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Here’s the case of an artist dying way before his time and possibly before coming into his own. We do however have what he did as a living tribute to this very talented artist.

Michael Lance “Mike” Wieringo (June 24, 1963 – August 12, 2007), who sometimes signed his work under the name ‘Ringo, was an American comic book artist best known for his work on DC Comics’ The Flash and Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four.

Wieringo gained prominence working with writer Mark Waid on DC Comics’ super-speedster series The Flash vol. 2, penciling all but two issues from #80–92 (Early Sept. 1993 – July 1994), plus #0 (Oct. 1994); he additionally penciled covers through #100, #118–124, and 128–129, and for Flash 80-Page Giant #2 (April 1999). Wieringo co-created, with Waid, the young speedster Bart Allen, a.k.a. Impulse, in The Flash vol. 2, #91 (cameo) and #92 (first full appearance).

Wieringo followed this with a short run on Robin, another DC title, with writer Chuck Dixon, while concurrently penciling Marvel Comics’ Rogue #1–4 (Jan.–April 1995), a miniseries starring that X-Men superheroine. During this period, he also penciled occasional Marvel covers and small miscellaneous jobs for that company.

Other work around this time included, for the publisher Malibu Comics, penciling the cover and co-penciling (with Rob Haynes) the lead story of Firearm #0 (Nov. 1993) and penciling the back cover and one story in Godwheel #2 (Feb. 1995). For the small independent publisher Explorer Press, he penciled the cover of Explorers #2 (1995).

After having penciled the Spider-Boy #1 (April 1996) one-shot, which combined Spider-Man and Superboy as part of the Marvel Comics-DC Comics intercompany crossover series of one-shotsAmalgam Comics, Wieringo became the regular artist on Marvel’s The Sensational Spider-Man, beginning with issue #8 (Sept. 1996). Teaming with writer Todd Dezago, Wieringo penciled all but eight issues from #8-31 (Sept.1996 – Oct. 1998), and some covers on issues he did not pencil. Additionally, Wieringo co-plotted several issues and penciled the quirkily numbered flashbackissue, # -1 (July 1997). During his run he signed a two-year contract with Marvel, beginning December 1997.

After Spider-Man, Wieringo’s next major project was at Image Comics, where he reteamed with Dezago on their creator-owned fantasy series Tellos. The comic, a coming-of-age adventure set in a magical, piratical world, ran 10 issues (May 1999 – Nov. 2000). The last three issues were released by Gorilla Comics, a short-lived Image imprint co-founded by Wieringo and several other creators in 2000.Following the demise of the series, Wieringo also penciled one 13-page story in a post-series one-shot, Tellos: Maiden Voyage #1 (March 2001).

Wieringo returned to DC Comics for all but one issue of Adventures of Superman #592–600 (July 2001 – March 2002), with writer Joe Casey. He then returned to Marvel and reunited with writerMark Waid on Fantastic Four. Beginning with #51 (March 2002), Wieringo eventually drew 27 issues of Waid’s 36 issues, wrapping up their run with #524, by which time the previously relaunched series had returned to its original numbering. The comics-hobbyist webzine Newsarama.com commented that the Waid-Wieringo run “was perhaps best known for fan outcry when Marvel announced that [it was] going to replace the team. Marvel quickly reversed [its] decision, and the two completed their run on the series”.

Wieringo penciled the interior art on issues #1–5, #8–10 of Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and was the cover artist of #1–19 (Dec. 2005 – June 2007). He and writer Jeff Parker began work on the miniseries Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four in April 2007.

On August 12, 2007. Wieringo died of an aortic dissection at his home in Durham, North Carolina, at age 44. He was survived by his parents, Cecil and Shirley Dean Wieringo, and his brother Matt.

Mirage Comics’ Tales Of TMNT #40, Image Comics’ Elephantmen #11 and The Walking Dead #42, and Marvel Comics’ Spider-Man: Family #7 were dedicated to his memory.