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Murphy Anderson: 1926-2015


It was reported today that Murphy Anderson passed away this Friday morning at the age of 89. He was recognized by the Inkwell Awards with a Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award in 2013 (alongside Dick Ayers) but he was not well enough at the time to travel to the host show at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC.  Mike Pascale wrote up a wonderful tribute article on account of this accomplishment at our website. Inkwell director Bob Almond wrote the following today on his Facebook page:

My sincerest condolences to the family of Murphy Anderson who it’s been reported to have passed away this morning at 89. I was always more of a Marvel guy growing up so I didn’t follow a lot of the silver-bronze age DC artists/inkers but he was recognized even by me at that time as the top tier of their house assortment of talent since the ’50s. Perhaps their DC inker version of Joe Sinnott….or he was to Curt Swan (as ‘Sanderson’) what Joe was to Jack Kirby as a team. I met him a couple of times at conventions, always professionally dressed in a suit, and he was a true gentleman in public. My son Nathan Almond sat next to him at a Boston Comic Book & Toy Spectacular show from 2005 (the same show he posed with Joe Sinnott) and Murphy was gracious about letting his play make believe and sketch alongside him. He was recognized with a prestigious Inkwell Awards’ Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame award in 2013 and Mike Pascale wrote up a wonderful tribute on his life and career. Rest in peace and thanks for all of the accomplishments and entertainment, kind sir.

Joe Sinnott w/ Murphy at the 2005 Boston Comic Book & Toy Spectacular Show

Joe Sinnott w/ Murphy at the 2005 Boston Comic Book & Toy Spectacular Show

A 9-year old Nathan Almond side-by-side with Murphy at the same show.

A 9-year old Nathan Almond side-by-side with Murphy at the same show.

BOB’S BLOG: INKBLOTS: Introducing the Sinnott Inking Challenge SPOTLIGHT on JIM LEE!


It’s been mentioned from time to time and images have begun appearing on Facebook but some of you may be asking exactly what is the Sinnott Inking Challenge Spotlight?

It’s an Inkwell Awards spin-off of the popular and successful original Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge that has been an annual event since I introduced it in 2011.  Named and focused on the Inkwell special ambassador and Hall of Fame namesake, Joe Sinnott renders a character in tight pencils and another in loose pencils (breakdowns) and the challenge is for other inkers to interpret his work in ink. This idea has worked on two fronts. First, the artists donate their page, inked over blue lines of the pencils and signed by both Joe and the inker, to the Inkwells and we auction them off on eBay for fundraising. Second, between the event and the subsequent book collection we visually reinforce what the ink artist brings to the table in a ‘before & after’ comparison. The goal meets our mission state about educating what the art form of inking is. The first collection debuted in 2012 and the fifth and latest came out this past June 2015. All are available in our Store (with free signatures by Joe).


The success of the program had myself talking to former and founding committee member Jim Tournas a couple of years ago about a related program, still named after Joe in tribute, where other fan-favorite artists would authorize us with using their pencil art for a similar challenge and we’d rotate the artist for every event. I later handed the program which had lain dormant to another committee member (he prefers to not be credited because after the fact, today, I discovered that his project was significantly different than what it became). He took the promise of the task and ran with it, attending a New York-based DC editorial meeting and discussing the program to Jim Lee.  Jim, with Eddie Choi of DC Comics, authorized that the Inkwell Awards could use his hi-res pencil file from his cover of Superman Unchained#2 (originally inked by his oft-partner Scott Williams). He signed about a dozen blue lines of the pages and we began the hunt for inker participants. Regrettably, that committee member would resign from the team and his project last spring. After sitting in limbo again contributor Joe Goulart volunteered to develop the program to build upon his accomplishments. At Heroes Con and subsequent summer/fall shows many notable artists where recruited.  We decided that while the original Sinnott Challenge event was open to anyone (but not guaranteed a spot in the book collection), the Spotlight event would be ‘invite only’ and on a smaller scale.











Presently the following artists have agreed to contribute/donate to the project:

Joe Sinnott, Klaus Janson, Josef Rubinstein, Walden Wong, Wade von Grawbadger, Victor Olazaba, Mark McKenna, John Dell, Bill Sienkiewicz,
Scott Hanna, Bob Wiacek, Mike Lilly, Sean Parsons, Kevin Conrad, Cory Hamscher, Joe Prado, and some others that are in the works. For all of these participants this has been an honor and thrill to take a shot at the Challenge of interpreting and enhancing Jim’s work and having the best in the business involved adds a healthy does of competition which the charity, fans and bidders ultimately benefit from. The working deadline presently is just prior to Christmas so that all pages can be received, scanned and auctioned off in the new year. Much like the original Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge (also taking place this season), there’s tentative plans to collect everything into a charity book later.




BOB’S BLOG: INKBLOTS: Roll Call! Meet the Season 9 New Members!




On July 6 we reported about the need for Inkwell Awards volunteers and positions sought after an exodus of volunteers.  Season 8 contained several departures, especially in the final 2-3 months prior to the big awards ceremony finale at Heroes Con. Three core committee members stepped down (including the assistant director) and multiple contributors left for reasons that included: simple resignations due to an increased ‘real job’ workload, disappearance, illness, and personal reasons, with a couple of members not departing but needing sabbaticals. So the Help Wanted press release went out this summer and I was happy with the results.  Here is where we stand to date:

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As reported at FirstComicsNews:

(New Bedford, MA/USA—July 6, 2015) The non-profit Inkwell Awards, the sole advocacy for promoting the artform of comic book inking and recognizing its artists, is looking for dedicated volunteers within the comic book community.

As the organization begins its ninth season, it needs extra hands as well as heads. “While we’ve retained devoted members for years at a time, turnaround is common amongst charitable organizations and we’re no exception,” said Bob Almond, the Inkwells’ founder and director. “Finding volunteers is tough enough but finding capable and dedicated ones to last long-term is the challenge.”

Positions/skills of immediate need (and their requirements) include:

*eBay Auctioneer (helps set up and run fundraising auctions; some original comic art/collectibles experience necessary)
*Press Coordinator (interacts with/expands press contacts and forwards PR announcements; public relations experience a plus)
*Volunteer Coordinator and convention volunteers (collects donations for both operational/program expenses and scholarship fund; the Coordinator reaches out to creators via email)
*Nomination Committee Liaison (to oversee, communicate with and recruit new members of the “Nom Com,” who research and nominate candidates for the ballot)
*Nomination Committee volunteers (retailers, bloggers, podcasters, creators, etc. Prefer those who are familiar with current comic book titles, ink artists and their work)
*Website Maintenance (to help perform maintenance/updates; must be familiar with Word Press)
*Advertising (specializing in recruiting advertisers for our books and website)
*Ballot Nominations Supervisor (reviews ballot-nominated candidates and their cited work; must be well-informed regarding current published comic books)
*Inker Resources/Inker Database Assistant (researches inker-related data and posts to the website- must be familiar with Word Press)

*Social Networks (to handle circulating all announcements and boost membership)

*Any charity professional proficient in setting up and running a multi-tier membership incentive program
These positions are voluntary (unpaid) but part-time. Requirements range from annually, quarterly, intermittently, to semi-regular frequency. A résumé and/or references are required in most cases. Scheduling flexibility is negotiable. Communication, reliability, professionalism, altruism, stability and passion for the art form are required; being a team player is a must. Serious inquiries only, please.

Any interested parties can contact Bob Almond at

BOB’S BLOG: INKBLOTS: The 2015 Silver Inkwell Awards



I annually discuss the recipients of the Silver Inkwell Awards (formerly the ‘Special Recognition Awards’ before an actual award was named that this year). Sometimes the silver inkwell trophy is given to nomination committee members who’ve served five years as a reward for that hard work. But there weren’t any of those this year. This year it went solely to core committee members who resigned in good standing…and we had three members with this status this season. This is regrettable but it’s life. And this is about celebrating the good they did for our organization.

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2015 Inkwell Awards Award Winners Announced!


The press release was released first thing Monday morning at FirstComicsNews following the live event that took place Friday June 19 at the Inkwell Awards’ host show Heroes Con. The 4th Joe Sinnott Inking Challenge book also has it’s own, different report of the results in it.  The only development that changed following the press release being sent to FCN was that Erick Korpi and Michael Kellar did indeed show up and attend the ceremony and accept their silver inkwells. Regrettably, while the full results and related info like statements will be added to the website this summer, there was a problem with recording the ceremony so we do not have a video of it, which is tragic because this was our best ceremony yet. We’ll probably do like five years ago and add the transcript to my speech.  Here is a quick rundown of the winners:

FAVORITE INKER: Victor Olazaba


PROPS: Wade von Grawbadger

S.P.A.M.I.: Dan Parsons

ALL-IN-ONE: Fiona Staples


JOE SINNOTT HALL OF FAME AWARD: Joe Kubert and Steve Ditko

Guest of Honor Klaus Janson to speak at the 2015 Inkwell Awards Ceremony during Heroes Con

First Comics News just ran this press release announcement for us.

Inkwells at Heroes Con


Klaus Janson

(New Bedford, MA/USA—June 10, 2015) Results from the 8th annual Inkwell Awards will be presented at the inking advocacy group’s 5th live awards ceremony this June 19-21 at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. Legendary ink artist Klaus Janson will be one of the speakers.

“It’s exciting and rewarding to celebrate with fans in recognizing the industry’s best ink artists,” said Bob Almond, the non-profit organization’s founder and director. “Since one of the major awards organizations dropped their ‘best inker’ category years ago and later began awarding ‘best penciller/inker team’ to individuals, we’ve been proud to pick up the slack and show the world the vital and varied contributions made by inkers.”

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UPDATE 2/16: THE INKWELL AWARDS VOTING RESULTS ARE IN AND THE AWARD RECIPIENTS CONTACTED! We are now awaiting responses from them in regards to attending our Heroes Con awards ceremony. Thanks to all who voted and spread the word. Congratulations to the nominees and especially the confidential winners who will be announced in Charlotte on June 19 and subsequent press and social network announcements.

The ballot for the 2015 Inkwell Awards is now live and will remain so from May 1st until May 15 at midnight EST. Voting is open to anyone but only one ballot per ip address will be recognized. Thank you and good luck to all nominees!

*NOTE: we’ve learned that the ballot is not accessible when using the Chrome browser.  Other browsers seem to work fine as far as we know.




As reported today at First Comics News:

Voting Is Open For The Inkwell Awards From May 1-15
(New Bedford, MA/USA—April 30, 2015) The Inkwell Awards, a non-profit organization devoted to the education and promotion of the art of inking, invites everyone to vote for the industry’s best of the past year. The official public ballot will be available on the Inkwell Awards’ homepage from May 1 through May 15. Voting is open to everyone, whether fans or professionals.
The ballot also lists the nominees for the internally-chosen Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame (“HoF”) lifetime achievement award. To avoid a “popularity contest” where recent names have more influence than past masters, the two winners have been chosen by a separate, pre-arranged Hall of Fame Nomination Committee. Current nominees are listed as a courtesy. Past HoF award recipients can be found on the organization’s web site.

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BOB’S BLOG: INKBLOTS: “Unsung Heroes”-Our Retailers


It’s been almost exactly two years since I last ran an Unsung Heroes article (on Larry Dempsey) for my Inkblots column so I’m obviously overdue (former articles were on Michael Netzer & Bob McLeod and Serge LaPointe & PJ Magalhaes).  This time I wanted to give special recognition to our retailer associates who we never want to take for granted.  They have assisted us in two crucial programs, the COMPliments Program and Fundraising. Early on Bob Shaw helped establish our general fundraising system where we not only acquire donations from artists at conventions to auction off on eBay but to purchase at cost the blank cover variant comics that suddenly became the rage at Marvel soon after we started up. We received these from a number of retailers at the time but most-notably Larry Harrison of Harrison’s Comics & Pop Culture, Ernie Pelletier Jr. of Friendly Neighborhood Comics, Jay Pillarella of Rubber Chicken Comics, and Nate Machado from New England Comics.















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