I was at the desk as usual a week or so ago, working on a page of 1888, when I felt like listening to an episode of Around Comics, a since-ended podcast by a buncha comic fans from Chicago. Lustmord was starting to get a bit too creepy for my taste by that time of night and Katers’ dry humor is always good. Without really giving much thought to which episode to listen to, I clicked on one of the early hundreds — one of the Skottie episodes — and just let it stream. It was AC 126, the tribute to Mike Wieringo, who had passed away on August 12, 2007, due to a heart attack. He was 44.
I’ve spent quite a bit of time away from the journal lately, to concentrate on work and wedding preparations. Naturally, marriage deserves a lot of attention, and there’s a handful of projects I’d really like to get done before the year ends, so I’ve really just been plowing through a lot of stuff. Unfortunately, work took a toll and caused a bit of an artistic burn out. Even the writing of this isn’t coming as naturally as I wish it would. Long story short, work has felt like work lately. And as dumb as that sounds, it’s really the only way I can put it.
But listening to that podcast, and hearing how Ringo inspired then-newbie artists like Skottie Young, Mike Norton, and Josh Middleton sent a bit of fire my way too. The man was a superstar who never let his success go to his head and continued to churn out work daily like he was still trying to earn a name he already had. Based on what these guys said about him, he never once thought of himself as a big deal, and this was after he had done stints on Robin, Flash, and Spidey.
And it struck me that here was a guy who didn’t lie about his creator-owned work being dearer to him than getting to work on the icons. Tellos was the personal high point of his career, and he returned to mainstream work so he could eventually do indie work again. But tragically, he never got to.
Too many of us whine about how hard the work can get, not even giving a thought to how much time we may or may not have left to even do it in.
I turned twenty-seven a week ago. And I just thought it apt to take the time to ackowledge that a creative block is, more often than not, a state of mind. A pitiful one. And I am left wishing that my work ethic was a lot more like Mike’s — someone who was and will always be an inspiration me.
Thanks Ringo. Comics are not the same without you.