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Brush Strokes With Greatness: The Life & Art Of Joe Sinnott Paperback – June 19, 2007
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The artwork is very well-produced, and includes some famous pieces from his many years working for Marvel, where he served as one of the company’s most in-demand freelance inkers. Aiming to present a well-rounded portrait of Joe's work, it also features a wide variety of older or more obscure jobs, alongside contemporary recreations or pin-ups. The book fleshes out Joe as a whole person, including the importance of his family and other interests—such as baseball and Bing Crosby—which have also played a role in his artistic output and creative efforts over the years.
I think it's wonderful that a book like this exists. I only wish it contained a deeper look at Joe's methods, style, techniques and artistry, in all their detail. What makes his work so much more effective than that of his contemporaries? (I suspect his ability to create a sense of depth and space may have a lot to do with it.) What are the key elements that he brings to each page, and how does it enhance or change the penciller's artwork? What are his tricks and trademarks, and how does he achieve them? One of this book's many contributors, Timothy Truman, mentions that Joe's work is one of the mandatory cornerstones of his own courses as a teacher at an art & design college. I wanted a taste of that type of instruction.
Ultimately, the best way to appreciate Joe's work is probably the comics themselves. The Marvel Essential series can be a great way to experience the classic artwork of the ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s, without the distraction of digitally recreated coloring. Joe's extended run on The Fantastic Four, inking over the pencils of Jack Kirby from ‘65 to ‘70, is probably the cornerstone of his legacy and can be found in volumes 3, 4, and 5 of that series. The reproduction in the 2011 editions is pretty solid. I might also recommend his inking of Captain America over Kirby (Essential vol. 1) as well as over Jim Steranko and Gene Colan (vol. 2).
This book includes a checklist or comicography of Joe's work, and also references many items the average reader may not know about. It features an introduction by Stan Lee, an afterword by Mark Evanier, a dedication by Mark Sinnott (Joe's son) in memory of Betty Sinnott, and contributions from a long list of comic professionals, including: Larry Lieber, John Byrne, John Romita Sr., Josef Rubinstein, Sal Buscema, Bob McLeod, Dick Ayers, Alex Zamm, Jim Mooney, Joe Staton, Jim Amash, Stan Sakai, George Perez, Murphy Anderson, Neal Adams, Roy Thomas, Marie Severin, Jon D'Agostino, Herb Trimpe, Ron Frenz, Roger Stern, Mike Royer, John Floyd, Steve Englehart, Richard Howell, Barry Windsor-Smith, Tom Palmer Sr., Bob Wiacek, Don Perlin, Sergio Cariello, Al Milgrom, Tom Gill, Alex Saviuk, Joe Simon, Arlen Schumer, and John Workman.
Most of the book is in B&W, and there is plenty of artwork throughout its 132 pages, including several gallery sections, one in color (penciled, inked, and hand-colored by Joe, of course!). The book measures 8.5" x 11" with glossy pages and resembles a deluxe, squarebound magazine.
It details the literally the whole life of Joe Sinnott, right from when he was a kid to the work he does after his retirement. There's and incredible amount of interesting information on the legendary inker. While in school, his instructors were Silas Rhodes, Burne Hogarth and Tom Gills! There is also story on how he got to know Stan Lee.
His impressive portfolio of comics and inks fill the book. Some titles include The Avengers, The Defenders, The Mighty Thor and The Fantastic Four. His career at Marvel, relationship with Jack Kirby and other artists and work of different projects are given a really detailed treatment.
What I like about the book is there's coverage on the different people in Joe Sinnott's life. It really gives depth to what kind of person he was. There's also a chapter containing 19 pages where friends and colleagues talk about him. 19 whopping pages! It sure says a lot about his legacy.
This is a wonderful tribute book to Joe Sinnott. Highly recommended.
(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
This wonderful book tracks Joe's entire career, from the Golden Age right through his most current work, which consists of literally thousands of issues including over two hundred issues of the Fantastic Four, over a hundred issues of Journey Into Mystery/Thor. The thing I found utterly amazing is that Sinnott inked Kirby's work on Fantastic Four for some seven years without ever even speaking to him. While their collaboration began in the early 60's, the two did not meet until a convention in 1972. That alone is testament to just how much Jack trusted Joe to handle his pencils. Such is the reverence that so many other artists also have for Sinnott. Esteemed pros such as John Byrne, Neal Adams, George Perez, Ron Frenz, Roy Thomas, Barry Windsor Smith, and Roger Stern all take turns paying tribute to Sinnott. The book is also filled with vintage photos of Joe going back to the 40's. There's great pics of Joe with legends such as Burne Hogarth, John Romita Sr., and, of course, Jack Kirby. But we also get a lot of photos of Joe along with his family, and Joe was a dedicated family man.
While Joe is known primarily as an inker, the book includes hundreds of examples of his artwork to show that he was just as accomplished as a penciller as he was an inker. These include a look at some very rare work from Joe's earliest days doing romance comics for St. John's Publishing as well as the war comics he did for Timely/Atlas in the 1950's. Joe is still going strong today working on the Spiderman newspaper strip with Stan Lee. For collectors, the book includes a checklist of all of Sinnott's work not only for Marvel, but for other comic publishers and advertising work as well. This is a marvelous tribute to a true legend in comics.
Reviewed by Tim Janson