The Inkwell Awards has released the names of the winners of its eighth annual awards for excellence in the art form of comic book inking. As before, nominees were chosen by a separate and independent nomination committee. Voting via live ballot at the non-profit advocacy's website ran from May 1-15. One winner was chosen in each of five categories based on American-based interior comic-book work cover-dated 2014.
Separately, the Inkwells selected internally the two recipients of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award and the new Special Recognition Award (SRA) category. Winners were contacted and some invited guests were present to receive their trophies at North Carolina's Heroes Con for the fifth live ceremony on Friday, June 19. Winners and nominees are listed below, along with the percentage of vote received, where applicable.
FAVORITE INKER: Victor Olazaba (27%)
(Amazing Spider-Man, Bloodshot & H.A.R.D. Corps, Eternal Warrior, Superior Spider-Man, Uncanny X-Men)
Other nominees: Richard Friend (25%), Jonathan Glapion (18%), Wade von Grawbadger (15%) and Danny Miki (15%)
MOST-ADAPTABLE INKER: Walden Wong (68%)
(Amazing Spider-Man, Amazing X-Men, Catwoman, Daredevil: Dark Nights, Green Lantern Corps, Justice League Dark, Multiversity: Society of Super-Heroes)
Other nominees: Scott Hanna (8%), Marc Deering (7%), Jay Leisten (7%), Dexter Vines (5%) and Jonathan Glapion (5%)
PROPS (inker deserving of more attention): Wade Von Grawbadger (68%)
(All-New X-Men, Captain America, Guardians of the Galaxy)
Other nominee: Jay Leisten (32%)
S.P.A.M.I. (Small Press and Mainstream Independent): Dan Parsons (23%)
(Ghost, Star Wars)
Other nominees: Stefano Gaudiano (18%), Karl Story (16%), Ryan Sellers (13%), Cliff Rathburn (12%), Dexter Vines (10%) and Jim Amash (7%)
ALL-IN-ONE (pencilling and inking together): Fiona Staples (60%) (Saga)
Other nominee: Chris Samnee (40%)
THE SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD: Bernie Wrightson
Other nominees: Jack Davis, Tony DeZuniga, Russ Heath, Al Milgrom
THE JOE SINNOTT HALL OF FAME: Joe Kubert and Steve Ditko
Other nominees: John Beatty, Mark Farmer, Frank Giacoia, Bob Layton, Pablo Marcos, Bob McLeod, Jerry Ordway and Josef Rubinstein.
Joe Sinnott, the award’s namesake and first recipient made the following statement regarding this year’s inductees:
“It is with great pleasure that we are inducting these two great artists—legends in the industry—into the Inkwell Awards Hall Of Fame. I have never had the pleasure to meet either of these gentlemen, but certainly would have loved to have sat down and talked with them. I'm quite sure we would have had some very interesting stories to share.
“I would have really enjoyed inking Joe Kubert's Sgt. Rock. As many of you know, some of my favorite work was doing all those war stories for Atlas Comics back in the 1950s, so this would have been a lot of fun. I inked several issues of ROM Spaceknight for Marvel Comics in the 1980s. These stories were quite different from what I was doing, but fun to do. I certainly enjoyed them. There were a lot of space scenes that I enjoyed doing, adding all the stars and planets etc. My final issue of inking ROM was #73. That happened to be the only time that I ever got to work with Steve Ditko on anything. That's amazing in itself. After all those years, one would think that there would have been a story or two that we would have worked on together, but that was it. It was a pleasure to have worked on that 1 ROM issue.
“Congratulations to these two fine gentlemen on their induction into our Hall Of Fame. Thank you to all the committee members that voted them in, and I look forward to more great inkers being added to our elite group next year.”
During the Inkwell Awards ceremony at HeroesCon, Orion Zangara, Joe Kubert’s grandson, spoke for the Joe Kubert Estate and accepted Kubert's posthumous award. Craig Yoe spoke and accepted the award for Steve Ditko, who couldn’t make the event. Scott Hampton spoke for Bernie Wrightson, who was not in attendance on Friday.
Klaus Janson was the Guest of Honor. Inkwell Awards founder and director Bob Almond acted as ceremony host, joined by hostess “Ms. Inkwell,” as portrayed by Holly Black. 2012 Sinnott Hall of Fame recipient Mark McKenna and Inkwell Special Ambassador Mike McKone were presenters. Retired committee member Joe Goulart was presented with a Silver Inkwell award for time served. Erick Korpi and Michael W. Kellar received the same but were not present.
The Inkwell Awards is an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization, whose mission is to educate and promote the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. Now wrapping up its eighth year, the organization is overseen by a 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.