Len Wein

From Academic Kids

Len Wein (June 12, 1948 - ) is an American comic book writer and editor.

Wein was born in New York City, New York. He broke into the business in the late 1960s, occasionally co-writing with his friend Marv Wolfman (though they more often collaborated in an editor-writer relationship on different comic book projects.) When asked what a book about the both of them would be like, Wein and Wolfman replied it would resemble the Three Stooges minus one.

Wein essentially began his writing career at DC, working on their various mystery titles, eventually making his reputation on a well-received run writing The Phantom Stranger with artist Jim Aparo and Justice League of America with artist Dick Dillin.

In 1972 Wein and artist Berni Wrightson created the horror comic Swamp Thing for DC. The story of Alec Holland, a scientist who is turned into a shambling plant-like monster, the series would garner several awards. Both left the title after its first two years, though, and the character went into limbo before an early 1980s revival that would eventually launch the career of Alan Moore.

In the early 1970s he and Wolfman moved to Marvel Comics under editor Roy Thomas. In 1974 Wein became the editor of the color range of comics (Wolfman taking over the B&W range), although he stayed for little over a year before handing the reins over to Wolfman (who also left after little more than a year).

Wein stayed on Marvel as a writer/editor. He had lengthy and memorable runs on Amazing Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, The Mighty Thor and Fantastic Four. But he is probably best-known for co-creating in 1975 the New X-Men, the revival of the Stan Lee/Jack Kirby team that would eventually become the company's biggest-selling comic title.

That Wein had a strong hand—with artist Dave Cockrum and Thomas—in creating such characters as Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus and Wolverine (who had made his debut in Wein's run on Hulk) has never been in doubt. However, due to pressure of work he handed the scripting reins over to Chris Claremont after just a few issues.

At the end of the 1970s Wein had a dispute with the management at Marvel and moved back to DC, as first a writer, then principally as an editor where he teamed up with his childhood friend Marv Wolfman, although he also scripted some excellent Batman stories and collaborated on a fine Green Lantern run (with artists Dave Gibbons and Mark Farmer). As editor he had a strong hand in successes like The New Teen Titans (designed as a riposte to the X-Men), Crisis on Infinite Earths, All-Star Squadron and others.

During the 1980s, writer Alan Moore and artist Dave Gibbons were commisssioned to do an update of the Charlton Comics library of characters. This eventually developed into the acclaimed Watchmen series, which Wein edited. Wein was instrumental in the early 1980s in bringing new talent from Britain and the alternative comics sector to revitalize DC.

After Crisis, Wein wrote a short-lived title devoted to Blue Beetle, and spent time scripting Wonder Woman over George Perez's plots. Like many comics writers of the 1970s and 1980s his work for Marvel and DC has dwindled, although he still does occasional pieces for several companies.

In recent years, Wein has devoted more of his time writing or story editing for animation and TV, including work on many properties he first wrote for comic books such as X-men, Batman, and Spider-Man. In 2001 he and Wolfman wrote a screenplay called Gene Pool for Helkon, which they later adapted for a one-shot comic book, and which they are now adapting for television. In September, 2004, Wein turned in a feature script of Swamp Thing to Joel Silver Pictures at Warner Bros.

His first wife was Glynis Oliver, a long-time comics colorist who spent years on the X-Men titles. His second wife is M.C. Valada, an internationally published professional photographer and entertainment attorney who represents writers and visual artists.

Len Wein's best work has come with characters that are more "street", down-to-earth than cosmic. In particular, he is an under-rated Batman and Spider-Man writer, and his influence on superhero comics can be seen in writers as diverse as Ed Brubaker and Grant Morrison.


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