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Wein was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2008. Wein was born on June 12, 1948, in New York City, and was raised in a Jewish household. In a 2003 interview, Len Wein recalled that he « was a very sickly kid. While I was in the hospital at age seven, my dad brought me a stack of comic books to keep me occupied.
When my eighth grade art teacher, Mr. Smedley, told me he thought I had actual art talent, I decided to devote all my efforts in that direction in the hope that I might someday get into the comics biz. Approximately once a month, as a teenager, Wein and his friend Marv Wolfman took DC Comics’ weekly Thursday afternoon tour of the company’s offices. Eventually, DC editor Joe Orlando hired both Wolfman and Wein as freelance writers. Later that year, Wein was writing anthological mystery stories for DC’s The House of Secrets and Marvel’s Tower of Shadows and Chamber of Darkness. In the early 1970s, Wein began writing regularly for Marvel Comics.
He succeeded Roy Thomas as editor-in-chief of the color-comics line in 1974, staying a little over a year before handing the reins to Wolfman. In 2009, Claremont said, « The history of modern comics would be incredibly different if you took contributions out of the mix. The fact he doesn’t get credit for it half the time is disgraceful. In 1977, following an offer to script the « Batman » feature in Detective Comics, Wein left Marvel to work exclusively at DC Comics as a scriptwriter and editor. He scripted Batman and collaborated on Green Lantern with artists Dave Gibbons and Mark Farmer. Following his second stint at DC and a move to the West Coast, Wein served as editor-in-chief of Disney Comics for three years in the early 1990s.
Wein collaborated with writer Kurt Busiek and artist Kelley Jones on the four-issue miniseries Conan: The Book of Thoth for Dark Horse Comics. From 2005 to 2008, Wein appeared as a recurring panelist on the Los Angeles-based stage revival of the TV game show What’s My Line? He wrote the storyline for the Watchmen video game, The End Is Nigh, which serves as a backstory to both the comic and the film adaptation. Wein’s first wife was Glynis Oliver, a comics colorist who spent years on the X-Men titles. Following their divorce, he married Christine Valada, a photographer and attorney, in 1991, and became stepfather to Michael Bieniewicz-Valada. On April 6, 2009, Wein’s California home burned down with considerable loss of property and mementos, including his Shazam Awards.
He and his wife also lost their dog, Sheba, to the fire. Beginning October 26, 2009, Valada appeared on and won the television game show Jeopardy! She indicated on the show that she would use the money to recover or replace much of the artwork and books the couple lost in the fire. Wein underwent triple-bypass heart surgery on February 10, 2015.
He died on September 10, 2017. Nominated in the same categories in 1973. He and Wrightson won the Shazam Award that year for Best Continuing Feature again for Swamp Thing. Won an Inkpot Award in 1977.