(New Bedford, MA/USA–July 4, 2024) The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit devoted to promoting the art of comic book inking, has announced the winners of their lifetime achievement awards, The Joe Sinnott Hall Of Fame and The Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award (SASRA) at their new host show the Hershey Comic Con’s awards ceremony on June 29. Each is chosen internally by the Inkwell Awards’ committee. The first is limited to two individuals and the second up to four, each for a  career span of about 25 years for inking American comic books. Later this week the Inkwells will present the 2024 Inkwell Ballot Winners EXPANDED EDITION.

The two winners of Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award are Ernie Chan and Chic Stone.

Winners of the SASRA, in alphabetical order, are Graham IngelsGeorge Klein and John Totleben.

Joe Sinnott’s son, Mark, an artist and Inkwell special ambassador, shared the following statement for the JOE SINNOTT HALL OF FAME:

“There have been 34 outstanding inkers inducted into the Hall of Fame since it began in 2008. This year we are pleased to add 2 more fine inkers to that list, Ernie Chan and Chic Stone! These two are tremendous comic artists that sadly are no longer with us,  but have clearly left their mark on the comic world…bringing great enjoyment to us through their work. 

“Our first winner is ERNIE CHAN (July 27, 1940 – May 16, 2012) Ernie was previously a 3-time Sinnott Hall of Fame nominee in 2013, 2016 & 2023. He was a part of the legendary Filipino art studio that Tony Dezuniga opened the door to at Marvel & DC back in the early-mid 1970s. Other members of that studio to win an Inkwell lifetime achievement award include Alfredo Alcala, Danny Bulanadi and Rudy Nebres. Ernie Chan started working as a penciler on horror and mystery titles in 1972 for DC Comics. He would go on to have a long tenure there doing several ‘Batman’ and ‘Detective Comics’ issues as well. In the mid-1970s Ernie (then known as Ernie Chua) would become DC’s primary cover artist.  Moving over to Marvel Comics he would go on to draw several ‘Doctor Strange’, ‘Kull The Destroyer’ and ‘Power Man & Iron Fist’ issues. He would also ink the ‘Incredible Hulk’, pencilled by Sal Buscema. However, it was his collaborating with Sal’s brother, the great John Buscema on the Robert E. Howard character Conan that Ernie’s inking would stand out the most and grab the comic fans’ attention.”

Mark introduced Ernie’s daughter Cleo Ibe who spoke about her dad and his career with many images of his unpublished works of art. Her statement and presentation can be found in the livestream recording.

Mark continued: “Our second Sinnott Hall of Fame award recipient, CHIC STONE (Jan. 4, 1923 – July 28, 2000)! Chic was previously a 3-time nominee in 2020, 2021 & 2023. Chic started working in comics at the age of 16 in 1939. Throughout the 1940s he would work for Fawcett Comics on the original Captain Marvel,  as well as Lev Gleason Publications and Timely Comics.  He would leave the comics industry during the 1950s…(and) return to comics during the Silver Age era of the 1960s. He would pencil ‘Adventures Into The Unknown’ for ACG Comics while also being a ghost inker on ‘Batman’ and ‘Superboy’ for DC. It was at Marvel Comics however where he would find his greatest success,  inking the legendary Jack Kirby on the ‘X-Men’, ‘Thor’, ‘The Avengers’,  ‘Captain America’ and several issues of the ‘Fantastic Four’.  He also would ink many covers during this period as well.  During the 1970s and 80s, Chic would go on to have a long run working for Archie Comics.”

Mark introduced publisher, author, artist, advocate and Inkwell Special Ambassador J. David Spurlock who would speak on and do a slide presentation on the work of Chic Stone. He would also introduce comic book artist, writer, editor and co-founder of Bongo Comics Bill Morrison for an unannounced, impromptu assist on inking and Stone. This can also be found on the livestream recording.

Mark closed with “I know that my dad, Joltin’ Joe, would be very proud to have Ernie Chan and Chic Stone as the 35th and 36th recipients of the Joe Sinnott Hall Of Fame Award.  Congratulations to these gentlemen on a fantastic career and a job well done.”

Almond and guest speaker and artist Geof Isherwood announced the STACEY ARAGON SPECIAL RECOGNITION AWARD/SASRA winners.

In his absence, Isherwood read the achievements and acceptance statement that JOHN TOTLEBEN typed up, the only living lifetime award recipient this year, who couldn’t make the trip to the ceremony.

“I’d like to thank Bob Almond and the entire Inkwell crew for elevating the art of inking and giving so many inkers, past and present, the attention and respect they deserve. Whenever given the chance, I feel obliged to point out one simple fact about inking, which is this: Inking IS Drawing. As a skill and a discipline, it cannot be reduced to a simple act of ‘just going over the pencils with ink.’ The nuts and bolts of inking hinges on a solid understanding of the elements of drawing and a reasonable degree of proficiency with the tools and techniques of the trade…The basic math is this – if you can’t draw, you can’t ink.

“As worsening visual impairment and misbehaving retinal cells have made producing artwork a near impossibility for me, I am grateful that I got in a pretty good shot when the gettin’ was good. And just as importantly, I am happy that so many other younger artists continue to make vital, creative contributions to the medium in general, and the craft of inking in particular, even if I can no longer see the work well enough to fully appreciate and enjoy it. To everyone who was involved in the nomination and selection process for this award, Thank You!”

Almond then read an article on the life and career of “Ghastly” GRAHAM INGELS as prepared, with a slideshow, by former assistant director Mike Pascale as can be seen on the presentation recording. INGELS was most recognized for his fully-rendered horror work at EC Comics.

“Not being able to find much illustration work after the war, he turned to comics as a last resort. After working for various publishers, Ingels landed at EC Comics in 1948, drawing ‘pre-New Trend’ western, crime and romance comics. The unmistakable Ingels inking was barely evident on titles like ‘Gunfighter’ and ‘Saddle Justice’. (Al) Feldstein thought Ingels’ natural style had been constrained by other editors. ‘When [Graham] came to EC,’ he said, ‘we encouraged him to develop his own screwball, hairy, black-and-white style. That’s why he developed the way he did, and that’s why his work stands out’. ‘Ingels was added to the New Trend horror books simply because artists were needed but’, Bill Gaines says, ‘It didn’t take us very long to realize what had happened: that Graham Ingels was ‘Mr. Horror’ himself… (At the age of 75) [he] left behind an incredible, complicated legacy of inked and painted wonders both delightful and disturbing, an enigmatic life, a legion of diehard, devoted fans, and many dedicated students who continue his legacy.

 His Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Award is as deserving as it is overdue. Graham Ingels will be enshrined forever as one of comics’ greatest inkmasters.”
Lastly, Geof Isherwood announced the third and final SASRA award recipient GEORGE KLEIN and introduced his niece Diane Boden.

“Thank you to Bob Almond of Inkwell Awards, the Stacey Aragon Special Recognition Awards committee…My Uncle, George Dunsford Klein was more than a comic book inker. He was an oil painter, a writer, and a naturalist. He went on to illustrate covers of ‘Wyoming Wild Life’ and ‘National Sportsman’ in 1939. His illustrations appeared in ‘Murder for What?’ which he did the cover for in 1943, ‘Detective Short Stories’ in 1940, ‘Complete Sports’ in 1943, ‘Best Detective Selections’ in 1940 and more. He wrote and illustrated stories for ‘Nature Magazine’ and others. 

“I am not qualified to speak on his life as an inker because I would only see him once or twice a year, usually at Christmas. But I do remember watching him work in our basement inking ‘Superman’ comics. Our home was filled with his oil paintings which he admitted he couldn’t make a living from. To me he was handsome and exciting and I was devastated when he died when I was a junior at Syracuse University. I’d like to thank the committee for allowing me the honor of accepting this amazing award on George’s behalf.”

At press time, no member of the Ingels or Stone family or estate could be reached for comment or acceptance of the award. Bob Almond, The Inkwells’ founder and director, requested anyone from either family or with information to contact him via the site or on social media.

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.

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