Superheroes have always shouldered the heavy burden of how to best use their powers for the greater good. Luckily, many of them could rely on comic book editor and writer Len Wein to bring out their best.
Sadly, the superhero behind the scenes died on Sept. 10 at the age of 69. He leaves behind a legacy of work that deeply affected anyone who picked up a comic book in the last 50 years.
Wein started in comics in 1968, working on DC Comics' Teen Titans. In the early 1970s, he co-created the antiheroes Wolverine and Swamp Thing for Marvel and DC Comics respectively.
He also had a hand in reviving the X-Men series, creating characters such as Storm, Nightcrawler and Colossus. On top of that, he edited The Teen Titans and The Watchmen, co-created the Human Target character and penned numerous Star Trek comic books.
"Len Wein was one of the most welcoming people and legends in comics from the moment I joined DC eight years ago," Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment president, posted on the official DC Comics blog on Sunday. "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."
"Not every writer can be a good editor," Geoff Johns, president and chief creative officer of DC Entertainment added. "But Len deserves equal credit for both talents. He helped to revitalize the entire DC Universe."
Wein started out as a comic book fan in the 1960s, but after a tour of the DC Comics offices he was soon hired and put to work creating some of the most beloved characters in comic book history. He also has the rare honor of being an important figure at both DC Comics and Marvel, rivals in the comic book, TV and movie industries.
"Len was one of the first fans to go pro, but he never lost the sensibility of a fan in all of his years in the industry," Tom Brevoort, Marvel senior vice president and executive editor posted on the official Marvel blog. "There was more calling to Len's work than job -- you could tell that he was just having the best time coming up with all of this crazy nonsense. He was also a sweetheart as a person, among the best-regarded creators of his time. His many creations -- in particular but not limited to the All-New, All-Different X-Men -- go without saying.
"I'd hazard a guess that no other creator of his era had originated or co-originated more characters and concepts that would later be turned into media projects. Heck, even the Human Target has had two (TWO!) TV series!" Brevoort added.
Actor Hugh Jackman -- who's portrayed Wolverine in nine movies since 2000, including the most recent film "Logan" -- paid tribute to Wein on social media.
"Blessed to have known Len Wein. I first met him in 2008. I told him -- from his heart, mind & hands came the greatest character in comics," Jackman tweeted on Sunday.
More celebrities and comic book royalty offered their thoughts on how Wein influenced their work in storytelling.
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