Since producing his own homemade “Torpedo Comics” with a group of friends while still in elementary school in the mid/late 1970s Bob has been preparing his whole life for the sequential art medium and the role of a comic book artist. Two years after graduating with a BFA in Illustration at the Umass Dartmouth art college Bob broke in at Marvel Comics in 1992 as a professional ink artist on Warlock & the Infinity Watch series which led to numerous projects at Marvel for the next decade straight like Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Trek: DS9 and later Annihilation: Congest-Quasar and Heroes for Hire. Most significant was his 3 years of work as inker/storyteller with Priest and Sal Velluto on Marvel’s Black Panther from 1999-2002. This highly-acclaimed series won Bob two Squiddy Awards for “Best Inker” (2001-2002) along with one for “Best Creative Team” (2002). Together with Sal they were included in the Heroes 911 tribute book (Marvel), Bloodshot (Acclaim), JSA, Aquaman (DC), Captain Gravity and the Power of the Vril (Penny-Farthing Press), Archer & Armstrong: First Impressions (Valiant), The Phantom/Fantoman (Egmont), The Guardian Project with Stan Lee (Guardian Media) and recently on the Kingstone Bible (Kingstone Media). With other collaborators Bob has also inked assignments like Vampirella: Revelations (Harris), A Nightmare on Elm Street (Wildstorm), Star Trek: The Last Generation (IDW) and Tick variant covers with Mike Lilly for New England Comics. Last year Bob was invited by Marvel along with his Black Panther creative partners to the LA world premiere of Black Panther that we were all credited in “special thanks” due to elements of their run influencing the film content. It has since broken box-office records and has received numerous nominations and awards including for the Academy Awards. This year marks Bob’s 27th year in the medium. You can visit the official Bob Almond Inkwell website at http://www.almondink.com
Bob has also acted as a columnist for his inker-centric “Inkblots” column for Sketch Magazine and First Comics News from 2007-2010. This led to his founding of the non-profit Inkwell Awards (http://www.inkwellawards.com) in 2008 where he acts as director and treasurer. He co-created the company spokes model Ms. Inkwell. As the only organization/advocacy of it’s kind on the planet it promotes and educates about the oft-misunderstood art form of inking and recognizes the best artists of inking in the field. Almost 100% of funds raised go to the non-profit. In 2011 the Heroes Con became the host show for the annual live awards ceremony and, after celebrating their 10 year anniversary in 2018, this year The Great Philadelphia Con! picks up that torch of hosting this prestigious event.
A native of New Bedford, MA Hailey Skaza-Gagne was raised on pop-culture, becoming a comic book film enthusiast. Sharing mutual friends, she met artist Bob Almond while still in high school and their friendship led to Hailey volunteering as a cosplayer for Bob’s non-profit Inkwell Awards, allowing her to experience her first ever comic book convention in 2014. She assisted the organization’s spokesmodel Ms. Inkwell at the time for a year before graduating to the prestigious position herself in 2015. The role was created in 2010 by Bob and artist Randy Green and a dozen young ladies had portrayed the sexy business woman, celebutante/fashionista character before Hailey. Ms. Inkwell is the official Inkwell representative to the community and she meets and greets creators and the public at the conventions, requesting donations for fundraising, running the booth, explaining the non-profit’s mission and taking photo ops. Since 2015, when she was briefly AKA “Holly Black”, an identity she has since renounced, she has achieved record status of being the most-prolific and longest-lasting spokesmodel, having appeared at 24 shows and events to date. Thanks to her professionalism and fundraising achievements she was promoted to Inkwell senior contributor in 2016. She has moderated an inking panel at Garden State Comic Expo and done some public speaking at Heroes Con and the the scholarship ceremony at the Kubert School.
Hailey has successfully developed a relationship with and established an ever-growing recognition and trust with numerous artists, retailers, celebrities and the public thanks to her passion, enthusiasm and high-spirited personality. She was significantly covered in the 2016 Ms. Inkwell Gallery Book and her likeness was rendered in the gallery. The first Ms. Inkwell interview ever taken was run here (http://www.firstcomicsnews.com/rip-holly-black-long-live-hailey-13-questions-for-ms-inkwell/). 2017 marked the first time that she had been recognized individually by show promoters, formally invited to conventions alongside Bob to represent the Inkwells and she began to receive professional Special Guest status at five shows that year. In 2016 she made a record 10 appearances on the Inkwell Awards show tour. After her 21st consecutive appearance going into 2018 (she had to miss two April shows due to a family emergency) she attended her 4th Heroes Con show for their 10th anniversary celebration and was awarded one of the first three Above & Beyond Awards for her record-breaking performance excellence. You can view Hailey’s Inkwell portfolio page here (http://www.inkwellawards.com/?page_id=4467) and reach her via her Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/haileybailey.ann).