In mid-October, my friend Mark went up to a little town in Ulster County, south of Albany, to listen to a talk Joe Sinnott was giving, and afterwards asked if he would give a presentation to a comic book club for some disadvantaged adults. He had never met Joe before, but found him “delightful.”

I’ve known Joe a bit personally since my days at FantaCo back in the 1980s. My strongest recollection was when he showed up at the store in 1983 and bought 10 copies of The Life of Pope John Paul II, which Marvel Comics put out in, for which he was the inker. I sold them to him at a deep discount, as I recall.

Joe is STILL “delightful”, as I’ve noticed when I get to the occasional Albany Comic Con. At 91, he’s still a working artist, as inker of the Sunday Spider-Man comic strip for King Features. Quite coincidentally, my answer to the question which penciler/inker teams have had the most impact on me reappeared in my Facebook feed. The answer was Jack Kirby with Joe Sinnott on the Fantastic 4.

Friend Mark has discovered another credit for Joe. A bi-monthly comic book called the Treasure Chest of Fun & Fact was distributed in Catholic parochial schools. “The Treasure Chest was intended as a remedy to the sensationalism of traditional comics: it contained educational features, narrated the lives of saints, and presented adventure stories featuring realistic characters with what were considered wholesome values, like patriotism, equality, faith, and anti-communism.

“By the early 1960s, the Treasure Chest was at the height of its popularity… In 1964, Joe Sinnott… teamed up with writer Berry Reece to produce a story depicting a U.S. presidential election. It was set in the future: the presidential election was supposedly that of 1976, the year of the nation’s bicentennial.

“‘Pettigrew for President’ lasted for ten issues, following the campaign trail of the fictional Tim Pettigrew from the announcement of his candidacy through the national convention of his party. The candidate’s face was carefully hidden in every panel, until the final page of the final issue of the story, when Pettigrew is finally revealed: the first black candidate for president of the United States!”

Note that the original links no longer work – http://www.lib.cua.edu/wordpress/newsevents/802/ – but the material is still out there via the Wayback Machine.

One Response to “Joe Sinnott and the first black President”

  • Uthaclena says:

    When I read that comic in my childhood, I knew NO black people, just saw them, Puerto Ricans, and various Slavic enclaves, as working class background figures on local city streets. I don’t remember the notion that Pettigrew for President as a Black Man was anything that I would note as unusual until the comic indicated that it was so.

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