Friends share memories of comics artist Mike Wieringo

The late illustrator received a moving tribute at Baltimore Comic-Con from writers and artists proud to call him friend.
"Mike was a wonderfully generous person with a lot of beautiful and wonderful ideas," said writer Todd DeZago, who considered Mike Wieringo his best friend. "He didn't think his work was half as good as it was and we would beat him in the head over it."

Artist Cully Hamner (Blue Beetle) got into the comics biz at about the same time as Ringo, who came to him for Hamner's first portfolio review. Hamner opened Ringo's portfolio, then handed it back to him.

"I said, 'What are you coming to me for?'" recalled Hamner. "His work was better than mine."

"He really did change a lot of the way comics were drawn in the '90s," said writer Mark Waid, who got Ringo his first major work on The Flash. "He dragged craft kicking and screaming back into comics."

"He loved art," agreed DeZago, who created the fantasy series Tellos with Ringo. "Anyone that was doing something that was heartfelt or at the height of his craft, Mike appreciated."

All agreed that the gentle, optimistic Ringo brought a cartoony sense of fun and "bounce" to his work.

When Scott Kurtz collaborated with Ringo on Fantastic Four, the writer complimented the artist on drawing Sue Storm "as a mom; you draw her as a MILF!"

Each panelist admitted to experiencing deep shock upon learning of Wieringo's death from heart failure.

DeZago, who'd planned to collaborate with Ringo on another Tellos series once the artist's Marvel contract ended, explained that the mourning period caused him to hope there'd been a mix-up.

"The temperature in Raleigh was over a hundred and he'd had the air conditioning guy over at his place every day that week," he said. "I thought that maybe Mike wanted out of his Marvel contract so bad that the air conditioning guy dropped dead and Mike took his place.

"He was a wonderful guy who loved comics and I guess that means he loved all of you."

(Original reporting by CBR's John W. Smith.)
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