Wonder Woman Wednesday: A Tribute to Artist Mike Wieringo (with Exclusive Art)

Hello, my dear readers. Forgive my sporadic schedule lately. I promise to pull it together for the upcoming release of the Wonder Woman film! It's getting closer and closer as I try to worm my way into the premiere! Where's my invisible pole vault when I need it? I think I cashed in all my connections. (Hint. Hint.)

But I had good reason: My sister - a real Wonder Woman herself, came to visit me for the first time since I moved to West Hollywood last week! We did all the fun touristy things, like going to the beach, the 3rd Street Promenade, Hollywood and Highland, The Grove, and Universal Studios! Damn! That's a lot in 4 days. Hera help me. Universal Studios is awesome! Make sure you take the backlot tour, if you decide to go.

This week, I decided to dedicate my blog to one of my favorite comic book artists of all time... the late, great Mike Wieringo! Mike only ever contributed to one Wonder Woman comic, but don't worry, I have a heck of a WW tale regarding him.

Mike burst onto the scene in 1993 joining writer Mark Waid on Flash with issue #80. I'm sure he had done a few things prior to that, but that's when I discovered his art, anyway. I was immediately drawn to his clear, "cartoony" style. He was still pretty green back then, but you could see the potential and feel the energy. This was right before the cartoony style was mainstreamed in comics and was off-putting to many readers. This was more the hyper-detailed Jim Lee era (not that there's anything wrong with that). I love me some early '90s Image Comics. The history of comics is so lush and worth investigating, especially Wonder Woman's history. But be careful. There are mixed opinions on Wondy's early days.

I think a bio pic of W.W.'s creator is in the works. Yay! More WW to look forward to. Least we forget the Justice League movie; clearly, Mamoa and Gadot own that flick.
 
Mikes artistic ability and popularity gained vastly. Before you knew it, he was working on top-tier books like Superman, Rogue, and Fantastic Four. He did take a lengthy break from mainstream comics to give us his beloved Tellos, a swashbuckling sword and sorcery comic with co-creator Todd Dezago for Image Comics. They had an awesome run on Spider-Man together; you should check it out.

Sadly, although he was known to be in good shape and take care of himself, we lost Mike to a heart issue at the all-too-young age of 44 in 2007.
   
Mike did daily warm up sketches on his blog that were always so full of life and whimsy.
   
When I lived in Florida back in the day, I had the privilege to meet Mr. Wieringo at a convention in Orlando. One of my favorite images of his was, of course, the piece he did for the Wonder Woman pin-up gallery. It was a beautiful "double exposure" piece of Wondy holding up her lasso, looking like a boss. (You know? Kind of like the pics you took as a kid at Olan Mills.) And the other image was her back to the camera looking over her shoulder. It's stupendous.

When I met 'Ringo (as he was affectionately known), he was doing sketches, and I think I may have rambled a bit at the excitement over meeting him. He was kind and shy with thoughtful eyes with a glint of mischief. I asked him to recreate the image he recreated for the Wonder Woman Gallery. He complied and I silenced as I watched him bust out another masterpiece. It was awe-inspiring to watch him work. It was interesting to compare the images once I got home and could see how much Mike had grown as an artist. He seemed so effortless and so peaceful. You could sense the energy, and it was a privilege to watch him sketch. I was heartbroken when he passed away. But, I'm always overjoyed when I look at his wonderful, whimsical style. It always makes me smile.

Thanks for bringing joy to my life, Michael Wieringo. I'm happy to share with you the sketch he did for me. I've never shown it to anyone before. I think I selfishly held onto my unique piece, but I'm ready to share it with the world. I hope you find it as special as I do.

Artists are the backbone of the industry. Don't forget that!

See you next week, faithful Amazons!  As always, check out the I Am Wonder Fan page on Facebook.  I'd love to see fan art and cosplay posted there!

Follow me on instagram @MichaelFitzTroy.

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