If my computer monitor were a mirror, I'm sure I'd have seen my face go ashen when I saw the news about Mike Wieringo. He was 44, too young to die of anything...and too friendly and talented to die and not leave a hole in comicdom's heart.
I didn't know Mike. I knew I liked his work and that, on the few occasions I saw him at conventions, he was unfailingly gracious to his many fans. I visited his blog once a week or so, marveling in his sketches and enjoying his comments on whatever he felt like writing about.
I like Wieringo's work because it's bouncy, dynamic, fun, and just plain human and because he recognizes that job one is to tell the story in a manner both clear and exciting. From his back-and-forth with frequent collaborator Todd Dezago, it's also clear he's a good guy to work with. From Wieringo's recollections of his family and his youth, it's obvious his adventure and fantasy works retain that also vital one foot in the real world. I knew I liked his work before I read this. I have a better understanding of why I like it after reading it.
I didn't know Mike, but I wanted to write something about him. Maybe it was the moving tributes from Todd Dezago, Karl Kesel, Mark Waid, people who were lucky enough to call him friend, people who, in sharing their great loss, made it clear that my not knowing Mike was mine. I wanted to write something about Mike, but didn't know what I could or should write.
Then someone did it for me.
It was another guy I don't know named Jerry Chandler. He was commenting on Mike's passing on Peter David's blog.
He was one of the few artists who seemed to be able to express the sheer joy he had for his craft in every line on the page. Everything he did was a joy to look at.
That's what I wanted to write, that Mike Wieringo embodied the joy of comics...and that Mike shared that joy freely with his fans and with his friends.
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.
ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.
TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?
THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.
FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?
FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.
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