In a way, it’s ironic to think that some of the most powerful characters we’ve ever rooted for were inspired by health issues that rendered their creator, Len Wein, physically sapped of power. But according to Wein’s wife, Christine Valada, that’s exactly how the comic legend’s most well-known creations came to be.
"Most people don't know exactly how sick Len was throughout his life," Valada (shown above with Wein and Hugh Jackman at SDCC 2008) told The Hollywood Reporter, after Wein passed away on Sunday. "He was in and out of the hospital since he was three years old. And I have always felt his characters reflected a lot of what he went through. Swamp Thing was a reflection of this body that didn't work for him. But then there was that healing factor of Wolverine, which kept getting him through it."
How cool is that? Instead of laying down and letting what ailed him derail him, Wein used it as fuel to energize his own creative powers. By finding power in weakness, Wein created some of our most beloved comic characters.
Interestingly, out of all the creations that Wein is known for – including those above and Storm, Colossus, and, Nightcrawler – the one who proved to be the most profitable was more of supporting player than a series anchor. Granted, that ensemble member was Lucius Fox, played by Morgan Freeman in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, which made a gazillion dollars.
With Batman being Wein’s “No. 1 comic hero,” it seems appropriate those films would help him attain some financial comfort. Although Valada, a lawyer specializing in creators' rights, made it clear that once comic book movies started catching on big time in the early 2000s, such compensation wasn’t always so easily forthcoming, particularly on Marvel’s end.
But in the end, "[Wein] was always like, 'I know what I have done and the people who know me know what I have done.'"
And so do we, Len. So do we.