Celebrating Len Wein and One of the Most Accomplished Careers in Comics
Legendary writer/editor Len Wein was born on this day in 1948. Over the course of a career that began in 1968, he built a reputation as one of the most reliable and consistent creators the medium has ever seen, and he was one of the first of a generation of creators that set out to work in the comics industry instead of simply treating it as stopgap employment, making the leap from the fan press to major publishers in the late 1960s, alongside contemporaries such as Marv Wolfman and Gerry Conway.
Over the course of his career he's written some of comics' best-loved storylines, created and/or developed a number of the medium's most memorable characters, and been a constant and friendly presence at conventions and fan gatherings, known for his clever plot twists, infectious smile, neatly-trimmed beard, and neatly-turned phrases.
He's responsible for co-creating Swamp Thing, Human Target, Lucius Fox, Brother Voodoo, and dozens of other characters; he's penned some of the best Batman stories to ever see print; and, of course, he assembled and wrote the initial appearance of "The All-New, All-Different X-Men" in 1975's Giant-Size X-Men #1.
But it was during his tenure as writer on The Incredible Hulk that he would make his greatest impact, taking the name and spark of an idea that editor Roy Thomas proposed for a Canadian hero, and turning it into the five-foot-three brawling bundle of attitude that would become one of the most popular characters in comics history.
The rest of his CV is no less impressive. He served as editor-in-chief of Marvel in 1974 and 1975. As a writer, he spearheaded defining runs on some of that company's greatest and craziest comics (including The Fantastic Four, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Defenders, Marvel Team-Up, and Thor), but with his DC work (especially his defining '70s run on Batman) he proved equally adept at earthbound, street-savvy narratives. He redefined Gotham City for a generation in 1980's Untold Legend Of The Batman mini-series, and brought two of his signature characters together for their first meeting in 1981's Batman Vs. The Incredible Hulk special.
Starting in the late '70s, he expanded his workload, co-writing the first two volumes of Pocket Books' original Marvel novels, and writing the novelization of the 1982 Swamp Thing movie. He won acclaim for his TV work as well, scripting episodes of animated shows including Batman: The Animated Series, Iron Man, Spider-Man (1995), Transformers, Beast Wars, Godzilla, Phantom 2040, Hypernauts, Street Fighter, and the various Ben 10 series.
His credits also include editing Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' legendary Watchmen series for DC, co-writing DC's Legends crossover, launching and overseeing Disney's Disney Comics imprint in the early 1990s, and writing two of 2012's Before Watchmen titles. Despite health concerns in recent years, he's continued to produce phenomenal work, including 2014's Batman '66: The Lost Episode one-shot.
So today, June 12th, on the anniversary of his own first appearance, it's our pleasure and honor to wish Len Wein the happiest of birthdays, and thank him for all the wonderful stories --– may there be many more!