Sad news for comic book fans: Len Wein, who co-created some of the most iconic characters like Wolverine, Swamp Thing, Storm and Nightcrawler, has passed away at the age of 69. The news was confirmed by both Brian Michael Bendis and Variety on Sunday September 10. The cause of death is currently unknown. Wein may not have been as recognized as other faces in the comics industry, but his legacy is extensive, both because of the heroes he created and because of his contribution to numerous other stories and characters.
DC Comics shared the news of his passing on Twitter late Sunday:
Hours after news of his passing hit the internet, DC President Diane Nelson fondly remembered, in a statement released to Variety, the welcome she received by Wein when she first entered the company and sent her condolences to the writer's family:
"Len Wein was one of the most welcoming people and legends in comics from the moment I joined DC eight years ago. He wrote or edited almost every major DC character — there's hardly a facet of DC's world that Len didn't touch. I, DC, and the industry will miss him and his talent very much. Our love and prayers go out to Christine, his family, and his fans."
#GeoffJohns released a touching statement, commending Wein for his remarkable ability as both a writer and an editor: "Not every writer can be a good editor. But Len deserves equal credit for both talents. He helped to revitalize the entire DC Universe."
Although a cause of death is not known, Wein did have ongoing health issues in recent years. In 2015, he underwent quintuple bypass surgery, and in March of 2017, he revealed he was undergoing a spinal procedure. After that, the creator kept his fans posted about future surgeries through Twitter. His latest health update was from September 7, where he stated his latest surgery had gone very well.
A Look Back At His Career
The writer got his start in the industry by sending #DC Comics his sample superhero stories, which impressed the editor at the time, Joe Orlando. Eventually, Orlando decided to hire him alongside his friend, Marv Wolfman (another comic book heavyweight). Thankfully, he found great success there. He worked on the company's biggest hitters, such as #JusticeLeague and #TeenTitans. He also introduced DC's very first Russian superhero, Red Star, and co-created Swamp Thing in 1972.
Wein was also a regular contributor for Marvel comics. He wrote several of the company's flagship titles, mainly The Amazing Spider-Man, The Defenders and The Incredible Hulk. He was responsible for reviving the X-Men for a new generation in 1975's Giant-Size X-Men #1. He also co-created Wolverine alongside John Romita Sr., Roy Thomas and Herb Trimpe. As if that resumé wasn't impressive enough, he served as Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' editor for one of their most recognizable works to date, Watchmen.
All of those credits earned him several awards, including the Comics Buyer's Guide Fan Award in 1982 for Best Editor, two Shazam awards for Swamp Thing, and he was inducted into the Will Eisner Hall Of Fame in 2008.
People In The Industry Remember Wein Fondly
The comic book community has come together to pay their respects and remember Wein and his impressive legacy. Greg Capullo, an artist well-known for his work on Batman, and who's about to take on #SwampThing, paid his respects and lamented the fact that Wein wouldn't be able to see his upcoming work:
Scott Snyder was responsible for relaunching Swamp Thing for DC's The New 52 relaunch back in 2011, and he shared his grief with fans:
Among his many writing credits spanning both DC and #Marvel, Mark Millar did an extensive run on Swamp Thing back in the '90s. In his message, he thanked Wein for both entertaining him and providing him with various job opportunities through his creations:
Rob Liefeld, the creator of Deadpool and constant contributor to the #XMen and Wolverine comics, praised Wein's talent:
Dan Slott, writer of Spider-Man, also took to social media to pay his respects through several tweets, first acknowledging Wein's impressive list of creations.
In the second part of his tribute, Slott shared a story of the time he met Wein and discussed Spider-Man with him:
People in the movie industry also took notice of the sad news. First of all, #HughJackman, the man responsible for playing one of his most famous creations, Wolverine, posted an image of himself alongside the writer:
As a longtime comic book fan, it's sad to know such an amazing talent is gone, but it's incredible to see this kind of support. At least we can take comfort in the fact that Wein will live on through the characters and comic books he helped bring to life. The writer is survived by his wife, Christine Valada.
Our thoughts go out to Wein's family and friends during this difficult time.