Wednesday, August 15, 2007
NOT A GOOD DAY
Just got back home from Chicago to a devastating piece of news: Mike Wieringo is dead.
This is hard to take for many reasons, at first there's the shock of his sudden passing, I may be speaking for many of his friends when I say I had no clue he suffered from any kind of life-threatening illness. Then there's the obvious examination of one's own life, the sad realization of our own mortality and of our legacy, etc., etc. But mainly because Mike was a personal friend and a fellow artist (for those of you who are not familiar with him, he worked in the comics field, Tellos & Spiderman to name two of the most prominent titles he drew) He was one of us.
Mike and I were planning an art/sketchbook for next spring, I saw him two months ago in Charlotte, he was in great spirits as we discussed the project and seemed very excited to join our movement and finally put a full-color art book together, he wanted to showcase his personal work not just the stuff that paid the bills.
The fact that he looked in perfect health and so optimistic about the future makes his passing very difficult to accept, I've never seem him so cheerful as I did that weekend. You see, in the past few months leading to Charlotte he seemed a bit unhappy with his personal work, Mike was very hard on himself, he had expressed many times, both, in private to his friends and later on his blog for everyone to see, that he felt a bit insecure about his art and the need to become better, I loved him for it because few artists come to that realization at the heap of their popularity, that took a big heart and even bigger balls, because he had tons of fans praising him night and day and loving his work. He knew there was much more to learn and to experience, he wanted more than just the adoration of his fans, he was true to himself and never bought into that celebrity status nonsense. He really wanted to grow as an artist and not just survive.
Mike was always a gentleman and a gentle man, courteous and polite, down-to-earth, kind and generous, I know people always say nice things about a person who passes away out of respect, even when that person doesn't deserve them but Mike Wieringo WAS all those things and more, he truly was a great human being and that is not an exaggeration, I don't claim to have been one of his best friends but I did consider him one of my few true friends. He e-mailed me 3 days before he died, right after he had read my August 5th post (in which I went postal on a book buyer), not just out of curiousity but expressing real concern for what had happened to me, that was the kind of man he was.
Rest in peace Mike, you will be sorely missed.