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365 Reasons to Love Comics #68

The penultimate Mike! Who will it be? Who?

I’ll give you a hint: he’s fantastic. And sensational. And friendly. And probably obvious, now.

3/9/07

68. Mike Wieringo

Wieringo 1.jpg

Mike Wieringo (or just Ringo, as many call him) is a great artist. Call him cartoony if you want, but he’s got an energetic, clean style that has all the right hints of Parobeck, Kirby, and Romita Jr. in it, to name a few.

If I could find that awesome self-portrait I’ve seen of his, I would put it up here, but the internet is hiding it from me. Bah.

I first encountered his work on The Flash with Mark Waid, where he illustrated one of my favorite issues of any comic ever (and which I see will be appearing in a Greatest Flash Stories Ever Told volume!):

Wieringo 3.jpg

After that, I think I saw him on Sensational Spider-Man with his buddy Todd DeZago:

Wieringo 6.jpg

He’d later reteam with DeZago on creator-owned series Tellos, a fantasy story with an anthropomorphic tiger. Why? Because anthropomorphic tigers are grrrrrrrrreat!

Wieringo 7.jpg

It’s a shame Ringo never sticks around for very long on a title. Flash, Sensational Spidey, Friendly Neighborhood Spidey, Adventures of Superman… the man’s always on the move.

Wieringo 2.jpg

His longest run is probably his greatest, and that’s his stint on Fantastic Four with Mark Waid. It’s the best FF run since Lee and Kirby. Jemas tried to kill it before it was over, but the fans stepped up and told him what for.

Wieringo 4.jpg

I love Mike’s art. I do. I just wish I had a better ability to describe good art so I could tell you how damn awesome it is. Er… smooth lines! Dynamism! I dunno. It’s good, darn it! Buy the upcoming Spidey/FF mini! Jeff Parker’s writing it, so you know it’ll be awesome.

Meanwhile, you can visit Ringo’s website, where he has a blog with a new sketch or drawing every entry, like the one at the top of this post. You can also check out his forum here at CBR.

How about you? How would you describe the awesomeness of Mike Wieringo?

18 Comments

I just wish I had a better ability to describe good art so I could tell you how damn awesome it is.

Try this. He has a magnificent gift for design, for pacing, for everything a comic-book artist needs to make a page work as a unit — AND he has the caricaturist’s knack for conveying an enormously wide range of emotion and characterization in facial expression without over-drawing or cross-hatching it to death. He has all the best characteristics of manga artists, with none of the cliches. He works constantly at improving.

And all of this craft and hard work is very nearly invisible, he is always working in service of the story. His pages are never self-conscious, show-offy pin-ups like a lot of other Hot Artists are guilty of producing. He has the best kind of humility and team-player attitude when it comes to comics work, at least as far as anyone can tell from looking at his pages. It’s all about the READING experience, not the visual experience, when it’s a Wieringo job. His pages look like somebody crossed CC Beck with Jack Kirby, and added Eisner’s style of facial expression. They’re amazing. Those qualities made him the best FF artist in decades. Certainly he’s one of the top five guys working in mainstream comics today just in terms of sheer craft.

…how’s that?

When I first heard of ‘Ringo he was doing Untold Tales Of Spider-Man which I think looked awful, I hated the way he drew spidey (though that sensational cover is great). But he really is a great artist, his work on Superman was frikkin great.

‘Ringo never worked on Untold Tales. You’re thinking of Pat Oliffe.

Ringo rocks, man. No doubt. His sketchblog demands daily (or at least weekdaily) viewing, and his comics are a joy to behold.

That Zoo Crew sketch is a little too serious looking- like some horrible Alex Ross reimagining of Capt. Carrot and Co.- which is odd because ‘Ringos art is usually so fun and joy-filled. I’m looking forward to his Spidey/FF.

I really think he drew the best Flash since Carmine Infantino. It’s certainly the definitive version of Wally West in the role.

Oh Snap! Did you just call out Waid/Ringo as being better than Byrne on FF? That’s a pretty ballsy statement.

The art may have been better, but definitely not the writing.

It’s just a big statement to make, and honestly not one that I’ve ever heard before. I mean, Malice/Invisible Woman? That great Doom solo issue? The Trial of Reed? It’s an amazing run, and I don’t know that any run, Waid/Ringo just one example, is close to it in terms of scope and virtuosity.

Walt Simonson’s FF is much better than either Byrne’s or Waidringo’s.

Wieringo’s style is just too cartoony for my taste. He’s better suited to drawing Astroboy than the FF.

I like his art better now that it’s turned less cartoony and more like Chris Sprouse’s style.

Oh yeah. Who the heck would want a cartoony style in a comic book?

My only beef with Ringo’s style is the big eyes. He does fall into that manga cliche, and it really pulls me out of a story fast.

But that’s all.

I actually met ‘Ringo once at a con, where I got him to autograph a Fantastic Four issue he’d drawn. He struck me as a really nice guy.

I think the first comment said it all. I will say I met Mike at a con and he did a sketch of Sue Richards (because he draws my favorite Sue Richards) and could not have been nicer if he was sainted. I will always always always treasure the sketch he gave me, free of charge. The first sketch I’ve ever gotten btw.

Actually it was the week that FF was coming out and the new team was debuting so before it hit stands I got to get Waid, ‘Ringo and Kessel sketches and autographs. DeZago was there too and he and ‘Ringo signed Tellos trades for me. All four were not just nice but considerate of fans. And even IF ‘Ringo’s art was as bad as art could be (which it isn’t, it’s some of the best, imo) I’d still love him for his character.

Michael

RIP Ringo, you are as you always were, a legend!

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