Joltin’ Joe Sinnott (1926-2020)

the greatest inker for Marvel Comics

Joe SinnottI was working the front counter of the FantaCo comic book store in Albany on November 2, 1982. Joe Sinnott had driven the 45 miles from Saugerties to buy 10 copies of Life of the Pope, John Paul II, which he had inked. He wanted to have copies to give to family and friends.

I’m sure we gave him a deep discount. But I wish I could have just given them to him. It’s because, as everyone who has written about him has noted, he was the sweetest man in the comic book business. In fact, he might have been the kindest person I’ve known, period.

Joe, as most comic fans know, was the primary inker for Jack “King” Kirby on the Fantastic Four. Read this quote from Joe’s Wikipedia page. “Sinnott was a master craftsman, fiercely proud of the effort and meticulous detail he put into his work. That slick, stylized layer of India ink that Sinnott painted over Kirby’s pencils finished Jack’s work in a way that no other inker ever would. Comic fans had never witnessed art this strange and powerful in its scope and strength.”

However, Joe worked on a multitude of titles, before, during, and after his stint on the FF, including Thor, Silver Surfer, The Avengers, and the Defenders. He “retired” from full-time work for Marvel in 1992 but inked the Spider-Man newspaper feature until 2019.

Pettigrew for President

On my occasional treks to the Albany Comic-Con, I’d always stop by Joe’s table and talk with him. Or try. The line to see him was always the longest in the place.

As I noted in 2017, my friend Mark got the chance to meet Joe. Mark also discovered a fairly obscure Sinnott credit. “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.”

Joe Sinnott died this month. Mark Evanier shares his history, but also what a swell guy he was. Check out Joe’s official page for photos, samples of his art, and more.

Tim Ryan-Pepper (1954-2019)

We named ourselves, alternately, TAR Moving, ART Moving or RAT Moving, depending on who we wanted to give top billing.

Tim Ryan-PepperThe fifth funeral I’ll attend in the calendar year 2019 will be that of my friend Tim Ryan-Pepper, who died unexpectedly on Valentine’s Day at the age of 64.

He started attending Trinity United Methodist Church in 1985, only a couple of years after I did. He sang in the choir – he was a tenor – for a bunch of years until he had to give up the crutches for a walker. The choir loft was hardly accessible.

Tim eventually did the broadcast announcing for the church, which was even more physically challenging, because it involved crawling/pulling himself up to the second floor. He had no apparent ego about this; he did what was necessary to do what he loved. In fact, he could be goofy about his situation, and I mean that in a good way.

He was adept at a mixing board. He really loved music of all sorts, and that was our bond. We talked about it for hours at his various apartments. Frankly, I don’t really remember any of his places particularly well, as he moved a lot in the 1980s and early 1990s; I count six different relocations. He packed, but the cerebral palsy precluded heavy lifting. Most of the schlepping was done by his wife of 34 years Alberta, their late friend Tom, and me. We named ourselves, alternately, TAR Moving, ART Moving or RAT Moving, depending on who we wanted to give top billing.

He was a loving father to his children Jeff and Katie.

While I saw Alberta now and then, at the laundromat or waiting for the bus, I saw Tim far too infrequently, especially after he retired from his job at New York State Taxation and Finance. The memorial service for Tim Ryan-Pepper will be held on Sunday, February 24 at 2:00 pm. at Trinity UMC, my second funeral of a former Trinity choir member in eight days.

End of year rambling: who ARE these people?

The year’s worst falsehoods and bogus claims

Is God a Robot That Just Hasn’t Been Invented Yet?

Hating the poor in the season of giving

How to Hire Fake Friends and Family

Fiction from the New Yorker: Cat Person

Thousands Once Spoke His Language in the Amazon; Now, He’s the Only One

How ancient mastodon bones sparked a modern-day battle among scientists

Chuck Miller: When I caught the Times Union editing my blog headlines without my permission

RIP, Sue Grafton at 77 – Y Is For Yesterday: her last mystery series novel

Arthur answers Roger’s questions about the regime in DC and the nasty people in DC and blogging, and Kiwi language and his most evergreen post

RIP to Rose Marie, who was of an uncertain age; at least she was around for this; Dick Van Dyke has lost two costars this year, with Mary Tyler Moore passing in January

2018 US postage stamps: Musician John Lennon, performer and activist Lena Horne, America’s first woman in space Sally Ride, and children’s television pioneer Mr. Rogers

Mark Evanier has been blogging for 17 years this month, a site I check out daily

RIP Dick Enberg

Clifford Irving, Author of a Notorious Literary Hoax, Dies at 87

Quotable Kirby

Erie, PA Receives Record 53 Inches of Snow in 30 Hours

Now I Know: The People Who Protect Chewbacca and The Worthless $65 Million Masterpiece That Cost $29 Million and The Town That Pays Criminals to Cut it Out and The Accidental Masterpiece and The New York Police Department’s Giant Problem and The People Who Protect Chewbacca

What is it like to go through a car wash with the windows down?

Wise Old Sayings

TICKS, MANY OF THEM

What Do You Call a World That Can’t Learn From Itself?

This is the thanks he gets for “overhauling” the American tax system?

‘He Would Probably Be a Dictator by Now’

The Nationalist’s Delusion

The United States of America Is Decadent and Depraved

Should We Care What Happens to the GOP’s Soul?

I Won’t Tolerate A ‘Different Viewpoint’ When It’s Based On Blatant Lies

The Whoppers of 2017: the year’s worst falsehoods and bogus claims

“Neoliberalism” isn’t an empty epithet – It’s a real, powerful set of ideas

How life is now in Puerto Rico

“Hope has two beautiful daughters: their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” – Augustine of Hippo

TWENTY-SEVENTEEN

The Queen’s Christmas Broadcast 2017 and 1957

2017 is the best?

Instagram’s Favorite New Yorker Cartoons of 2017

YouTube’s highest paid stars – who ARE these people? I’m old

The Biggest Tech Fails of 2017

Turner Classic Movies’ annual Obituary Video

The Daily Show team looks back at the biggest events of 2017 in news, sports, and pop culture

MUSIC

RIP Keely Smith

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised – Gil Scott Heron

Keep On Doing What You’re Doing/Jerks On The Loose – Kelly Hogan and Nora O’Connor

Two songs from Björk’s 2017 album Utopia

Dmitri Shostakovich – Waltz No. 2

Regretro -Lifestyle album

The Last Day of Summer – Elyxr, ft Color Theory

Retrospect -Freen in Green, ft. Liz Enthusiasm

Heavensent – Bao

TWO TICKET TO PHUKET

Sufjan Stevens, Chris Cornell, “Weird Al” Yankovic, Taylor Swift on longlist for Best Original Song Oscar

Dominic Frontiere, Composer for ‘The Outer Limits,’ ‘The Flying Nun,’ Dies at 86

G is for Dick Gregory: activist, comedian, writer

“Every time you say that I make another $50,000.”

When I was at BB King’s Blues Club in NYC this past week, I noticed that Dick Gregory was scheduled to do two shows with Paul Mooney on November 2. Yes, he was still active up to the end of his life. The club’s description is a good place to start:

“An activist, philosopher, anti-drug crusader, comedian, author, actor, recording artist, and nutritionist, Dick Gregory was on the front line in the ’60s during the Civil Rights era. Today he continues to be a ‘drum major for justice and equality.’

“Born in 1932 in St. Louis, MO, his social satire has drastically changed the way white Americans perceive African Americans. After beginning to perform comedy in the mid-’50s while serving in the army, Gregory first entered the national comedy scene in 1961, when Chicago’s Playboy Club (as a direct request from publisher Hugh Hefner) booked him as a replacement for white comedian, ‘Professor’ Irwin Corey. His tenure as a replacement for Corey was so successful – at one performance he won over an audience that included Southern white convention goers – that the Playboy Club offered him a contract extension from several weeks to three years.”

Dustbury shares the fried chicken joke.

“By 1962 Gregory had become a nationally known headline performer, selling out nightclubs, making numerous national television appearances, and recording popular comedy albums.”

Though Mark Evanier knew Gregory from his LPs, I was more familiar with him from his books, especially From the Back of the Bus, my father’s paperback copy, which I devoured.

Early on, he became a civil rights activist, working with Malcolm and Martin, among others.

I have mentioned on these pages, most recently on 20160603, that Dick Gregory ran for President in 1968, and that my parents, especially my father, were inclined to vote for this black man for President. I couldn’t yet vote, but I lobbied strongly for Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic candidate, stating that Richard Nixon, the Republican, was too dangerous. What they did in the privacy of the voting booth, I’ll never know, but I STILL have the campaign button.

“Although Gregory’s steadfast commitment has limited his opportunities to perform, he’s still found ways to share his powerful and often comedic message with audiences across the country. In 1996, he took the stage stage with his critically acclaimed one-man show, Dick Gregory Live! The reviews of the show compared him to the greatest stand-ups in the history of Broadway…

“Although Gregory announced in 2001 that he had been diagnosed with lymphoma, he was able to battle the cancer into remission with a regimen of diet, vitamins, and exercise… The new millennium has found Gregory continuing to write, perform, and shape public opinion. ‘I’ve lived long enough to need two autobiographies, which is fine with me,’ he laughs. ‘I’m looking forward to writing the third and fourth volumes as well.”

Dick Gregory has died at the age of 84, and the world is diminished by that fact.

For ABC Wednesday

Glen Campbell, legendary singer and guitarist

He, along with three of his six children, went on one final tour, recorded for the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me.


The first time I became really aware with Glen Campbell was when he became the host of something called the Summer Brothers Smother Show, the summer replacement for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour in late June through early September 1968. It even featured the Smothers’ Presidential “candidate” Pat Paulsen. I watched it and liked it.

He had already had a couple crossover hits: Gentle on My Mind was penned by John Hartford, a regular on the show. By the Time I Get To Phoenix was written, as many of Glen’s recordings were, by Jimmy Webb. Plus he had a couple country hits.

Then he starred in the Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour from January 1969 to June 1972, which I also viewed. It coincided with more hits such as Wichita Lineman, which has possibly THE most romantic couplet in pop music. Also Galveston, the Texas city I visited in 1995 or 1996 and kept singing in my head.

Sometime around this time, I learned that he had filled in for Brian Wilson on the Beach Boys tours for six months in the 1960s, and I thought that was cool.

I never saw him in the movie TRUE GRIT with John Wayne, for which the Duke won an Oscar. And I stopped paying attention to him as he went through what my buddy Johnny Bacardi called “his excessive wild man ’70s and ’80s-up phases, coke, and Tanya Tucker and all that nonsense.” But like Johnny, I learned he was part of the legendary Wrecking Crew of session musicians, and I developed a huge, newfound respect for him.

In this 2007 interview, Glen Campbell discusses his forgetfulness, which he attributed to his wild lifestyle of the past. But in 2011, it was announced that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

Then he, along with three of his six children, went on one final tour, recorded for the documentary Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me, which I thought was extraordinary.

On Facebook, Jimmy Webb wrote: “I watched him in awe executing his flawless rendition of ‘“The William Tell Overture’ on his classical guitar in his Vegas show. Jazz he loved. He claimed he learned the most about playing the guitar from Django Reinhardt.”

Glen Campbell died at the age of 81. Here’s an interview with Alice Cooper talking about his late good friend.

Listen to

Turn Around Look at Me, pop #62 in 1961, his first charted hit
Brenda, the B-side

Gentle on My Mind, pop #62 in 1967, #39 in 1968; country #30 in 1967, #44 in 1968

By the Time I Get To Phoenix, pop #26, country #2 in 1968

Wichita Lineman, pop #3, country #1 for two weeks
“And I need you more than want you, and I want you for all time.” – Jimmy Webb

Galveston, pop #4, country #1 for three weeks in 1969

Rhinestone Cowboy, pop #1 for two weeks, country #1 for three weeks, his signature song

Some Dustbury links, including Adios, recorded in 2015 but released in July 2017.