Joe Sinnott

Joe Sinnott

Infobox Comics creator
name = Joe Sinnott

imagesize =
caption = Joe Sinnott at the 2008 New York Comic Convention.
birthname =
birthdate = October 16, 1926
location = Saugerties, New York
deathdate =
deathplace =
nationality = American
area = Inker
alias =

notable works = "The Fantastic Four"
awards = Alley Awards for Best Inking Artist for 1967 & 1968

Joe Sinnott (born October 16, 1926, Saugerties, New York, United States) is an American comic book artist. Working primarily as an inker, Sinnott is best-known for his long stint on Marvel Comics' "The Fantastic Four", from 1965 to 1981 (with a brief return in the late 1980s), initially over the pencils of industry legend Jack Kirby. Years before, he had inked Kirby's "Fantastic Four" #5, the issue introducing Dr. Doom, plus a science fiction monster story in "Strange Tales" #95.

During his fifty-plus years as a Marvel freelancer and then salaried artist working from home, Sinnott inked virtually every major title, with notable runs on "The Avengers", "The Defenders" and "The Mighty Thor". His smooth, slick inking style has influenced such artists as Terry Austin and P. Craig Russell, although there was at times criticism that it tended to smother the individuality of some pencillers.Fact|date=April 2008 This was particularly raised with artist Bill Sienkiewicz's short run on "Fantastic Four".Fact|date=April 2008 Sinnott is credited with influencing what would become a Kirby trademark, the heavily inked cosmic bursts eventually known as "Kirby Krackles".Fact|date=April 2008


Early life and career

One of seven children to Edward and Catherine McGraw Sinnott (Frank, Leonard, Anne, Edward, and two who predeceased him, Jack and Richard), Joe Sinnott grew up in a boarding house that catered primarily to schoolteachers , some of whom inspired in the young Sinnott a love of drawing. In high school, he took what few art classes were offered and became editor of the yearbook and of the school newspaper, the "Ulsterette".

Sinnott entered the United States Navy, and was part of the Seabees in Okinawa during World War II. He was discharged in 1946 at age 19, and after working two-and-a-half years in a cement plant's rock quarry, began to pursue illustration as a career. In 1948, he was accepted into the Cartoonists and Illustrators School (now the School of Visual Arts) in New York City, attending on the GI Bill.

There, school co-founder Burne Hogarth suggested that Sinnott's style might be suitable for comic books, and teacher Tom Gill asked Sinnott to be his assistant on Gill's freelance comics work. With classmate Norman Steinberg, Sinnott spent nine months drawing backgrounds and incidentals on, initially, Gill's Western-movie tie-in comics for Dell Comics. "Tom was paying us very well," Sinnott recalled. "I was still attending school and worked for Tom at nights and [on] weekends. ... He was mainly drawing Westerns, like "Red Warrior" and "Apache Kid" for Stan Lee", editor-in-chief of the successive companies, Timely and Atlas, that became Marvel Comics. "I have to give all the credit to Tom for giving me my start in comics".Joe Sinnott interview, "Alter Ego" #26 (July 2003), pp. 4-5]

Sinnott's first solo professional art job was the backup feature "Trudy" or "Trudi" (sources differ) in the St. John Publications humor comic "Mopsy" #12 (Sept. 1950). Later, during a two-week school vacation in 1950, he married his fiancée Betty, with whom he celebrated their 55th anniversary in 2005.


Branching out professionally, Sinnot met with Lee, who assigned him a three-page Western filler, "The Man Who Wouldn't Die", the first of a multitude of stories in many genres Sinnot would draw for Timely/Atlas.

"I used to go up [to the office, at the Empire State Building] and sit in a little reading room with four or five other artists. It got so that every week I went up, the same guys would be in the room. Bob Powell, Gene Colan, people like that. I got to talking to them. Syd Shores was [freelancing] there, too." The pattern, Sinnott recalled, was for assistant art director Bob Brown to call each in turn to meet with Lee for "maybe ten or fifteen minutes.... There'd be a stack of scripts on the left side of his desk, typed on legal yellow paper. He'd take one off the top and didn't know what he'd be handing you. It could be a war story or a Western or anything. You took it home and were expected to do a professional job on it" [Ibid., p. 6]

During a 1957 economic retrenchment when Atlas let go of most of its staff and freelancers, Sinnott found other work in the six months before the company called him back. Like other freelancers there, he had taken sporadic cuts in his page-rate even before the company implosion. "I was up to $46 a page for pencils and inks. and that was a good rate in 1956, when the decline started. I was down to $21 a page when Atlas stopped hiring me".Ibid., p. 11]

He began doing such commercial art as billboards and record covers, ghosting for some DC Comics artists, and a job for "Classics Illustrated" comics. A friend at Watson-Guptill Publications connected him with a writer with whom Sinnot collaborated on an unsold Navy-frogman comic strip. Former EC Comics artist Jack Kamen, now the art director of Harwyn Publishing's 12-volume, 1958 "Harwyn Picture Encyclopedia" for children, had Sinnott join a roster of contributors that included such celebrated EC artists as Reed Crandall, Bill Elder, George Evans, Angelo Torres and Wally Wood. Sinnot also began a long association with publisher George Pflaum's "Treasure Chest", a Catholic-oriented comic book distributed in parochial schools. With Bob Wischmeyer, a "Treasure Chest" writer-editor, Sinnott collaborated on an unsold college-athlete comic strip "Johnny Hawk, All American") .

Later life and career

Sinnott went into semi-retirement in the early 1990s but continues to ink The Amazing Spider-Man Sunday strip, do recreations of comics covers and commissioned artwork. Sinnott is a lifelong history buff, focusing on American history.

He and his wife's progeny are children Joe Jr., Linda (deceased), Kathy, and Mark; grandchildren Chris, Malissa, Erin, and Trevor; and great-grandson Bernard Vincent.


Sinnott won the 1967 and 1968 Alley Awards for Best Inking Artist.


Joe Sinnott on the Atlas Comics "implosion": " [Stan Lee|Stan [Lee] ] called me and said, 'Joe, Martin Goodman told me to suspend operations because I have all this artwork in-house and have to use it up before I can hire you again.' It turned out to be six months, in my case. He may have called back some of the other artists later, but that's what happened with me".



* [ Joe Sinnott official site]
* [ The Grand Comics Database]
* [ Atlas Tales]
* [ Comicartville Library: "Archer St. John & The Little Company That Could", by Ken Quattro]

External links

* [ (July 25, 2007): "Joe Sinnott, 'Spider-Man' 'Fantastic Four' comic book artist] (interview, part 1; print and audio)

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