Clayface, Nekron, Nightcrawler, Amanda Waller, Lucius Fox, Stegron, Jigsaw, Wolverine, Colossus and Cheetah all have one thing in common: Len Wein.
In fact a great many characters have Len Wein in common and – more than that – Len served as the creative connective tissue for a great many childhoods full of imagination and wonder and comic books.
And so it is with a heavy heart that we must report the passing of Len Wein at the age of 69. His wife, Christine Valada, has stated Mr. Wein been struggling with heart problems for quite some time before finally submitting to them on Sunday September 10, 2017.
“Blessed to have known Len Wein. I first met him in 2008. I told him – from his heart, mind & hands came the greatest character in comics.” – Hugh Jackman who portrayed his creation Wolverine on screen.
Wein had a long and storied history in the comic book industry. He, along with Dave Cockrum, were responsible for re-invigorating the X-Men brand for Marvel Comics with 1975’s Giant-Size X-Men #1 and gave way to decades of popularity for folks like Chris Claremont and Jim Lee to make the X-Men a long-time fan favorite title and team. He, along with pal Bernie Wrightson (Who himself passed in March of 2017), created Swamp Thing. He also served as editor for Alan Moore’s classic 1980’s title Watchmen.
Through it all, Ms. Valada says that Len struggled with health issues, Something very real for him that he transferred to his creations. In speaking with THR just after his passing, she said;
“He was in and out of the hospital since he was three years old. And I have always felt his characters reflected a lot of what he went through. Swamp Thing was a reflection of this body that didn’t work for him. But then there was that healing factor of Wolverine, which kept getting him through it.”
In a tribute to Wein, writer J.M. DeMatteis wrote about his time on Swamp Thing with Len; “I remember being floored by the emotional power of the art, the pulp-poetry of the language and the big beating heart at the story’s core.”
Not only was he able to overcome these health issues but he grew to be loved and admired by his fans and readers. He grew to be respected and revered by his peers. This is represented in the numerous awards that he received over his lifetime. The 1977 Inkpot Award, 1998 Bram Stoker Award, two Shazam awards in 1972 for his work with Bernie Wrightson on Swamp Thing (something EVERY comic book fan and reader should explore). In 2008 Len was inducted in the the Will Eisner Hall of Fame.
Len Wein, co-creator of WOLVERINE and SWAMP THING & more responsible for the x-men you love than he gets credit for. Thank you. #RIP“ – Brian Michael Bendis
Though Mr. Wein has passed on his legacy will carry on in to the future through his work. Through his creations that are loved and adored by legions of fans around the world. Len Wein’s passing is a great loss and he will truly be missed.