Newsarama contributor Zack Smith passed along this story to us, about a rare drawing by the late Mike Wieringo. The following words are his.
A few weeks back I went to NC Comicon, where a number of SF-themed vehicles were parked outside for photo and other opportunities — the ’66 Batmobile, a Back to the Future DeLorean used to findraise for the Michael J. Fox Foundation, and most significantly for this story, the Mystery Machine from Scooby-Doo.
The guy touring with the Mystery Machine was Bo Burnham, whose Myst3ry Inc. company does paranormal investigations, videos and of course appearances by the Mystery Machine. He was also selling some pieces from his comic book collection…
…including the very first drawing of Impulse, aka Bart Allen, by Mike Wieringo.
Mike lived in Durham, where the convention was being held, and I vividly remember going to his memorial service in 2007, where many top comic pros were moved to tears recalling the impact that his work and friendship had on their lives. Impulse was also a key part of Mike’s run on The Flash with Mark Waid, and of course has been a big part of the DC Universe to this day.
Apparently, Mike was friends with Bo, and back in the 1990s asked him, “I’ve got to come up with a new Kid Flash and I’ve got three designs. Which one do you like?” The one Bo picked became the look of Impulse as we know him — and Mike let Bo keep that drawing.
The piece was a steal at $300 — already framed at that! However, I was about broke from the show, having already gotten great commission pieces from Duncan Fegredo and Richard Case. But a piece like this was so special that I wanted it to go to one of the many people to whom Mike meant a lot as a person.
I sent out some emails, figuring I’d break out the credit card if no one got back…but the next day, the Mystery Machine was gone.
Some Googling and Facebooking later, I got back with Bo, at almost the same time I heard from someone who definitely had a vested interest in Impulse…
I had to play intermediary to make sure Bo and Mark’s messages got to each other, but everything was finally cleared up — just before Bo was due to go to Wizard World New Orleans, where the piece surely would have gone like hotcakes — and I just got an email from Mark showing he got the piece!
While I coveted this piece myself, I can’t think of a better person to have it than Mike Wieringo’s great friend and collaborator. Mike and Mark’s work on The Flash and Fantastic Four are two runs that meant a lot to me, offering fun, positive, character-driven stories at times when comics tended to get a wee bit grim. And it’s nice to know that one of Mike and Mark’s most memorable additions to comics is back in the hands of the writer who created him.
P.S.: If you’re a fan of Mike Wieringo’s work or even just Impulse, I recommend a donation to the Mike Wieringo Scholarship at the Savannah College of Art and Design — a great way to help more young artists learn the tools of storytelling. For more information, visit http://www.ringoscholarship.com/.