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Jens Tenhaeff
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 7:13am | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Rather than talking about "best" inkers, I think it is more useful to think about best penciller/inker combinations.

For instance:
  • John Buscema/Tom Palmer – great
  • Gene Colan/Tom Palmer – even greater
  • John Byrne/Tom Palmer – fine, but not really the best fit
or 
  • Jack Kirby/Joe Sinnott – perfect fit
  • Jack Kirby/Mike Royer – fine, I guess …
  • Jack Kirby/Steve Ditko – just weird
or 
  • Frank Miller/Klaus Janson – a classic
  • John Byrne/Klaus Janson – interesting
or
  • John Byrne/Terry Austin – great combination
  • John Byrne/John Byrne – perfect combination
  • John Byrne/Joe Sinnott – not really working for me

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 7:37am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

John Byrne is one of my very favorite comicbook artists, and has been from the first time I saw his work. And I love his X-MEN run. Taking absolutely nothing away from that, though, I think that as much as half of what I found so appealing in it was Terry Austin's inking. Whether Mr. Austin inked Dave Cockrum's covers, or George Perez's annual, or Walt Simonson's Teen Titans team-up, I thought back then that, yes, this is what these characters should look like. 
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 7:54am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Sinnott & Palmer. . .

Joe and Tom almost always gave me exactly what I expected, which was not always the case with other inkers.

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Michael Penn
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 9:10am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Tom Palmer's inks, I enjoyed from my first viewing.

Joe Sinnott's, I'm embarrassed to admit, was not something I initially highly rated. 


Edited by Michael Penn on 13 September 2020 at 10:15am
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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 9:44am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I actually tend to agree with Jens Tenhaeff's analysis. Sinnott over Kirby was superb. Sinnott over Byrne was decent and clean, but lost a little of John's touch.

We complain that some inkers overpower their pencilers (Jerry Ordway, Josef Rubinstein, etc.) but I would say Palmer and Sinnott jobs also generally wind up looking more like Palmer and Sinnott than their pencillers. The difference being, Palmer and Sinnott both have beautiful, confident lines that are pleasing enough that nobody seems to mind.

Inkers also change over time. Terry Austin was for me the best inker working from the mid-70s when he ghosted for Giordano through the mid-80s and his Dr. Strange run and maybe Cloak and Dagger. At some point after that, his style changed and while it's still interesting it's just not quite for me anymore.

Giordano was probably the most reliably wonderful inker at DC from his arrival in the late 60s until some point in the mid-late 70s when Austin left, but that's just it... it wasn't all him. His work was one of those conglomerations John talked about previously and by the time he was inking John on some of those Superman issues, the work was different. Some of that was surely because his assistants were different.
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 9:46am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Sinnott over Byrne was decent and clean, but lost a little of John's touch.

Important to remember Joe was inking over my breakdowns, not full pencils.

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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 9:51am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Giordano was probably the most reliably wonderful inker at DC from his arrival in the late 60s until some point in the mid-late 70s when Austin left, but that's just it... it wasn't all him. His work was one of those conglomerations John talked about previously and by the time he was inking John on some of those Superman issues, the work was different. Some of that was surely because his assistants were different.

When I asked Dick to ink Superman, I also asked for his promise that he would do it all himself. "Of course!" he said. "This is an important project!"

I was disappointed with the results. Years later, I found out from Frank McLaughlin that HE had, in fact, inked MAN OF STEEL and the early SUPERMAN issues, excepting MoS 3, where Dick inked the Batman figures and some of the faces.

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Rick Senger
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 10:09am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I TOTALLY see McLaughlin in those inks. And that's not to say McLaughlin was a bad inker... his contributions to THE FLASH over Novick and JLA over Dillin were often very good. But his "fit" with you wasn't quite perfect.
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Steven Myers
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 11:01am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Terry Austin and Tom Palmer are good examples of inkers who use totally different styles (and tools) but both are amazing. Austin has the most amazing clear, clean line, though it can make some figures look stiff at times, and the rubble might look clean.

Palmer isn't afraid to spill some ink on the page! Sometimes he's going to overpower the pencil work, but he's a talented penciler himself, and knows what he's doing. Nothing looks stiff, though sometimes things look too loose.
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 12:23pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Since Austin and Palmer are both mentioned together, I have a
question, JB.

They have both used a halo effect around foreground figures. Do you
know if they utilized white out to help achieve the effect?
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John Byrne
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 12:34pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

If youre referring to Terrys inks on SUPERMAN/SPIDER-MAN, that wasnt done by Terry, but it was done with white-out.

In Toms case, I can only say probably.

(As a result of S/S-M, I fell into the habit of leaving a halo in my pencilswhich most inkers ignored.)

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Wallace Sellars
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Posted: 13 September 2020 at 1:37pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

Right NOW, I'd much rather see Mr. Palmer ink JB's pencis than Mr. Austin.Both are great inkers, but Palmer brings something lush and organic to our host's pencils that I really appreciated on XMHY.
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