Len Wein, 1948-2017

by 11-Sep-17

Len Wein was an extremely important figure in superhero comics.

Len wein obit image

Len Wein, as drawn by George Pérez and Romeo Tanghal, from New Teen Titans 20 (1982)

Len Wein, who has died aged 69, was an extremely important figure in superhero comics of the 1970s and 1980s. Entering the industry with his friend Marv Wolfman at the end of the 1960s, he was prolific, working for DC, then Marvel, then DC again. Whilst his writing was generally competent, not much of it is remembered as truly great, with the exception of his run with Bernie Wrightson (who passed away earlier this year) on Swamp Thing, a character they created.

But to judge Wein merely on the basis of his scripts is to miss his true significance for the medium. Wein was a great facilitator of other people’s talents, either through his writing or his editing. While writing Incredible Hulk, he created Wolverine, whom subsequent writers developed. With Dave Cockrum in 1975 he launched the new incarnation of the X-Men, before handing the team on to Chris Claremont, who took the title on to glory. At DC Wein was heavily involved in the creation of the New Teen Titans, and later provided the dialogue for George Pérez’s Wonder Woman plots.

It was also Wein who first brought Alan Moore into writing for American comics, on the 1984 incarnation of Swamp Thing. Wein would later be the editor on Watchmen. Nor should it be forgotten that Wein was heavily involved in the conception of Crisis on Infinite Earths, which Wolfman wrote. Whatever one thinks of that project and its legacy (and Wein and Wolfman came to feel that it had failed in its attempt to simplify DC continuity), its importance cannot be denied.

The comics world has lost a great.


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