Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Inkwell Awards 2014 Winners and Hall Of Fame


Inkwell Awards Announces Their 2014 Winners And Hall Of Fame Recipients

(New Bedford, MA/USA—June 21, 2013): The Inkwell Awards ("The Inkwells"), a non-profit advocacy for comic-book inking and inkers, has announced the results of its seventh annual awards for excellence in the art form in 2013.

After nominees were chosen by a separate and independent Nomination Committee, voting via live ballot at their website ran from April 15-30 with almost 2,000 ballots being turned in. One winner was chosen in each of five categories targeting the exceptional work of ink artists from American-based interior comic book work cover-dated 2013. Separately, the Inkwells internally selected the two recipients of the annual Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award. All recipients were contacted May 1st and some invited artists attended the fourth live awards ceremony at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC on Saturday, June 21st. The winners and categories are:

FAVORITE INKER AWARD: Norm Rapmund (Action Comics, Ravagers, Teen Titans, Justice League of America, Nightwing, Superman). 

Rapmund took the winner's slot with 46% of the vote to runner-up Wade von Grawbadger (All-New X-men, Green Lantern, Legion Lost), who finished with 14%. Norm was a 2010 Most-Adaptable Award runner-up nominee and in 2008 he was a runner-up nominee in both the FAVORITE INKER (MODERN) and FAVORITE EMBELLISHER/FINISHER (MODERN) categories.

MOST-ADAPTABLE AWARD: Walden Wong (Wolverine & the X-Men, Batwoman, Catwoman, Scarlet Spider, Wolverine Max, X-Treme X-Men).

Wong had never even been a nominee on previous Inkwell Awards ballots, but this year he took 53% of the vote, besting the 13% for three-time recipient Scott Hanna (Avengers Assemble, Green Lantern Corp, Iron Man, Team 7, Supergirl, Teen Titans, X-men, Legion Lost)

PROPS AWARD (inker deserving of more attention): Walden Wong pulled far ahead of the competition with 49%, beating Richard Friend (Forever Evil, Justice League of America, Green Lantern, Legion Lost) who finished second with 18%.

The S.P.A.M.I. AWARD (Small Press And Mainstream Independent): Andrew Pepoy (Simpsons Comics, Simpsons Illustrated, Simpsons One-Shot Wonders, Danger Girl: Trinity). 

Pepoy emerged from an initial three-way tie with 21%, edging out Stefano Gaudiano (Walking Dead, Bloodshot, Lazarus) with 20% and Cliff Rathburn (Invincible, Super Dinosaur, Walking Dead) with 17%. Andrew was also a 2009 PROPS AWARD nominee.

ALL-IN-ONE AWARD (artist who pencils and inks their own work): Stan Sakai (47 Ronin, DHP, Mouse Guard). 

Sakai was in the lead by a wide margin throughout the race, ending with 27% of the votes. Runners-up were Chris Samnee (Adventures of Superman, Batman Black & White, Daredevil) with 20% and Fiona Staples (Batman Beyond, Saga), who fell only five votes shy of second place to finish third. 

THE JOE SINNOTT HALL OF FAME AWARD:  Joe Simon and Tom Palmer (with Frank Giacoia as runner-up). 

Following last year's change in protocol, this award was again handled internally by the Hall of Fame Nomination Committee, made up of core committee members, former committee members, contributors, ambassadors and other HoF award recipients. The other nominees chosen were Dan Adkins, Violet Barclay (aka Valerie Smith), John Beatty, Tony Dezuniga, Frank Giacoia, Bob McLeod, Mike Royer, Josef Rubenstein, and Bernie Wrightson. The late Joe Simon (Captain America Comics, Adventure Comics, Boy Commandos, Black Magic, Young Romance, Boys' Ranch, Fighting American, Adventures Of The Fly, Prez, Sick magazine) was a Hall of Fame nominee for the last three years and Tom Palmer (Doctor Strange, Daredevil, Tomb Of Dracula, The Avengers, X-Men, Kick Ass, Marvel Zombies) both a runner-up nominee for the last three years and a nominee in 2009.

Joe Sinnott, the award’s namesake and first recipient, made the following statement: “I couldn't have been more pleased when I learned that we had elected Joe Simon and Tom Palmer as our selections to the 2014 Inkwell Awards Hall Of Fame.

"Joe of course was a favorite of mine way back in the early 1940s when I was just about 14 and an early fan of what was something new, comic books. Joe really enhanced Kirby's pencils whether it was on the Boy Commandos, Captain America or even the great romance books that they did. I only regret that Joe, who passed away in 2011 won't be with us to accept his well-deserved award.

"As for Tom Palmer, I can't say enough about him. We all know what a great artist he is in his own right and someone I would want to ink my pencils if I was still penciling. Like all great inkers, he not only pleases the penciller but he makes their great work even better than it really is. 

"Again, what a combo to be entering our Hall of Fame together - Joe and Tom, truly two of the greats.”

Tom Palmer said in a statement, “I want to express my gratitude to the Inkwell membership and staff along with the many fans who voted for me this year. I sincerely appreciate their recognition...It is indeed an honor receiving such a prestigious award, having the name of one of my heroes attached to it only makes it much more rewarding.”

Writer/editor Steve Saffel spoke for the Joe Simon Estate and accepted Simon's posthumous award on their behalf. Writer Ron Garney spoke for Tom Palmer who could not attend and accepted his trophy for him.

Eisner-award-winning artist Bill Sienkiewicz was the awards ceremony's Guest of Honor. Inkwell Awards founder and director Bob Almond served as ceremony host, aided by spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell, portrayed this year by both Anna White and Laura Beihl, who served as co-hostesses. 2012 S.P.A.M.I. award recipient Dexter Vines acted as Presenter and Saffel and Garney were the guest speakers. Retired committee members Jim Tournas and Sarah L. Covert were each presented with a Silver Inkwell Award for their time served. Mike Hoskin received the same for five years of service on the Nomination Committee. 
More details such as other nominees and the winners’ acceptance speeches can be found at the Inkwell Awards website.
The Inkwell Awards is an official 501(c)3 non-profit organization whose mission is to educate the public and promote the art form of comic-book inking, as well as annually recognize and award the best ink artists and their work. Now in its seventh year, the organization is overseen by a committee of industry professionals and assisted by various professional ambassadors and numerous contributors. They sponsor the Dave Simons Inkwell Memorial Scholarship Fund for the Kubert School and host the Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Steve Ditko is Alive and Well and...

It's funny how people react when you tell them you know Steve Ditko. Their eyes sort of pop out, or they go slack jawed. It isn't pretty.

I've had those reactions for years and years, when all I ever did was have a correspondence with the venerable and clearly legendary artist. And then I saw that same reaction today when discussing Ditko with artist Bob Wiacek, who clearly knows Steve better than I do. Only this time, it was my jaw that unhinged.

So, anyway, I called Steve this afternoon to say hello, and it was a brief conversation but rewarding. His mind is sharp and he's fascinating and we didn't even talk about Ayn Rand.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Chuck Dixon Bemoans the Liberal Blacklist. And Tony Isabella.

Chuck Dixon
The writer Chuck Dixon, well known for his gritty comic book work, and someone I happen to like quite a lot, recently teamed up with writer Paul Rivoche for a Wall Street Journal piece entitled “How Liberalism Became Kryptonite for Superman: A graphic tale of modern comic books’ descent into moral relativism.” Among other things, their piece decries the treatment of conservative comics creators—a breed at least as endangered these days as Sumatran Tigers.

Is their outcry an attempt to get right-wing readers to purchase their recent adaptation of Amity Shlaes’ The Forgotten Man? Sure. Why not? And if that’s the case, is their argument any less valid?

Tony Isabella thinks so.

“Chuck Dixon is being willfully dishonest in his attempt to plug his new book,” writes Isabella in a post entitled “Dishonest Dixon” over at Harlan Ellison’s website.

As people have pointed out elsewhere, there are a lot of reasons why comics’ writers (and artists) find themselves without work or as much work as they'd like or the kind of work they'd like.

If there were an overwhelming anti-conservative bias in comics, Bill Willingham and Ethan Van Scriver would not be two of the most sought-after creators in comics...and Dixon's liberal counterparts like myself and Mike W. Barr would have more work than they could handle.

A significant portion of Dixon's work on DC and Marvel heroes violates the very morality whose lack he decries in his whiny little essay. I don't put much stock in his claims. But, then, facts do have a well-known liberal bias.

For those of you unfamiliar with their accomplishments, Chuck Dixon was among the better Batman writers of the last quarter century (see his work on Detective Comics). Chuck and artist Graham Nolan co-created the villain Bane, too, while his Marvel work included long, impressive runs on The Punisher and Savage Sword of Conan.

Tony Isabella
Tony Isabella was an editor and writer at Marvel whose work in the 1970s included Ghost Rider, Captain America and Daredevil. He left Marvel to join DC in 1977 where he created and scripted Black Lightning and has generously contributed on more than one occasion to projects I’ve been involved in. And his frothing hatred of Republicans—at least as far as anyone perusing his daily Facebook posts would surmise—appears as limitless as Galactus’s hunger.

“Was Tony ever told he should not send in pitches because of his political beliefs?” Chuck responded in an email to me. “Were editors ever threatened with termination for putting his name on a proposal? Was he ever denied work because he refused to apologize to an editor over a political disagreement?

“My experience is my experience,” Chuck continues. “I cannot explain why Bill [Willingham] and Ethan [Van Scriver] continue to get work. I only know why I was denied work.”

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Aardwolf Publishing to release Dave Cockrum's Final FUTURIANS

Contributed art from Ray Lago
Dave Cockrum’s final, never-before-seen FUTURIANS story has everything you loved about Dave’s X-Men work—and more. But Aardwolf Publishing wasn’t satisfied just assembling a sensational graphic novel scripted and penciled by Cockrum, and inked by his X-Men collaborator Bob Wiacek—we also recruited the industry’s royalty to create pin-ups, write-ups, and signed and remarqued bookplates: Neal Adams, Neil Gaiman, Jim Lee, Ray Lago, Ricardo Vilagran, Adam Kubert, Andy Kubert, Bill Sienkiewicz, Walt Simonson, Mark Wheatley, Mark McKenna, and Mike “Bru-Hed” Pascale are just some of the sensational team adding many delicious extras to this project, which also sees the professional return of Paty Cockrum (Amazing Spider-Man, Claws of the Cat) on colors.

Pre-order the hard copy graphic novel now and receive the expanded digital version FREE. You will also have exclusive opportunities to purchase inexpensive original art and signed bookplates from our all-star team--as well as Dave's personal items (his pen, his sword, his personal file copy of X-Men #94).

U.S. Price for THE FUTURIANS RETURN is $25.00 (customers outside of the U.S. will be billed for additional shipping). You can even ask Aardwolf to reserve the book for just $10.00. Are we good guys or what?

To participate in this special pre-Kickstarter offer, PayPal your reserve money to sales@aardwolfpublishing.com and note “Futurians Reserve.”