A mini-library and a find…

In recent years, MARVEL has been pushing their trade paperback program like crazy– maybe finally after seeing how much money it was making for DC for so long. I suspect that it was another of the many things that Bill Jemas pushed to have implemented at MARVEL. He was reviled while he was in charge by the majority of fans– but he had a lot of positive impact on the company (believe me– I’ve had my own issues with the man… can you say “The Mark Waid Debacle”, anyone…?). What’s interesting and kind of humorous is seeing so many of the same fans that constantly blasted the man on various message boards now express a growing feeling of nostalgia for his presence now that they see MARVEL seemingly taking a more conservative stance with their output due to their success in Hollywood. It never ceases to amaze me how some folks are NEVER satisfied or happy no matter what’s going on in the industry.

BECAUSE MARVEL has been so diligent in the reprinting of recent material, I find myself with a virtual “mini-library” of FANTASTIC FOUR trades collecting my work from the beginning of my artistic run on the book all the way up to my most recent issue (and of course, ALL of Mark’s writing [including the AUTHORATATIVE ACTION storyline, which I did no work on], since he’s there month in and month out, even when I’m forced to skip to the next story arc because I’m no speed demon drawing-wise). It’s the first time that I’ve ever had that happen. There’s a lot of debate as to whether it’s a good thing or not for sales of the monthlies when people know that the material is more than likely going to be collected shortly after it’s initial publication. The refrain “I’m going to wait for the trade…” has become increasingly common. But– for me, it’s thrilling to see it all in one place at one time.

“The Mike Wieringo FANTASTIC FOUR mini-library”

Under the catagory “Never seen print– never WILL see print”– I’ve come across some pages that I worked on for a SHE-HULK/THING one-shot that had quite an odd journey before it ever saw the light of day. I was on contract with MARVEL back when they first entered into their bankruptcy proceedings many years back– and it was a very odd time. They had cancelled SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN because they felt the market was too glutted with SPIDER-MAN books (my, how things change, hmmm?)– so I was kind of adrift at the company. They would have me start on one project, then the editor of said project would call me to tell me that he had been “downsized”. This happened many times during those dark days. ONE such project was the afformentioned SHE-HULK/THING one shot. It was written by my buddy Todd Dezago, and Brian Hitch had drawn half of it, but then bailed for some reason on the remainder of the book. I was asked to step in and finish it, but after finishing some 5 or so pages, that familiar call of “Uh…. Mike– please stop work on the book. It’s being cancelled and I’m being fired…” came. So I stopped. Years later, the project was resurrected and Ivan Reis (I believe) was brought in to finish it. But I still have the layouts as well as photocopies of the finished pencils that I produced. I think I sold the actual pencil pages long ago– so you’ll have to forgive the bad quality of the scans of the photocopies. So– here are the first couple. I’ll post more in the days to come.



See you tomorrow.


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