Len Wein has died at the age of 69. He’s been dealing with a myriad of health issues the last few years, and it looks like they caught up to him. Dammit.
Len is one of the giants of the comics industry. He created or co-created so many iconic characters, most notably Swamp Thing and Wolverine, as well as the Human Target, Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and so many more. Plus he was a great writer and editor, with his credits on the former including co-created the new X-Men with Dave Cockrum in 1975 and historic runs on so many titles, including scripting most of George Pérez’s historic run on Wonder Woman. Among his many editorial accomplishments — besides being editor-in-chief for both Marvel and Disney (back when they were separate companies) — was being the editor of New Teen Titans and Watchmen.
One of the great pleasures of my own editorial career was getting to buy a Silver Surfer short story from Len, which served as a lovely tribute to Jack Kirby, and which appeared in The Ultimate Silver Surfer.
In person, Len was always happy. I saw him at tons of conventions over the years — including one time when I moderated the infamous fan/pro trivia contest, where Len, along with Mark Waid and Kurt Busiek, represented the pros (there was a fourth, but I’m damned if I can remember who it is now, as this was 20 years ago) — and he was always smiling, and because of that, so was I. He was a good person, a good friend, a great writer and editor, and one of the absolute giants of the comics industry.
He will be sorely missed. Rest in peace, Len.