Cropped vectored image of The Vintage Inkwell Academy logo_2
The Vintage Inkwell Academy

Welcome to The Vintage Inkwell Academy!

Greetings all,
Welcome to The Vintage Inkwell Academy, a collaborative resource established to provide instructional tools, and a support exchange for creators of content infused with the same spirit, energy and intent of the Platinum and Golden-Age comics. For the past few years I have been intently studying the old classical methods of illustration, and have discovered a few great resources. Since finding these was in some cases difficult, I thought perhaps it was a good idea to share them with others studying the same. At first I was going to simply share them out at Golden-Age forums but the idea proved larger than forum can accommodate. Thanks to a suggestion from Australian Panther over at Comic Books Plus, I began this blog which evolved to becoming more suited as more of an Academy of sorts. Think of The Vintage Inkwell Academy as a ”Golden-Age Art School” where one can study and learn the old-school techniques of the past. A place where creators and new students of the Platinum and Golden age styles can exchange educational references, old-school trade tools, techniques and methodologies to develop their skill and work. It’s also a great opportunity to learn from others who want to bring the organic feel and invigorating vibrancy of those great comics back to life. It can also be used as a vehicle for the support of these content creators and promotion of their work.

Cover of Blackhawk #23 depicting the hero Blackhawk smashing through a door and violently knocking down the man behind it.
Reed Crandall, master draftsman. Great, powerful cover with excellent composition.

In my opinion, current comic books have greatly departed from what they once were and can now be considered a dying medium racing to the grave. It is this way because they exist solely to turn a profit and do not much care what their customers want. Main-stream comic conglomerates treat their customers more like hostages, and dictate agenda-driven content which cross-promotes the mass marketing of their brand product into toys, movies, tv media and so on ad nauseam. The actual content creators are no longer given free reign to express bold new ideas, fresh new characters and reap the rewards for their endeavors. Instead they’re summarily regulated to producing corporatized media eviscerated from organic reality and life-affirming principles. This level of insatiable avarice is now causing an unforeseen blow-back for them as long-suffering readers drop out in pursuit of other exciting content or give up altogether.

Recently I was reading many on-line comic reader’s accounts of how they love the medium but hate the modern content which is a visually confusing morass of boring, agenda-driven stories, corporate controlled content and unimpressive, soul-less digital art. The goal of which seems to be to deliver minimal, uninspired content at high prices. These readers are thoroughly disgusted at this situation and greatly desire a better product at a fair price with great value and impactful content. One comic fan I noted in particular stated “I have the money in my pocket to spend and nothing to spend it on in the comic store”. I know that they are not alone, as I too have this exact same experience when browsing the fare at the local comic book store.

Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel's prototype sketches for their conceptualization of Superman.
Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel’s prototype sketches for Superman

Thankfully, Comic Books Plus and The Digital Comic Museum (check my links to them in the side bar of the blog) have been immeasurably phenomenal in hosting legendary Platinum and Golden-Age classic comic books and much more. I can say without reservation that they are a true treasure and without them we would have no other place to find genuine comic books. Without them, I would have never experienced and elevated my techniques exposed to extraordinary artistic teachers such as Reed Crandall, Lou Fine, Mac Raboy and many others.

Photo of Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel holding and making Superman doll fly through the air.
Joe and Jerry create their legend. It all starts with an idea and the will to see it through.

The creators of Superman, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster got their start wanting something new, something better, then galvanized their talents to deliver something fantastically new in the world. This came from the simple seed of an idea, which germinated in the fertile soil of their limitless imaginations. It took root through the brilliance of their dynamic energy and established a legendary new world. They were inspired and absolutely driven to bring bring forth an iconic hero that challenged and fought all the things they felt powerless to change. They established a super heroic every-man with zero tolerance for injustice and a will to stand up for the downtrodden and where is that heroic ideal today? Where is the man or woman who lives by an immutable code, who rights the world’s wrongs to champion justice and bring light into the world? Where is this noble savior to aid the common man?

Panel from Superman comic that reads: "Superman! Champion of the oppressed, the physical marvel who had sworn to devote his existence to helping those in need!"

The point of the matter is, we don’t have to accept this and have the ability to turn this around. There’s a starving audience eagerly waiting for thrilling, memorable content that moves them and that they will support. I can tell you that with some grit, commitment and old fashioned hard work, a bold new, exciting era can be launched. If we demand better, we have to have to take it into our own hands to muster and deliver the will to change this around. I for one am studying illustration and other disciplines earnestly to accomplish this dream. This is not for everyone, for it is arduous, dedicated and often lonely work that requires a strict discipline to see it through. The joy and reward of which is producing great work that one can be proud of to share with the world.

The crux of the matter is, we don’t have to accept this and have the ability to turn this around. There’s a starving audience eagerly waiting for thrilling, memorable content that moves them and that they will support. I can tell you that with some grit, commitment and old fashioned hard work, a bold new, exciting era can be launched. If we demand better, we have to have to take it into our own hands to muster and deliver the will to change this around. I for one am studying illustration and other disciplines earnestly to accomplish this dream. This is not for everyone, for it is arduous, dedicated and often lonely work that requires a strict discipline to see it through. The joy and reward of which is producing great work that one can be proud of to share with the world. Creator driven ideas and meaningful content produced to inspire the regular guy or gal in the street.

Advert of comic art training course that reads: Special Training Spells Success!

I can’t be the only one interested in this and if we can collaborate with one another to bring this grand new age, we can be the change that we want to see. We don’t have to wait on a profit-obsessed corporate kitchen to feed us whatever they want, we can feed ourselves and perhaps make the world a wee bit better. WE… can be this change, so come on, let’s have at it!

3 thoughts on “Welcome to The Vintage Inkwell Academy!

  1. An amazing start Ghost Man – I look forward to how it develops over time!

  2. Congrats on getting the blog up and running GM!
    You’re off to an excellent start. 😀

  3. Thanks for the support Andrew and Yoc, I truly hope new content creators can find useful things to help them here.

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