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Author Topic: RIP Mike Weiringo  (Read 2904 times)
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nightwing
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« on: August 16, 2007, 01:41:29 AM »

I know Mike Weiringo wasn't really a Superman artist per se (except for that Superboy/Spider-Boy amalgam thing), but I'm not really a community member at any other comics boards, so I thought I'd weigh in with a few words of tribute here. (For those who missed it, Mike passed away last weekend at the too-young age of 44).

I went to high school in the small town of Rustburg, Virginia where I was two classes behind Mike's.  As something of an aspiring comics artist myself, I always got the same two responses whenever anyone saw my work: "Hey, that's great" and "You should see Mike Weiringo's stuff."  Like any artist -- even a teenage one -- I had an ego that resented this mysterious upper classman who could steal my thunder even in absentia, but once I saw his stuff (which didn't much resemble what would come, but was still very good), I understood the hold he had on his classmates and teachers.

Years later I met Mike for the first time when I was an employee at VCU and he was attending art classes.  (Coincidentally, his eventual collaborator Mark Waid was a VCU grad from years before). It struck me he was older than most students, so I don't know if his career goals were derailed temporarily or what.  Not long after that I learned from an LCS we both frequented that Mike had been "discovered" at Heroes Con in NC (incidentally, Mike's kid brother Matt designed the website for the LCS).  Soon I came across Mike's Doc Savage art for an indy publisher and in short order I was enjoying his work on the Flash, though I have to confess I didn't really follow him to other books, as I was losing interest in comics even then.

Still, Mike became for me one of those people you think about now and then when you ponder the course of your life.  He and I grew up, apparently, with the same dream; being a comic book artist, and even lived in the same town (twice).  But where I gave up, like so many wannabe Neal Adamses, and moved on to other, more pedestrian things to put meat on the table, Mike never let go of his dream, and indeed became one of the most popular and well-loved creators of his generation.  More than once I wondered what I might have achieved if I'd taken my (in retrospect very) raw talent and applied study and discipline, though as this was the 90s I usually concluded the comics industry wasn't one I'd really want to work in anymore, anyway.  That usually made me feel okay for a little while, til I admitted to myself that guys like Mike were doing what they could to bring some sunshine into a lousy business.  Better to light a light than curse the darkness and all that...

Anyway, even though I never knew Mike as well as I should have, I always felt a sort of connection to him as the "local boy made good," the doppleganger who lived the life maybe I should have tried harder for.  I knew enough of his friends to know how much he wanted to be what he ultimately became -- a great comic book artist -- and I always felt proud and happy for him.  It's very sad, then, to see it end so early for him, and for us.  At least he's left behind something that will survive him, something that brought happiness to a lot of people, something that -- as far as I'm concerned -- was never tainted by the cyncism and ugliness rampant in the business today, which couldn't have been easy.  However long we get -- or don't -- what we leave behind says a lot about us.  I hope I go out with as much to recommend me, but as with so many other things since high school, I must admit in all candor I'm way behind Mike on that score, too.



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JulianPerez
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« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2007, 02:21:01 AM »

I actually had to go and verify this because it sounded like a mistake. Remember when Eminem "died" in a car crash back in the early 1990s?

Wow, this is terrible. I actually find it hard to believe Mike is as old as 44...when I first encountered his style in FF it seemed so "hip" and bleeding-edge and huge-eyed and semi-Manga that the idea he is over 25 is actually kind of hard to swallow.

Still, a real tragedy, especially since it seems he died at the height of his career and prestige.

I first knew Weiringo through Waid's FANTASTIC FOUR; at first I was let down because Carlos Pacheco had left a while earlier, but there's something strangely definitive about the way he drew characters. Maybe because he was on the book for such a while. When he left in the middle of one story arc, the book felt almost totally different.

I suppose he was good enough, and long-lasting enough, that he becomes associated with a specific run in the mind. I can't think of NEW TEEN TITANS done by anybody but George Perez. I can't think of Waid FF without Weiringo.
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« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2007, 03:40:59 AM »

1) The spelling is Wieringo

2) He did Superman:

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« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2007, 09:51:50 AM »

I missed out on most of his stuff, but caught some of his FF and Flash work, and occasionally visited his website - the sketches he added daily are a real treat, especially the Spider-Man/Peter Parker ones, which capture the character perfectly. It's awful to read his last entry of the 10th and think that just a few days later, he checked out as suddenly as Gene Day did.

See the site here: http://www.mikewieringo.com/
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