Tom Palmer (comics)

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Tom Palmer
Born (1942-07-13) July 13, 1942 (age 79)
Area(s)Inker, Colourist
Notable works
Tomb of Dracula
Star Wars
The Avengers
AwardsAlley Award, 1969
Inkpot Award (2010)[1]
Inkwell Award for Favorite Finisher/Embellisher (2008)
Inkwell Award for The Joe Sinnott Hall of Fame Award (2014)

Tom Palmer Sr. (born July 13, 1942)[2] is an American comic book artist best known as an inker for Marvel Comics.


Although Tom Palmer has done a small amount of penciling work (as well as some cover art and some coloring), the vast majority of his artistic output since the 1960s has been as a comic book inker. Reminiscing about how he came to be an inker, Palmer recounted:

I walk in the door and pencil [an] issue of Doctor Strange - first job I ever penciled. At the time, I thought I did a good job, but really it was a stinker. It wasn't up to par. I went back two weeks later to get the next issue, and they said, "No, we're getting someone else to pencil it; would you like to ink it?" I said "Sure!" I'd never inked anything before! But to this day, if someone asks, "Can you handle this new assignment?" I'll say "Sure!" I may not know how to tackle that specific assignment today, but by tomorrow or next week I will.[3]

Especially noteworthy is Palmer's extensive work for Marvel Comics, including well-remembered runs paired with pencilers Neal Adams on The Avengers and Uncanny X-Men; Gene Colan, on titles such as Doctor Strange, Daredevil, and Tomb of Dracula; and John Buscema, on The Avengers. He also inked the entire run of John Byrne's X-Men: The Hidden Years.

Palmer is widely considered the definitive inker for Gene Colan, whose use of grey textures made his pencils notoriously difficult to ink in a way that did them justice.[4] Colan has stated publishers never answered his requests to be paired with a specific inker.[3] Palmer reasoned that, "I think the way we both worked in the business, we had a book to get out every month, bills to pay, and somehow we were put together as a team. We could have been forgotten and ignored, and we'd not be sitting here today. But somehow, I think, the fans have brought us to this point of recognition."[5]

Palmer's brushy, detailed, and illustrative inking style hearkens back to vintage newspaper comic strip strips like Steve Canyon and Tarzan, and has influenced later generations of inkers like Klaus Janson, Josef Rubinstein, and Bob McLeod.[6]

Palmer's son Tom Palmer Jr. is a comic book professional who had a long-running column, Palmer's Picks, in the now defunct Wizard Magazine: The Price Guide to Comics and he was also an editor for DC Comics.[7]


In addition to the awards below, Palmer was also named the #3 Inker of American Comics by Atlas Comics.[6]


  1. ^ Inkpot Award
  2. ^ Miller, John Jackson (June 10, 2005). "Comics Industry Birthdays". Comics Buyer's Guide. Archived from the original on February 18, 2011. Retrieved December 12, 2010.
  3. ^ a b Field, Tom (2005). Secrets in the Shadows: The Art & Life of Gene Colan. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing. p. 91.
  4. ^ Field. pp. 83–84, 87
  5. ^ Field, p. 93
  6. ^ a b "The 20 Greatest Inkers of American Comic Books," Atlas Comics. Accessed Dec. 16, 2008.
  7. ^ Brevort, Tom. "Tom Palmer Lunch," Blah Blah Blog (Nov. 8, 2007). Accessed Dec. 16, 2008.
  8. ^ The Buyer's Guide to Comics Fandom #123 (March 26, 1976).

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Preceded by Doctor Strange inker
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Preceded by Uncanny X-Men inker
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Preceded by Daredevil inker
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Preceded by Tomb of Dracula inker
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Preceded by Star Wars inker
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Preceded by The Incredible Hulk vol. 3 inker
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