The recent death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, at age 43, made headlines worldwide, but few people outside of the comic book world may have heard of the passing of an equally important Marvel great. On June 25, Joe Sinnott, an award-winning comic book inker, died at 8:40 a.m., at the age of 93. He was born in Saugerties, and lived there his entire life, except while he was attending the Cartoonists and Illustrators School, later known as the School of Visual Arts, in Manhattan.
Sinnott regularly inked the pencil work of the legendary Jack Kirby for characters such as Thor, Black Panther and the Fantastic Four. He may be known mainly for inking, but in the 2009 Hudson Valley Magazine feature, “Comic Book Heroes!,” Sinnott revealed that he was actually more proud of his penciling than his inking. He had done biographical comics for the likes of The Beatles, Babe Ruth, Mother Teresa, and many others for Dell and Treasure Chest Comics.
According to the marvel.com article, “Remembering Joe Sinnott, 1926 – 2020,” Stan Lee gave Sinnott his first solo work in 1951 and he penciled stories in a variety of genres, from science fiction to biblical tales. During his first few years at Atlas Comics, now known as Marvel, he was paired with Jack Kirby and inked his works.
His first big inking job came in 1962 when he worked on FANTASTIC FOUR #5, which marked the debut of Dr. Doom, a staple villain of the series. He retired from regular comic book work in 1992, but Sinnott continued to work on the Spider-Man Sunday newspaper comic strip until 2019, when he retired completely.
The Saugerties town board voted to honor Sinnott with a day of recognition on August 31, 2019. During which, County Executive Pat Ryan presented Sinnott with the Pride of Ulster County award.
When asked about the significance of Sinnott receiving a day of recognition, Saugerties Town Board member, John Schoonmaker, stated “As a town, we have often designated days in honor of residents who have gone above and beyond in their community, career, and life in general. Joe Sinnott was a perfect example of this. This first started with his enlistment into the U.S Navy, stepping up to serve our country in one of its darkest hours. After, he continued to contribute to society, with his work at Marvel touching and influencing lives across the globe. While it is not much, we want to make sure such a legacy is remembered for generations to come. And that even someone from a small town like Saugerties can leave their mark in history.”
Sinnott was an accomplished inker, winning several awards, including the Inkpot Award in 1995 and three separate Inkwell Awards in 2008. Inkwell even named their Hall of Fame Award after him and it is commonly referred to as the Joe Sinnott Award. Despite his accomplishments, Sinnott had other ventures he wanted to pursue. In “Comic Book Heroes!,” he stated “People all over the world know my name, but I often wish I had gone into teaching. I’ve worked at home most of my life, and it’s been a bit lonely. I love going to local schools and talking about what I do.”
Sinnott will always be remembered for his legendary accomplishments by his fans all over the world and especially by the Hudson Valley community.