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])
Jay Leisten (12%)
Mark Morales (13%)
Joe Prado (19%) runner-up
Trevor Scott (3%)
Dexter Vines (4%)
“Thank you for this prestigious Favorite Inker award. Congratulations to all the nominees in the same category. I’m truly humbled about this as I see all the other nominees as great artists and legends in their field. I still feel as if I’m the “student”, still learning the craft and there is still so much to learn about inking. I’m accepting this award for all Inkers in the industry. Inking is a specialized art form that not much people know about. Having the Inkwell Awards recognize and promote our craft is beyond amazing. Thank you, Inkwell Awards, to everyone who voted, to all the supporters, and readers who pay attention to the inker credits, this one is for you.”
MOST-ADAPTABLE INKER: Walden Wong (50%)
(Same above credits.)
Marc Deering (13%)
Jay Leisten (11%)
Norm Rapmund (12%)
Cam Smith (14%) runner-up
“Thank you for this Most-Adaptable Award. I pride myself in being able to work in different styles. With each penciller I would with, I will always study their work, reference their past work, and when I get the chance, talk to the penciler about what direction they would like the inks to take to me. Being adaptable also means wanting to learn, to evolve. Just like fine arts, there are many different styles. Same should be said for the art of inking. Not everybody draws the same way, so everyone’s pencils should be inked differently to enhance their work and not take over their work. Being an inker, if I can work on a project and not be noticed, I’ve done my job correctly. If I can work on different projects and each one of them looks good and different, that’s being adaptable. Thank you everyone for voting and my congrats to all the other nominees in the same category.“
Eber Ferreira (14%)
Ruy Jose (13%)
Daniel Henriques (17%) runner-up
Jordi Tarragona (13%)
Le Beau Underwood (13%)
“I was asked to write something, so here I am.
I was so flattered for the nominations, really, and I was flattered by how many votes I received: thank you all!
The only thing I can keep saying is “thanks”.
Thanks to my wonderful family for supporting me, allowing me to realize my dream despite all the uncertainties: I hope you are proud of me as I am proud of you.
A special thanks to David Messina and Sara Pichelli who believed in me and pushed me further and further: I will continue to do my best. I promise.
Thanks to my roomates and friends “sgommatine” that have endured and supported in my every day, toasting victories and giving me a smile in the defeats.
A thought to all those people who have told me that I would never do what I love in my life: it’s so beautiful to remind you how much you were wrong, guys!
Now, I’ve got to go back to work in order to deserve this award more and more…”
Andrew Pepoy (18%) runner-up
Brian Albert Thies (15%)
Le Beau Underwood (15%)
Ryan Winn (16%)
Joelle Jones (24%) runner-up
Mike Perkins (16%)
Andrew Pepoy (10%)
Liam Sharp (18%)
“It is a great honor to receive this recognition from the INKWELL AWARDS. I only wish I could be there to tell you in person. I want to thank the fans and fellow pros for not only your votes, but for the support, inspiration, and those all-too-infrequent times of in-person fellowship we’ve shared at conventions over the years. All of it is fuel that keeps the train running — fuel that has allowed this (allegedly) grown man to continue doing the thing he loved doing as a 10 year old, when I would lay on big brother Eric’s bed, listen to his stereo (Elton or Stevie, usually), and draw for hours on end, doing my best imitations of Ditko’s Spiderman, Steranko’s Cap, or anything Buscema. Drawing supplies were a luxury growing up, so the pencils, markers, and paper Mom would bring home from the office were treasure. Now the memory is the treasure — leaving me grateful that a passion instilled early and nurtured by many has allowed me to make a living being the 10 year old, working (and playing) in this most dynamic field of telling stories with words and pictures. Thanks to my wife for the years of patience, love, and…did I say patience? Thanks to Tom King for writing brilliant material. Nobody does it better. And again, thanks to the INKWELL AWARDS for this prestigious award. Above all, I thank God for not only making it all possible, but for reawakening the child within. I’ll see you in the comics!”
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
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 keynote speaker Mark McKenna, a 2012 Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award recipient, 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 ballot category awards. Clark and Almond each presented one of the two lifetime achievement awards. For the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Awards guest speaker Larry Hama spoke/introduced Neal Adams and guest speaker J. David Spurlock spoke about Dan Adkins.
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.