For the 5th season the Inkwell Awards conducted their anticipated, annual voting event with a live ballot at their website for two weeks from May 1 to May 15. The non-profit advocacy is now able to release the ballot results from the five categories targeting the exceptional work of ink artists from 2011 as well as the two recipients of the sixth category, The Joe Sinnott hall of Fame Award. The award recipients were contacted in mid-May and some of the invited artists were able to make it to the Heroes Convention to be awarded their trophies at the second live ceremony at this venue.
For the FAVORITE INKER AWARD category, it was a tight race between Scott Williams (Justice League) and Mark Farmer (Captain America, X-Men: Schism) with Scott in the lead in the beginning and then the two of them going neck and neck until Mark Farmerpulled ahead with 38% of the votes, leaving Scott as close runner-up with 36%.
While at first a three-way race between Norm Rapmund, Jonathan Glapion and Scott Hanna, for the third consecutive year Scott Hanna pulled head and took home the MOST-ADAPTABLE AWARD for his prolific and chameleon-like inking and finishing work on various projects such as Avengers Academy, Avengers, REBELS, Herc, GL Corps, and Amazing Spider-man over the likes of pencilers Tom Raney, Sean Chen, Claude St. Aubin, Daniel HDR, Neil Edwards, Fernando Pasarin and Lee Garbett. Scott ultimately took 38% of the votes (again) with Norm Rapmund (Booster Gold, brightest Day, Justice League of America, Teen Titans) in the runner-up position with 25%.
Marc Deering flew out of the gate with the PROPS AWARD category, reserved for an ink artist deserving of more attention, subsequently running nose to nose with Steve Leialoha with Scott Hanna slowly catching up. Then it was a competition between Scott and Steve with Dave Beaty suddenly coming out of no where for the third-place spot, pulling ahead of Marc. In the end, Scott Hanna (Herc, Avengers Academy) took the PROPS AWARD (and his second 2012 win and fifth Inkwell trophy overall) with 19% in what was a crowded race between eleven nominees, repeating last year’s scenario, with albeit a different winner. Steve Leialoha (Fables) held on to the runner-up spot with 18%.
For the S.P.A.M.I. AWARD (Small Press And Mainstream Independent) for ink work on non-DC or Marvel titles, Dexter Vines (Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 9) kept the lead all throughout the contest, although Todd McFarlane (Haunt, Spawn) trailed closely. The final photo-finish call was Dexter with the win with 32% of the votes, followed closely by Todd at 30% and a covert-op Gary Erskine (G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero) appearing out of nowhere with 30%, beating Todd by one vote for the runner-up slot.
J.H. Williams III (Batwoman) led the pack the entire ride for the ALL-IN-ONE AWARD, for those artists who ink their own pencil work with 22%. Francis Manapul, who took the category last year for his work on Adventure Comics and Flash, pursued J.H. for the first half of the way, but he was eventually overtaken by Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman) as runner-up with 21% of the vote.
There was a trend-breaker in the JOE SINNOTT AWARD, 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), named after the legendary Joe Sinnott himself. Incidentally, every year there has been one winner with a longer career than the other more contemporary winner. But this year both artists emerged from the 1980s and both have influenced many and led the way in ink art and, in fact, both had just recently become eligible for the award. This year the Inkwell Hall Of Fame welcomes two genuine modern masters – Scott Williams and Mark McKenna.
Mark McKennaentered the comic scene as an intern at Marvel Comics in the 1980s and became one of the legendary “Romita’s Raiders”, so named as the interns were guided and taught by John Romita. From that point on Mark established himself as one of the most dependable inkers, working for virtually every comic book company and in doing so has worked on almost every major character at both Marvel and DC Comics. In the 1990s he established a partnership with penciler Mike McKone, which, although their output is relatively small, is still looked upon as one of the finest of collaborations. By his own estimate Mark has inked almost 8,000 pages throughout his career, both credited and uncredited, and has assisted many artists to break into the industry. In recent times Mark has been working a creator owned title, Combat Jacks. The secret to Mark’s longevity is quality, speed and reliability and he shows no sign of slowing down.
Scott Williamsentered the the comic book scene in the mid-80s and quickly gained attention as an inker over such pencil artists as Whilce Portacio, Marc Silvestri and predominately Jim Lee. After exceptional work together on Marvel’s X-Men, both Lee and Williams subsequently transferred their collaboration over to the newly-formed Image Comics in 1992 where they launched titles such as Wild C.A.T.S. and Deathblow. Later successful projects included Heroes Reborn for Marvel, which saw them tackle the Fantastic Four. Moving to DC Comics Williams continued his collaboration with Lee on Batman, Superman, and the recent The New 52 relaunch. Scott, a modern master, has perhaps influenced more contemporary ink artists than anyone else due to his innovative inking style using exclusively quill as a tool. Scott was not the first to do this, as fellow Sinnott Hall of Famer Terry Austin had used quill exclusively since the ’70s, but his efforts to capture contrasting and clean line weight extremes created a style more unique than what was seen before. Much like Terry Austin in the bronze-age, Scott Williams is one of the few ink artists today that has deservedly reached superstar status in the industry.
Joe Sinnott made the following statement: “Another year has passed and there are yet two more great inkers to be honored in receiving the 2012 Inkwell Awards Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award. Congratulations go out to Mark McKenna and Scott Williams who are two equally deserving inkers, that will receive this award. Many thanks to all the fans that voted for their favorite inkers. Good luck to next years nominees as I know there are many more deserving inkers that do a fine job embellishing the pencillers work and arriving at the finished product that we all get to see in print.” Joltin’ Joe Sinnott (class of 2008)
The results were officially announced at the Inkwell Awards 2nd live awards ceremony that took place at Heroes Con Saturday June 23. Inkwell founder and director Bob Almond acted as host, Inkwell ambassador Ethan Van Sciver acted as Presenter, Bob McLeod acted as the Keynote Speaker, and guest speakers like art rep/former committee member Bob Shaw presented the Hall of Fame award to Mark McKenna and artist/Inkwell contributor Dan Panosian presented the other HoF award to Scott Williams. Retired committee members Nathan Massengill and Daniel Best (a founder) were awarded a silver inkwell trophy after two and four years on the committee, respectively. The spokesmodel and ceremony hostess Ms. Inkwell, portrayed by model Haley Greenleaf, and much of the organization, were in attendance, as well as the award recipients except Mark Farmer, J.H. Williams and Scott Williams who couldn’t attend the show due to personal matters and scheduling conflicts.
For more info regarding the 2012 results such as winners’ acceptance speeches, voting percentages, nomination committee participants, and more, please keep checking the official Inkwell Awards website at inkwellawards.com
The Inkwell Awards is an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and educate about the art form of comic book inking and to annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. Now wrapping up their fifth year, the organization is overseen by a number of industry professionals such as founder & director Bob Almond, Jimmy Tournas, Michael W. Kellar, Stacey Aragon and Sarah L. Covert who make up the IA core committee, and Adam Hughes, Mike Marts, Ethan Van Sciver, Mark Brooks, Sal Velluto, Mike McKone, Trevor Von Eeden, J. David Spurlock, Cully Hamner, Phil Jimenez, Eric Basuldua, Jim Shooter and Joe Kubert who make up their IA ambassadors, and numerous contributors such as Dan Panosian, Louis Small, Jr., Tom Scloendorn, Randy Green and Jay Leisten among others. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon & Graphic Art and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame.