I won't dwell on the passing of Mike Wieringo, since I've already commented in various places. Yesterday sort of stunned the comic world, though. I received messages from a number of creators, some of whom had spent the day in tears, talking about Mike.
It's hard to explain how hard this one hit the community, but it did. I felt stupid emailing editors or discussing projects with collaborators. Mentally, I think everyone lost their fire for the day. It's not like Mike and I were good pals or anything. Our interaction consisted of a few email exchanges and a couple of personal greetings at cons, but even the smallest interaction with Mike underscored how different he was from so many. So much talent and influence, and so little ego.
J. Torres instant messaged me last night, obviously affected by the news, and commented that it made him realize how far back we go, and I agreed. I didn't get to spend as much time in Chicago with old friends as I'd wanted to, but seeing guys I've known for years felt great. As mentioned in my con report, I got to hang out with Seth Jones, who I've known since he was eighteen years old (for the record, he's now thirty-one, with a wife and baby), and Tom Spendlove and Marlan Harris, both of whom I've probably known going on a decade. J. and I first met face-to-face at the Chicago Comicon in 1996, and have been friends ever since, working our way through the industry on roughly parallel courses.
I won't go on, and I'm sure this sounds cliched, but Mike's passing makes me realize how much we need to embrace the moment, bust our asses working on things we love, and appreciate the friendships we have. You just never know how long it'll all last.