When Mike Wieringo abruptly passed away last August, the comics industry lost more than a great artist and creator ” it lost a friend. Now, Mike’s family has teamed with the Savannah College of Art and Design to create The Mike Wieringo Scholarship or “The ‘Ringo” to help keep his spirit of generosity alive.
Created by Mike’s brother Matt and his sister-in-law Suzanne, the ‘Ringo is designed to help provide similar help to artists at the Savannah College of Art and Design or SCAD. Domestic and international students with have a minimum 3.0 grade point average who demonstrate financial need and display a serious interest in pursuing comics as a career are eligible. The scholarship will take effect in the artist’s second year of classes, and is renewable for up to two additional years, provided the student continues to meet the criteria.
The recipient will be chosen from three finalists determined by the college in a portfolio review by Matt and Suzanne Wieringo, along with a rotating group. The ultimate goal for the ‘Ringo is to raise enough funds so that it can cover a full year’s expenses at SCAD, approximately $30,000.
Toward this end, a table staffed by Mike’s family and friends will be set up in his traditional spot in Artists Alley at Heroes Con in Charlotte, NC. Heroes was a big part of Mike’s life and career, and was the industry event he most looked forward to every year.
The table will raise funds through donations and the sale of remaining copies of Mike’s sketchbooks, copies of comics featuring Mike’s work, selected pieces of Mike’s original artwork, sketches by Mike’s friends in the industry who will be appearing at the booth, and items donated by other comic professionals. Pros appearing include Jeff Parker, Rich Faber, Craig Rousseau, Todd Dezago, Mark Waid, Richard Case and more to be announced.
“SCAD is one of the most impressive programs in the world to focus on the medium of comics,” says Jeff Parker, creator of The Interman and Agents of Atlas, who worked with Mike at Artamus Studios. “I’m pretty sure Mike would have loved to have attended such a place in his student days. It would make an excellent legacy for him if we can grow the Ringo scholarship into a launch pad for the future greats of comics.”
Despite his success on such books as The Flash, Fantastic Four and his own creator-owned Tellos, Mike Wieringo never forgot what it was like to be a struggling creator. For many up-and-comers, Mike served as a mentor and friendly voice, whether it was providing free covers, advice, or just the encouragement to keep going.
With your help, the Mike Wieringo Scholarship can continue to grow and help a new generation of creators get the training and connections they need to start their careers. Mike’s talent, enthusiasm and generosity inspired many in the comics industry to be their best as both creators and as human beings. With your help, Mike will continue to be an inspiration for creators in decades to come.