Len Wein, Co-Creator Of Wolverine And Storm Comics, Dies At 69

Sep 11, 2017
Originally published on September 11, 2017 8:16 pm
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KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Comic book writer and editor Len Wein has died. He helped create a lot of famous characters during his nearly 50-year career.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Like Storm, the white-haired X-Man who controls the weather.

MCEVERS: Human-plant hybrid Swamp Thing.

SHAPIRO: And most notably...

(SOUNDBITE OF METAL CLANGING)

SHAPIRO: ...A ferocious Canadian mutant with long metal claws.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "THE WOLVERINE")

HIROYUKI SANADA: (As Shingen) What kind of monster are you?

HUGH JACKMAN: (As Logan) The Wolverine.

SHAPIRO: Wolverine first appeared in 1974 in an issue of "The Incredible Hulk."

EVAN NARCISSE: And he was kind of a bruiser.

MCEVERS: Evan Narcisse writes about comics for the website io9. He says Len Weins' Wolverine was a change from the straight-laced heroes of the time.

NARCISSE: He was coarse. He was rowdy. He was impolite. That was a really big breath of fresh air.

SHAPIRO: In 1975, Wein and artist Dave Cockrum revamped Marvel's X-Men. They added Wolverine to the team, and the rest is pop culture history.

MCEVERS: And that's not all Wein did.

NARCISSE: He edited "Watchmen," which is one of the most important superhero comics of the 20th century.

MCEVERS: The series was published by DC Comics in the late '80s. And it was different - darker, more philosophical. "Watchmen" set a serious tone for comic books.

SHAPIRO: And Wein played a big part in that.

NARCISSE: He was always looking for the humanity in these over-the-top absurdist paradigms of superhero work. Like, he was trying to find, how can these characters be relatable to readers?

SHAPIRO: Narcisse says that's part of Wein's legacy. His characters may have had superpowers, but they also grappled with self-doubt and failure.

MCEVERS: Comic book writer and editor Len Wein died yesterday. He was 69.

(SOUNDBITE OF KABLE SONG, "MISSION FAILER - OUTRO") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.