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Then and Now with Joe Sinnott

Sometime in 1978, I had the opportunity to attend a small comic book show at the William K. Sanford Library in my hometown of Colonie, NY. I was 10 years old at the time, and attended with my brother and some friends from the neighborhood.

The show consisted of a local comic book dealer talking about the hobby, and an appearance by legendary Marvel Comics artist Joe Sinnott. Sinnott’s work as an inker at Marvel of course included an amazing continuous run on the Fantastic Four from 1965 to 1981.

The event at the library featured a Q&A with Sinnott about the comic book industry. As a young collector, one of the things that stuck with me was that as a Marvel employee, the company sent Sinnott a copy of every comic that it published. If I recall correctly, Sinnott mentioned that his son maintained this collection of comics provided by Marvel.

Following the Q&A, Sinnott signed autographs for those in attendance. I was thrilled to get his signature on my copies of Fantastic Four 191 (featured photo above) & 198, and The Incredible Hulk 226. I still own all three.

Following the show, our group was waiting outside the library for a ride, when one of the event organizers came out and told us we had to leave. However, since our ride hadn’t arrived yet, we had no where to go.

It soon became clear that he was trying to chase us away in order to clear the path for Joe Sinnott to get to his car. However, not only was Sinnott OK with us being there, he stopped and took the time to draw quick sketches for everyone who was still there

At the time, I was thrilled to have a Marvel artist draw something for me. Now, 41 years later I have a greater appreciation of Joe’s importance to the industry, including his work with Jack Kirby and his renowned run on FF mentioned above. Fortunately, I still have the sketches that Joe did for my brother and me.

Nova – minus a couple of points on his helmet:

The Human Torch – sketched on a flyer that I had folded up in my pocket:

The other side of the Human Torch sketch. This is how you found out about events before the internet!!!

Fast Forward 40+ Years…

On June 2, 2019, I attended the Albany Comic Con with the purpose of connecting with Joe Sinnott again. While waiting our turn in line, my son Jacob and I watched as Joe sketched on comic book covers for another fan. At 92 years old, he still took the time to add shading to each of the stones which comprised the Thing’s face.

This time, I wasn’t there to get anything signed or sketched, but just to share with Joe that I still had the Human Torch sketch that he drew for me in 1978. Back then, we thought it was awesome that he stopped in a parking lot to sketch for us. Looking back that experience, and our memories of it are priceless.

Thank you Joe Sinnott for your incredible contributions to the comic book industry and hobby, and for making the time for us in a library parking lot 40+ years ago.

For more info on Joe and his incredible career, visit, and follow Joltin’ Joe Sinnott on Facebook.

Gary Govel
Gary Govel is a life-long fan and collector of comics, with a particular interest in Marvel Bronze and Copper Age books. He recently launched Collector Syndicate to give fellow enthusiasts a place to show off their collections, and share their experiences about the hobby.

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