Image:Hailey Skaza-Gagne

Nominees were chosen by a separate and independent nomination committee; this year had more nominees than ever. Voting by professionals and fans alike took place via live ballot at the non-profit advocacy’s website. One winner was chosen in each of five categories based on American-based interior comic-book work cover-dated 2016.

Separately, the Inkwells internally selected the two recipients of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award and, this year, two recipients for the Special Recognition Award (SRA) category. Winners were contacted and many of the invited guests were present to receive their trophies during North Carolina’s Heroes Con, the host show for the Inkwells, for their seventh live ceremony. Winners and nominees are listed below, along with the percentage of votes received, where applicable.

FAVORITE INKER: Favorite ink artist over the pencil work of another artist from 2016 cover-dated, interior, American comic book material

WINNER: Scott Hanna (21.06%)

(Action Comics, Batman, Justice League, Superman: Lois & Clark, Wonder Woman [DC]; A-Force, All-New Wolverine, Avengers: Standoff, Civil War II: The Fallen, Drax, Nova, Squadron Supreme, Uncanny Inhumans, Web Warriors, [Marvel]).

“It is a distinct honor and privilege to receive the Inkwell Award for favorite inker. The Inkwells focus on the frequently under-appreciated art form of black and white linework in comics. It’s obviously close to the heart of all of us that fell in love with the medium of ink. Even as a youngster, I would be spellbound looking at the great masters of Golden-age illustration using pen and ink line to convey so much texture, value, and drama with nothing but line and blacks. I chose to do comics because comic book inking was the closest I could find to that history of superb artists. I still strive to match the skill level of the many artists who set the standard, and I’m always trying to learn and get better every year.

To receive this award, which is about the specific skill of inking, is a very special honor.”

Other Nominees:
Sandra Hope-Archer (16.02%) runner-up

Danny Miki (12.95%)
Jonathan Glapion (12.53%)
Matt Banning (12.22%)
Tim Townsend (11.44%)
Eber Ferriera (9.15%)
Stefano Gaudiano (6.92%)
Mick Gray (5.2%)

MOST-ADAPTABLE AWARD: Ink artist showing exceptional ink style versatility over other pencil artists in 2016 interior, cover-dated, American comic book material


WINNER: Walden Wong (19.97%)

(Earth 2, Robin War [DC]; Jupiter’s Circle v2 [Image]; All-New Wolverine, Guardians of Infinity, Max Ride, Web Warriors [Marvel]).

“Thank you so much. I’m extremely humbled to receive this award as all of the other nominees in the same category are great artists I’ve admired… to win is beyond belief.  I’ve been working in comics for a good amount of time and to this day I still study the line work of many artists. How each line is tapered, crosshatched, textured, rendered, or spotted. Learning how each inking tool can be use more effectively to excel the pencils further. Adapting to what makes the pencil work shine.

Every project I work on, I’m always researching artist works, other artist styles, different ways of inking to fit specific pencils, different textures to achieve an effect… then pulling all that research together to work on a project. Always continuously wanting to learn more with each project I take on.

To get this award while I’m still learning the craft is, again… beyond belief. For me, there’s always room to learn, to grow, to excel and to adapt. Thank you all for this award and for allowing me to be even better at what I do for years to come. Thank you!”

Other Nominees:
Jonathan Glapion (19.14%) runner-up
Klaus Janson (18.72%)
Dexter Vines (13%)
Tony Kordos (12.64%)
Andrew Hennessey (9.67%)
Jason Paz (6.76%)

PROPS AWARD: Ink artist deserving of more attention for their work over other pencilers from 2016 cover-dated interior American comic book material

WINNER: Scott Hanna (24.34%)

(Action Comics, Batman, Justice League, Superman: Lois & Clark, Wonder Woman [DC]; A-Force, All-New Wolverine, Avengers: Standoff, Civil War II: The Fallen, Drax, Nova, Squadron Supreme, Uncanny Inhumans, Web Warriors, [Marvel]).

“I have to thank the many talented pencillers I had the opportunity to work with last year. The collaborative nature of the penciller/ inker team allows the inker to learn and grow from every new project and team up. Every penciller is a new challenge and pushes us to think in new ways and try new techniques. Some of the talent I was able to work with were; David Finch, Lee Weeks, Ben Caldwell, Mark Bagley, David Baldeon, Kev Walker, Scott Hepburn and many more. Each of them helped me to become a better artist and hopefully reflect that back into the finished work. Many thanks to all the fans who voted for me, and the Inkwell Awards for doing what you do to promote the art of inking!”

Other Nominees:
Jonathan Glapion (19.14%) runner-up
Klaus Janson (18.72%)
Dexter Vines (13%)
Tony Kordos (12.64%)
Andrew Hennessey (9.67%)
Jason Paz (6.76%)

S.P.A.M.I: Favorite Small Press And Mainstream-Independent 2016 interior, cover-dated, American comic book ink work over another pencil artist (Non-Marvel or DC work)

WINNER: Jonathan Glapion (23.45%)
(Reborn [Image]).

“I want to Thank everyone who voted, not only for me, but for anyone that they felt deserved that award. It has been a great ride working on Reborn and I couldn’t be more thankful for my teammate and friend Greg Capullo. When he called me for this opportunity, I was not only ready to team up again, but excited to go on this journey with Millarworld. Our ride takes us now to DC’s Summer Event Book Dark Nights: Metal, and it will surely be a wild one!”


Other Nominees:
Stefano Gaudiano (23.09%) runner-up
Karl Story (22.93%)
Brian Shearer (13.68%)
Ryan Winn (12.43%)
Cliff Rathburn (6.66%)

ALL-IN-ONE AWARD: Favorite artist known for inking his/ her own pencil work in 2016 interior, cover-dated, American comic book material

WINNER: Erik Larsen (18.46%)

(Savage Dragon [Image])

“It’s always flattering to be recognized for one’s efforts. To be singled out alongside the other nominees is doubly so.”





Other Nominees:
Nicola Scott (16.33%) runner-up
Liam Sharp (16.28%)
Stan Sakai (13.99%)
Walter Simonson (12.95%)
Jerome Opena (9.98%)
Joelle Jones (6.71%)


AWARD RECIPIENT: Violet Barclay, aka Valerie Smith (Golden/Silver Age) and Allen Milgrom (Bronze/Modern Age)






Allen Milgrom

“I am honored to be recognized for my body of work. While certainly not the best of inkers, I was pretty good with a deadline and feel that perhaps my greatest strength as an inker was in adapting to the style of the penciler I was working over.  I once described myself as an inking chameleon because my work often looked different depending who I was inking.  More than once pencilers or editors would tell me they were taken aback by the way my inks looked on various and sundry pencilers.  Usually this was expressed as a mildly shocked and pleasantly surprised attitude.

My first job was doing backgrounds for the great Murphy Anderson a talented and patient teacher who gave me two nuggets of advice:  1) We’re paid to ink, not think.  And 2) When in doubt, black it out!  In the years to follow I added a third rule: I can’t ink em if I ain’t got ’em!–This in response to an editor who asked where the hell the pages of a Punisher job were, only to find—after I denied ever having gotten them—that they were still in his file drawer in the office. He immediately decided to take the job from me and spread it around among a bunch of inkers, until I convinced him to let me do it, assuring him that if the next batch of pages came in before I’d caught up he could parcel out the job as he saw fit.  To his credit he agreed and to my credit, I ended up doing the entire job myself—as I’d suspected I could.

The truly wonderful thing about being an inker is getting to collaborate with other creative artists—of course, this goes for pencilers in reverse, too.  Imagine my delight when having gotten established in the business, I got to ink many of my long time favorite pencilers such as Kirby, Ditko, Gil Kane, Infantino, Don Heck, John Romita and dozens more, including my boyhood friend Jim Starlin (who was so much better at penciling than I that I almost gave up drawing altogether!) as well as many of the “new guys”–my contemporaries who entered the field beginning around the same time I did. Simonson, Cockrum, Chaykin, Alan Weiss, Ron Frenz, Ron Lim,  John Romita—Junior this time-as well as dozens more who came along afterwards. Over the course of my career I inked—and I measured this—a metric ton of different pencilers. And about 100 metric  tons of pages! That’s a lot!

Being a dinosaur, I still prefer the old ways and the old look of the comics.  But you can’t fight progress.  And so, inkers may be going the way of the dinosaur—that’s right, we’re becoming fossil fuels!  But no! Not really.   I quote Dr. Seuss, who said: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.  And I do.

So thanks again for the recognition!  I’ve got a blank space on my wall at home where this award should fit nicely.”

Other nominees (in alphabetical order): Michael Allred, Sy Barry, John Byrne, Ernie Chan, Jack Davis, Tony Dezuniga, Will Elder, Mike Esposito, Frank Frazetta, Gerhard, Geoff Isherwood, George Klein, Frank McLaughlin, Mike Mignola and Mike Royer


A hall of fame designation for an inking career in American comic books of outstanding accomplishment (lifetime achievement, 25-years minimum- two winners chosen annually)

AWARD RECIPIENT: Jerry Ordway and Rudy Nebres

Image:Luigi Novi








Jerry Ordway

“I am of course thrilled to be the recipient of an award for inking! Comic books were a big inspiration for me, as a kid, and I always noticed that my favorite pencillers looked different depending on who this person called “inker” was, on a given story. What was an “inker?” In the Marvel Comics credit lines, Stan Lee liked mixing up the jargon, calling some “delineators,” others “inkers” and some just getting a vague shared credit with the penciller, as in “John Buscema and Joe Sinnott.” Thankfully, I got a little more information on inking when Marvel’s fan club, “Marvelmania” reproduced some artwork in pencil form. I deduced that the “inker” traced the penciler’s lines. I was told that tracers were not “real” artists, and I had plans to become a “real” artist. I would both pencil AND ink my work.

While I learned what is involved in finishing another artist’s pencils, many comic readers still assume the inker has a “tracer’s” job. The recognition that the Inkwells shine on an under appreciated craft is laudable. They were a necessity for many years, working in the great assembly line that is American comic books. Dynamic artists capable of adapting a few pages of story outline to produce a 20-some page comic story were spread out over several titles, which allowed my inker-heroes, such as Joe Sinnott, Wally Wood, Dick Giordano, Tom Palmer and many more, to shine. All talented pencilers, they were capable of working from complete pencils, or the simplest of layouts.

I didn’t get into comics to be an inker. I wanted to do it all. I had to fight hard, to break out of the box I was put in. It’s easy to be type-cast as one thing or another, but I was driven to pencil and also ink my own work. When I inked other people’s work, I knew that I couldn’t claim it as my own, no matter how much or how little of me was in the final artwork. The same thinking drove me to write. None of this affected how I thought of inking or inkers.

It is one of the hardest jobs, and also the most stressful. At each stage of the production of a comic book, there is deadline pressure, which increases from writer to penciler, to inker, letterer, and color artist. Each participant before the inker can claim their own unique challenge, starting with the blank computer screen, to the blank page template. By the time the inker comes in, the editor is often panicked, and nowadays,this leads to the dilution of the inker’s importance. An editor will split a comic story among 3 or more inkers, to speed the deadline, without care that he is helping erase an inker’s identity. That’s a slap in the face of a craftsman already squeezed by time. They’ve treated a talented person as interchangeable. This is the challenge inkers have faced in recent years. While I can understand that today’s production capabilities allow the finishing of comic pages from the pencil stage, that lacks the graphic clarity and pure visceral “punch” of a well placed black, a thick clean rendered line, and, more importantly, that opportunity to second guess the line weights put in by the penciler, to improve clarity. I am proud to accept this award, and proud to apply my skills in the name of an inker!”

Other nominees: Mike DeCarlo, Mark Farmer, Bob Layton (runner-up), Pablo Marcos, Bob McLeod and Mike Royer.

Joe Sinnott, the award’s namesake, and first recipient made a statement regarding this year’s inductees

I have always been in awe of the fabulous art that Rudy Nebres does. Such detailed and beautiful ink lines are displayed on every page. I really enjoyed the outstanding work that Rudy did on The Savage Sword Of Conan. It is, in my opinion, some of the best illustration that I have ever seen. It is always a pleasure when we get together at shows. We always have such a good time. I only wish we could do it more often.

Jerry Ordway, much like Rudy, is such a great artist in his own right. I greatly enjoyed his work on Superman. It is some of the finest that I’ve seen. I did have the pleasure of inking one of Jerry’s Fantastic Four issues, #296. He was one of many artists that I was able to ink on the FF through the years, and certainly one of the best. I only wish that we could have done more than just that lone issue together.

I am so proud that these two fine gentlemen can now join our elite group. Welcome to the Joe Sinnott Hall Of Fame Class of 2017, Rudy and Jerry. You are both well deserving, and it is great to have you on board as members.

Also, once again, a huge thank you to The Inkwell Awards for doing such an outstanding job in promoting and educating about the art of comic book inking. And to the Inkwells’ committee for electing Rudy and Jerry. To all the comic book fans, a big thank you for your continued support of The Inkwell Awards. And lastly to Bob Almond. Without Bob, none of this would be possible.”

The ceremony began with a special appearance by Guest Speaker and industry legend Joe Giella, who discussed the artform of comic-book inking, his career in the medium, and its artists. Inkwell Awards founder and director Bob Almond acted as both ceremony host and co-presenter, joined by hostess “Ms. Inkwell,” as portrayed by Hailey Skaza-Gagne (formerly Holly Black).  Artist and Inkwell Assistant Director Mike Pascale acted as co-presenter. Industry pioneer Allen Bellman acted as guest speaker to discuss his days in art school and at Timely Comics alongside SRA award recipient Violet Barclay; he accepted the award on her behalf.  Almond, in place of the absent Joe Goulart, read Joe’s tribute for his friend, Rich Buckler, the recently departed legendary creator and Inkwell Ambassador. Almond also offered a tribute for long-standing and inspiring Inkwell member Stacey Aragon, who recently passed after a decade-long battle with cancer. He renamed the SRA Award the “Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award” (SASRA), starting in 2018.