Saturday, March 09, 2013

Joe Sinnott and Vince Colletta.

Joe Sinnott is regarded these days as one of the finest inkers the superhero comic industry ever saw. And I would have to agree with that assessment.

Vince Colletta, on the other hand, is today almost universally reviled as among the worst of the Silver age inkers in superhero comics. Many particularly hate him for what he did to Jack Kirby's pencils.

I can cover this topic in detail later. But basically both of those assessments about the two men hold merit, and I will write about it at another time. Currently I'm too busy working on a new novel.

However, two of the newest additions to my FANTASTIC FOUR collection just arrived. One issue was inked by Joe Sinnott, followed by an issue inked by Vince Colletta. Sinnott's work shines. Colletta's...well, the word "suck" comes to mind.

My copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #45. Cover and interiors inked by Joe Sinnott.

My copy of FANTASTIC FOUR #46. Cover inked by Joe Sinnott, interiors inked by Vince Colletta.


MarkGelbart said...

When you have a chance, show both inkers side-by-side.

I never really paid that much attention to the artwork when I read comic books.

I was into the stories.

James Robert Smith said...

When I have the time I'll post another essay on the difference between the two issues. Sinnott's inks make a huge difference to the overall quality of the artwork. Colletta was a workhorse interested only in production of pages to maximize his paycheck. Because of the nature of being a freelance comic book artist in those days (and still today) you were treated as a wage slave by the publishers. What money you could squeeze out of the publisher had to cover not only your shelter and clothing and food, but also your social security payments (you were/are considered by the IRS to be self-employed and thus pay a higher rate of withholding) and you had to cover your own health insurance. So many artists were desperate to churn out as many pages as was humanly possible. To this end, Colletta apparently took every shortcut imaginable, much to the sacrifice of quality.

I think Sinnott also had a similar outlook...but he seemed to just be a far more skillful craftsman with a different attitude about the pencil work he was delineating.

dogboy443 said...

Vince Colletta inked everyone the same. He dominated the original pencillers style and did what he wanted. He had inking shortcuts he utilized, probably for speed and time management and then it became a crutch as he got older. Carmine Infantino was the same later in his career. Same old angles and shots. Either laziness or lack of creativity.

James Robert Smith said...

That's about the size of it.

I don't hate Colletta the way a lot of comic fans do. But he was certainly not on any of my favorites lists. He couldn't wreck Kirby's pencils because the construction was so spot-on perfect, but he didn't do Kirby any favors. And his use to assistants was often bothersome. I've been told, though, that whenever some of his later pages actually look okay, it's because he had some assistant do the work--an assistant who actually cared about the quality of what they were doing.

Kirk G said...

I actually disagree that Vince C was wrong for Kirby. I think he was good, and I value his work on Thor above all others, Chic Stone included. His sketchy line really gave a feathery feel to the artwork that made it feel like I'm watching a film of Mythology unfolding. Yes, he skipped some figures, he eliminated backgrounds, etc. But I never minded this in his three part Evil FF arc (#41-42-43) but most appreciated it in Thor.
Sinnott is the best, but Colletta has his merrits too!

Kirk G said...

Mark, I have to agree that as a kid, I was into the stories too, but I find the inker influenced the FLAVOR of the stories so much, that it's hard not to take note on a long running series like the FF or Thor! When you see the difference between FF #37 and #40 and #44, 51 or 55, you'll really get it.

James Robert Smith said...

Yeah, I think Colletta has taken a particularly hard hit in comics history. He didn't stand out: that's probably his main problem. He was a decent, dependable professional inker. Certainly that should make him worthy of the beating his work takes in most accounts. Part of it is because he just can't stand up to the quality of a guy like Joe Sinnott.

I can also see why some would consider him a good fit on Thor for the very reason you state.

In his abandoned blog, Eddie Campbell defended Colletta's work on at least one occasion that I can recall.

James Robert Smith said...

I meant to write "...should NOT make him worthy of the beating..."


Vince Colletta is my pick as the best of all Kirby's inkers based on his work on Thor and the later DC stuff, He inked rings around Royer IMO. Joe Sinnott was great but had that slick style that looked like every other inker. Colletta's work was sublimely unique. You can always spot a Vinnie page, particularly those with women in them.

James Robert Smith said...

I actually know a lot of fans who really like Colletta's inks on Kirby's pencils. Frankly, the guy takes a lot of heat and I'm not sure quite why he's so widely reviled.

Everyone has their favorites. As times passes, I find my own negative opinions of some of his work evening out. There were times when I quite liked the results of his inks.