Editor, writer, artist, legendary creator Len Wein has passed away at the age of 69.
Len Wein’s accomplishments in the comics industry are vast. Here is a brief biography.
Len Wein is the creator of Swamp Thing, the Human Target, Brother Voodoo, and Wolverine and the New X-Men, along with Batman’s Lucius Fox and many other characters.
In television, Len developed the animated series Skeleton Warriors and the award-winning CGI-animated series War Planets: Shadow Raiders, and served as story editor for all 26 episodes of the latter. Len has also received Emmy honors for his work on Batman: The Animated Series.
In comic books, Len has been editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics, Disney Comics, and Top Cow Comics, as well as senior editor at DC Comics. He is noted for long runs writing almost every major character in the business, including Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Green Lantern, Flash, and the above-mentioned Swamp Thing and Human Target at DC, to Amazing Spider-Man, the Incredible Hulk, the Mighty Thor, the Fantastic Four, and Wolverine and the X-Men at Marvel. He has also written extensively in the Star Trek and Star Wars Universes. Len has been nominated for and won numerous industry Awards for his work. In 2008, Len was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame.
Len Wein was also editor on the classic The Watchmen limited series in the 1980s written by Alan Moore and drawn by Dave Gibbons.
He has been eulogized by many of his peers, many of whom he inspired, and by fans.
Former DC Comics Publisher Paul Levitz:
Here’s my professional eulogy for Len Wein:
Len was a relentlessly positive force in comics. As a fan, he was there from the beginning, coining the term ‘comicon’ the first time the tribe gathered in public. As a writer, he contributed new ideas to every project, even in an era when the deals for talent in the field gave no incentive to do so. As an editor, he guided work that has endured for decades. As an artist, he had a momentary career, but used his gifts for decades afterwards to design costumes, rough out logos, and guide new talents. And through it all, he took joy in the stories themselves, the artwork, even the nuance of a well-placed balloon, and shared both his pleasure and his knowledge generously. His characters will long survive him, children of a restless imagination who captured the attention of the world and made fortunes for others.
Most of all, Len took a childish glee in being loved, in his stories being remembered, and the work itself. He gloated endlessly at the idea that he could travel across the country, and in any state, have a friend (or a dozen) who he could call on in an emergency. Battling pain and illness for his entire life, he never let it affect his optimism or attitude, or keep him from writing or gathering friends around him as soon as he left a hospital bed.
There are few talents that shape a generation. Len was that to his own generation of comics professionals, and to a generation of readers. He was a rare gift to us all.
And on a personal note:
In many ways, Len and I were very different people, approaching life and work in often opposite ways. But that only served to bond us, as we shared a deep respect for each other across those differences. We collaborated in many ways: we each wrote for the other (Len doing the very first Batman limited series for me, me doing Starman with Steve Ditko for Len), me getting to dialogue stories Len plotted but was unable to finish due to illness or deadline pressures, and then there was an Elongated Man story…but that’s a long story in itself. I treasure the dedication he and Marv Wolfman wrote to me, “for hitting them in the face with a fish,” and the laughter he brought to my poker table. No one I know loved life more, despite what life threw at him, and I’m perversely glad that as he passed I was doing an assignment to fill in for him. He would have done it better, but I can dedicate it to him this time.
Current DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio:
Saddened to hear of the passing of my long time friend and colleague Len Wein. Len was the first comic professional I ever spoke to (in a call arranged by my sister and his aunt Gloria) and he taught me the inner workings of comics while we worked on Reboot and War Planets. He was a constant source of inspiration and his spirit and creativity was something every professional should aspire to. One of the true greats, whose love of comics was on every page he wrote. There isn’t a single day that I am not inspired by something he created or wrote. He will be missed by many but work will continue to entertain for generations.
My condolences to his wife Christine Valada, and his family.
Marvel executive VP Tom Brevoort:
Very sad to hear about the passing of Len Wein. Writer and editor and nice guy. Nobody had a better track record in the 70s than Len.
Marvel legend Chris Claremont:
Len Wein was my friend for better than 40 years. He created some of the finest characters and storylines of the modern comics era, working with some of the finest artists of their generation. What I choose to hope for is that, now that he’s likely teamed up with Bernie and Dave once more, they’ll just start creating all over again, something even more breathtakingly fantabulous on an infinitely vaster celestial stage.
Image Comics co-founder Rob Liefeld:
Rest In Peace Mr. Len Wein. What a wonderful soul. What a tremendous talent. There is no Wolverine and there are no New X-Men without him. His run on The Incredible Hulk was a highlight of my youth. As versatile and talented a writer and editor as the industry has ever seen. Truly a lovely man and I am saddened by his passing. #lenwein #xmen #wolverine #storm #colossus #nightcrawler #swampthing #greenlantern #hulk
We at the Comics Nexus and InsidePulse would like to wish the family, friends and fellow fans of Len Wein much strength during this difficult time.
Tags: DC Comics, Len Wein, RIP, Swamp Thing, Watchmen, Wolverine