‘Spidey’ artist is on the ball
Who didn’t love reading about the exploits of Spiderman? Joe Sinnott, the legendary comic book artist best known for his work on “Spiderman,” “The Fantastic Four,” and other superheroes, died last week at age 93. Did you know he had a connection to The Salvation Army and admired the organization’s work? He sat down for an interview in 2001.
During a 50–year career with Marvel Comics, Joe Sinnott has drawn Spiderman, the Incredible Hulk, the Avengers, and scores of other superhero characters.
However, the Saugerties, N.Y., resident is happiest when drawing sports figures. He does that each year for The Salvation Army’s annual Youth Day festivities in Cooperstown, N.Y., home of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
A distant relative of John McGraw, the legendary manager of the former New York Giants, Sinnott is an avid baseball fan.
About six years ago, friend Bob Henchey, the chairman of a Salvation Army golf tournament involving members of the Major League Players Alumni Association, called Sinnott to tell him about the Salvation Army’s annual Youth Day festivities. He asked Sinnott whether he would create a cartoon as a memento for the event.
Sinnott readily agreed and has returned each year with a new illustration of the event’s speaker, who is always a Christian athlete. Sinnott has issued “Salvation Army Signature Edition” cartoons starting with Hall of Famers Ralph Kiner and Bob Feller, and continuing with such former baseball stars as Bobby Richardson, Gary Lavelle, Tommy John, and Paul Blair.
‘It’s my way of contributing to an organization that deserves all the donations it can get from any source,” he says. “The Army is helpful to so many people in so many ways.”
“Joe does this as a gift to the Army,” notes Captain Thomas Applin, the officer who led the outdoor service in Cooperstown this year. “He does it because of the kids. Through the use of the medium, he instills values.”
Sinnott drew for many years for “Treasure Chest,” a book that was distributed in Catholic schools. It included drawings of several prominent Catholics, such as Mother Teresa and John F Kennedy.
“I feel it is a blessing (from God),” Sinnott says of his artistic ability.
Sinnott has also drawn hundreds of players as individual pieces and for comic book biographies. Several of Sinnott’s drawings—including one of Babe Ruth and former Negro League star Josh Gibson together—have graced the walls of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sinnott retired from full–time comic book work in 1992 but still does special projects, as well as the Sunday Spiderman strip, which appears in more than 800 U.S. newspapers.
by Robert Mitchell