Atlas Comics presents

In comics since the 40's, George Roussos was so adept with a brush in his hand that his co-workers appointed the nickname "Inky" to him. His style was often thick, heavy with blacks and sported nice contrasts which complimented one of his prime collaborators in the 50's, Mort Meskin. Like most Golden Age inkers, Roussos toiled in complete anonymity until the advent of the Marvel Age, when his work under the name George Bell made him well known to fans. Roussos had worked with Kirby many times before, but now, finally with a measure of notoriety. His greatest asset was a instinctive ability at spotting blacks (it would be rather difficult to ink Meskin or Jerry Robinson and not pick up an understanding of placing blacks), and a heavy hand that gave the figures weight. Although his early work is somewhat tough to pin down, his style was distinct enough to identify sufficient material to judge his enormous output. George subsequently became Marvel's production chief, a position he held until his death in the late 80's.

SEE: Fantastic Four #20-27

We looked, but we didn't find a better repro for "Inky" Roussos. Trust us--he was great!


Yeah, Jerry Ordway is a pretty good penciler, but man, can that guy ink! Jerry is probably the last in the line of great Silver Age-style inkers. Taking a lot from Murphy Anderson and Joe Sinnott (and with a pinch of Wally Wood), Jerry anticipated the elegant precision of Brian Bolland, but retained a warmth Bolland occasionally loses. He makes every penciler shimmer with class and polish. Although sometimes his style may dominate, it very often saves the average artist and turns him into something far superior. If Ordway is in the credits, You'll want to take a look at it!

SEE: Fantastic Four #278-283, Crisis on Infinite Earths #5-12

Another eminently "readable" Ordway page from All-Star Squadron. Characters pop from the background (blacks set behind Liberty Belle in panel 3) and groups are framed by well thrown shadows (panel 2) Pencils by Rich Buckler.

Probably more influential as an editor, Dick Giordano has nonetheless crafted some of the finest inks in comics since his early days with Jerry Iger in the 1940's. After a long stint pencilling, inking and editing comics with Charlton (where he helped create the characters that would eventually inspire Watchmen) he moved to DC in 1967 as a staff editor while still producing freelance inks over the likes of Neal Adams and Irv Novick. Giordano's style blended perfectly with Adams' own: deep blacks rendered in bold, confident strokes; sketchy linework which resolved itself into naturalistic shadows and detail under the eye. And although his pencilling tends to be a little stiff, Dick is yet another example of the idea that the best inkers are also excellent artists in their own right.

SEE: Batman #235-245 (plus many Batman issues circa 1971-72)

Sharp silouettes, stark lighting and solid forms are all handled with supreme ease under the brush of Dick Giordano. Pencils by Irv Novick.

If Ralph Steadman inked comics, they might look a lot like the work of Bill Sienkiewicz. Ever since Bill began warping his style in the early eighties (then inking over his own pencils), his instinct was to become looser, bolder and more outrageous in his choices. In spite of the occasionally wild appearance of his pen and brushwork, the communication never becomes confused or tedious. On the contrary - drawing on his great draftsmanship and artist's eye, he brought something more to the pencils he finished. During the 90's especially, he subtly (and sometimes not so subtly) contributed a genuine extra dimension of mood and emotion the same way he had when working on the job by himself. Like a demented amalgam of Graham Ingels and Michael Kaluta, Bill can scratch, crosshatch, splotch, splatter and blot, yet never tax the viewer's eye. It is a desperately difficult and dangerous style, but one that Sienkiewicz handles with assuredness and elan.

SEE: Galactus the Devourer #1-5 (with John J. Muth and John Buscema), Spectacular Spider-Man #223-228

Bill's unique vision imposes itself on Sal Buscema's pencils. From Spectacular Spider-Man #223.

No wonder Syd Shores developed into a great penciller and inker. Consider his pedigree: sometime around 1941 he began working at Marvel (then Timely) as an assistant to Joe Simon and Jack Kirby - by all accounts the third or fourth member of the staff hired! He inked or pencilled (with Al Avison and others) parts of Captain America Comics starting with #2, and took on even more responsibilities when Simon and Kirby fled to DC following issue #10. Shores evidenced an unique and singular inking style, one perhaps only vaguely approximated by the great Bill Everett. Both had bold, but rough hewn lines and illustrative, photorealistic brushwork which gave the pages a beautiful, organic look unlike any other. Shores stayed at Marvel a long time, eventually becoming the bullpen supervisor around 1950, advising new artists, inking and pencilling all the time. He returned to inking full time for a few years in the '60's, giving Kirby (who else?) one of his finest collaborations of the era.

SEE: Captain America #100-103, Daredevil #53-74

The unmistakeable burnished linework of Syd Shores. Pencils by Gene Colan, from Daredevil #62.