Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The 2010 Inkwell Roundtable Interview

THE INKWELL AWARDS MAKE BOLD STROKES
by C. Edward Sellner
Welcome one and all to the Inkwell Awards Roundtable interview. For those who don't know, the Inkwell Awards are comicdom's official inker awards, this year to have a live presentation at the New England Wizard World Comic-Con, October 15-17, 2010. But they are sooooooo much more than just snazzy awards! Their web site is a bundle of great stuff, including articles, how to's, interviews, an inker database, forums, links and other resources for inkers. They are a growing part of the comics community and doing their part for the recognition and advancement of the art of inking. Want to know more? Read on and join our participants Bob Almond, Daniel Best,, Jim Tournas, Nathan Massengill, Bob Shaw, Dan Panosian, Mark McKenna, Ernest Pelletier, Tom Schloendorn, and Joe Sinnott, and after, be sure and check out their official web site (http://www.inkwellawards.com/).

1) For those who might not know, can you give us a brief intro to the Inkwell Awards? What are they? What are they for? How did they get started?
Jimmy Tournas: Bob did it!

Bob Almond: Yup, I guess I'm to blame.

Joe Sinnott: I found out about the Inkwell Awards from my son Mark about 2 years ago. They were started by Bob Almond.  What a great tribute to the art of inking and all those involved.

BobA:  Thanks a lot, Joe! That means a lot to me to hear that from you.

For the past decade I was noticing changes in the medium and the status of the craft of inking and not necessarily for the better. Having artwork un-inked was becoming more common place. The long practice of ink artists being credited in solicitations and covers was no longer the rule. This affected others as I noticed that online and printed reviews (or art identification efforts) weren't listing the inkers either.  And even the industry's prestigious Eisner Awards didn't have it's own inker category due to confusion about the contribution of the role of the inker and decided to combine it with the penciler one

Why did this all bother me? Because, admittedly, I'm an inker and while in no way do I think ink artists deserve special attention, I was concerned about traditional practices being altered that would change the fans' perceptions of our contributions. 'Inking' was already little understood by the public and we were consequently the underdogs, so erasing us from credits was akin to the craft and it's artists ceasing to exist. We want to be the advocates who can fill in the gaps that have been made by educating folks about what inkers do and recognizing the quality of their work.

I was hired to write my 'Inkblots' column for editor Bill Nichols of Sketch magazine four years ago and the fledgling concept of The Inkwell Awards (originally The Inkblot Awards) was created as a topic for my column. But that subsequently developed into me getting feedback from the inking community and recruiting my founding core committee members: Bill, Tim Townsend, Daniel Best, and Jimmy Tournas in January of 2008.  We scrambled like madmen to create a web site, recruit various contributors, promote ourselves, and raise funds for our non-profit charity. Our first voting took place the following spring and the first award recipients received their trophies that summer. And here we are!

Danny Best: For some insane reason Bob asked me to be part of this, so here I am. While I can’t contribute as much as I’d like to, I do what I’m asked to, plus a bit more. 
Tom Schloendorn: I got involved after Bob asked me. It's nice to represent the indy inkers out there and to work on making sure people know what we do as artists. 
Nathan Massengill: For my part, Bob Shaw invited me into the fold. I had spoken with Tim Townsend about the Awards early on and Tim convinced me the Awards were a great idea. Education about inking and honoring the work of inkers are two great things the Awards have accomplished.
2) The big news for this year is the Inkwell Awards being given a formal presentation at a Wizard Convention, give us the details how that came about and certainly where and when it will happen.
BobA: That was a major development on Jimmy's part so let me step aside for a sec...

JimmyT: Larry Harrison and I partnered up with Wizard for the New England Comic Con. When Gareb Shamus and Peter Katz found out I was on the committee we talked and they were very receptive to lend a hand. Gareb and Peter are very interested in helping make this a friendlier and more active community and they 
are hard at work helping small promoters grow their shows. They are always doing things to help promote the comic marketplace, and that's a good thing.

BobA: Absolutely!  Besides offering us space at all of their shows and ongoing promotion, at Jimmy's and Larry's New England Comic Con they will be sponsoring an actual awards presentation, our first! They will be bringing in all of the award recipients for October 15-17, about a month after the voting ends at our site online, where the winners will be announced and presented their awards.

Dan Panosian: That's great news! Too many fans really take inking for granted. With more press and information out there - the fans will appreciate the art form much more. Wonderful news.
Tom S: I think it's great that the awards are starting to get noticed and that we have an avenue to call home for the presentation. The more exposure we get the more credibility we have.

Mark McKenna: Its all who you know or being at the right place at the right time! The fact that Jimmy T hooked up with Wizard for the New England Comic Con and along comes The Inkwells, all very fortuitous.

3)  Briefly, who all is behind the Inkwell Awards and what roles do they play? I know the movers and shakers have changed some over the years, fill us in on the folks who've made this happen.
BobA: The core committee is here. There's inker Jimmy Tournas who set up our web site, handles fundraising, final balloting and trophy awards. There's our resident writer Danny Best who designed and maintained our site for a couple of years; he also writes up many of our PR announcements and anything that makes us sound intelligent. Art rep Bob Shaw was brought in after Bill and Tim left in mid-2008; he handles our eBay charity auctions, fundraising, and created our forum and CAF gallery. Veteran artist Dave Simons joined soon after Bob did that fall and was a member until he passed away last June. Inker Nathan Massengill was welcomed aboard after that in the summer of 2009; he recently produced our new brochures, helps with fundraising, and helped out with our Ms. Inkwell property. These are the guys who are involved day in and day out. They handle more duties than listed here like creating some of our social network pages, our Donation Books, and more. I set the agenda, help delegate duties, and make sure the trains run on time if you know what I mean ;-)

We have Committee Ambassadors who lend their name and support including artist Adam Hughes, DC editor Mike Marts, artist Ethan Van Sciver, and artist Mark Brooks, who recently joined us.

Our contributors include artist Dan Panosian who created our logos, retailer Ernie Pelletier, legal consultant, artist Mark McKenna who assists with fundraising, inker Tom Schloendorn who circulates our announcements online, Stacey Aragon who handles our social network pages, Rich Lane who recently took over the duties of site maintenance, Damon Owens and PJ Magalhaes, our forum moderators, Julian Lebeck our trademark attorney, artist Randy Green who designed Ms. Inkwell, artist Gina Kirlew who designed her logo and the brochure with Nathan, artist Louis Small, Jr., our Ms. Inkwell model liaison and last but not least, Chrissy Cutler who is our first Ms. Inkwell and Hanna Pawlowska who just portrayed her as an alternate at Heroes Con. Of this group we have Dan, Ernie, Mark, and Tom here participating, as well as our Hall of fame namesake himself, the legendary Joltin' Joe Sinnott!
Tom: Thanks Bob that sounds a lot better than "I'm the guy who spams the different message boards with stuff."

Joe Sinnott: I know that Bob Almond and Jimmy Tournas have a big input into the Inkwell awards.  I was recently at the Pittsburgh Comicon and they had an Inkwell Awards booth set up there to promote it. I spent some time at the booth and had a great time doing a panel on inking hosted by Bob with Jimmy T. and Tom Schloendorn.

DannyB:  You know, there’s a great joke in Bob’s answer, but I won’t share it right now…

BobA

4) I know some of you involved in the Inkwell are not inkers yourselves, tell us who you are, what you do, why you got involved in the Inkwell Awards, and along with that what your thoughts are on the inking industry? How does it impact comics from your perspective?
DannyB:  I am me and have been me since I was born.  What do I do?  I write books and articles and have been doing so, in some shape and form, since the early 1990s and I have two major on-line outlets for my work, my website Adelaide Comics and Books (
http://www.adelaidecomicsandbooks.com) and my blog, 20th Century Danny Boy (http://ohdannyboy.blogspot.com), plus a smaller, more personal blog.  I also help artists set up and maintain web-sites (at my own expense) and have done this for artists such as Armando Gil, Trevor Von Eeden, Rich Buckler, Alan Kupperberg, Brian Postman and Dave Simons. Recently I’ve decided to branch out into publishing as well as writing, so we’ll see how that goes. While I don’t win awards (frankly, I don’t do what I do for awards or recognition, which makes me an oddity), I tend to think that by remaining totally independent and not aligned to any comic book company, I’m able to write articles that others would generally shy away from. Now that I’ll be publishing, I’ll be able to publish projects that others might avoid due to various reasons.
Bob got me involved with the Inkwells.  I noticed what he was doing and offered my assistance. I thought I’d only be involved until Bob could find others, but he’s kept me on board ever since. God love him!

As for the craft of inking….growing up I wasn’t immediately aware of inkers, or pencillers for that matter. As I got a bit older I started to notice that some stories were better than others, art wise, and then the next logical progression was noticing that some artists did better art on some stories than others. It was then that I wondered what the correlation between pencils and inks were.

One of my art teachers gave me a run down on what the difference between a penciller and an inker was – probably the only success he got with me was teaching me the theories behind art, because I failed the practicals with spectacular fashion (I once ate a box of dried cat food instead of drawing it in class in 1982) – and from there it was easy to see – some inkers made pencillers look better than they were.  A good inker could make a bad penciller look good, and a good penciller great. A great inker, such as Joe Sinnott, Tom Palmer or Terry Austin, would make a great penciller, such as Byrne, Neal Adams or Jack Kirby look amazing. Some combinations only flashed before us for such a short time – such as Alan Weiss on Gene Colan, Frank Brunner or Jim Starlin.  But the seeds were there.  As the years went on I began to read more about inkers and discovered that I enjoyed ink work as much as pencil work.
Bob Shaw: I'm the other Bob in the group. I am an art representative and I own www.comicarthouse.com. I was involved with the Inkwell Awards as a contributor before I was on the committee. I ran their EBay auctions and then was asked by Bob Almond to be part of the group. It was not an easy sell for Bob.  I eventually gave in and I still run the EBay auctions to this day. I've also helped set-up the forums, the Comic Art Fans page, the MySpace page, and was very proud to suggest the Dave Simons Memorial Scholarship. The last one being the one I am most proud of as Dave Simons was an amazing friend whom I miss dearly.
Inking today is in a state of flux at best. With many publishers either going with digital inkers or even straight from pencils to colors, the inking profession has taken a severe hit. Many pick on the inking profession saying it is an unnecessary part of the creative process. I disagree; a solid inker can enhance the artwork of a project 100 fold. Strong professional inkers like Townsend, McKenna, Leisten, Miki, Morales, Almond, and many others make a book worth picking up.
Ernie Pelletier: As an attorney and comic store owner (Friendly Neighborhood Comics) I try to help with general legal questions and offer opinions as both a comics retailer and long-time collector of original comics art. In the many conversations I have had with customers regarding the books they really enjoy, the subject of art often comes up. Readers know good art when they see it, but they may not always realize the contribution strong inking can make. The public awareness and educational aspects of the Inkwell Awards are vital. Bob and the rest of the crew do a tremendous job educating the public and their efforts are deserving of support.
5) Let's get a little into the process. How do the awards work? How do you select nominees and final winners? Is the process something that works well, are you still fine-tuning it? What was different this year and what might be different next year if anything?
BobA: Since last year we've been recruiting assorted and respected participants from amongst the comic book community to act as our Nominations Committee. At the end of the year they are allowed a few months to fill in nominees on the ballot for our first five categories: Favorite Inker, Most-Adaptable Inker, Props Award to an inker deserving of more attention, The S.P.A.M.I. (Small Press And Mainstream Independent) Award, and the All-In-One Award for artists who ink their own pencils. I then tally them and the committee splits up the names to verify them. The top duplicated names go on the final ballot for the public vote (which has been in the summer but this year will be in August to accommodate the new schedule for the awards presentation at the NECC).

A new procedure for this year, the nominees for the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award were selected by the core committee and by ex-members, ambassadors, contributors, and past award recipients. I tally the nominees and validate the twenty-five year career term requirement. Then the top duplicated names go on the final ballot like the other categories where two artists are chosen.

For the time being this is probably the plan we are staying with after some early process growing pains.

DanP: This is something very important to me. I take the ballots very seriously. Especially the Hall of Fame aspect. There are veterans out there that have raised the bar on countless books and influenced generations of fans. Recognizing their achievements really means something special. I'm proud to be a part of the voting process.
BobS: I'll second that. The Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award is something special. It was cool to see Dick Giordano win it before his passing.

6) I know the intention of the brain trust behind the Inkwell Awards are striving for much more than a simple set of awards. I know one of the main goals has been to build resources and community amongst inkers, professional and aspiring. I also know this has been a big year for you all in that process with lots of new developments. Fill us in on what all has been accomplished since last year?
BobA: Our mission is to inform and educate about the craft of inking and to recognize its artists. The second half of the mission is fulfilled through the awards presentation. The first part is done through our web site venue (
http://www.inkwellawards.com), an ongoing effort to collect various resources on inking. 
In our last round table Dan Panosian suggested we add art supply links and interviews. We added suppliers to our Inker Sites section and we expanded our interview section. He also suggested that we should have links to inker web sites - something I'd already had in the works: to create the internet's first exclusive inker database. Danny and I got it up and running a few months ago (with help from inker Jeremy Freeman) and we made sure to add site links to the artist listings. When Jimmy included a survey on last year's ballot asking what people thought we needed to do to our site to make it more interesting, besides nudity, we were asked to add more graphics/art files. So, to elaborate on our definitions, tutorials, and interviews, I had us create a section with samples so that visitors can click the thumbnails and see the before and after of the process from pencils to inks. Nothing better expresses what inkers bring to the table than some quality inking and finishes. Between these visual resources, our active forums (http://inkwellawards.proboards.com/index.cgi?) with discussion among fans, aspiring and established pros, and even an artist alley where inks are critiqued, we hope to cover all things inking on the web. We're certainly much more advanced at it than last year and we don't intend to stop.

Within the community we've made a few philanthropic measures over time but we keep this close to the vest due to our limited resources compared to, say, The Hero Initiative. Perhaps over time we can help out those in need some more.
Tom: I think Bob summed that up nicely.

7) Give us the lowdown on Ms. Inkwell? What is she about?
BobA: I was at last fall's Pittsburgh Comic Con and seated next to IA contributor Tom Schloendorn. We were comparing our poorly selling raffle tickets to all the interest a dealer was getting a few aisles from us with two hot girls exciting the crowd. I joked getting a female mascot to wear a black inkwell bottle for an outfit with a stopper on her head. The more I thought about the general concept the more I started taking it very seriously. I questioned Louis Small, who was also at the show, about using promotional models. After sharing some ideas and contacting model Chrissy Cutler, I tried recruiting an artist to take my concept and come up with a visual design it. We went through a lot of artist options, including Adam Hughes, Tim Townsend, Jimmy Palmiotti, Amanda Conner, Bill Tucci, Terry Austin, even Joe and Dan around this table, but artists have pre-exisiting deadlines and some feel that good girl art isn't their strength. After weeks of searching Tim Townsend hooked us up with Randy Green who served up a bunch of prelims. After seeing my notes and references and after fine-tuning the concept with him and Nathan, we agreed on our spokesperson! She would be a savvy and sexy business woman who was a celebutante with a high-fashion sense and who owned a business named after her, India Wells, Inc., AKA, Ms. Inkwell. Nathan then inked and digitally colored her and his assistant Gina Kirlew created her logo. In the meantime Chrissy acquired the wardrobe necessary and Ms. Inkwell debuted at the Pittsburgh Comic Con. She will also appear at Wizardworld Big Apple and New England in October. Hanna Pawlowska, our first alternate, appeared at Heroes Con and may appear at other venues.  They pass out brochures, sell raffle tickets, sign photos, prints, and items with their image on it for a fee to our non-profit. Plus as a bonus, they're a lot prettier than me and Tom!

DanP: She seems quite saucy! Thanks Randy!

Joe Sinnott: I had the pleasure of meeting and spending time with Ms.Inkwell at the Inkwell booth at the recent Pittsburgh Comicon. She appears on a lot of their promotional material and donation books, and is a great asset to the Inkwell Awards.
MMcK: "What it she about??" About 5'9" and leggy, no? 
Ms. Inkwell has to be handled (and I dont mean that figuratively) with the utmost respect. We can't use her in the tacky way that some booths use to bring in fans by oozing sexuality and playing into negative stereotypes. So far, so good! Chrissy exudes a classy personification.
DB: Purrrrrrrrrrrr.  Personally I think that Jimmy or Bob should be forced to wear the outfit at conventions when the real Ms Inkwell is unavailable.
BobA: For Heroes Con, you have no idea how close you came to seeing that...everyone dodged a bullet with that one, thankfully
BobS: For some reason, I lost my appetite....
Tom: Yeah I've seen Jimmy's legs and no one should be subjected to that!
Seriously though I think it's great to have an image to identify us other than an inkblot on a t-shirt, not that that is a bad logo, but a spokesperson is something that people will remember. Chrissy did a fantastic job with it and can't wait to work with her again. As far as the character herself goes she has a great look without being over the top, although Bob's original suggestion was, and has, great potential for future sketch book themes and other promotional material.
8) I know we all are still missing Dave Simons, the inking great who had a significant impact on the industry and who passed away last year after a long struggle with cancer. I know he was a key player with the Inkwells. Tell us what its been like trying to move on without him, and what the collective has done to honor him since his passing.  
BobA: Why don't I yield the floor to Danny and Bob for this ....

DB: I’ve found it, personally, hard to move on without Dave, such was the impact that he had upon me in such a short time. It seems that every day I find something to remind me of him, not that I need reminding. Just the other week I found part of a cardboard box that he’d sent; he’d drawn a kangaroo on it – it just kills me at times. Dave’s passing came very shortly after that of my father and there were a lot of emotions to deal with and they still remain. I still can’t read his last email to me. I know what it says, I read it at the time, but I can’t bring myself to re-read it. I still maintain and update his web-site with notes that he left behind and art that I keep discovering, and, with Bette’s blessing, that site will remain there forever. It’s funny, people keep emailing from Dave’s past, even now, shocked at his passing.

The first student has been selected and she has TALENT! Dave would have loved it. He’d have been a bit surprised and would have wondered, out loud, as to why he should be selected for such an honor, but I suspect that deep down he’d have understood and more than approved.

To honour Dave we discussed various things and ultimately did what Dave was best at – helping others. At Bob Shaw’s urging we established the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship. Each year the Joe Kubert Art School will select a promising student who submits organic inks - inking with a pen or a brush, nothing digital - and that student will be granted $1,000 to assist in their tuition, in Dave's name. To be able to write the announcement and my own memories of Dave to be read out at his memorial was very emotional for me, and I’m honored that Bob Shaw read it, and even more touched that it received a standing ovation. 
The first student has been selected and she has TALENT! Dave would have loved it. He’d have been a bit surprised and would have wondered, out loud, as to why he should be selected for such an honor, but I suspect that deep down he’d have understood and more than approved.

Dave was about helping people develop their own unique skill set. This is an extension of what Dave had been doing since the day he sat at the feet of Frank Robbins and got the advice that set him on his way, shortly before Robbins set himself on fire, in a story that could only happen to Dave.
BobS: Knowing I won't hear Dave's voice or be able to see him again truly is difficult. It was in a down moment shortly after Dave's death that the thought for the scholarship popped into my head. I called Bob A. with the idea and Bob just wanted to make sure that we'd do it justice. We got Dave's sister Bette's approval and blessing.
While everyone can give me credit for thinking of it, it would not have been set in motion without Bob A's diligence. He contacted the Kubert School. He found out the parameters. He got it done. The resulting scholarship award that came from all this serves Dave's memory best, it helps young artists to achieve their goals. It's a very cool feeling knowing that the first person to win it Carli Idhe is also very kick ass and unique. That's something Dave would have a huge smile about.
When the first award was announced, tears starting running down my face. I looked up to the skies and just smiled. It sounds a little silly but I felt Dave smiling back. 
9) Since the Inkwell Awards are comprised of the some of the top inkers of the industry, what is the feeling of the inkers on board and the ones you guys are in communication with? Is it a good time to be a comic book inker? 
DanP: I think it's a very challenging time to be an Inker. With printing technology and computerized coloring, many comic books can bypass the inking stage altogether. In many cases, the results are breathtaking. However, a lot that success is a combination of the right kind of pencil artist and a very talented colorist. Removing the inker from the publishing equation saves the company money and comic book companies are a business when it comes right down to it. It can make a lot of sense to a publisher. So, today's Inker or Finisher needs to bring something very special to the table. I think that's a good thing. It raises the bar and when the bar is raised only good things can happen. Publishers will begin to recognize that quality sells books. I believe fans recognize skill. I think we're going to see some very impressive things happen in the future.

JimmyT: Inkers I know are all working. In fact, I know a few pencilers inking their own work.

Joe Sinnott: The best time to have entered the field as an inker was during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. There were more companies, more books; the explosion of the superhero genre made it an exciting period to be working in. The creation of most of comics greatest heroes made it all the more enjoyable.
MMcK: I recently was asked to create a Top 10 inkers list for Wizard Magazine (#225) and I can tell you that the inking talent pool is ridiculously broad and the varied styles, endless. Add to that there's a limited amount of titles being released by the major comic company's and I can agree with Dan, "It’s a very challenging time to be an inker", although I mention it for reasons other then technology.

BobA: Good job with that list, Mark!
Nathan: This is an excellent time to be an inker, perhaps the best yet. The quality of the pencilers and colorists are *extremely* high, and one of the great joys of inking is to work with great pencilers and colorists. Being an inker challenges every aspect of an artist; I've learned things from being an inker that literally no other artistic pursuit could have taught me.

10) What about for the aspiring inkers out there, what kind of tips can we give them as they think about pursuing a career in this field?
JimmyT: There are a lot of inkers and the jobs are not as plentiful as they were before as opposed to penciling and coloring, I would expand as well as inking to keep busy if they want to do it for a living.

DanP: Learn to draw. Study as much art as you can. Your inking will improve and you'll begin to see what the pencil art is trying to convey on a whole new level. Trust me, every edge you have will help you land a better job and increase your chances for more work.

Joe Sinnott: First of all, try developing your drawing skills - that's most important! Also, experiment with all the tools - pens, brushes etc. and find one that is comfortable and suits your ability and stick with it. 
Tom: Like Joe said find the tool that you're most comfortable with and use it. I'm always getting asked what tools pros use from paper to pencils, brands to brushes, and the bottom line is use what you need to get the job done. Using the same brand of ink will not help you ink like Scott Williams. It all comes down to practice.
Nathan: Study your craft. The research and sharing power of the internet and blue lining technology means that inkers have a fantastic resource advantage over inkers from previous generations. Learn to use the traditional tools as a baseline before expanding too much into new technologies for inking. And always, foremost: Be patient and enjoy your work!

11) With the formal presentation at Wizard happening what do you guys see as the future of the Inkwell Awards and the inkers and inking industry of comics?
JimmyT: It will take time to grow. Hopefully Wizard will give us a shot in the arm and get the name out to a wider audience.

BobA: the future may be uncertain but for the time being I'm not convinced that the need for inking will significantly diminish let alone disappear. There's always going to be a need for inked art. Doing it on a computer leaves no original art to sell or collect and not everyone can afford or handle the technology, although that will surely change over time. Publishers don't care what tools artists use, as long as it's good and on time. I think the public has seen that while there are some exceptions to un-inked art or digital tool inking looking good, the majority looks better inked as the craft is about quality, and quality is always a valuable commodity.

Joe Sinnott: The prospects are limitless what with the new techniques available - remember, it's the inker who is the final, and in my opinion, the most important cog in the wheel!

DB: To those who ask why is inking vital, I say just look at some of the stuff that’s out there now and you’ll see. It takes a very talented penciller to create an entire book ready to be shot from the pencils only, and not many can pull it off without it looking, well, unfinished. I love John Romita Jr's pencils, but I doubt I could stomach an entire book of them. As much talent as JR Jr has, he looks far better when someone such as Klaus Janson finishes the work he produces.

With the industry moving towards digital inking – read darkening of the pencils – and away from organic inking, the need to educate people is even more vital. The last thing anyone should want is for inking to become a lost craft.
Tom: Yeah letting people know what it is we do is very important and with the awards getting this venue to add to the mix will help. An inker's roll in the creation of a comic is an important one as Joe put it.
Ernie: As publishers look at different methods of delivering comics to the reading public, the craft of inking has become even more important. It does the industry no good to get thousands of new readers (or at least viewers) if we are not presenting the public with the finest stories and art we can offer. Excellent inking transforms the penciled work into something greater and really enhances the reading experience.

12) Anything else anyone wants to put on the table?  
BobA: Anyone here want to plug their latest projects or businesses?

Joe Sinnott: For those of you who don't know, I "retired" from comics in 1991.  However, Stan Lee asked me to help him out for a while and ink the Sunday Spider-man strip for King Features. That was over 19 years ago, and I'm still inking Spidey.  2010 marks my 60th year working for Stan Lee.

BobA:  Wow....well, nothing will top that achievement, but does anyone still want to follow-up from Joe?  He seems busier than most of us for a 'retired' artist   I just inked a few pages over Rags Morales for First Wave #3 at DC and following that I'm now working on a hush-hush project that I sadly can't mention until they officially announce it.
By the way, for the shy among us who haven't plugged themselves already, you can see Dan Panosian's brilliant art in the X-Factor Forever series out in comic shops everywhere!  And don't forget Mark's prolific ink work as well as his children's book creation Bananatail (http://bananatail.com/), available in more venues than I can track.
Tom:  Way to go Joe.  As for me the new Phantom Jack follow up will be hitting this summer through IDW and a couple of secret projects that I can't get talk about just yet. I'm also enlisting a few "indy" artists to do some pin ups for the upcoming Inkwell Awards Sketch book of Ms.Inkwell. 
BobA: Glad to have you for that, Tom!

DB: I hope I live to sixty, let alone work for sixty years doing something I love. Way to go Joe! My wondrous other half and I have finally taken the plunge and become publishers – with Blaq Books. We published the recent Gentleman Jim Mooney book (thus fulfilling a promise made over five years ago) as both digital and print versions, and have several exciting projects in the pipeline, including the long awaited Norm Breyfogle biography, an overview of the little known Newton Comics company of Australia (read how they ripped Marvel off in the mid 1970s), a stunning graphic novel from Steven Bove and some biographies on comic book artists that’ll surprise more than a few people. I’m always open for ideas and people who wish to collaborate on biographies and history.
Ernie: Those that can't ink, open comic book shops!  I'm currently spreading the love of comics and promoting literacy through Friendly Neighborhood Comics in Bellingham, MA www.friendlycomics.com. Inkers welcome!
BobA: Wow, inkers welcome?!  Maybe we ARE getting some respect now- LOL!
MMcK: I just want to say that Bob Almond is the right guy for the job. He knows the history of our beloved business and he's got the drive to take the Inkwell's further then any of us could have imagined. Continued success!

DB: Life is good, man!
The Inkwell Awards wants to thank all of the participants for their time for this interview as well as C. Edward Sellner for the questions, Danny Best for his editing, Wizard Entertainment, and all of our supporters.  The third annual Inkwell Awards voting took place in the month of August.  The first live award results ceremony will take place at Wizardworld: New England in Boston, MA at the John B. Hynes Veterans Memorial Convention Center on October 15-17 with Joe Sinnott as Key note speaker and the organization's spokesperson Ms. Inkwell also in attendance.  If she looks like Bob or Jimmy, don't ask, don't tell.

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