Comic book artist Mike S. Miller drew criticism over the weekend over his attempt to re-purpose a cover sketch by late comic book artist Mike Wieringo as a finished cover for Miller's creator-owned independent comic book.
The controversy came when Miller announced his plan to market the art as "Mike Wieringo's final published cover," when it was merely a cover sketch that Miller penciled and inked over, himself. Marketing it as a "Mike Wieringo cover" both mislead readers as to Wieiringo's involvement in the drawing as well as Wieringo's willingness to have his work be published on the cover of Miller's independent comic book series.
Everything started on January 22, when Miller tweeted he had an old Mike Wieringo cover breakdown he was planning on turning into a cover for his independent series, Lonestar.
So I have this old Spider-Man cover breakdown by Mike Weiringo, and I'm thinking about finishing it, but making it into a Lonestar cover instead. Thoughts?— Mike S. Miller (@AbacusMike) January 22, 2019
A week later, Miller posted the penciled and inked cover, calling it perhaps the last Mike Wieringo original cover to ever see print. (Wieringo passed away in 2007 at the age of 44 due to an aortic dissection.)
The last Mike Wieringo original cover that may ever see print! pic.twitter.com/lYurPx2ZmV— Mike S. Miller (@AbacusMike) January 30, 2019
Over the weekend, other comic book artists, including Dave Johnson and Cully Hamner, began to express their displeasure at Miller's actions.
Hamner tweeted to Miller, pointing out that since all Miller had was a Wieringo cover breakdown, the final published work was not a "Mike Wieringo original cover."
Apparently you took this rough, redrew it enough to make them your own characters, added a shitty, 3rd-rate hack background, and you're going to publish it, touting it as the last Ringo cover to be published. I seriously have no words. Well, that's not true- I have many words. pic.twitter.com/ykpC0C04Ba— Cully Hamner (@CullyHamner) February 3, 2019
Not only was the cover not an original work by Wieringo, Hamner also pointed out that there is no way that the late Wieringo could possibly give consent to his cover breakdown from 1996 being used as the cover of Miller's comic book in 2019.
Mike Wieringo had no intent and gave no consent in 1996 to draw a cover for your book and your characters in 2019. That image is a rough for a cover commissioned from him by Marvel. You know this, Mike Miller- you've been in this biz for a long time and you're not dumb.— Cully Hamner (@CullyHamner) February 3, 2019
Here is the published Sensational Spider-Man cover, by the way, that Wieringo's breakdown was from...
The other issue is that Wieiringo, of course, did not sign his cover breakdown back in 1996, and yet his signature was on Miller's finished work. Miller appears to have copied Wieringo's iconic signature on to his own work.
Wieringo's brother, Matt Wieringo, also joined the discussion, and in his official capacity as the executor of his late brother's estate, requested Miller take Mike's name off of the cover.
Mr. Miller, Mike would not approve of this. Nor do I. As his executor, I need to ask you to remove his signature from this.— Matt Wieringo (@mattwieringo) February 3, 2019
Miller said that he would, claiming that he never would have published the cover without Matt Wieringo's permission.
In a close to the debate, Miller then posted a video of himself lighting the cover on fire.
I will be uploading a video of my final solution to the Mike Wieringo cover controversy in a few minutes. Please subscribe to https://t.co/l3HfOTaJOh so you don't miss the premier!— Mike S. Miller (@AbacusMike) February 3, 2019
Whether it was the actual original Wieringo cover breakdown or a copy is unclear, but either way it appears that the issue is resolved for now.
Via C.W. Cooke