I remember saying to my then wife, Nicole, that she should take a look at this new artist on The Flash, that he had something cool going on, very different and...springy. Animated. Electric. Nicole wasn't really a comic book person; she loved Sandman and the other Vertigo titles, but wasn't much for the superheroes. But she did appreciate art and the things that excited me, and she commented that there was a kinda anime influence in this new guy's style, very different, very unique. I just knew I dug it.
I have said this so many times and I hope you don't roll your eyes, but Mike had a 'bounce' to his line that brought so much energy to each and every panel. I don't know how he did it. Maybe it was his mutant power, maybe it was magic. Yeah, I think it was magic. His characters were imbued with life the moment he touched pencil to page, they were static images that were just humming with potential, you could see that they were eager--no, bursting--to bound into action, to leap off the page and act out their thrilling adventures just for you! It was easy to imagine they did.
Mike cared so much about the story and the way that we were presenting it. He would spend hours in a day just laying out the panels and the flow of the action. The choreography. Not stopping until he was happy with the design, content that the storytelling was smooth and that the Reader would have no trouble following the narrative.
Them, he would draw it all up and by the time he was done, be questioning again whether he should have positioned this guy differently or given that panel a little more space...
In that, Mike was an excellent director--or, he would say, co-director. But he was a very talented actor as well, capable of conveying every emotion--and sometimes two or three at a time--on the faces of his charges, giving them expressions that told so much more of the story than what was seen in the panel or read in the dialogue. They spoke with their eyes, their mouths, their eyebrows, the cut of their jaw. They spoke with their body language, with gestures. He gave the characters depth with his acting, let you know that there was so much more going on in their lives--and in their heads--than what you gleaned on the page.
He was a joy to work with. A wonderful partner.
That's Mike, the artist. The guy who loved comics, loved being in comics, and loved the people who loved comics. He was thrilled and honored to have been in this business, to have made it, and to have, hopefully, made an impression.
As for Mike, my friend...that, I think, will have to wait for another day. I have said many times in the past, what he meant to me, what an excellent person he was, and what a unique and, I guess, fantastic friendship we had. But that's all I can say right now; this little memorial has caught up to me now and I'm missing him too much to go on.
Miss you, Mike.