Mike Wieringo was born in Vincenza, Italy, on June 24, 1963 to Cecil and Shirley Wieringo, while Cecil was stationed there with the United States Army. Shortly thereafter, the family moved back home to Rustburg, Virginia, where Mike grew up with his younger brother, Matt. The boys had a fun and adventurous childhood, growing up in the country and discovering comics —and drawing— at an early age. Art quickly became Mike’s focus and he worked hard to make his dream of drawing comics his goal.
Mike began his professional comics career in 1992 when he contributed artwork to Justice League Quarterly no.11 for DC Comics. He was soon tapped to be the regular penciller on The Flash where he and writer Mark Waid put the Scarlet Speedster through his paces and created the impetuous young hero, Impulse. Mike’s unique and dynamic style quickly gained him much favorable notice in the comics industry and his pleasant and welcoming nature made him a fast favorite at conventions.
Ringo—as he was known by friends and fans alike— was later lured over to Marvel Comics with the promise of drawing one of his all-time favorite characters, Spider-Man. Teamed with writer Todd Dezago, Mike spent the next few years applying his fun and lively style to Spidey’s exploits in the pages of Sensational Spider-Man.
Enjoying their collaboration on Sensational, Mike and Todd then ventured into the realm of creator-owned comics by creating the high-adventure fantasy, Tellos. A wild amalgam of many of the fantasy tropes the two creators loved, Tellos was a showcase for Mike’s enchanting artwork and exceptional storytelling. Published in 1999 through Image Comics, Tellos unfolded in a sweeping 10 issue story arc that featured the tale of a young boy named Jarek, his tiger companion, Koj, a pirate queen called Serra and several other colorful characters going up against a malevolent teenager named Malesur in the magikal, patchwork world known as Tellos. Following the book’s success, Mike and Todd returned to mainstream comics, agreeing that one day, when the time was right, they would venture to Tellos again.
Mike went on to work on many of his other childhood favorites with credits on Superman, Rogue, Robin, The Fantastic Four —teaming once again with Mark Waid— and the mini-series, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four with his pal, Jeff Parker.
On August 12, 2007, Mike died unexpectedly of a sudden aortic dissection in his home in Durham, North Carolina.
Mike was an incredibly talented artist, which you can see in his work. Always striving to grow and to do better, Mike draw and re-draw his layouts and figures time and again until he got it ‘right’. He was, like most artists, quite hard on himself. He was incredibly generous with his talent and would often draw free covers and pin-ups to help young artists self-publishing their own work. He was a positive and encouraging supporter to ALL artists he came in contact with, whether online or at a convention. Mike would connect and compliment artists on their work, often relating how lost and alone he would sometimes feel when he was young and trying to get his work seen.
He has left behind a sea of friends and fans and memories of his warmth, his kindness, and his generosity. Mike gave continuously to the ASPCA and the Humane Society; his love of animals was legendary.