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Joe Sinnot – The Inker Everyone Wanted

Born in Saugertues, New York as Joseph Leonard Sinnot on 16th October 1926 and was one of seven children to Edward and Catherine McGraw.  He grew up in a boarding house where some of the other occupants, mostly teachers, encouraged Sinnot to develop his love of drawing.

Sinnot acceded his Mother’s wishes to not join the US Army after the death of his brother, a member of the US Army’s Third Division in 1944.  He, instead, enlisted in the US Navy and served in Okinawa before being discharged in May 1946.  He then worked for his Father’s cement-manufacturing plant for three years, after which he was accepted into the Cartoonists and Illustrators School.

His first professional art job was “Trudi” in the humour comic Mopsy #12 in September 1950.  After that he was asked by Tom Gill, a respected cartoonist and illustration instructor, to be his assistant where Sinnot established and nurtured his first ears working in comic books.  It wasn’t until 1951 when Sinnot met with Stan Lee, of Atlas Comics (the predecessor of Marvel Comics), that his career blossomed, and spent the rest of the decade pencilling the stories that Stan Lee gave him, most of the time it was whatever was next on the pile.

As an inker, Sinnot’s collaborated with Jack Kirby on a pre-superhero story in 1962 before inking his first Marvel superhero comic, The Fantastic Four, but because of Sinnot’s freelance status, he was inundated with work from Charlton Comics, American Comics Group and Dell Comics and had to reject some of Stan Lee’s work early on.  Sinnot was asked regularly through the 60’s to work for Marvel rival, DC Comics but explained at a 2006 Comic-Con panel in 2006 that he tried to explain to DC that Marvel gave him all the work that he needed and that Stan lee told him “Joe, whatever DC offer you, we’ll continue to pay you more” and that he also enjoyed the Marvel work.

Such was the demand for Sinnot to ink Marvel Comic issues, according to Wikipedia, in the mid-2000s, Stan Lee cited Sinnott as the company’s most in-demand inker, saying jocularly, “Pencilers used to hurl all sorts of dire threats at me if I didn’t make certain that Joe, and only Joe, inked their pages. I knew I couldn’t satisfy everyone and I had to save the very most important strips for him. To most pencilers, having Joe Sinnott ink their artwork was tantamount to grabbing the brass ring.”

Notable Marvel work that Sinnot inked, was Thor, Fantastic Four, X-Men, Galactus, the Silver, Surfer, Black Panther, The Avengers and The Defenders.

Sinnot retired from comic books in 1992 and continued to ink on recreations of covers and do commissioned artwork and the odd job for Marvel but he concentrated on The Amazing Spider-Man Sunday Strip in the Sunday papers.

Sinnot was married once, to Elizabeth for 56 years until her death.  They had four children.

Enjoying life and drawing right up to the end, he died on 25th June 2020 at the age of 93.

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