Mike Dringenberg

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Mike Dringenberg
Dringenberg, left, with friend Cinamon Hadley on whom Death was modeled
Bornc. 1965 (age 53–54)
Laon, France
Area(s)Penciller, Inker
Notable works
The Sandman

Mike Dringenberg (born c. 1965) is a German/American comics artist best known for his work on DC Comics/Vertigo's Sandman series with writer Neil Gaiman.


Dringenberg was born in Laon, France.[1] His first work in the comics industry was the story "A Tale Of... Lenny's Casino & Grill" in Kelvin Mace #1 (Dec. 1985) published by Vortex Comics.[2] His other early work in the 1980s for publishers such as Eclipse Comics included Alien Worlds, Enchanter, and Total Eclipse.[1] He worked on Adolescent Radioactive Blackbelt Hamsters, a parody of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, which itself was a parody of many then-current comic books, and Shock the Monkey.[2] His mainstream work includes DC's Doom Patrol with writer Grant Morrison, where he co-created Flex Mentallo; the fantasy card game Magic: The Gathering; and White Wolf Publishing's card game Vampire: The Eternal Struggle.

Death, from The Sandman #8 (Aug. 1989), drawn by Mike Dringenberg and inker Malcolm Jones III.

Dringenberg came to prominence for his work on The Sandman, where he started as the series' inker over pencil art by Sam Kieth but switched to pencilling when Kieth left after the fifth issue.[3][4] He drew eleven issues, all but one inked by Malcolm Jones III, and his understated, realistic style did much to establish the tone of the series. He co-created the popular character Death,[5] whom he based on Cinamon Hadley, a woman he knew from the dance clubs in Salt Lake City, Utah.[6][7] Gaiman had imagined her looking like Louise Brooks or Nico, but ultimately preferred Dringenberg's version.[8] Dringenberg stated in a 2014 interview that "None of the characters are direct renderings of individual people; they're composites emerging from my memories; case in point, while my friend Cinamon was a primary visual inspiration for Death, she never actually posed for me as the character while I worked on the series. Most of the time, my girlfriend Givette and my friends McAnn and Nyssa actually posed and they each brought their own personalities to the task."[9] He co-created Desire, basing his/her appearance on the work of Patrick Nagel, and had a hand in much of the character design apparent in the early series.

Dringenberg's work appears in the Sandman collections "Preludes and Nocturnes", "The Doll's House" and "Season of Mists". He is credited in every printing as being one of the series' creators, as he is responsible for the iconic representation of many of the principal characters.[10] In 2008, he was one of the artists for Tori Amos' Comic Book Tattoo anthology graphic novel.[11]

Dringenberg is an illustrator of book jackets and CD covers, most notably for various books by J. R. R. Tolkien, Kij Johnson, Charles de Lint, Kage Baker, and San Francisco's Big City Orchestra. He did interior decorations for Sharyn November's Firebirds Soaring (2009).


Acclaim Comics[edit]

Dark Horse Comics[edit]

DC Comics[edit]

Eclipse Comics[edit]


  • Enchanter: Prelude to Apocalypse #1–3 (1993)

IDW Publishing[edit]

  • Hero Comics #1 (2011)

Image Comics[edit]

Marvel Comics[edit]

  • Daredevil #339–340, 342–343 (covers only) (1995)
  • Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme #81 (one page only) (1995)
  • Shadows & Light #3 (one page only) (1998)
  • Strange Tales: Dark Corners #1 (1998)
  • X-Universe #2 (two pages only) (1995)

Vortex Comics[edit]

  • Kelvin Mace #1 (1985)


  1. ^ a b "Mike Dringenberg". Lambiek Comiclopedia. February 4, 2011. Archived from the original on October 30, 2013. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  2. ^ a b Mike Dringenberg at the Grand Comics Database
  3. ^ Manning, Matthew K.; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1980s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. London, United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. p. 238. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. The Sandman saw a variety of artists grace its pages. Sam Kieth drew the first few issues, followed by Mike Dringenberg, Chris Bachalo, Michael Zulli, Kelley Jones, Charles Vess, Colleen Doran, and Shawn McManus, among others.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Tousley, Nancy (October 12, 1991). "Artist draws a 'cinema for the page'", Calgary Herald, p. B9.
  5. ^ Manning "1980s" in Dolan, p. 240: "Neil Gaiman, aided by penciller Mike Dringenberg, introduced the character Death to a fascinated readership...Death was an instant hit and arguably became more popular than the Sandman himself."
  6. ^ Boudreaux, Madelyn (May 3, 2011). "Cinamon: The High Cost of (Being) Death". SLUG Magazine. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Death (or rather, the woman who inspired her appearance) also happens to be a Salt Lake City native. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  7. ^ Walden, Eric (January 23, 2018). "The life and death of Utah's 'otherworldly' Cinamon Hadley — ballerina, goth queen and comic book character". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on January 23, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  8. ^ Bender, Hy (1999). The Sandman Companion. DC Comics. pp. 237–241. ISBN 978-1563894657.
  9. ^ Curiel, Jonathan (April 18, 2014). "The Sandman Speaks: Neil Gaiman and Mike Dringenberg on the Glories of Their Graphic Novel". SF Weekly. Archived from the original on April 26, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help); Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  10. ^ Burgas, Greg (January 7, 2013). "Comics You Should Own – Sandman". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on April 10, 2014. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  11. ^ Khouri, Andy (April 3, 2008). "She's Your Comics: Tori Amos' Comic Book Tattoo". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on September 21, 2016. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)

External links[edit]

Preceded by
The Sandman inker
Succeeded by
Malcolm Jones III
Preceded by
Sam Kieth
The Sandman penciller
Succeeded by
Stan Woch