The comic industry gathered to mourn today as news broke that famed Marvel Comics inker Joe Sinnott had passed away at the age of 93.
Sinnott’s name is one that is not as well known outside the comic industry as someone like Stan Lee or Alan Moore, but within the industry, he was revered as one of the greatest inkers of all time. He had numerous epic runs with The Avengers, Thor (whose origin story he inked), and perhaps most notably, the Fantastic Four, which he began inking full time in 1965 alongside Jack Kirby who provided the pencil art.
Sinnott was widely regarded as the go-to Marvel inker for anyone who wanted their books to be successful. Stan Lee is famously quoted as saying “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 Joe. To most pencilers, having Joe Sinnott ink their artwork was tantamount to grabbing the brass ring.”
Some of the most notable brass rings Joe helped grab included issue 5 of the Fantastic Four, which introduced the world to Doctor Doom, and the aforementioned introduction of Thor in Journey into Mystery 83. He also helped introduce and represent characters such as Silver Surfer, Galactus, Black Panther, and the Inhumans to name a few.
Outside of Marvel, he contributed to Dell, Charleston, and the American Comics Group, but never worked for DC comics. Sinnott famously said that, while he was frequently offered work at DC, Stan Lee always offered to pay him more than they would and gave him more interesting work to complete.
He was named the #1 American Inker by Atlas comics, and the Inkwell Awards named their official hall of fame after him.
While he never gained the kind of mainstream fame that others in the industry would later garner, Sinnott never expressed any unhappiness with the recognition he received. He was incredibly proud of the work he did, helping to bring to life an amazing array of characters and working with many of the best artists in the comic industry.
In his later years he would work on the Spider-Man newspaper strip, and occasionally do covers for Marvel, including inking a cover for John Romita Sr.’s Captain America #1.
Joe Sinnott left us a legacy of greatness that helped shape the Silver Age of comics in America, and he will be greatly missed.