The rise of iconic original Ringo artwork sales online
Mike Wieringo, aka Ringo, has been working on comics for the vast majority of his career. Because of his decades long career, illustrating the likes of The Flash and The Fantastic Four, much of his work has become iconic. With this iconic status, his work outside the comic book industry has been sold online for years. However, much of this has been after his unfortunate death at the age of 44 in 2007, due to heart failure.
Mr. Wieringo often signed his work as Ringo, leading to many knowing him purely by that nickname. Known for his acclaimed comic style, his commissioned works often reflected his beginnings in the comic book industry, leading to him developing another career adjacent to his work on The Flash and The Fantastic Four. Unfortunately, like many other artists who died too young, Ringo’s popularity sold wildly after his death; likewise, sales of his artwork also skyrocketed over the months and even years after his death. Much of this is possible due to Mr. Wieringo being commemorated across the comic book industry. For example, he was commemorated in the likes of The Walking Dead and Spiderman publications for his influence and style. This propelled many of Ringo’s iconic and original artwork to be sold online, usually at exorbitant prices.
Another piece of commemoration that led to Ringo’s rising popularity in online art sales was his work being featured on the cover of a Fantastic Four issue almost ten years after his death. Released in 2017, the issue- a new launch of Fantastic Four #1 – which was used artwork that Mr. Wieringo had created over ten years prior. Because of that, a new generation of fans became attracted to his work, leading to much of his non-Marvel related works being seen as highly sought after works being sold by online dealers. Furthermore, as sales skyrocketed, as did the price of his pieces. Sadly what Ringo used to sell online for a very generous $10, were now being sold for hundreds if not thousands of US Dollars! However, much of his work is now sold privately between vendors and collectors, so some of his most expensive works are currently in the hands of private collectors. Due to this, it led to many iconic Ringo original art being sold for thousands of dollars as a result. Just like many iconic artists before him, such as Picasso, Ringo never got to see the full picture of his fame. While he found steady work inside comic book publishers, much of the fanbase was how he supported his modest lifestyle, yet his work only began to take on a new life after his death.
While he was making a decent living being an artist for comic book studios, his online work never truly left its mark during his lifetime. During his career, he was an iconic artist deep inside the comic book industry. However, as the popularity of comic books and comic book movies rose, so too did the names and works of the artists behind them. However, while some of this happened during his lifetime, the vast majority of it only began a year after his death with the popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that began in 2008 with the release of: “The Incredible Hulk”
While the movie adaption was both considered hit or miss with Marvel fans at that time, it set the stage for a whole slew of Marvel-centered films with “Iron Man” and “The Avengers” being the biggest hits of their entire library of films. Go figure that the classic Marvel artwork tends to migrate into everything commercially from kids clothing to toys and even Las Vegas themed slot games! They actually did a decent job making these into quick hits slot games featuring images owned by Marvel, but for eagle-eyed Ringo fans, you might just spot his influence or even lifted images of characters Wieringo had drawn. Check it out, I’m sure he wouldn’t mind. Besides that- these free play slots can be played anytime for fun.
However, Ringo did see a rise in popularity when Fantastic Four (2005), began getting movies made; much of his work began an increase of being sold online, though this quickly died off once the movies became irrelevant. However, iconic Ringo original art is still a cottage industry. Obviously, while no new original artwork can be made, those pieces currently being sold online will continue to become more and more sought after.