On September 10, 2017, the comic book industry lost one of its most influential and iconic names to ever grace the pages of the medium. Len Wein may not be a household name, but even people who have never picked up a comic in their life would know his work.
In 1971, Wein co-created the iconic horror creature, “Swamp Thing” with artist Bernie Wrightson. Swamp Thing became an instant favorite in the world of comics and later spawned 2 theatrical films, the first being directed by horror legend Wes Craven. In 1974, along with Roy Thomas and John Romita, Sr., Wein created a new character that was originally meant to be a villain pitted against the Incredible Hulk. That character’s name was Wolverine. As many adoring fans know, Wolverine became one of the most beloved characters in Marvel history and arguably the most popular member of the X-Men.
At Saturday’s panel, moderator Mike Wellman interviewed Wein’s wife, Christine Valada as well as his close friend and colleague Barbara Kesel. Wein’s fellow X-Men writer and comic legend Chris Claremont was present at the convention but unfortunately was unable to speak at the panel. Mrs. Valada shared many stories about her nearly 30 year marriage to Wein as a photo slideshow showcasing his entire professional life was projected on screen.
She revealed that while he’s mostly remembered for Wolverine, Wein also contributed to many other characters including Batman and the Justice League. He had also written for several popular animated series’ of the 90s including Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man for Fox Kids. She also revealed that her family had over the years become close friends with actor Hugh Jackman, who up until last year played Wolverine in every live action X-Men adaptation to date. The panel concluded with Mrs. Valada thanking everyone for the love and support given to Mr. Wein through the years and how it largely kept him going during his final months.