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John Wickett
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 1:57pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

For most of my childhood Dave Cockrum was an artist whose work I thought I didn't care for very much.  His claims to fame were Legion and X-Men, but I thought Grell and Byrne were much better on those books.

Then I picked up Giant Size Avengers #2 as a back issue.  Cockrum is the penciler, and he apparently inked his own work in that issue as well.  the book is stunningly beautiful.  The splash page features Hawkeye, and remains one of my favorite images of that character.  

When I first saw the book I couldn't believe Dave Cockrum was the artist.  A couple of months later, Giant Size Avengers #3 came out, which was also penciled by Cockrum, but inked by Joe Giella, and with that, we were back to the Dave Cockrum I was accustomed to seeing.  

It was then that I realized what a dramatic impact an inker has on the final appearance of a book.  Being 10 years old, before that I had a very oversimplified understanding of what an inker does, and figured if they were just tracing over the penciler's lines, then any one inker would be just as good as another.

I remember reading Byrne's preferences regarding an inker years ago, but I'm wondering how much of a consensus there is among artists about what makes a good inker.  

I would assume (maybe wrongly) that most of the time you want someone who will preserve the look of the original pencils as much as possible, but then you've got great artists like Perez and Neal Adams who also ink, and take the time to "fix" the penciler's work while they're at it. How much is that appreciated?

I remember hearing that Ordway was a very dominant inker in an undesirable way, but I think his inks over Buckler's pencils on early issues of All-Star Squadron are amazing (better than either of them have looked without each other), so I imagine the individual relationship between penciler and inker is as important as anything else.  Some collaborations just seem to click the right way.  

Anyway- does anybody have a favorite inker?

I tend to like Neal Adams, Dick Giordano, Terry Austin, Klaus Jansen (amazing collabs with Miller), and very distinctive style.  On new comics there is nobody who jumps out to me.  Who are today's best?

  
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Brad Hague
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 2:03pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"Anyway- does anybody have a favorite inker?"

Yes.

Wally Wood is tops for me.
Then I think of pencil/inkers like John Byrne, George Perez and Jim Starlin who I very much admire.

As for inkers, there are those who inject their own style and there are those who copy line for line.
My favorite with their own style are Terry Austin and Joe Rubenstein.

As for who are today's best?  I have no clue.  I haven't bought a new comic in what seems like a decade.

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Brandon Carter
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 2:19pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

I'm not sure I really have a favorite inker, other than generally liking the same ones that I consider my favorite pencillers.  While I am pretty good, I think, at recognizing pencillers by their style, I can't say the same for inkers.  It has to be an inker with a very strong style (Bill Sienkiwicz or George Perez, for instance) for me to be able to recognize the inker.  Something I'd be interested in seeing is having one penciller draw a page or two, perhaps a pinup and a sequential art page, and having maybe a couple of dozen different inkers ink those same pencilled pages.  That would make it easier to see exactly what each inker brings to the artwork. 




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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 2:19pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

There were multiple inkers on that AVENGERS annual.
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Brandon Carter
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 2:40pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

There were multiple inkers on that AVENGERS annual.

**********************

I sort of remember that one.  That's one I may have to revisit soon!



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Marc Baptiste
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 3:15pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I am forever enamored by what is now the mythic BYRNE/AUSTIN team! So my favorite inker remains Terry Austin.

Marc


Edited by Marc Baptiste on 10 September 2020 at 3:16pm
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John Wickett
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 4:04pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Interesting.  Cockrum is the only one credited, and the credit is for "art."
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Peter Martin
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 4:07pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I like inkers that bring their own style, but not so much that the penciller's style gets buried.

And I think it depends on how the specific styles click rather than being an across-the-board thumbs up or down for certain inkers.

For example, I found Tom Palmer's ink to be a great match for John Buscema's pencils, and I think he works quite nicely over John Romita Jr also, but when it comes to JB's pencils, Tom Palmer's inks are too overpowering for my preference.

Klaus Janson over Frank Miller is a great match; he kind of smooths the rough edges nicely without losing the grit of Frank's art.

A brief and unexpected partnership that happened in the 80s was a young-and-upcoming Kyle Baker's inks over Jackson Guice's pencils in New Mutants. It really worked for me.

Some current inkers that I like are Scott Hanna and Danny Miki, though I wouldn't be able to say confidently about 'best' as I am not sufficiently conversant with current comics.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 4:23pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Look closely. Especially at the last half dozen pages or so.
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Brennan Voboril
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 4:36pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

If I am not mistaken, Neal Adams, or people in his studio inked some of Cockrum's pages in that Annual.  I loved Cockrum inking himself, or anyone else (thinking Gil Kane on John Carter), so much.  It would have been very interesting to see Cockrum ink Byrne. 
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John Wickett
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 5:37pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Not long ago I found out that Adams performed an uncredited assist with inking and retouching some of Ross Andru's pencils on Superman vs. Amazing Spiderman.  When you know its there, its easy to spot.  

I'll have to dig out that Avengers book and take a look.  Whoever inked the Hawkeye sequence at the beginning of the book really made Cockrum look great.  
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Robert Bradley
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 6:07pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Looks to me like Adams and/or Crusty Bunkers inked the last 8 pages.  Maybe more.

I love Cockrum's inking on John Buscema in the Avengers (as well as the John Carter issues over Gil Kane.

My favorite inker would probably be Wally Wood, but I have several other favorites from back in the day - Joe Sinnott, John Romita, Kurt Schaffenberger, Tom Palmer, Murphy Anderson, Jerry Ordway, Terry Austin, Klaus Janson, John Severin, Dick Giordano, George Klein, Dan Adkins, Sid Greene, and many more.
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