Sunday, September 10, 2017

Rest in Peace Len Wein

In 2015 Herb Trimpe - artist of the first appearance of Wolverine - passed away. Sadly, the author of that comic book has likewise joined him.

In March of this year Bernie Wrightson - artist of the first appearance of Swamp Thing - passed away. Sadly, the author of that comic book has likewise joined him.

His name was Len Wein. I met him once at a comic book convention. As I grew up primarily a fan of Marvel Comics and Wein had stopped working for them by the mid-70s I wasn't exposed to much of his comic book work. Still, during his time at Marvel in the 1970s he made some tremendous additions to the Marvel Universe: Wolverine, the 'all-new, all-different' X-Men team members Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus & Thunderbird, and that fondly-remembered hero of the hoodoo Brother Voodoo.

While I haven't experienced much of his writing for DC beyond a handful of Swamp Thing comic books he did, of course, cast a large shadow over DC, such as serving as editor on Watchmen, the most influential comic book of the 1980s. He also became a television writer as his creations Swamp Thing & The Human Target were adapted into TV series. He wrote a fun episode of that great Canadian animated program Reboot ("Between a Raccoon and a Hard Place") and a few episodes of the 1990s X-Men and Batman animated programs.

In many ways Wein hasn't been given his due by comics; I understand DC treated him fairly well over the decades, but when you consider he co-created Wolverine and the all-new all-different X-Men, even though he ultimately didn't have much to do with their eventual success (Chris Claremont being the one who turned those characters into Marvel's top stars), as the originator of them it feels like the name Len Wein should be spoken of in reverance. Wow! There goes Len Wein! Instead, my personal memory of Wein will be the time I met him at a convention: he was napping at his table because no one was interested in meeting him.

Rest in peace Mr. Wein.

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