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RIP Len Wein – Creator of Swamp Thing, Wolverine

By Lex Larson, at CONvergence: http://convergence-con.org/ (Lex from Minneapolis at Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Len Wein has passed away on September 10th at the age of 69 as he was recovering from heart surgery on September 7th. Wein is one of the most important figures in comic books. He was born on June 12, 1948 in New York city. Len Wein worked with Marv Wolfman, and the duo worked on fanzines before eventually working for DC Comics. His first professional work was co-writing Teen Titans #18 (1968) with Marv Wolfman. They created in that issue the first Russian superhero in Starfire, whom became Red Star, the character of Konstantin Kovar was played by Dolph Lundgren in the season five episodes of Arrow.

Wein continued to create and along with artist Bernie Wrightson introduced Swamp Thing in House of Secrets #92 (1971). The character proved to be popular and had his own series starting with Swamp Thing #1 (1972). Swamp Thing was brought to film by Wes Craven in 1982’s Swamp Thing, there was a sequel, and even a television series that ran from 1990 to 1993 played by Dick Durock. In 1972, Len Wein and Carmine Infantino created the Human Target in Action Comics #419 (1972). The character was featured in a television show in 2010 to 2011 and also in Arrow played by actor Will Traval.

Wein also worked at Marvel beginning with Daredevil #71 (1970) co-written with Roy Thomas. He became editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics in 1974. In that year, he also created Wolverine who first appeared in Incredible Hulk #181 with artist Herb Trimpe. Wolverine was of course played by actor Hugh Jackman from X-Men (2000) to this year’s Logan. The character became incredibly popular and was made an X-Men in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (1975). X-Men had a succession of artists after Jack Kirby left the title; Werner Roth, Jim Steranko, and Neal Adams until issue #66 (1970) and went into a series of reprints. This all changed when Len Wein and Dave Cockrum produced Giant-Size X-Men #1. Chris Claremont took over scripting duties from Wein, but there would be no Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, or Nightcrawler without Len Wein.

When Len Wein wrote for Batman, he created the character of Lucius Fox in Batman #307 (1979) with art by John Calnan. Lucius Fox was played by Morgan Freeman in the Christopher Nolan Batman films and is now played by Chris Chalk on Gotham. Len Wein also worked on one of the early DC and Marvel crossovers with DC Special Series #27 (1981). The treasury sized issue featured art by Jose Luis Garcia Lopez and featured a battle between Batman and the Hulk! He worked as an editor for DC Comics editing such titles as the limited series Camelot 3000, Who’s Who in the DC Universe, and Watchmen by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. Wein co-wrote with John Ostrander the Legends limited series that introduced the super villain Suicide Squad in issue #3 (1987).

He also helped script George Perez’s Wonder Woman series starting with issue #3 (1987). The team introduced Epione, Euboea, Mnemosyne. They were played by actresses, Elenor Matsuura, Samantha Jo, and Josette Simon in this year’s Wonder Woman film. Len Wein has also worked on the Ben10 animated series and wrote the story for the Watchmen video game, Watchmen: The End is Nigh (2009) developed by Deadline Games. He recently collaborated with Jose Luis Garcia Lopez on a Harlan Ellison story of the Batman tv series. This was in Batman `66: The Lost Episode (2016) featuring Two-Face.

Len Wein was a vibrant presence on the convention scene and liked seeing his many fans.  Many tributes have come in through Twitter on Len Wein. Our thoughts are with Len’s friends and family.

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