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Peter Hicks
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Joined: 30 April 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 1586
Posted: 10 September 2020 at 6:08pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Dick Giordano made everybody’s pencils look even better.  He was the best inker for Neal Adams, IMHO.   
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Rebecca Jansen
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Joined: 12 February 2018
Location: Canada
Posts: 2105
Posted: 10 September 2020 at 7:00pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Giordano seemed the best all-around inker, excellent on everyone; Neal Adams, Mike Sekowsky, Alex Toth, Gene Colan, Marshall Rogers, John Byrne, Michael Golden... I can't think of anyone he didn't suit! Joe Rubenstein, Bob Wiacek, and Al Milgrom are others that come to mind as all-arounders. Going back a little further Sid Greene, Joe Sinnott and George Klein. Someone like Wally Wood was almost wasted as an inker but it's a real treat to have seen him on Kirby and Ditko, and I liked Byrne inking Ditko a lot as well which was about as rare.

Then there are those teams that just click so specifically... Bob McLeod on James Sherman (compare to Jack Abel and it's like a totally different Sherman), Klaus Janson on Frank Miller or Gene Colan (but on Perez you almost couldn't tell it's Perez), Tom Palmer on Neal Adams... I might say Joe Rubenstein on John Byrne but I realize most people say Terry Austin.
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Mike Norris
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Joined: 16 April 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 4219
Posted: 10 September 2020 at 7:52pm | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Joe Sinnott. Murphy Anderson, Wally Wood, Dick Giordano, Terry Austin, Joe Rubenstien Klaus Janson... I also like John Romita, Sr's inks. 
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Rodrigo castellanos
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Joined: 03 July 2012
Location: Uruguay
Posts: 608
Posted: 10 September 2020 at 8:24pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

Giordano all the way.

As a kid a lot of the times I found the art "better than usual" I found his name on the inking credits while at the same time not being able to recognize his "style". Since then that's the mark of a good inker for me.

Similar with Austin, except I could somehow tell it was him. 

Janson is awesome, and you only need to see Miller's work sans him to notice.

Perez and Ordway are overpowering, almost redrawing the art, I never got it. What's the point? 

But I have to say Perez over Swan worked for me, it made the art look modern (in those days). In the second part of "Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow?" when Swan inked himself it went back to being a silver age comic book.

Not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you! But for kid me, it looked unappealing, with Perez inks I could appreciate the Swan layouts without being turned off by the retro feel.

Edited by Rodrigo castellanos on 10 September 2020 at 8:25pm
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Brian Miller
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Joined: 28 July 2004
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Posted: 10 September 2020 at 9:22pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

My favorite inkers have a lot to do with who they’re inking, really.
Universal favorites are Janson*, Austin, Wiacek, Green and Williams.
Most everyone else I enjoy depends on the pencil artist. Love Palmer
on Buscema and Colan, but not Byrne. Probably some of my favorite
art ever is Gil inked by Neal Adams. (Janson looks damn good inking
Gil, as well.)

*I never would’ve said that years ago.
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Eric Jansen
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Joined: 27 October 2013
Location: United States
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Posted: 11 September 2020 at 1:34am | IP Logged | 6 post reply

The pairing of different pencilers and inkers (and then further teaming with specific writers and even letterers and colorists on different characters) is one of the great aspects of comics--something not easily translatable into (to name two examples) cinema or fine art.

Klaus Janson--One of the great joys of my comic book reading history was seeing Janson ink Sal Buscema on (mostly) DEFENDERS or Rich Buckler on DEATHLOK or a random HAWKMAN back-up.  Sal and Buckler were great at storytelling and laying out a page, but Janson brought a special kind of magic with his embellishment.  I always wondered if somebody like Sal minded so much shadow or what have you being added, but I recently read a book on him in which he said it was "an honor to be inked" by Janson.

Tom Palmer--Another embellisher who usually always made things better.  Possibly the only inker who could really do Gene Colan justice.

Joe Rubinstein--I always thought he was the best, but then I saw later jobs I didn't care for.  I finally realized that on a great penciler, Rubinstein was totally up to the job of finishing the work to best effect.  But if you put him on a lesser penciler, he wouldn't add very much.  And I've seen how great he is solo (fine art at cons) so I wish (in comics) he WOULD be more of an embellisher.

Terry Austin--His X-MEN work over Byrne of course is legendary...but so too was his inking of Marshall Rogers on DETECTIVE COMICS.

Wally Wood--I remember loving the revival of the JSA in ALL-STAR COMICS in the 70's, and much of that was due to Wally Wood inking Ric Estrada or doing the full art himself.  I have no idea how much he added to Estrada's pencils, but work I saw later proved how excellent he was as an inker.  Whether it's his inks on Ditko in STALKER or Garcia-Lopez on HERCULES UNBOUND, he did his best to make the work look as good as it could without overpowering the pencils.  An early IRON MAN story I only (fairly) recently read proved him the best inker Don Heck ever had--Wood's talents were clearly on display, but the pages STILL looked like Heck!  It's just amazing.

This is, I think, one of the reasons we love Byrne so much--his clear storytelling and strong pencils let him be inked by any of these (and more) and still shine.  There aren't that many pencilers who could be inked by the likes of Austin AND Tony de Zuniga and look wonderful either way!
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Eric Sofer
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Joined: 31 January 2014
Location: United States
Posts: 4028
Posted: 11 September 2020 at 9:06am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Sure, I'll throw in my own opinions.

I don't think every inker suited every penciller. For an example, check out the World's Finest run of Shazam - Don Newton and Kurt Schaffenberger. I learned to like Don Newton's art, and I love Schaffenberger's art right from the start - but that combination felt strangely awkward.

And I love love love Murphy Anderson's art in 'most every appearance - but Swanderson on Superman always seemed a bit awkward, ,maybe a degree or two out of kilter. It wasn't bad by any means - but I don't know that it was the best.

I can only suspect that inkers got their start when pencillers could get more work done if they didn't have to finish their art; someone else could wrap it up, and the company got double the pencilled artwork. I couldn't guess if that started in the strips or the books, though. And I could be way off base - but that's my inference.

A lot of inkers have been noted here, and my personal preference is a Chinese stagehand approach to inking. Dick Giordano was great - but I never doubted when a piece was inked by Dick Giordano. In George Perez' inking jobs or Kurt Schaffenberger's, it was much the same. Not bad, and often a great combination - but I could tell who did the inking. Even Wally Wood.

Not withstanding that, what inkers do I like the most? Murphy Anderson. George Klein. Terry Austin. Joe Sinnott. Bernie Sachs. Doug Hazelwood. Wally Wood. Likely a few others who I'd think of if I gave it more time.

And to give the other side their fair time, there are one or two inkers who I didn't like a lot as well. I just never got used to Joe Giella's inking. And Vince Coletta... the only man who seemed to ink with a sharpie. Bob Oksner left an odd taste in mouth too.

But for the most part, the "tracers" are pretty tolerable, ya?
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Michael Penn
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Joined: 12 April 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 11088
Posted: 11 September 2020 at 9:32am | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Vince Colletta was my favorite inker when I was a kid. I still absolutely love his work -- but...!!!

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Brian Floyd
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Joined: 07 July 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 7057
Posted: 11 September 2020 at 9:51am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Michael, you're probably in the minority. Colletta is reviled by a lot of people. Myself included. He's the worst inker that Jack Kirby ever had.

Colletta worked fast because he didn't even bother trying to make the art look like the peniciller's, and he often didn't bother spotting blacks. 

According to Mark Evanier, Steve Ditko wouldn't read anything if he knew Colletta worked on it, and Stan Lee himself kicked Colletta off TOMB OF DRACULA. 

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Phil Southern
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Joined: 17 May 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 185
Posted: 11 September 2020 at 10:16am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

My considered opinion as an old man: Al Williamson is my favorite inker/embellisher.

As a kid, I HATED Janson's inks on JB in Avengers #183, but man alive, as an adult, that book is just cracking good looking! 
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John Byrne

Imaginary X-Man

Joined: 11 May 2005
Posts: 121686
Posted: 11 September 2020 at 10:26am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

When Vinnie inked what turned out to be my only issue of SPECTACULAR SPIDER-MAN, he told me Shooter had instructed him to “fix” my pencils.
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Eric Ladd
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Joined: 16 August 2004
Location: Canada
Posts: 4017
Posted: 11 September 2020 at 12:36pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I've always liked Wrightson's ink work, but it is tough to call him an inker. Joe Sinnott is my favorite when it comes to classic comics, but I also like Wally Wood, Alex Toth and Al Williamson. I do like a lot of inkers, but lately I tend to focus on a few due to their abilities with certain tools. I love the ink work by Jesus Merino on Carlos Pacheco. Specifically, when these two were doing their FF run. I like Sandra Hope because she is so good with a brush. I like Mark Morales because he is so good with a crow quill. I like Rich Friend and Scott Williams because of how they approaches the work.
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