Steven, I notice that in your talent search you're asking for "pencils only"... are we not reaching a point yet where artists who work primarily in programs like Photoshop, Illustrator and Manga Studio are proving to be legitimate, effective illustrators perfectly capable of producing comics work?
I know the artist behind Marvel's Iron Man: Hypervelocity was a digital illustrator (working in Adobe Illustrator... I can find his deviantart page with a little searching if you'd like). Mark Englert inks in Manga Studio. So does EJ Su. EVERYONE colors in Photoshop or Painter.
I myself made the switch to paperless about a year and a half ago, ultimatley forced away from papers and ink when the animation studio I work for did the same. And while I feel like I'm still working my way up the learning curve, I think my work is stronger than when I relied on pencils, pens and board. Certainly it's more quickly produced with lower overheard costs.
Admittedly, digital artists tend to put a small kink in the traditional "assembly line" production method, but if an illustrator is capable of producing finished, black & white sequential line art, suitable for color (or even produce fully colored work), then why not consolidate your expenses and take one artist for the price of two or three?
Not a job pitch, by the way... I'm genuinely curious about thoughts and opinions on the introduction of digital artists into the comics field. While I can't think of too many offhand, I know there's plenty and plenty more coming (I can think of at least three in Japan, though: Yukito Kishiro, Oh! Great and Tsutomu Nihei, all excellent). Personally I think it's inevitable... digital illustration has largely already consumed the rest of the commercial art industry. Marketing illustration, conceptual design, media production, the WACOM tablet rules the school.
Comics, I think, are late in catching up.
"Outside of a dog, a book is a man's best friend. Inside a dog, it's too dark to read"- Groucho Marx
Sure, digital art is a different thing, and I should have mentioned it. If you work in digital art, let's see it.
In pencil and ink art, though, most of us want to see what pencils look like because that's where the foundations are. Many aspiring artists also haven't learned how to ink to their own strengths or at least against their own witnesses, and very often they obliterate what's good in their pencils by inking them. Conversely, many aspiring artists try obliterating the weakness of their pencils with massive doses of black ink. Since it's usually not applied properly anyway, all it does is suggest there's something they're trying to hide, and there's always the suspicion (usually correct) that what they're trying to hide is something they'd ultimately be called on to draw.