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Joe Sinnott VSP Results

If you have spent some time on this site, you’ve probably seen the post in which I discuss meeting Joe Sinnott at a comics show at my local library in 1978 when I was 10 years old. That meeting was an unforgettable experience for me as a young collector, as Joltin’ Joe sketched the Human Torch and signed a few comics for me. In June 2019, I again visited with Joe at a local comic con and shared that old Torch drawing with him. Click the link in the caption of the pic below for the full story on that meeting.

Following that 2019 meeting, I kept my eye on the local con calendar for an opportunity to again visit with this legendary creator. I was not able to attend another show that Joe would be appearing at here in Albany in the fall of 2019 due to a family commitment. However, I was clear to attend the Albany Comic and Toy Show which he was scheduled to appear at on Sunday March 29, 2020. For that show, I was approved by CBCS to act as a Personal Authorized Witness. In short, I would be able to self-witness signings for books which would receive the company’s Authentic Signature Program (ASP) label.

One of my collecting interests is getting the signatures of multiple creators on books which they worked on together. For the March 2020 Albany Comic and Toy Show, I was preparing an assortment of books worked on by Sinnott and one or more of the other creators who would be in attendance, including JM DeMatteis, Dan Green, and Rick Leonardi.

With the emergence of COVID 19, that March 2020 show was initially postponed, and eventually canceled like most of the comic cons planned for the year. Then in a year in which the Pandemic was causing so much uncertainty and hardship, the comic collecting community lost an icon with the passing of Joe Sinnott at age 92. You can check out Marvel’s tribute to Sinnott in the link contained in the tweet below.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to submit my three comics signed by Sinnott back in 1978 to CBCS for their Verified Signature Program (VSP). While the ASP mentioned above involves witnessed signatures, VSP instead allows signature verification after the fact through CBCS’ parent company – Beckett. I don’t recall how I selected which comics I would have signed back in 1978, other than seeing in the credits that Sinnott worked on them, but the choices ended up being Fantastic Four 191 & 198, and The Incredible Hulk 226.

I knew these signatures were legit, as I had them signed myself, but I was sweating while awaiting the verification process nonetheless, as Joe’s signature changed a bit over the decades. As a reference, a sample of Joe’s signature on a CBCS witnessed FF 52 from 2018 (found online) follows.

Compare that witnessed signature above with those found in my three books pictured below and you’ll notice some differences including a more rounded “J” in the 1978 signatures, and added style elements that Joe used in his last name in 2018 that he did not use when signing my books in 1978. Otherwise, the body and flow of his signature remained consistent over the 40 years between these examples. Another concern I had for the verification process was that Joe signed my books differently – even though they were signed together. You’ll notice that he used a script “S” on two of the books, and a print “S” on the third.

1978 – when creators signed the bottom of the first page— in pencil!!

To my relief, all three signatures were verified. Each of the books were also pressed by CBCS, but some unpressable defects remained which affected the grades. These defects aren’t surprising as I bought these comics off the spinner rack when I was ten years old!! In the end, I’m thrilled with the verified signatures, and happy with the grades. The results follow:

Fantastic Four 191

Fantastic Four 198

The Incredible Hulk 226

These books are awesome reminders of a time when creators signed on the first page under the indicia— in pencil!! I may end up putting one or two of these books up for sale on the Collector Syndicate webstore, but I’ll definitely be keeping at least one in my personal collection for the long term. If you have any experiences with CBCS’ Verified Signature Program, we’d love to hear about them in the comments below.

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Gary Govel
Gary Govel is a life-long fan and collector of comics, with a particular interest in Bronze and Copper Age Keys. He recently launched Collector Syndicate to share his experiences and promote the hobby.

One thought on “Joe Sinnott VSP Results

  1. I was at the Albany con the day he brought that Fantastic Four sketch Joe and it was always a thrill to see Joe interact with his fans fortunately I met Joe in 2009 and became friends with him and his family which is an honor privilege as well thank you for this post brings back a lot of great memories

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