Mike Wieringo remembered…….

Craig Gilmore


*I Call this the “Romeo and Juliet” shot haha! Mike and Jeff Parker posing for a shot. I think Morbius was supposed to be flying away? Or flying to the ground….I can’t remember but it makes for a funny picture…..Actually lots of the came out bad because they were Polaroids. I must have spent a fortune on film back then…*

*Jeff Parker and Mike posing for a scene in “Morbius” for Marvel* I think it was a pre-requisite that you had to be willing and able to pose for reference shots if you joined the studio and we all did all the time*

*This pic was in my studio at Artamus Studios circa ’94 I would say. I ‘used’ be pretty messy and not sure if Mike was posing for a reference picture or if he was actually trying to find a place to put something in my studio…..good luck Mike……*

*There is no telling what this was from or why Mike looked like he wanted to kick my ass 🙂 Actually he was posing again for some other illustration I was working on*

* Mike posing for me for some sort of illustration. Probably for White Wolf or Wizards of the coast or one of those jobs. He always came up with killer poses and was often the model for us Artamus Studios boys.*

*Not sure what this was for but I beleive he was posing for a Morbius page I was drawing at the time. This turned out to be a pretty cool shot in and of itself. Its a good pic of Mike in action.*

It pains me to no end to sit down and gather my thoughts and sum up the positive influence Mike Wieringo had on me as both a person and as a career artist. I had posted a quick response to the news of his passing a couple of days ago, but after it really started to sink in and I had time to collect my thoughts, I needed to say something more about Mike and what his friendship meant to me. Cully Hamner seemed to sum it up when saying “The simplest statement I can possibly make is that Mike Wieringo was just a great guy—which, upon writing those words, doesn’t seem quite enough. It doesn’t seem to fully contain him, this fact of the matter. But he was great in every way you’d want your friends to be great: Kind, caring, sensitive, hilarious, intelligent, talented, skilled, responsible, and a million other things.” I really can’t do much better than that but thought I might be able to give an additional perspective to the man who was both a top notch storyteller in every since and also a close personal friend to me from another very personal view.

Starting out as a young and hungry artist myself with much to learn (even as I do now), I was both amazed and thankful for the time that I spent in Artamus Studios and also as a roommate to Mike for a couple of years. I was astounded at the determination and talent that I saw evolving before my eyes and thankful for the once in a lifetime opportunity to see his legend grow. And that is what Mike became for the sequential art industry. A modern master of the visual form of comics and as influential as those that came before him and influenced him alike. As his studio/apartment mate I saw this every day. I also saw the internal termoil in which he put himself through in order to better his craft. That consistently hard work ethic was extremely inspirational to myself as well as all of the other guys in Artamus Studios. Mike was never truly satisfied with his art and never rested on the praise of the fans to which he felt “undeserved and unjustified”. If truth be known, compliments were an extremely uneasy and foreign thing for Mike to take however justified or deserving they were. He never felt worthy. He never got lazy with his art and his hunger to reach his top potential was in tact to the very last page he drew and he was always very aware of any flaws that he saw in his own art. Of course we all loved seeing it flow out of his pencil on a day to day basis and it inspired us to work harder to be better artists in our own right. Things seemed to flow out of his hands and on to the paper with a grace that likened him to a poet. It always seemed effortless for Mike. And it was that way consistently for him even as hard headed as he could be at times. He made it all look effortless day in and day out. That’s what the great artists in history do. They inspire and lift us up in awe of the apparent ease in which they accomplish their art. Mike loved what he did and enjoyed being a part of it. He loved comics and loved creating them. His laughter filled the halls of Artamus Studios every day and it was contagious for us all. For me, Mike was just next door if I needed an honest opinion on something I had drawn. Not only would he tell me it was bad and push me harder, but he would tell me why it was bad and he knew I could do better. If something was good he would be the first to say ‘that looks great!” and that he knew I could do better! Like I said, he was a true friend and like a brother to me and always believed in me even when I didn’t always believe in myself. I keep this work ethic close to my heart to this day and I will never forget Mike for his guidance.

Millions of fans and friends and family have poured out their heart to Mike and his family since his passing and I cannot attempt to say all the good things that need to be said about Mike Wieringo in this simple post. Read the posts from fans all over the world. They tell his story. Read his comics. They tell his story as well. I’m sure he would be both amazed and humbled at the response the comics industry has sent forth. He was just that type of every day guy.

Lastly, and knowing Mike as well as I did, I think there would be one thing I think that he would want to say and to be remembered by even above his art….

Mike would say “Find what it is in life that you love to do with all your heart. Whatever that may be, work persistantly to persue those dreams and never let them fade away even through hard times or self doubt. Through following your dreams you will find yourself and in that, find peace and happiness.” His life was a testament to this philosophy.

Rest in peace Mike. Thank you for being a ‘real’ hero and true friend. You are fondly remembered and the world is an emptier place without you in it.

Craig Gilmore
Film Shot Studio
Hillsborough, NC