Len Wein, the man who co-created comic book characters Wolverine and Swamp Thing, has died aged 69.
One of the most influential comic book writers of all time, Wein made his career in both Marvel and DC Comics and was credited with reviving the X-Men franchise in the 1970s.
His idea of a culturally and ethnically diverse team of mutants gave way to the modern X-Men, today portrayed in the film franchise.
Wein, who had been tweeting from the hospital since last week, was living with a heart condition which required quintuple bypass surgery in 2015.
“Blessed to have known Len Wein,” wrote actor Hugh Jackman, who played Wolverine in the films.
“I first met him in 2008. I told him: from his heart, mind & hands came the greatest character in comics.”
Joss Whedon, who directed the Avengers films, credited Wein with kickstarting “the modern comic book era with its most powerful metaphor” – referring to Wein’s “second genesis” of the X-Men.
Len Wein, co-creator of WOLVERINE and SWAMP THING & more responsible for the x-men you love than he gets credit for. Thank you. #RIP
— BRIAN MICHAEL BENDIS (@BRIANMBENDIS) September 10, 2017
But it isn’t just Marvel colleagues who are mourning Wein. The writer and editor started and ended his career at rival DC Comics, where he worked with Alan More on The Watchmen novel and co-created Swamp Thing with illustrator Bernie Wrightson.
“Len Wein was one of the most welcoming people and legends in comics from the moment I joined DC eight years ago,” said Diane Nelson, president of DC Entertainment.
“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. Our love and prayers go out to Christine, his family, and his fans.”
Geoff Johns, president and CCO of DC Entertainment, said: “Not every writer can be a good editor.
“But Len deserves equal credit for both talents. He helped to revitalise the entire DC Universe.”