his Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award at the 9th Inkwell Awards awards ceremony (2019 Great Philadelphia Comic Con, photo: Jace Schloendorn)

(2019 Great Philadelphia Comic Con, photo: Jace Schloendorn)
26 Feb 2022


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (New Bedford, MA/USA–February 26, 2022) The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit devoted to promoting the art of comic book inking, has announced the winners of their lifetime achievement awards, The Joe Sinnott Hall Of Fame and The Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA). Again due to the Covid pandemic, results are made online rather than at the show’s host convention. Founder and director Bob Almond said, “Starting this season, we decided to split up the committee-chosen lifetime awards, chosen in December, from the publicly-voted ballot awards, which take much more time to tally.”

Winners of the SASRA, in alphabetical order, are Gene Day, George Pérez, John Severin and Dave Stevens.

Photo: The Gene Day Estate



Gene Day
‘s widow, Gale Erslavas, shared the following statement:

“When I was 13, I had a friend a little older than me who had a boyfriend. One day I was hanging out at her house when she said she was going to see him and some of his friends and asked if I wanted to come too. We arrived at his place and my friend introduced me to him and his friends. One of them was Gene. I took one look at him and said to myself that one day I was going to marry him. And on September 20, 1975, at the age of 21, I, Gale Jack, married Gene Day and found my soulmate. Unfortunately, Gene died three days after our seventh wedding anniversary at the age of 31 from a congenital heart defect that had never been detected.

“Thinking back, when we were still dating, Gene was constantly what I called doodling. He would get quite annoyed with me for calling it doodling and would clarify that he was ‘honing his craft.’ He always had some kind of writing implement in his hand, a pen, a pencil, a piece of chalk, a hunk of coal and even the smallest scrap of paper; he was drawing, inking, sketching. He said that he had always wanted to be a comic-book artist and he was constantly practicing. He was a workaholic and thought eating and sleeping was a waste of time and talked about how much more he could get done if he didn’t have to eat and sleep.

“I can’t remember exactly how he got involved with Marvel but at some point Gene received some penciled pages that they wanted him to ink, probably to test his inking style. When he got the package and opened it, he paused for a few minutes and then said “Oh…wow” in an astonished voice. He had told me years ago that he had a dream in which he was inking a pencil drawing of the Silver Surfer. He held up one of the pages that was sent to him and it was with the Silver Surfer.

“Gene was always practicing his inking style because he said an inker could make or break the comic book process. A good inker could make a mediocre penciller great and a bad one could ruin the pencils. I know I’m biased because I thought Gene was a great inker, but I believed his pencils were even better. Ultimately, he achieved his dream job but, unfortunately, his time at Marvel was not to be a long one. I am very pleased to receive this lifetime achievement award, one that recognizes Gene’s work in the artform of inking. I can only wonder had Gene not died how much more he would have accomplished. I truly believe he would have reached the stars and beyond. Thank you so much!”

Photo: Luigi Novi


In December of 2021, George Pérez publicly announced that he was diagnosed with stage 4 pancreatic cancer and would be living out his final months connecting with and/or visiting community friends and fans while time allows him to. George could not be reached for a statement but Jess Harrold, author of The Marvel Art of George Pérez made the following statement:

“Very little has been left unsaid about George Pérez. Which is the first problem you face when you are asked to write an art book about him. Thankfully, George’s artwork speaks for itself –and then some. A measly thousand words? Any comic devotee knows a Pérez piece paints far more than that. Then, you talk to the great man himself – and he regales you with such eloquence, such devotion to his craft and warmth for his collaborators, such staggering, mind-boggling, pinpoint powers of recollection, and such genuine humility and gratitude for the career he has enjoyed, that you just let George tell the story, and try to keep up. That’s before you even get to all the writers and artists and editors who have worked with him or been inspired by him, all eager to share their memories, their tributes, their love for him. Turns out, writing about George Pérez is easy. Stopping writing about George Pérez, that’s the hard part.

“These last few months, it seems that everybody is writing about George –and rightly so. The outpouring of praise, well-wishes and heartfelt thank-you’s prompted by his health announcement has been staggering; and long may it continue. He deserves every accolade. This award is far from the first George has received, and it won’t be the last, but I have no doubt it will mean a great deal to him.

“George knows the value of a good inker. He is effusive in his praise of those who, early in his career, made him a better artist, and those who, as time went on, were able to match him for sheer enthusiasm, hard work and painstaking detail. As an inker of other pencillers, George brings all of that to the table, with an innate recognition of comic books as a unique medium of collaboration. He will elevate your artwork to the best it can be – and you know he absolutely will not skip a single line. And when Pérez inks Pérez? Hold onto your hats. Just take a look at his magnum opus, JLA/Avengers–not least the cover to #3 that almost broke him. For that one, single image, George deserves all the comic book awards going – hell, give him an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize to boot.

 

“Such is his heroic contribution to the industry, so prodigious are his powers, that he would be a worthy Avenger or Justice Leaguer. He is Fantastic…Incredible…a Wonder. He has captured the Infinite, twice over…and united the champions of multiple earths. George Pérez is a true Titan.”

Photo: The Severin Estate



John Severin
‘s daughters, Michelina Severin Van Gemert and Ruth Severin Larenas, made the following announcement not just for John but also for his sister, 2019 SASRA recipient Marie Severin, because the Inkwells did not have contact info for the Severin Estate at the time:

“On behalf of the family of John Severin and Marie Severin we are very proud and honored to accept this Inkwell Awards SASRA lifetime achievement award for them. They were both pioneers in the comic book industry and we wish to thank everyone involved in bestowing this well-deserved award. John E. And Marguerite Severin had only two children: John P. Severin and Marie A. Severin, both born with amazing artistic talent. Dad and Aunt Marie were unique in their work and in themselves. They were good, honest, loyal, and hysterically funny human beings. We will miss them always.

John Severin: “Our Dad’s career spanned 60-plus years. He was referred to as an ‘artist’s artist’ known for his historical knowledge and accuracy, especially in western and military genres. As writer Mark Evanier recalled, ‘Jack Kirby used to say that when he had to research some historical costume or weapon for a story, it was just as good to use a John Severin drawing as it was to find a photo of the real thing. They don’t make ’em like that anymore.’ And to quote Stan Lee, ‘The minute you looked at his artwork you knew you were looking at a John Severin illustration, it could be no one else.’

“ Our father’s exceptional, diverse talent spanned from monster comics such as Warren Publishing’s Creepy to satirical humor such as MAD and Cracked magazines, to western, military and Native American comic titles, to superheroes, and even baseball cards and military prints for The Military Historian Society, of which he was a member. Severin began his career in the 1930s, drawing cartoons for NYC’s The Hobo News while attending The High School of Music and Art with Harvey Kurtzman, Al Jaffe, Al Feldstein, and Will Elder. From there he began working for EC Comics becoming the sole artist and later co-editor of Two-fisted Tales. His career brought him to Atlas Comics, a precursor to Marvel Comics. Severin then became co-contributor of MAD magazine along with Harvey Kurtzman, Jack Davis, Will Elder, and Wallace Wood (the original “usual gang of idiots”).

“Subsequently, he found himself at Marvel Comics where he penciled and inked for many titles such as The Hulk, Conan the Barbarian, Sgt. Fury And His Howling Commandos, the renowned Semper Fi series, Kull The Conquerer, and was co-creator of the American Eagle series. Severin also co-created Marvel’s Rawhide Kid, and 50 years later found himself drawing the ground-breaking new character Slap Leather, an effeminate version of the the Rawhide Kid. At the same time as working for Marvel he became the lead artist and cover artist for Cracked magazine, a position he held for over 40 years. Severin also penciled and inked many titles for Dark Horse Comics, including the series Witchfinder.

“Our dad was a good, caring and faithful father and husband, successfully juggling his family life and his long hours with his pencil and ink. He was someone we could always count on no matter what. He was a great soul…and friend to man and beast. John Severin died at the age of 90 at his home, surrounded by our family, with a partially-drawn story on his drawing board for Dark Horse’s George Armstrong Custer: The Middle Years.”

Marie Severin: “Our Aunt Marie was a pioneer, being one of the first female creators in the comic-book industry; a mentor and encouragement to future women comic-book artists. Her career spanned 50-plus years. She began her career as a colorist for her brother’s work, John Severin, at EC Comics. Her talent became obvious, and she began to do penciling and inking for Marvel Comics, with a knack for caricature.

“She went on to work as the ground-breaking female head-colorist and was known endearingly to Stan Lee as “Mirthful Marie”, due to her humor and demeanor. The breadth of her work included being the co-creator of Spider Woman for Marvel, for whom she designed the original costume, and drew and/or inked stories of the Sub-Mariner, the Hulk, and the covers and interiors of series that included Iron Man, The Cat, Daredevil, Conan the Barbarian, Kull the Conqueror (the latter two collaborating for a period with her brother, John).

“Having a flair for children’s comics, she worked with the Marvel Books imprint on children’s coloring books and stickers; and she drew and inked Fraggle Rock, Muppet Babies and The Smurfs series for Marvel’s Star Comics. Marie also co-created the character Doctor Bong, antagonist to the Howard the Duck character. She was assigned by Stan Lee to be the feature artist of Doctor Strange in Strange Tales. She also was a colorist, artist and inker for DC Comics, EC, Atlas and Dark Horse.

“Among the many awards she received, Marie Severin’s work was included in the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art exhibition of women comic-book artists. She was listed as one of 12 women cartoonists by the organization ‘Comics Alliance,’ deserving of a lifetime achievement recognition. This led into her receiving Comic Con International’s Icon Award in 2017. Marie was inducted into the Harvey Awards Hall of Fame and the much-coveted Will Eisner Comics Hall of Fame with her brother, John Severin. She was one of the first two women artists to be inducted into this Hall of Fame, alongside Dale Messick, creator of Brenda Starr.

“Aunt Marie was a fun and loving aunt to us. She was one to never forget our birthdays, and always gave us a much-anticipated laugh. She was a joy in our lives. Marie Severin passed away at The Huntington Hospital in Long Island, NY at the age of 89. She and her brother, John Severin, were extraordinarily proliferate artists whose entire profiles of work and awards cannot possibly be listed here.”

“Both John and Marie Severin (Dad and Aunt Marie), despite their enormous successes in the industry, were modest and charmingly unpretentious people, who would have been both grateful and humbled by this award. Our family appreciates the Inkwells for this and we extend our warm thanks.”

From Jennifer Stevens-Bawcum/The Rocketeer Trust

Jennifer Stevens-Bawcum


Dave Stevens’ sister and trustee of The Rocketeer Trust, Jennifer Stevens-Bawcum, made the following statement on behalf of her brother:

“I would like to thank the Inkwell Awards’ nomination committee for this posthumous award to Dave. Thank you for keeping his memory alive and acknowledging the phenomenal talent that he possessed. His talent was apparent even in his teenage years without any professional training. Seeing his art in person, even in his early years, is something to behold. Flawless is an understatement as I still am taken aback when I look at his work. I know that he touched many lives and inspired many to enter into the art field or continue in it when doubts crept in. He left an indelible mark on the world and we are the richer for it. Thank you again!”

Former SASRA recipients and info on this award can be found here.

This year there are two new recipients of the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award: Brett Breeding and Bob Wiacek. Each generously provided a statement:

Joe Sinnott & Brett Breeding

Brett Breeding:

“Thank you to everyone who voted for me for this year’s Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award. I am humbled and honored to receive it. I’ve always thought this type of an award was a double-edged sword. Although being recognized for your body of work is a nice thing, being entered into a Hall of Fame of any kind usually suggests your career is behind you. Just so there’s no confusion here, I’m not going anywhere just yet! I expect to be producing more work for many years to come, but now I will have this award bearing Joe Sinnott’s name watching over me while I do so. How great is that?

“As a young fan, Joe Sinnott was a favorite artist whose work consistently captivated my attention. His inking style had a huge impact on my wanting to become a comic book artist and was a major influence early in my career. In the very early days of my venture into comics, I was given the opportunity to work for Joe as his background assistant, and though it only lasted a short time, it provided me the chance to meet and visit Joe in his home, one of the biggest thrills of my early days in comics. He was not only an incredibly talented artist, but a genuinely, magnificent human being.

“It has been one of the many honors of my career in comics to know Joe and, even more incredibly, to call him my friend. I greatly miss visiting Joe and all the time spent listening to his stories of his life, in and outside of comics. I think of him frequently and carry a small part of him with me every time I sit at my drawing board and start dipping ink. Having an award that carries his name will be a daily reminder of this giant of a man. I could not be more honored.”

Bob Wiacek & Joe Sinnott @ Albany Con

Bob Wiacek:

“Having known Joe Sinnott since 1968, I never thought I’d be receiving an award in his name, and for that I thank you. Though there are others who deserve this award more than I, like Reed Crandall, Bob Powell, George Roussos, and Bernie Sachs, who perfected the art of inking in their own way. If not for them and many others in this business, I would not have the job I love. I must also take this opportunity to thank Dick Giordano for giving me the chance to work with him and, more importantly, for opening my eyes as to what inking is all about. Thank you, Dick, and I will never forget you.”

Mark Sinnott & Bob Wiacek @ Albany Con

On behalf of the Joe Sinnott Estate, son Mark Sinnott expressed his reaction upon hearing the results:

“We are delighted and honored to welcome the two newest members into the Inkwell Awards Hall of Fame class of 2022 and recipients of the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame award. Joining this elite group are Brett Breeding and Bob Wiacek. Both have contributed so much inking talent to the comics industry throughout their illustrious careers. They both have certainly improved upon and enhanced the work of many pencillers.

“Many years ago when they were both up and coming artists, they would visit my dad, Joe, from time to time at his home in Saugerties, NY. Both of these fine gentlemen would continue to visit my dad, even in his later years. Joe was always so grateful for that. He always had a great time spending the day with them. Whenever he got a chance, Joe would always ‘check out’ the work of all the artists that would visit him at his studio. He liked to see what they had accomplished over time.

“As many of you know, Man-Thing is my favorite character. My dad, in knowing that, would always say to me each month when the complimentary books would arrive from Marvel: Mark, let me see Bob’s Man-Thing comic. And Brett as you know, had the pleasure of inking Ron Frenz’s Mighty Thor just before Joe took over again with issue 400. Dad always enjoyed seeing both of their finished products.

“In keeping with the tradition that my dad started many years ago, it is a pleasure to welcome Brett and Bob as the newest members of the Inkwell Awards Hall of Fame. They both bring a world of talent and class, and are two of the nicest guys in the comics industry. I am proud to call them my friends. Joltin’ Joe would also be so proud of them, knowing that they have been selected as the newest members of this elite group. As always, keep slinging ink and never let your inkwell run dry. Congratulations on a fantastic career, Brett and Bob, and a job well done.”

Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame runners-up in alphabetical order: Sy Barry, John Beatty, Chic Stone, Reed Crandall

Former recipients can be found here.

The Inkwell Awards is the only official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and educate regarding the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize the best ink artists and their work. Established in 2008, the Inkwells are overseen by a volunteer committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and contributors. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.

09 Dec 2021

There’s so much exciting stuff happening at the Inkwell Awards and I wanted to share it with you all!

It’s been a rough couple of years, for everyone. Fundraising was more vital than ever with the absence of shows for a time and the weak US economy and the regrettable state of high unemployment affecting our donations and how they sold on the auction block. Thankfully, even with some smaller returns from both donation sales and Inking Challenge events we were able to fund our Dave Simons Memorial Scholarship Award (promptly paid this past fall to the Kubert School), so all additional funds are for our trophies, auction fees, shipping, travel and other operational expenses.

We only attended two shows in the transitional 2021 but that was as much to do about my personal work schedule and health keeping me home as the travel amidst the Covid variant-laden environment. But we have, so far, three conventions confirmed for the new year and they are regular stops of ours with The Old School Comics Show on April 23, Garden State Comic Fest July 9-10 and the Terrificon July 29-31, so far.

Brie Danas

Speaking of shows and fundraising, some may have noticed that life hurdles like job schedules have challenged us with having a Ms. Inkwell spokesmodel at all show appearances starting in 2019 but especially during the pandemic. But during the carpool road trip to the Joe Sinnott memorial this past October with former Inkwell member and supporter Joe Goulart, Joe suggested that we talk to Brie Danas as a new addition to the team.

Brie is 26, attending college and she just moved to New Hampshire, so she’s a local New Englander which is within drivable distance of many of our shows. She’s been regularly involved with the comic book/pop-culture convention scene for a decade and has been a cosplayer starting in 2011. This means that she has familiarity with shows, the fans and the creators, having developed relationships with many along the way.

She loves this family community and is very excited to join the Inkwell Family which allows her to help give back to many deserving members. Spokesmodels are on the front lines in artists alley, acting as liaisons and the face of the non-profit and largely involved with it’s fundraising more than anyone else, whether collecting generous donations from creators or selling merchandise from our booth space (but also ready & eager to take pics with fans).

She is passionate about helping to recognize the exceptional work of current inkers (along with their pencil partners unless they ink their own pencils) and veteran artists for their lifetime of career achievement, and helping make students’ dreams come true with entering the comic book field through scholarship aid. Brie’s academic and work schedule has the kind of flexibility allowing her to attend many con events.

After the holidays we’ll have her first photoshoot pics and, working besides Bob and the vet spokesmodels Hailey Skaza-Gagne and/or Kathy Denise Taylor, she will be training at her first shows in 2022.

And still on fundraising, I wanted to praise my auction team of auctioneer Ray Burke from my core committee and curator Michael J. Prast, my senior contributor who handles all donations, scanning and packing & shipping. I used to choose items from my donation inventory tracking chart and type up descriptions for the listings (I would set starting bids or refer to committee member Erick Korpi for original art items).

During our short run of auctions this past fall (after a way too long break from them), not only were we synching as a team but Ray has also recently typed up new descriptions due to my insane schedule. So when our fundraising auctions resume in mid to late-January we will continue that mostly biweekly schedule on an ongoing basis with occasional small breaks so we can offer up a lot of donations from the last few years. And the new shows later in the year will allow us to bring in newer art items.

This seems to be the most-efficient plan and it’s hard to believe that most of this work used to be handled for years by a single person like Michael Kellar or Bob Shaw before him, burning them out. I can tell the newbies stories of incredible feats by these seemingly fictional and larger than life auctioneers, the Inkwell Legends!

Since the beginning, our Inkwell website has been maintained by Tim Aslat and financed by Daniel Best, both based in Australia and both among our longest-lasting senior contributors. We have made efforts a few times over the years and now through our senior contributor & webmaster Steven Freivogel to break away and be self-sufficient in this area. We currently have had one problem or another blocking the venture. But right now things are closer than ever to finally reaching that goal.

Mike Deodato, Jr. (photo: Niccolò Caranti)

Our next Sinnott Inking Challenge event shines the Spotlight on…Mike Deodato, Jr.! Celebrating the 80th anniversary since her debut appearances, Wonder Woman will be the rendered iconic character by Mike, a character who he had a memorable series stint early on in his career. In fact, MIke was so excited to be invited to participate and support us that he immediately drew up the exclusive image! Thanks to the efforts of Erick Korpi, Joe Prado and Mike Pascale several pro ink artists were contacted, invitation only (and with DC Comics oversight), to the traditional limit of 24 boards, signed & numbered with COAs, of blueline original inked art to be auctioned off in the late spring.

Some of you may have noticed our host-show dilemma recently. The dilemma is that we currently don’t really have a host-show. As many of you know, Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC acted as our first host-show from 2011 until 2018 when we informed promoter Shelton Drum that we would be changing venues because another show was willing to cover most of the travel expenses that we were currently paying and it was a lot closer to home…a difference of 14-16 road trip hours versus about 6!

We had a good ceremony in 2019 that weekend, albeit filled with more bad luck than even Murphy’s Law could understand, but following the pandemic the show hadn’t communicated with us and it didn’t have plans for producing any new shows for the foreseeable future. So for the last two years we have handled all results announcements online in press articles.

This has given us more flexibility and with me and my assistant director Mike Pascale being super busy with work assignments we’re slightly behind the 2021 operations schedule so that flexibility is much-appreciated. However, for the future, for after 2022, we’d be open for discussions if convention promoters want to discuss hosting us, whether as a one-shot ceremony on rotation or as a short or long term arrangement. They can contact me anytime at dmralmond@gmail.com

Since the beginning, after I created the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award or SASRA, (originally just SRA), there’s often been confusion about “who is Stacey?” and even what it is, including the award recipients. It’s our second most-prestigious lifetime achievement award after the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame, but it comes with more of an explanation and allows some notable creators attention for their work, some of whom might not be eligible to win the Sinnott one. To make Stacey, the award and it’s terms clear from here on in “Mighty” Mike Pascale and Stacey’s widower Dave “Ragz” Hanson assisted me in adding an informative, new SASRA page to the website. Thanks, gents!
Speaking of which, we’re about ready to prepare the nomination committees for the internally-nominated lifetime achievement awards candidates and the separate nomination committee for the ballot categories next. I’m really and honestly thrilled about our progress and achievements of late as we enter our 14th(!) year at this! Our Inkwell Family is filled with many dedicated individuals, some from the beginning with me, who have selflessly put in their invaluable time to make this fledgling organization into a long term reality in spite of all of the original criticism and doubt. We still make mistakes but we’ve learned a lot and we’re heading surely FORWARD & UPWARD! BRING IT ON 2022!
Bob

 

14 May 2021

Howdy Inkwellers! This is my first blog entry since June 29, 2017 and the last time I focused on a membership rollcall and previously titled “The Old Order Changeth” (sorry, I’m an unapologetic, lifelong Avengers fan) was August 31, 2013! So why am I taking a moment to blog an article after all this time in lieu of an insane schedule as we wrap up yet another season? Because our core committee roster, the braintrust of this non-profit, recently witnessed a roster change after the longest and glorious run of a consistent committee line-up. It used to be that, like all volunteers, people put in their time until they don’t have the time or they burn out. Comic book creators especially don’t stay long due to nutty work schedules and obligations. Some of those creators include Tim Townsend, Dave Simons and Nathan Massengill (who actually put in over two years!). Usually there are folks who come and go with rotating, overlapping rosters. Back in the day the passion got fierce as some personalities conflicted and I was the guy that played diplomat to attempt to keep the peace and not always succeeding. So while there were some individuals that had long stays like Daniel Best (3 years), Mike Kellar (4) and Jim Tournas (5 1/2), overall teams never stayed constant for long.

Besides myself, in 2013 two members were promoted to core committee status, Mike Pascale and Erick Korpi. Like Mike Kellar before him, Mike Pascale in short order became an assistant director after Kellar resigned (“The Mighty Mikes”). The current Mike has been on the core team now for over eight years! In that time he has been essential in streamlining operations, handling and upgrading most press releases, announcements and documents with me, often making me sound much better than I am (trust me, he’s good!), redesigning graphics used, been our most-prolific chronicler for bios and Sinnott Hall of Fame articles, acted as a back-up auctioneer in a pinch and even establishing the submissions program to our ballot voting system three years ago among his many accomplishments while holding this position.

Erick Korpi was on the team almost two years when he resigned for personal reasons but he returned just over two years later and has been on the team 3 years and 5 months since 2017. Again for personal reasons, this time related to business and health, Erick had to take an indefinite hiatus as of October of 2020. He is the only core committee volunteer to put in two terms and I have no doubt once he can straighten out some hurdles in his life that he’ll be back again for term #3. At one awards ceremony I even asked multimedia contributor Ray Burke to tease about this and present a mock “Inkwell Masochist Award” being offered to Erick during his slideshow. And even since he left he has continued to be invaluable as a consultant regarding original art value, lifetime achievement nominations and especially developments for our Inking Challenges. Among his many contributions, Erick has been the mastermind behind our most profitable Inking Challenge Spotlight events, successfully recruiting superstars like Jim Lee, David Finch and Ivan Reis and overseeing the programs with me, raising tens of thousands in fundraising, second only to our senior spokesmodel Hailey Skaza-Gagne.

And lastly, we have our second Aussie (after Dan Best) Rhys Evans who we recruited with an ad on social media to reach out for committee volunteers. Out of the three members who joined, Rhys was the only long-term “survivor”, having been on the team as our key auctioneer for just over five years. While the duties of an auctioneer was eventually split among 3-5 contributors from originally being just one person overseen by me due to the intense and time-consuming schedule that burned out members like Bob Shaw, Nathan Massengill and especially Mike Kellar, Rhys has gone many months with on average bi-weekly auction waves. Only recently in December of 2020 did he ask for a leave or sabbatical until the following summer due to family needs in the face of pandemic challenges.

These are the big three that held things together with me the longest with incredibly strong contributions to the organization with minimal issues. So while 2021 brings in new players to fill in the needs of our operations, I hope to see Erick and Rhys return to me and Mike Pascale while retaining our new members such as:

Ray Burke, who had been a senior contributor for nine years nine months until coming aboard December of 2020. A longtime Inkwell veteran, he brings with him the ability to run auctions and still carry on his duties as tech-guru, a chronicler and the awards ceremony multimedia contributor.

Joe Prado, who had been recruited as a senior ambassador, also in December 2020, to oversee the popular Brazillian School of comic book artists. Following the success of Mike Deodato Jr. in the 1990s, the region has developed generations of fast and reliable, mainstream talent that has been influential to a degree not seen since the older Filipino School of artists that developed in the 1970s for publishers Marvel, DC, Warren, etc. that is still active going on five decades. In this capacity, Joe assists with overseeing fundraising from donations and Inking Challenges. But he is the first Inkwell member to be active as both a special ambassador and, as of April 2021, a core committee member, a groundbreaking feat! While most professional artists only stay short-term, Joe is showing how things are done taking on two crucial, simultaneous positions while also maintaining his work schedule as a high-demand artist.

These are exciting times for us. I can only imagine the contributions to come from these two “lifers” and if our away team returns then there’s nothing this dream team can’t accomplish, along with the rest of our extended family of invaluable contributors, ambassadors, volunteers, associates and supporters. Let’s face it, I’m not the easiest guy to work with and yet all of the above talents have something in common: Bob stamina. And whenever I look good it’s only because they are GREAT. Our second decade shows us the best is yet to come. Forward & Upward!

05 May 2021

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

2021 INKWELL AWARDS VOTING RESULTS: the Extended Edition (AKA The Book Race Version)

(New Bedford, MA/USA—May 5, 2021) The Inkwell Awards has announced the winners of its 14th annual awards for excellence in the comic-book inking art form. Results are normally first made public at its live awards ceremony during its host show, The Great Philadelphia Comic Con, but at present, due to uncertainties with the Covid-19 pandemic, the show status is unknown and the ceremony is cancelled.

Nominees were chosen by a separate and independent nomination committee on their own as well as from artist submissions. Voting by professionals and fans took place for one week in March on the official ballot at the non-profit advocacy’s website. After 1587 ballots were tallied, one winner was chosen in each of five categories based on printed American interior comic-book work cover-dated 2020.

Inkwell Awards director Bob Almond shared “I made it a tradition for most of the years where we posted the results to make sidebar-like comments, something I picked up from the former Comic Buyer’s Guide (CBG) Fan Awards. Often these appeared in our Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge books. But this year was the exception. Like a horse race I would remark about how one nominee was in the lead in a given category only to be passed by so and so but the third and final nom overtook them both by the finish line, etc. But this year 4 out of 5 categories had the same leaders from day one until when the ballot box closed. So every category seemingly had one artist who was almost universally supported in the community more than anyone else. Only the All-in-One had the upset where Sharp and Santucci had the lead each at one point early on but for the latter half of the week Samnee took a certain lead.”

Bob continued “Lastly, this is the first ballot in many years where prolific award winners Scott Hanna and Walden Wong, 9 awards each, didn’t only not win on the ballot, but they weren’t even nominated. I’ve joked with both artists about retiring a category to them and suddenly an unprecedented shake-up like this changes everything. Although restrictions made a couple of years back in the Favorite Inker and Props categories make it less likely for multiple award sweeps.”

As begun last year, the Inkwells’ internal committee chose to not limit lifetime achievement awards within a given year. They selected four inductees for the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame and three recipients for the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA). There were no internal Silver Inkwell Awards recipients this year but there were two internal Above & Beyond Awards given to Bob Bretall and Johnny B. Gerardy for 10 years of Nomination Committee service.

Ballot nominees are listed below with their credits and the percentage of votes received by the winners, along with the other nominees in alphabetical order.

FAVORITE INKER (Favorite ink artist over the pencil work of another artist; cannot also be nominated for the “Props” award): Ruy Jose (41%) (Immortal Hulk [Marvel]).
Other nominees: Jonathan Glapion, Klaus Janson, Joe Prado.

Nominees Klaus Janson had previously taken this award in 2013 and Joe Prado in 2016. Joe only made runner-up this year as the force that is Marvel’s Immortal Hulk and it’s creators, in this case first-time ballot candidate Ruy Jose, overtook even Joe’s exceptional work over Ivan Reis on DC’s Superman.

MOST-ADAPTABLE (Artist showing exceptional ink style versatility over other pencillers): Norm Rapmund (42%) (Batman Beyond, Detective Comics, The Flash, Flash Forward, Dark Nights Death Metal: The Multiverse Who Laughs (one-shot), Wonder Woman [DC]).

Other nominees: Marc Deering, Daniel Henriques, Matt Santorelli, LeBeau Underwood.

Norm has only won one Inkwell ballot category in the past, Favorite Inker in 2014. So this is his first victory in this category. Marc Deering was a nominee in 2015 and a runner-up in both 2019 and 2020. But Daniel Henriques was the runner-up this year.

PROPS (Inker deserving of more attention): Eber Ferreira (41%) (Speed Metal (one-shot), Freedom Fighters, Justice League [DC]).

Other nominees: Adriano Di Benedetto, Daniel Henriques, Le Beau Underwood.

This is Eber’s third triumph in Props, the other times being in 2013 and 2020. First-timer Adriano made runner-up, probably due to the runaway success of Immortal Hulk.  Both Henriques and Underwood have appeared in this category before with Henriques achieving the runner-up position in 2019.

S.P.A.M.I. (Small Press And Mainstream Independent): Adelso Corona (69%) Snake Eyes [IDW]; Bloodshot [Valiant]).
Other nominees: Le Beau Underwood.

Adelso is a first-time Inkwell ballot winner. Underwood was nominated in this category in 2019 and 2020.

ALL-IN-ONE (Favorite artist known for inking his/her own pencils): Chris Samnee (40%) (FirePower [Image]).
Other nominees: Marco Santucci, Liam Sharp.

This category has had a unique artist win every year except for the lone repeat success of Liam Sharp in 2018 and 2020. Samnee is another first-time winner but Sharp may be shooting for the even years

Adelso Corona

Chris Samnee

Norm Rapmund

Eber Ferreira

Ruy Jose

In alphabetical order, the lifetime achievement awards were as follows:

THE STACEY ARAGON SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD (SASRA): Alfredo Alcala, Frank Frazetta and Wendy Pini.

This is the first time the SASRA was awarded to 3 recipients. Alcala and Frazetta are posthumous awards for exceptional careers in ink. Wendy Pini, the only woman artist to  take home an Inkwell award this year is very much alive, exceptional and also as active as ever along with her husband Richard on their property Elfquest.

Alfredo Alcala

Wendy Pini

Frank Frazetta

THE JOE SINNOTT HALL OF FAME: Sal Buscema, Mike Esposito, Pablo Marcos and Mike Royer.

Bernie Wrightson was the first artist to win both the SASRA and posthumously the Sinnott HoF awards but Sal Buscema is the second. He had previously won the S.P.A.M.I. Award in 2013 and 2018. Mike Esposito passed away in 2010 after a long and prolific career but Marcos and Royer have been very active illustrating in ink at 79 and 84 years of age, respectively.

Mark Sinnott, Joe’s son/agent, said, “It is an honor for me to keep with the tradition that my dad, Joltin’ Joe Sinnott started over 10 years ago. On behalf of the Inkwell Awards, I would like to welcome its four newest members to its hallowed halls: Sal Buscema, Mike Esposito, Pablo Marcos and Mike Royer. It is great to have you all as members of the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame class of 2021. Welcome to the Inkwell family! You have all brought a great deal of talent and class to the comic book world, and we thank you for that. Keep slingin’ ink, and never let your inkwell run dry!”

Mike Royer

Sal Buscema

Pablo Marcos

Mike Esposito

The Inkwell Awards is the only official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and educate regarding the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize the best ink artists and their work. Established in 2008, the Inkwells are overseen by a volunteer committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and contributors. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.Full acceptance statements from Sinnott and the winners will be found in the “Award Recipients” section of the Inkwell Awards’ website in the near future.

###

14 Apr 2021

From 2011 until 2018, the 501(c)(3) non-profit Inkwell Awards hosted the Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge, where Inkwell special ambassador Joe rendered two drawings a year to be inked. The purpose was to show fans and the public the importance of the inker’s role, and the art was auctioned as a major fundraiser event.

Through scans of the finished pieces and an animated GIF showing the variety of inking approaches compared to the pencils, viewers could see for themselves the vital role an ink artist plays in the art form.

Both professionals and amateur artists participated. (Six of the eight Challenges were collected into book form.) In January of 2020, Mr. Sinnott retired from the event after retiring almost a year earlier from his work on the Spider-Man comic strip (with Stan Lee & Alex Saviuk), well-earned after a nearly 70-year career. Sadly, Joe died of natural causes on June 25, 2020.

Because this occurred during the global pandemic, there was a simple and limited funeral and no memorial. Fans, friends and loved ones of Joe that had been involved in the Inkwell Challenge program had hoped for one more round but then Joe was gone. So when former Inkwell member Joe Goulart presented founder/director Bob Almond with an art gift, they discussed a way to bring some closure for those participants who didn’t get to say goodbye.

Joe G. asked Ron Frenz if he would draw a tribute to Joe as a celebratory and “farewell” piece for the Inkwells. Since Joe Sinnott had inked Ron on many covers and had a good run on Marvel’s Thor, Ron and Joe G. generously donated the heartfelt Thor piece attached.

Joe’s son, Mark Sinnott (recently “taking up the torch” as an Inkwell special ambassador himself), enthusiastically approved of the project. Mark and Bob decided to invite both professional ink artists who were friends, colleagues, disciples and admirers and also “bring the band” back together with most of the former contributors to the previous Inking Challenges to have a last chance to honor the legendary master artist and exceptional human being. This was born the Joe Sinnott TRIBUTE Inking Challenge!

The plan is to have the boards completed and ready to be auctioned to the public by the one-year anniversary of Joe’s passing this June; it plans to be a loving tribute to our “patron saint of inkers,” Joe Sinnott.

If you are an interested, established pro comic book artist and want to participate you can contact Bob Almond to inquire at dmralmond@gmail.com but we are not officially accepting requests because almost 80 invitations went out a few days ago. But we’d be happy to put you on a standby list in case several invitees don’t reply back or decline to participate.

29 Jan 2021

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New Bedford, MA/USA—January 19, 2021) The non-profit Inkwell Awards, devoted to promoting the art of comic book inking, has released the list of 24 artists participating in its fifth annual Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight. This year’s Challenge features artist Ivan Reis’ take on DC’s iconic super-team The Justice League from the cover art to DC’s Man of Steel (2018) as originally inked by Ivan’s partner Joe Prado. The artwork will be auctioned afterward for fundraising.

The artists (in alphabetical order) are:
Gerry Acerno
Greg Adams
Oclair Albert
Brian Atkins
Kevin Conrad
John Dell
Michelle Delecki
Adriano Di Benedetto
Julio Ferreira
Anthony Fowler Jr.
Scott Hanna
Christopher Ivy
Criss Madd
Jose Marzan Jr.
Mark McKenna
Andrew Pepoy
Jack Purcell
Rodney Ramos
Ryusei Sawada (Kubert School 2020 Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship recipient)
Mark Stegbauer
Jonas Trindade
LeBeau Underwood
Keith Williams
Walden Wong

According to founder/director Bob Almond, the Spotlight Challenge, which grew out of its more inclusive, original Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge, showcases other contemporary, fan-favorite talents on a more limited scale with veteran published inkers who may or may not have participated in other challenges. The previous four pencilers were Jim Lee, Neal Adams, Erik Larsen, and David Finch.

“We are thrilled to have such a positive response from such a great group,” Almond said. “We realize schedules are tight and ever-changing, especially in this age of Covid, so we are truly grateful to those able to step up for this one.” He added that the list may change somewhat if schedules change but they hope to have 24 participants in total. “If there’s one thing we’ve learned during our decade-plus operation, it’s flexibility in the face of the unexpected.”

The Challenge Spotlight furthers the inking advocacy’s dual mission of promoting the artform and educating the public. Blue-lined art files featuring a tightly penciled Ivan Reis Justice League pinup are sent to the artists to finish in ink. Each inked page will be signed by Reis and the inker, and include a certificate of authenticity signed and numbered by Almond. All pages will be auctioned off as a major fundraiser in two waves, the first half on SATURDAY JANUARY 23 for a week, and the final wave 2 weeks later on SATURDAY FEBRUARY 6 for a week at this eBay link for those weeks eBay.com/sch/theinkwellawards. Fans will be able to see the difference in the penciled and inked versions to better understand how much inkers contribute to the art form.

“On behalf of the Inkwells,” said Almond, “our sincerest thanks to DC, Ivan, Erick Korpi, and especially Joe Prado for setting things up with Ivan, myself, and Erick, the participating inkers, and all involved for their cooperation, support of our program, and appreciation of ink artists.”

17 Nov 2020

While our volunteer nomination committee (“NomCom”) can still submit their choices, they just can’t see all the wonderful work during the year from all publishers large and small. So it’s up to YOU! Important details:

WHAT TO SEND:

1. TWO to THREE (max) interior pages of published & printed comic-book ink work you’ve done from any USA-published comic book (per categories below) COVER-DATED 2020 (sorry, no webcomics unless also printed.). Send either links to your specific samples (not general site links), or low-res image files. (Do not send large files–we’re not a printer!) DO NOT SEND PHYSICAL COPIES–they are not eligible. 

2. NAMES of the inker and penciller, preferred EMAIL ADDRESS, the TITLE/ISSUE #(s) and PUBLISHER

3. The CATEGORY(-IES) for each sample. You may submit the same or different work to different categories, EXCEPT “Favorite Inker” and “Props”–pick one or the other. Categories are:

    1.    Favorite Inker: favorite ink artist over the pencils of another artist. (Can’t be nominated for “Props.”)

    2.    Most-adaptable: showing exceptional ink style versatility over other pencil artists. (Minimum TWO pages per penciller, up to three.)

    3.    Props award: ink artist deserving of more attention for their work over other pencillers. (Can’t be past winner or nom. for “Favorite Inker.”)

    4.    The S.P.A.M.I: for favorite Small Press And Mainstream-Independent comic book ink work over another pencil artist (Non-Marvel or DC).

    4.    All-in-one award: for favorite artist inking his/her own pencils.

(Make sure you read and understand the BIG RULES below before sending.)

WHERE TO SENDEmail samples to inkwellawards@yahoo.com, with the Subject “2020 Inkwell Awards.” (Questions? Same email or ask us on Facebook or Twitter @inkwellawards.)

WHEN TO SEND: The deadline is DECEMBER 31st, 2020 (we’ll post reminders, but earlier is better).

PLEASE help us help you by following the directions and rules specifically. If not, your work cannot be considered. We are merely a few working professionals who volunteer when time allows so we don’t have the time/manpower to micro-manage. 

THE BIG RULES (Please read):

-Inks can be with traditional or digital tools (e.g., brush, pen, marker, stylus, Apple Pen, Wacom, etc., but NOT just pencils darkened/manipulated via Photoshop/software–must be drawn by HAND). 

-Work must have been printed in the USA with a 2020 cover date. No Web-only comics.

-Our volunteer NomCom may also submit their choices. All entries will be considered equally and tallied. 

-The core committee is not permitted to nominate, nor vote, for anyone (so save your bribes). 

-All links sent must be to the specific pages being considered. Any general site links (“JohnDoe.com,” DeviantArt portfolios, etc.) will be ignored. No physical copies.

-If work does not meet the criteria above or is not submitted in accordance with these rules, it will not be considered. Fraudulent entries will be voided and will result in your not being considered for any future awards (and any awards won will be forfeited and given to the runner-up).

-The Inkwell Awards is not responsible for any power outages, server issues, software or hardware malfunctions, human error, acts of God, zombie apocalypses and any other stuff beyond our control.

Again, if you have questions or need more info, send an email to either inkwellawards@yahoo.com, or to me directly at the address below.

Thank you and good luck!

Sincerely,

Bob Almond (and The Inkwell Awards Committee)  

The Inkwell Awards

inkwellawards@yahoo.com

Site: inkwellawards.com

Facebook.com/groups/TheInkwellAwards

Twitter: @inkwellawards

WHO WE ARE: 

In case you still haven’t heard, The Inkwell Awards (inkwellawards.com) is an official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public and promote the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. Founded in 2008, the organization is overseen by a volunteer committee of industry professionals and assisted by various pro ambassadors, numerous contributors and supporters. We sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.

04 Nov 2020

The non-profit Inkwell Awards, devoted to promoting the art of comic book inking, has released the list of 24 artists participating in its fifth annual Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight. This year’s Challenge features artist Ivan Reis’ take on DC’s iconic super-team The Justice League from the cover art to DC’s Man of Steel (2018) as originally inked by Ivan’s partner Joe Prado. The artwork will be auctioned afterwards for fundraising.

The artists (in alphabetical order) are:

Gerry Acerno

Greg Adams

Brian Atkins

Keith Champagne

Kevin Conrad

John Dell

Michelle Delecki

Anthony Fowler Jr.

Scott Hanna

Christopher Ivy

Jay Leisten

Criss Madd

Jose Marzen Jr.

Mark McKenna

Jason Moore

Andrew Pepoy

Jack Purcell

Rodney Ramos

Ryusei Sawada (Kubert School 2020 Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship recipient)

Mike Sellers

Mark Stegbauer

LeBeau Underwood

Keith Williams

Walden Wong

Pencils: Ivan Reis

Inks: Kevin Conrad

Inks: Scott Hanna

Inks: Mark McKenna

Inks: LeBeau Underwood

21 Jun 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: (New Bedford, MA/USA—June 21, 2019) The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting the art of comic book inking, will auction the artwork for their fourth annual Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight, which focuses on DC’s Batman pencil art of award-winning creator David Finch. The fundraiser event debuts on June 23. 

The Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight, which grew out of the Inkwell’s original Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge, showcases various contemporary, fan-favorite talents on a limited scale with veteran published inkers who may or may not have participated in other challenges. The previous three pencillers were Jim Lee, Neal Adams and Erik Larsen.

This year’s 24 participating ink artists (in alphabetical order) are:

Gerry Acerno, Ken Branch, Brett Breeding, AJ Cassetta, Keith Champagne, Kevin Conrad, Marc Deering, John Dell, Guy Dorian Sr., John Floyd, Scott Hanna, Tony Kordos, Jay Leisten, Criss Madd, Jose Marzan Jr., Mark McKenna, Andrew Pepoy, Rodney Ramos, Bill Sienkiewicz, Andy Smith, Mark Stegbauer, LeBeau Underwood, Keith Williams and Walden Wong.

“We are excited to see the amazing work from such a skilled and talented group,” said founder/director Bob Almond. “We realize schedules are tight and ever-changing so we are grateful to those able to step up for this one. I want to credit committee vet Erick Korpi for not only initiating this year’s program but for recruiting A.J. Cassetta, the Kubert School student recipient of the 10th annual Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Award, to the line-up!”

The Challenge Spotlight furthers the inking advocacy’s dual mission of promoting the artform and educating the public. Blue-lined art boards featuring a tightly pencilled David Finch Batman pinup were sent to the artists to finish and/or embellish in ink. Each inked page is signed by Finch and the inker, and includes a certificate of authenticity signed and numbered 1 to 24 by Almond. All pages will be auctioned off on eBay as a fundraiser. Fans will be able to see the difference in the pencilled and inked versions through a gif to better understand how much inkers contribute to the artform.

“On behalf of the Inkwells,” said Almond, “our sincerest thanks to DC, David, the inkers, and all involved for their cooperation, support of our program, and appreciation of ink artists.”