The 2020 Inkwell Awards winners are usually announced first at their live awards ceremony, scheduled to take place at their host show The Great Philadelphia Comic Con in April. However, due to the pandemic, the event was ultimately canceled. Therefore, the winners are announced here.
Nominees were chosen by a separate and independent nomination committee. Voting by professionals and fans took place from February 23rd to the 29th 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 published in print and cover-dated 2019.
In addition, the Inkwells’ internal committee this season decided to not limit lifetime achievement awards chosen within a given year. They selected three inductees of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame and three recipients for the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA). But there were no internal Silver Inkwell Awards recipients this year nor any internal & community-based Above & Beyond Awards. Ballot nominees are listed below with their percentage of votes received and the credits used for the winners. Each winner provided a statement which follows their respective category(ies).
FAVORITE INKER: Walden Wong (43%) (genLOCK, Justice League [DC], Crazy, Incredible Hulk: Last Call, Marvel’s Hero Project Season 1: Mighty Rebekah, X-23 [Marvel])
Joe Prado (29%)
Mark Morales (16%)
Norm Rapmund (12%)
MOST-ADAPTABLE INKER: Walden Wong (41%) (Same above credits.)
Marc Deering (18%)
Jonathan Glapion (11%)
Scott Hanna (9%)
J.L. Straw (8%)
Norm Rapmund (7%)
Jay Leisten (5%)
Walden Wong: “Thank you for these prestigious Inkwell Awards. It’s quite an honor to be nominated along with so many peers, whose work I continually admire and study all these years. I’m humbled to accept these awards for all their inspiration in making me become and continue to be the Inking Artist I am today.
“Thank you also all for nominating, voting and seeing the art of Inking as a skilled art form. My thanks to the Inkwell Awards and especially Bob Almond who sparked the idea of the Inkwell Awards many years ago, and being able to maintain and bring attention to the Art of Inking for so many years continually.
“In the unprecedented times of 2020, the Inkwell Awards continued its path, due to Bob Almond’s dedication to our craft and to bring light to the industry. Thank you so much!”
PROPS AWARD: Eber Ferreira (32%) (Freedom Fighters, Detective Comics, Supergirl [DC])
Jonathan Glapion (28%)
Le Beau Underwood (24%)
Stefano Gaudiano (16%)
Eber Ferreira: ”It is a true honor to be nominated, and an immense joy to win this award. Such a respected accolade as the 2020 Inkwell Awards – The Props Award for my 2019 work, is one more milestone in my career. I feel very motivated to carry on the good work and keep evolving.
“All of this wouldn’t be possible without my good friend and work-fellow Eddy Barrows’s genius. His artwork always exacts the best in me, and that’s such an exciting feeling.
“The whole inking process has the same objective for the penciller and the inker: Making the story more pleasant and interesting for the reader. The reader gives meaning to every page we make. He makes everything work. And for that, I am ecstatic.”
S.P.A.M.I. (Small Press and Mainstream Independent (Non Marvel/DC))
AWARD: Stefano Gaudiano (22%) (Walking Dead [Image])
David Cabeza (20%)
Adelso Corona (20%)
Anthony Fowler (20%)
Le Beau Underwood (19%)
Stefano Guadiano: “Thank you for honoring the craft of inking as well as my own contributions to the craft with this Inkwell Award. Over the last decades, pencillers have gotten generally more precise in their renderings, and reproduction techniques have opened new opportunities for coloring to assert itself more than ever as an essential part of comic-book art and storytelling. These developments have changed the degree of influence that specialized inkers held in the medium when i was younger. For the most part the level of artistry displayed in the 1970’s and 1980’s by the likes of Klaus Janson, Tom Palmer, and Terry Austin is no longer required.
“In my own career, I have sometimes had the opportunity to enhance a penciller’s work with my own style, but most assignments require an inker to add some definition to the art with only a minimum of personal flair. This does not make inking less worthwhile as a craft – only more subtle. Even in the past, certain inkers excelled through subtlety – Frank Giacoia, Dan Adkins, Joe Rubinstein and Joe Sinnott come to mind immediately but there are many more, most of whom I simply don’t remember – I noticed them less, but now admire them all the more for elevating the medium while staying out of the spotlight.
“That’s the kind of work that will be expected from inkers in coming years – either as assistants to an artist, or working with editors and letterers behind the scenes to push forward the vision of writers, pencilers and publishers. Even as other industry awards overlook the craft, editors and fellow professionals will know to look for good quality inkers. Independently of who is nominated or wins, the Inkwell Awards serve to acknowledge the relevance of our craft – thanks again.”
ALL-IN-ONE (pencilling and inking together)
AWARD: Liam Sharp (34%) (Batman, Batman Annual [DC])
Sean Gordon Murphy (31%)
Stan Sakai (14%)
Brad Krause (10%)
Liam Sharp: “I am delighted, and somewhat speechless – given the astonishing talent I was up against! – to win the All-In-One Inkwell Award for a second time. To have a nomination from my peers and the vote of the public speaks to the authenticity of this award. That the fine craft of inking should be recognized in this way is also incredibly important to the industry. Many thanks to all those that went to bat for me. I never take this lightly! And congratulations, also, to my fellow nominees.”
THE STACEY ARAGON SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD (SASRA): Allen Bellman, Sal Buscema and Norman Lee
Other nominees: Jack Abel, Gene Day, Bill Everett, Frank Frazetta, Graham Ingles, Dennis Janke, Michael Kaluta, Pablo Marcos, June Tarpe Mills, Bob Oksner, George Papp, Wendy Pini, Stan Sakai, Bill Sienkiewicz, Dave Simons, Jim Starlin, Art Thibert, Charles Vess, Al Vey, Bob Wiacek.
With Allen Bellman’s wife Roz’s support, Inkwell senior contributor Steven Freivogel, who was Allen’s agent, neighbor and friend, made the following statement:
“It gives me great pleasure to announce that Timely/Marvel Legend Allen Bellman has been chosen as one of this year’s recipients of The Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award. This award is given to an American comic book artist who has outstanding accomplishments within the industry of inking. It is a prestigious honor that serves to recognize the lesser-known underdog that the contemporary audience might be completely unaware of. He finally got the long overdue recognition and credibility he deserved.
“A limited career output is one of the factors considered for this award. Mr. Bellman was a 10-plus-year penciller and inker for Timely Comics, the precursor to Marvel Comics, having served in several different positions during his tenure there. While still a teenager, he did the backgrounds for Syd Shores’ Captain America in 1942, and eventually worked on features and titles such as “The Patriot,” “The Destroyer,” The Human Torch, “Jap-Buster [sic] Johnson,” “Jet Dixon of the Space Squadron,” All-Winners Comics, Marvel Mystery Comics, Sub Mariner Comics, Young Allies, and so many more. Until his passing a year ago, Allen continued to work and create through private commissions and he never lost his passion for nor the joy that comic books brought him.
“What set Allen apart from others was his ability to make everyone feel like they were part of a family. Allen was a superb gentleman to all, an excellent husband to Roz for almost 58 years, a cherished friend of mine and a legend in his own right.
“The Inkwell Awards’ Bob Almond spoke to Allen on the phone in March to discuss his award just three weeks before he passed. It’s a great comfort to know that he felt the pride and satisfaction in knowing that he was truly appreciated. Unfortunately, he never received the trophy before he died but it was received by Roz a few days later. Besides Allen, please keep Roz in your thoughts, prayers and conversations. I hope you will continue to show your support for the Inkwell Awards and to always remember one of your own, now departed. In the words of Stan Lee, ‘Excelsior!’”
Sal Buscema made the following acceptance statement:
“Allow me to say how honored I am to be receiving this award. I will cherish it for the rest of my days. About attending the award ceremony I will not be able to attend but will be there in spirit. As i’ve said in the past, travel and I just don’t get along. Please extend my very best wishes to all those who do attend. I know the whole thing will be a great success. God Bless!”
At press time there were no statements received yet from Norman Lee’s widow Jan Lee.
Should she submit something down the road we’ll be more than happy to add it to this page.
THE JOE SINNOTT HALL OF FAME: Bob Layton, John Romita Sr and Bernie Wrightson
Other nominees: Brett Breeding, Johnny Craig, Mike Esposito, George Klein, Steve Leialoha (runner-up), Pablo Marcos, Terry Moore, Mike Royer, Chic Stone and Bob Wiacek.
Bernie is sadly a posthumous recipient. He was our first recipient of the Special Recognition Award in 2015 at Heroes Con, while receiving treatment and surgery from his brain cancer that would tragically take him two years later. He is the first winner of the SASRA to also win the Sinnott Award. A video statement was provided by Bernie’s two sons, which is posted below.
Bob Layton made a statement on video which is posted below.
At press time there were no statements received yet from John Romita Sr. or his family.
Should they submit something down the road we’ll be more than happy to add it to this page.
Full bios with artwork on each Hall Of Fame recipient will be posted to the Inkwell site by the end of August.
Joe Sinnott, the award’s namesake and first winner, made the following statement about the inductees in December 2019 (before he passed away in June 2020 at the age of 93):
“It is with great pleasure that we have elected three very worthy and deserving artists to the growing list of members inducted into the Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame.
“I have never had the pleasure to work with Bernie Wrightson, but have admired his tremendous work for years. His work on Swamp Thing was a pleasure to see, but I feel that his Frankenstein art is some of the best work ever published. Bernie lived for many years in my hometown of Saugerties, and it was always a pleasure to see him. We always had great talks when we would get together. We all miss him very much.
“When Bob Layton was an up and coming artist, he would come to visit me at my home from time to time. We certainly had some great visits then, and still enjoy getting together at conventions. Bob’s work on Iron Man has certainly made a major impact on comics in recent years, and on the big screen as well. I did ink a cover with Bob many years ago. (Power Man #63). I am so proud of Bob and what he’s accomplished.
“What can I say of John Romita that hasn’t already been said. John is a legend in his own right. I have worked with him on countless projects throughout the years such as The Fantastic Four, Captain America and even a Star Wars: Droids story. You can add in numerous covers as well. We don’t see each other as much as we once did, but it is always a great pleasure to spend time with John at the few shows that we do attend.
“It is an honor to have these three outstanding gentlemen enshrined in our Hall of Fame. They have all brought a tremendous talent and plenty of hard work, dedication and class to the comic industry. Their pencil work alone is an asset to the industry, but their inked work makes it all the better. Great job!
“Your friend, Joe”