Retro Thursday: Len Wein, Marv Wolfman
In spring of 2004, I attended Planet Comicon in Overland Park, Kan., and heard two of the most successful comic-book creators of the 1970s and 1980s: Marv Wolfman and Len Wein. Julius Schwartz, longtime DC editor, had recently died, and so he was on the minds of both creators. A few things discussed at the show four years ago that still haven’t come to fruition: Wein was working on a “Swamp Thing” movie script, and Wolfman was hopeful his long-delayed “Teen Titans: Games” graphic novel would be finished by George Perez. As of 2005, the “Games” graphic novel was on indefinite hiatus. I haven’t heard any updates recently about a “Swamp Thing” film. The following article was originally published April 9, 2004.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Two former editors in chief of Marvel Comics talked about their work in comics and other media adaptations of some of their most famous creations at the recent Planet Comicon. Marv Wolfman created many of the New Teen Titans for DC with artist George Perez. He’s written episodes of the “Teen Titans” series for the Cartoon Network based on his comic and has more episodes in the pipeline.
Wolfman also created Blade, the vampire hunter who will be featured in a third motion picture this year, and Bullseye, a villain in the recent “Daredevil” film.
Len Wein is working on a screenplay for “Swamp Thing,” which he co-created with artist Berni Wrightson.
Wein said the new “Swamp Thing” would be a true horror movie, with the creature done in CGI rather than a “guy in a rubber suit.”
Wolfman and Wein both had hits in the 1970s horror resurgence in comics, following the relaxation of the comics code to allow more horror elements. Wolfman’s “Tomb of Dracula,” with Gene Colan, introduced “Blade,” and Wein’s “Swamp Thing” brought a philosophical slant to a horror staple.
Wein and Wolfman broke into DC in the late 1960s, when Julius Schwartz was one of the top editors at the company.
Wein and Wolfman paid tribute to Schwartz, who died Feb. 8.
Wein told how he received his first assignment from “Julie.” He was waiting in the DC offices to pitch a story for “Superman’s Girlfriend, Lois Lane,” when Schwartz barreled into the office.
“What are you doing here?” Schwartz said.
Wein responded, saying he was pitching a “Lois Lane” story.
“No, you’re not,” Schwartz said, grabbing Wein by the collar.
Schwartz sat Wein down in his office and said, “You’re writing the Flash.”
When Wein protested that he hadn’t prepared anything for the Flash, Schwartz said, “You couldn’t be any worse than that S.O.B. I just fired!”
While Schwartz could be gruff, he also was very influential.
“It’s astonishing when you look at one man’s impact,” Wein said, noting that Schwartz’s revival of Flash, Green Lantern and the Justice League motivated Marvel’s 1960s output.
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