2023 Inkwell Awards Ballot Winners (EXCLUSIVE Expanded Results Version)

(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: New Bedford, MA/USA—May 19, 2023) The Inkwell Awards has announced the winners of its 16th annual awards for excellence in the comic-book inking art form.

Nominees were chosen by a separate and independent nomination committee based on their own research as well as from artist submissions. Voting by professionals and fans took place for two weeks in April-May on the official ballot at the non-profit advocacy’s website. After 2748 ballots were tallied, one winner was chosen in each of five categories for 2022 cover-dated interior American published comic-book material.

The 2023 INKWELL AWARDS VOTING RESULTS were circulated earlier today and now we present the expanded “Racehorse” version like those that were posted in our annual Sinnott Inking Challenge Books and were inspired by the past Comic Buyer’s Guide/CBG Fan Awards results. This one supplies all of the nominees’ votes, percentages, race observations, and all the winners’ statements.

Favorite Inker Award: Favorite ink artist over the pencil work of another artist. (NOTE: Cannot be nominated for the PROPS award.)
1. Jonathan Glapion: 677 (25%): Batman/Spawn [DC]; We Have Demons [Dark Horse], Gunslinger Spawn [Image]
2. Cam Smith: 571 (21%): Batman: One Bad Day- Penguin [DC]; Avengers, Avengers Forever, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker [Marvel]
3. Dexter Vines: 645 (23%): Sensational Wonder Woman Special [DC]; The Mandalorian [Marvel]
4. Walden Wong: 857 (31%): Amazing Spider-Man, Darkhold Omega, Edge of Spider-Verse, Marvel Voices: Community, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Wakanda, What-if? Miles Morales [Marvel]

And the winner is WALDEN WONG! Walden last won an Inkwell Award three years ago in 2020. Throughout this race, someone different took the lead every few days. Early on Jonathan was in the lead, and a few days after that Dexter shot up ahead of everyone. But Walden came up from behind and took the race in the final week. This marks his third win in this category. Jonathan, Cam, and Dexter have all been nominated previously in this category.

Most-adaptable Award: Artist showing exceptional ink style versatility over other pencil artists.  (NOTE: Every nominee must have at least two sources cited.)

1. Scott Hanna: 682 (25%): Batman/Superman: Authority Special, Batman: Urban Legends, Duo, Justice League, Superman, and Robin Special, Superman: Son of Kal-EL [DC]; Amazing Spider-Man, Avengers Forever, Daredevil, Devil’s Reign: Villains for Hire, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, X-Men Legends [Marvel]
2. Matt Santorelli: 662 (24%): Superman and Robin Special, Task Force Z [DC]
3. Cam Smith: 338 (12%): Batman: One Bad Day- Penguin [DC]; Avengers, Avengers Forever, Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Planet Hulk: Worldbreaker [Marvel]
4. LeBeau Underwood: 380 (14%): DC vs. Vampires: Killers [DC]; Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land, Mighty Marvel Holiday Special: Ghost Rider Infinity, Wolverine: Patch [Marvel]
5. Walden Wong: 688 (25%): Amazing Spider-Man, Darkhold Omega, Edge of Spider-Verse, Marvel Voices: Community, Miles Morales: Spider-Man, Wakanda, What-if? Miles Morales [Marvel]
Repeating the 2020 ballot results, Walden took both of these categories again! But again there were several changes with vote gains as the first week Matt was in the lead but only a few votes ahead of Scott. The gap widened in Matt’s favor as the second week arrived and Walden was still far behind them. But in the final week, Walden was catching up with Scott and in the final days, they pulled ahead of Matt. Walden ultimately won but it was tight with Scott only six votes behind him. Scott and Walden have been tied for many years as the most Inkwell awarded recipients with nine ballot awards each. This year Walden pulls ahead to eleven. Matt, Cam, and LeBeau have all been nominated previously in this category.

WALDEN: Thank you to the Inkwell Awards for these two awards. I’m humbled to be nominated in the same categories with legendary artist and peers who I’ve admired since before I even worked in comics. It’s quite an honor. Thank you so much!”


 Props Award: Ink artist deserving of more attention for their work over other pencil artists. (NOTE: The same inker cannot be nominated for both this award and Favorite Inker; only one or the other. Winners in the last 5 years are not eligible.)
1. Adriano Di Benedetto: 1687 (61%): Batman [DC] 
2. Andrew Hennessy: 177 (6%): Earth Prime: Legends of Tomorrow [DC]; Timeless [Marvel]
3. Matt Santorelli: 488 (18%): Superman and Robin Special, Task Force Z [DC]
4. LeBeau Underwood: 398 (14%): DC vs. Vampires: Killers [DC]; Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land, Mighty Marvel Holiday Special: Ghost Rider Infinity, Wolverine: Patch [Marvel]After being the runner-up in this category for the past two years, ADRIANO DI BENEDETTO wins this category and his first Inkwell Award with a whopping 61%!  Unlike the first two categories, Adriano was in the lead from the start of the race until its conclusion with Matt being runner-up the whole time as well. LeBeau has been nominated in Props five times since 2019. Matt and Andrew are new nominees to the category.

ADRIANO: “Wow, after two years in a row as a runner-up, it feels fantastic to win my first Inkwell Award. But first of all, I would like to congratulate all the nominees. So many talented artists that really elevated the competition. We all know how hard it is to be an inker and it’s so great to have an award such as this, shining a light on our art form. Thank you to all the fans who voted, my family and friends for all the support, and also, the pencilers and editors for trusting me and my work.”
The S.P.A.M.I. Award: Favorite Small Press And Mainstream/Independent ink work over another pencil artist or both are the sole artists. (non-Marvel or DC work; inkers who inked their own pencils are now acceptable in this category).

1. David Cabeza: 866 (32%): Rivers of London [Titan]
2. Terry Moore: 743 (27%): Parker Girls, Serial [Abstract Studio]
3. Chuck Morgan: 503 (18%): Cold Kutter [Kickstarter]
4. Andrew Pepoy: 638 (23%): The Adventures of Simone & Ajax [Kickstarter]

This race was consistently in the order of placement among the nominees from the start with DAVID CABEZA in the lead until he reached the finish line. Terry Moore was runner-up, as he was last year up against Tim Townsend, and he closed the gap towards the end but not enough to gain close enough to David. David was a two-category nominee last year including this S.P.A.M.I. category and a runner-up to Stefano Gaudiano in 2020 in the same slot. Andrew Pepoy won this category in 2014 and was runner-up to Stefano Gaudiano in 2019. This is Chuck Morgan’s first Inkwell nomination on the ballot.
DAVID: “I am honored by this distinction. For me, it was already incredible to be nominated for the third year, but winning the award in front of such good professionals who were also nominated in the same category is a surprise and a great joy. It encourages me to keep working and trying to improve as an inker and also as an artist. Thanks to the jury and the public who voted for me. And a special mention to José María Beroy, the amazing professional author of the wonderful pencils under my inks!”
All-in-One Award: Favorite artist known for inking his/her own pencil work.
1. Nir Levie: 1042 (38%): BioRipple [Heavy Metal]
2. Andrew Pepoy: 961 (35%): The Adventures of Simone & Ajax [Kickstarter]
3. Greg Smallwood: 747 (27%): (Human Target [DC]
Winner NIR LEVIE was neck-to-neck with Andrew Pepoy out of the gate and a few days later Andrew shot way ahead of him. In the final days, Nir crept up and gained enough to be the winner. Nir and Greg Smallwood are new to the Inkwell Awards ballot. Andrew was nominated in 2019.
NIR: “Looking back at the trail of my own art can sometimes be cringy, but is necessary in order to acknowledge the fact that art is a voyage and not a final destination.

This humbling award helps us as artists look at our work and feel intrinsic to the creative process of humanity. Sometimes we repeat ourselves, but other times –
The real magic happens when we get bored with ourselves.
A heartfelt thank you to all of my supporters and to the award organizers.”

The Inkwell Awards express CONGRATULATIONS to all award recipients!

The Inkwell Awards is the only official 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to promote and educate regarding the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize the best ink artists and their work. Established in 2008, the Inkwells are overseen by a volunteer 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. This year they celebrate their 15th anniversary.

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