This isn’t entirely news, especially to those who keep up with comics industry news, but this past weekend Mike Wieringo passed away, suddenly, at age 44. Mike was an incredible illustrator and cartoonist who was a favorite of mine and a great influence on my work before I got into the field professionally. And after my professional career got started and I got to talk to and meet him, my opinion of him only grew.
Some of the most fun I had in comics were the epically long chats with Mike and his studio-mate and occasional inker Rich Case (also very talented, indeed), and the first convention I attended professionally, Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC, in 1999. I was there as a lowly assistant editor from Marvel Comics, and the Artamus Studios crew, chief among them Mike and Rich, were so welcoming and I felt like they took me in as one of their own; an absolute pleasure – only to be topped off by nearly the entire population of comics pros going to see Disney’s Tarzan as that was the opening weekend. To be in that theater, with that group…among them now friends like Mike, with whom I’d often talked about our mutual love of the Disney style and its influence on us both…those are moments that are monumental to a developing young professional in so many ways.
Thank you, Mike for your influence, as an artist and as a friend.
It’s terribly sad to know he’s gone.