The Retro Cover Of The Week honors legend Joe Sinnott, who inked this classic 1968 FF Thing cover

Fantastic Four #79, Marvel Comics, 1968, Art by Jack Kirby and Joe Sinnott.

The POP Retro Cover Of The Week travels chronologically through the 1960s-2000s, visiting a different decade each week. This week, we stay in the 1960s to honor one of Marvel Comic’s legendary inkers, Joe Sinnott, who passed away this week at the age of 93.

Sinnott’s style made any penciller’s work look slicker and more polished. His brushwork was very distinctive from other inkers…you could spot a Sinnott ink job before you even found his signature. Joe excelled at making hair look silky and metal looking shiny and reflective. Every brush stroke was calculated; there was no waste or overworking. What Sinnott excelled at most, though, was making Jack Kirby's art pleasing to my eye.

Picking one cover to honor Joe is tough, but I chose an early favorite of mine, Fantastic Four #79 from 1968. Joe inked Jack Kirby on FF from 1965 until Kirby left Marvel, and continued inking other artists on the title until 1981. This classic cover and story communicated the rage and anguish of what it must be like to be the Thing, with no hope of ever regaining your humanity. No inker made the Thing look better than Sinnott, IMO. Sinnott made the rock-hided Thing look equally rugged and sleek.

The background and foreground coloring on the cover was monochromatic and muted, to make the deep oranges of the Thing pop. The shadows on the Thing added to the gravitas and melodrama of the interior story. No word balloons to intrude on the somber tale within, just a three-word headline that didn’t invade the Thing’s space.

Next week: Forward to the groovy, innovative 1970s!

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