Another post sort of dealing with the misconceptions of my job as a comic inker.
There are a lot of overlapping issues at play honestly: being associated with one penciler or style if you work with them for a long time, being compared directly to other inkers when working over a specific penciler or house style, and of course the accusations of just following the work of a penciler.
If you've never picked them up, I recommend buying the Art of Comic Book Inking 1+2 by Gary Martin published by Dark Horse some years back. He takes pencils done by various artist (Steve Rude in the first book and Brent Anderson, Terry Dodson, Randy Green and Adam Warren in the second) and has many different inkers do their work over it. From this you can see the different ways of thinking each person uses to work on a page.
Inking, like penciling is a very individual process in that no 2 people do it exactly alike. One of the differences however is that pencilers seldom have to change their style to suit someone else. Now obviously they have to adjusts their methods to suit a script or a particular style of writing which is a chore in and of itself, but you know the penciler's work when you see it. Inkers have the responsibility of completing that work in black and white and everyone sees that finish differently even if the penciler's work is well known for being finished a certain way. First example that comes to mind: Jim Lee. Everyone knows what his work looks like, he's worked with Scott Williams for most of his career and the combination has been compared to the likes of Kirby/Sinnot, Adams/Palmer or Byrne/Austin. The trick of that is anyone that comes along to ink Jim regardless of how awesome their work is will invariably be compared to Scott Williams which will often rob you of enjoying the work for what it is. If Terry Austin were to ink Jim Lee, it would look differently but no less awesome. But too often our preconceived notions will only let us see things on its face.
Now this also brings up how inkers go about what they do in general in regards to working over different styles. Inkers require a versatility most in comics don't have to have: the ability to work over any style thrown their way in a fashion that does justice to the pencils. This invariably means a different approach to each project with someone different. Some guys have made a career working over people that they really mesh well with (like the aforementioned Scott Williams) and other have made their careers blending their craft over a multitude of talents (Scott Hanna, Richard Friend, Chris Ivy, etc).
And with that you also have pencilers whose styles are so precise that you have to be cautious about how to finish without losing the intent of the work which are often a separate challenge with varying results. Brian Bolland for example, does really precise work that doesn't leave a tremendous amount of leeway. Camelot 3000 had 2 different inkers (Bruce Patterson and Terry Austin) and both were I think faithful to the work But I think Austin captured the pencils with more Bolland's intent. This takes nothing away from Patterson and like everything in comics is highly subjective. But hopefully you can see where I'm going with this.
A more modern example would be looking at the different inkers that have tackled Olivier Coipel over the years. Mark Morales isn't the first, in DC he was inked by Andy Lanning and in Marvel Scott Hanna and Dexter Vines have both worked over his pencils. Morales is the person most currently associate with Coipel because of their recent extensive output, but I dare say that no one I've listed has done a bad job. It's a diffcult style to master and Olivier obviously has a very precise and identifiable style.
Just a rant to put into people's heads. Now back to getting people to pay for my art....