29th Jun2020

A Memoriam In Four Colours: Joe Sinnott

by Ian Wells

Late last week we lost one of the greats, a creator of great importance and influence. On 25th June legendary inker Joe Sinnott passed away. I didn’t feel my understanding of the complexities of an inkers work were enough to give the man a proper send off. But Joe’s work was such an integral part of the Silver Age I have to mark his passing in some way. Staggeringly Joe worked for sixty years, predominantly for Marvel, working on all of the top books and being in demand from all the top artists from the bullpen to ink their work. If you break those years down into numbers it makes it all the more impressive that he could turn out quality, inspiring work all on time. I’m talking two hundred and five issues of Fantastic Four. Fifty plus issues of Thor, over thirty issues on both Avengers and Captain America! He inked The Amazing Spider-Man Sunday strip from 1992 till just last year at the age of 92! Before Marvel took over the Silver Age back when they were still Atlas and Timely, Sinnott already had a substantial body of work. Like all artists of his generation he cut his teeth on the usual War and Western comics of the day. Books like Battle, Battle Action, Gunsmoke and Two Gun Western. He worked on titles that were a proving ground for creative talent and characters that would become synonymous with the ‘Marvel Age,’ Marvel Tales, Strange Tales and Journey Into Mystery among them.

It is impossible to talk bout Joe and not mention Jack Kirby. People will argue about who the best inker for Kirby is until the cows come home. To a lot of people Sinnott was the guy who made Kirby’s work sing. His work on FF is viewed as, as important as the input of Kirby and Stan Lee. When you think about the characters that first appeared during his two hundred plus issue run. You then realise the importance he played in these iconic moments and the looks of the characters that would last for years. Galactus, Silver Surfer, Black Panther and Adam Warlock. These rendtions have stood the test of time and made it onto the big screen and been seen by millions. Its not just the characters its the look of new worlds he crafted too. The look of The Negative Zone from Fantastic Four #51 and Wakanda from the very next issue owe a huge credit to Sinnott’s visonary work. To continually mention Sinnott in connection with Kirby is an injustice to his own skills and vision. However it is a happy by product of why so many of todays generation of creators find Sinnott an inspirtation. On Thursday and Friday creative contempories from past generations up to the present, like Jim Lee, Francesco Francavilla, Jim Steranko, Tom Scioli and Bill Siekiewicz all shared stories of the man and also praised his influence on the comics as a whole and their own work.

So a sixty year career comes to  a close, as Joe Sinnott pulls his chair up to the great drawing board in the sky. It was a career of hard graft. A career that influenced generation after generation. Character and location renditions that have stood the test of time. He is a ‘two time hall of famer.’ Joe produced work that has left a huge imprint on the world of comics and is still enjoyed to this day and will continue to influence the next generation too.

Joe Sinnott October 16th 1926 – June 25th 2020


One Response to “A Memoriam In Four Colours: Joe Sinnott”

  • Fred A Cleaver

    You can put me in the camp of Joe Sinnott was the best inker for the King.