August 12, 2009

Remembering Mike Wieringo

Category: Creators — By @ 10:30 am

Today’s the second anniversary of artist Mike Wieringo’s death. ’Ringo, as he was known by friends and fans alike, only worked on a handful of Flash issues with Mark Waid in the late 1990s, but in that time he set a new standard for artwork on the series (I believe he established the use of lightning trails) and co-created Impulse.

In remembrance, I’m re-running the post I made two years ago, on the day I learned he had died.

Mike Wieringo (1963-2007)

’Ringo's Final Sketch: Jarek from TellosThis weekend I re-read Tellos, a fantasy comic book that ran from 1999-2000. Writer Todd Dezago and artist Mike Wieringo took a 6-month hiatus to prepare the next story arc, but that arc never materialized. Just a few one-shots and an anthology mini that explored backstories and aftermath, with a few hints at the upcoming story. Though from the sketches and posts on Wieringo’s blog—the latest (at left) posted just last Friday, it was clear they were working on relaunching the series, possibly this year.

So it came as a real shock when I checked my e-mail this morning and saw a post on Warren Ellis’ Bad Signal saying that Mike Wieringo died yesterday at the age of 44.

A second obituary appears at Comic Book Resources. Newsarama also spoke with his friends and collaborators, collecting remembrances from Mark Waid, Todd Dezago and Karl Kesel.

The Mark Waid/Mike Wieringo run on The Flash was one of my favorites. Even though other artists drew Wally West for longer, it’s “’Ringo’s” take that I always associate with the character. That run got me interested in Tellos, which sits alongside Chronos and Chase as a favorite series that should have lasted longer than it did.

Bart Allen MemorialTwo months ago, DC Comics killed off the most recent Flash, Bart Allen—originally Impulse, a character Wieringo co-created with Mark Waid. Wieringo’s remarks on Bart’s fate were widely read, widely quoted, and sparked debate on whether killing characters was merited by story, or simply the this decade’s sales gimmick of choice. He posted the sketch at the right as a memorial to Bart Allen.

His blog has been up and down all day, and Newsarama’s been having trouble keeping up with the traffic to their own site—a testament to how much he’s missed.

At least one fan memorial has sprung up: The ’Ringo Project is collecting copies of convention sketches to present a memorial collage at next month’s Baltimore Comic-Con.

Wieringo’s family has asked that donations be made in his name to the ASPCA or the Hero Initiative.

In re-reading Tellos this weekend, I came across this remark by Todd Dezago in the letters column for Tellos #10. It seems appropriate to quote it here:

If the concept of Tellos really sprang from anything, it might be that old saying that “no one is really gone as long as we keep them in our hearts.”

Just as some characters in the story lived on in the land of Tellos after death, ’Ringo will live on in the many stories he told.

Originally posted at K-Squared Ramblings on August 13, 2007.

Other Remembrances

I didn’t know it at the time, but Mark Gruenwald also died on August 12, albeit a decade earlier. Other tributes to Wieringo and to Gruenwald include: Todd Dezago, Matt Wieringo, Mark Waid, Blog@Newsarama, Cully Hamner, Crispy Comics, Tom Brevoort, Nerdage.