Len Wein (1948-2017)

Len Wein (R) with fan Robert Kerr (L) in 2013 holding a copy of X-Men.

Len Wein, creator of Wolverine, the New X-Men and the Human Target, as well as co-creator (with Bernie Wrightson) of the Swamp Thing, died Sunday, September 10 reports David Gerrold.

Wein’s Facebook fan page had announced at the end of August he was entering the hospital for more foot surgery and other unspecified procedures. In 2015 he had triple bypass heart surgery, and since then had been in the hospital to treat other problems.

He is survived by his wife Christine. When they suffered a house fire in 2009 one of their close friends, Harlan Ellison, showed up with a shovel to help find salvageable things in the ashes. Wein’s comics went up in the blaze, and another friend, Mark Evanier, led an appeal to crowdfund the replacement of his collection.

Wein worked for all the major comics publishers at some point. He was Editor-in-Chief of Marvel and Disney Comics, and Senior Editor at DC Comics. He has written Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Justice League, Green Lantern, Flash, Spider-Man, Hulk, Thor, Fantastic Four and The X-Men.

Len Wein wrote Batman between 1979-86, when he introduced Lucius Fox (played by Morgan Freeman in the Christopher Nolan Batman films) as Batman’s first black character.

In television, Len developed and story-edited War Planets: Shadow Raiders. He scripted over 60 episodes of other animated series.

Wein’s first wife was Glynis Oliver, a comics colorist who worked on the X-Men titles.

He was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2008.

8 thoughts on “Len Wein (1948-2017)

  1. I did not realise he was largely responsible for War Planets: Shadow Raiders Which was one of the best animated sf series I’ve had the pleasure to see.

  2. Worth noting in this context that when I interviewed Neil Gaiman at the 2009 Worldcon about his childhood influences/comics & sf experiences, he made a point of saying Len’s run in the late 60s/early 70s writing Phantom Stranger was a significant influence on him.

  3. Len has been one of my closest friends for so many years. He came to Genny and my wedding 31 years ago. We visited him in the hospital just a few days ago and were planning to go see him again tomorrow. A man with a tremendous talent and a big heart. He leaves a big hole in mine.

  4. Sorry for your loss, Craig, and for comics’ loss. Without Wein, the comics landscape would be unrecognisable. It’s almost impossible to overstate how much influence he had, as a writer and editor, on every superhero comic published in my lifetime.

  5. Really sorry to hear this. I was delighted and honored to have him as one of our panelists when we did Match Game SF at L.A. con IV, as he was a game show buff as well as a good writer and a very funny man.

  6. With respect to game shows, of course his wife Christine made a Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions. And Len had the idea to do a Pros vs. Fans comics trivia match at San Diego Comic-Con, for which he captained the Purple Pros team and went along with what became a running gag of him almost never getting questions about his own work. To the point where when he finally buzzed in on one such and answered correctly, the room gave him a standing ovation. With the exception of the Masquerade, I think the 1995 starting Pro/Fan may be the San Diego program item that’s been going on the longest.

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