02 Jul 2020

Bob Almond: “The last time I was with Joe August 29, 2019 in his hometown of Saugerties, NY to celebrate Joe Sinnott Day (officially August 31) and his commemorative exhibit gallery showcasing his life and 69 year career.”

On June 25 at 10:50am, grandson and author Dorian Jack Sinnott posted the following statement at the Facebook Joe Sinnott Art Page that he admins:

“It with great sorrow that we must announce the passing of Joltin’ Joe Sinnott on June 25th at 8:40am at the age of 93. He went peacefully with the knowledge that his family, friends, and fans adored him. He enjoyed life and was drawing up until the end. He always loved hearing from all of you and having your comments read to him. Each and every one of you were special to him.
The Sinnott family requests their privacy and understanding during this difficult time. Please send condolences to:
The Sinnott Family
27 Spaulding Lane
Saugerties, NY 12477
Thank you again for being such loyal and dedicated fans and friends to Joe. He considered all fans friends, and seeing you at cons and reading your messages was what kept him young at heart.
RIP Joe Sinnott
October 16th, 1926 – June 25th, 2020″

Inkwell Awards founder & director made the following statement on his Facebook account that same day:

“Joe Sinnott: 1926-2020

It’s true. Many of you may have already read about it. We at the Inkwell Awards lost the heart and soul of the Inkwell Awards family. I was informed by the family that Joe was in hospice Wednesday. I knew this devastating news was coming but I am still not ready for it. I’m trying to get my thoughts together but I’m overwhelmed by it all. For that please forgive me. I also have a computer issue atm and can’t retrieve a photo to accompany this post. (Update: pal Mike White sent me this pic from the 2018 Terrific since I don’t have access to my other photos atm. Thanks, Mike!)

August 17-19, 2019 at the Terrificon at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville,CT (L-R back row) Mike White, Bill ODonnell, Tom Raney, Jim Tournas (front) Bob Almond and Joe Sinnott

A posthumous tribute from artist Francesco Francavilla, June 25, 2020

I am privileged that Joe was my friend. I believe the last time I spent with Joe was last year’s gallery of his life and career in Saugerties, NY. There was a tentative plan to visit him after the holidays but plans changed. I had been making calls to Joe monthly and as the pandemic hit us it tragically meant a quarantine for Joe from the outside world. I tried calling him weekly. We last spoke in mid-May and it was possibly the longest call we’d ever had together. He told me he was looking forward to my next call and I know the isolation was rough on him. I tried calling two more times but I couldn’t seem to connect with him. Mark Sinnott told me he was also having a hard time reaching him. I was soon informed that Joe was transferred to the hospital because he was weak and had lost a lot of weight. Anyone who knew Joe knows he was relatively thin so that info seriously concerned me. Calls were not possible and it was hoped that he’d be stronger and bounce back after a month’s stay. But he declined further and this week I was informed he was in hospice. And now he’s gone. I wish I’d had another visit or another call with him. Wish I’d made more time to try to catch him on the phone.

When the Inkwell Awards were formed over 12 years ago there was little to no hesitation that Joe would be our Hall of Game Award namesake. His reputation was sterling, his body of work legendary, his talent universally recognized. And he was a fine gentleman of a human being. Joe was ecstatic when we asked for his approval in 2008 and when he was announced as our first special ambassador. Joe gave our fledgling non-profit the credibility and respect that we needed in order to survive long term and he was thrilled when we attended shows together and got to meet the team volunteers and spokesmodels. It amazed me that the quality of his ink lines and drawing prowess at his age were still unmistakable and flawless as anything he’d done over the decades. He only began to slow down a year or so ago, reducing workload and public appearances. He cherished meeting his peers, friends and fans at every location. But the travel, the sketching, even signing items became too draining for him. Mark was staunch and resolute about looking after his dad and thank God for that. It was comforting to know Mark would always be his top advocate, deciding on what was best for his health. In the past couple of years I began hugging him more when we got together. I’m not sure how a Navy Seabee who had stormed Okinawa in WWII felt about that but he never showed disapproval. Everyone loved Joe and he always reciprocated, the nicest guy and most sincere man around anywhere. Even with his relatively small stature he was a giant among artists, setting the bar high and showing others how it was done. He inspired everyone and I was always fond of him and truly honored to be his friend. I loved this exceptional man. And I will always miss him.

A world without Joltin’ Joe is a sad, poorer place. But his art career achievements, his work, his humanity, his legacy will always bring love and joy to the world.

Sincere condolences on behalf of the Inkwell Awards to his beloved family and loved ones for their incredible loss.”

On June 30 Dorian posted this update:

“Joe was buried today privately with military honors and a beautiful Catholic mass at St. Joseph’s Church. He was surrounded by his family. Thank you to Father Chris and Deacon Smith for the beautiful service. Joe would have been honored.
A celebration of life for Joe will be held at a future date. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers 🌹”

 

July 2- Bob Almond: “I am sorry to have taken so long to post this at the Inkwell website. It has been a devastating, somber week of mourning.  I am heart-broken. Joe was a fundamental, crucial part of our organization FROM DAY ONE soon after we formed in January 2008. He was 81 then. Twelve and a half years he served. If our late, beloved Stacey Aragon was our heart, then Joe was our soul, and he always will be. Picking Joe for his role as special ambassador and Hall of Fame namesake was a no-brainer. He is debatably the best damn ink artist ever in the industry of comic book sequential art. And his reputation as a gentleman and kindhearted and altruistic person trumped even the artistic achievements. Just having his name associated with us gave us credibility and respect. I thank my lucky stars that when Jim Tournas and I first approached him and his son Mark at the 2008 NY Comic Con that they accepted. Mark was Joe’s handler & protector. He was the essential liaison between his dad and us and if it wasn’t for him the many accomplishments we made would never have happened, thousands of fundraising dollars would not have been raised. He was/is under-appreciated and awarding him an Above & Beyond Award hopefully showed him how important he truly was to us. I attended numerous shows beside Mark & Joe, had dinners with them, my senior spokesmodel Hailey and other close friends of the Sinnotts, and I had the joy of visiting the family at their home and Joe at his apartment. I became part of their family and Joe became my cherished friend. I didn’t see that coming in a million years. (And it’s so ironic that between the mid-1980 to early 1990 Wrightson Halloween parties in Woodstock and the Ramapo High School Cons that followed, both in the upper state New York region that I would not run into Joe in his Saugerties backyard for years. I guess I’ll always be tied to that community of fine folks and legendary artists.)

It’ll be hard going forward without his good-spirited laughter and smile. He is loved. He is missed. He left this world a much better place and we tragically shall never see his like again. But I count my lucky stars for every moment and conversation I ever had with him as it enriched my life. Forward and upward the Inkwell Family soars into the next decade as a successful advocacy organization. Thank you, Joe!”

Joe and Bob at the 2012 Albany Con

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

02 Jul 2020

(The following is but one article, part of a series about stages comic book production, this one on INKING, and other personal experiences that writer/colorist/former Marvel editor Gregory Wright has been posting on his Facebook account. It is amazing the amount of details he recalls going back decades. I would enthusiastically recommend reading all of his articles in this series if you are on Facebook and friends with him. This article was originally posted on 5/23/2020 and is being used with permission. It is TM & (c) 2020 Gregory Wright. Thanks, Greg!)

True tales of appreciation and condemnation of INKERS behind the lines of Marvel Comics…or any comic company really. Inkers. Inkers are frequently misunderstood. Fans don’t always know exactly what it is they really do. Pencillers blame them for not inking every detail exactly as they envisioned it. Editors will shift the blame for a book being late onto them. They will be labeled as TRACERS. They may be considered disposable, because they aren’t as “important” as the penciller. They will be labeled as HACKS because they frequently have to make up time on the schedule and spend days without sleep in order to get a book finished on time. Since they are able to deliver fast, they must be a hack, right? Some inkers employ assistants or background inkers. Some have a strong style, some are nearly invisible. The one thing they have in common is that they are under-appreciated.

There is a difference between an inker…and an artist who inks their own work. Let’s clarify that. Some pencillers do extremely tight pencils that they then also ink. Some pencillers do incredibly loose pencils and then proceed to do most of the drawing in ink. The end results can be quite different from having a separate inker. So as I am writing about inkers, I am referencing a separate person inking someone else pencils. Artists who ink their own work frequently produce their BEST work…it’s their work they way they really intend it to look. Some…are not their own best inker. They may think they are…but many fellow creators and fans will disagree and you can read all about those arguments elsewhere.

I love inkers. I love seeing talented inkers adding their own personal style to pencils and getting this brand new look, this collaboration that no single artist could get. The trick of course, is to not go too far. But occasionally…the penciller wants the inker to impose more of their style onto their pencils. One does not request Bill Sienkiewicz as an inker believing it will look like the very tight pencils that were handed to Bill. No. It will have distinct style added on top without redrawing the figures or the faces or anything that might be upsetting to the penciller. There are several inkers with styles that are so distinct that they might actually be preferred over the pencillers style. And sometimes…that is the point. Sometimes a penciller wants to shake up their work.

At times, an editor has a penciller that has a style that is too..old fashioned, or just seems dull…so the solution (instead of encouraging the penciller to do better or become more relevant) is to have the inker do all the work. Some inkers are happy to do it. Others are not interested in FIXING pencils that were not up to par. Some inkers think they know better than the penciller and take it upon themselves to “fix” various things they were not asked to do. This does not go well. Pencillers notice and complain. Editors will then sometimes fire the inker. Sometimes the inker gets blamed for doing this when they were TOLD to do it by the editor. And then they get fired anyway. Not fair. Nobody who wasn’t part of the process has any idea what really happened. But the inker will get blamed.

There are really two kinds of inkers. The first is what we simply call…the INKER. An inker puts an inked line on top of finished tight pencils. The definition of tight pencils will vary from penciller to penciller…some are so tight (John Byrne, Jack Kirby, Ron Frenz) that the pencils themselves could easily not be inked and used as they are. Sometimes the pencils are less tight…and the inker will have to make a lot more decisions regarding line weights and rendering style.

The second is called a FINISHER, or finishing inker. This inker is given pencils that are not…finished. There is usually no lighting, no indication of black, sketchy backgrounds and little detail. This inker is paid MORE to do this type of work. And not every inker is really great at doing finishing inks. Some inkers do their absolute BEST work as a finisher. The pencils for this inker are called breakdowns. All breakdowns are not considered equal. Some are very loose…but everything you need to do a great job structure wise is there. John Buscema is the one artist who provided loose breakdowns that most talented finishing inked loved to work over and would say…everything they needed was there. Others would try to do the minimal amount that Buscema would provide and fail. Some would provide breakdowns that were pretty tight and neat…just without lighting and indications of black. Sometimes I’ve seen breakdowns that were closer to full pencils. I’ve also seen full pencils that were closer to breakdowns. There were occasions where a penciller claimed to be doing full pencils and the inker felt they were more like breakdowns and we’d have to have John Romita Sr. decide. It wasn’t always pretty…

(more…)