Len Wein, co-creator of Wolverine, dies at 69

Len Wein (1948-2017)

Len Wein, a comics fan turned comics professional, has died at 69, according to multiple posts on social meedia by comics professionals including Mark Millar and Kurt Busiek. .

Wein co-created the mutant character Wolverine while writing The Incredible Hulk for Marvel.

He also revived the X-Men in 1975, with a new cast, including Wolverine. (The X-Men originally were created in 1963 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.)

Wolverine helped make Hugh Jackman a star, both through X-Men and Wolverine movies. Jackman’s most recent performance as the character was in this year’s Logan.

At DC Comics, Wein wrote a number of Batman stories. One highlight was a 1970s story, Moon of the Wolf, illustrated by Neal Adams and Dick Giorddano, in which Batman encounters a warewolf. It would later be adapted in the Batman: The Animated Series.

Growing up in the greater New York area, Wein and friend Marv Wolfman (who would also become a comics professional) would visit the prolific Jack Kirby at his home.

“We came over for mile and cookies on Saturdays,” Wein said in a documentary about Kirby. When they’d see Kirby at his drawing board, Wein said, “His hand was always moving, producing.”

Such experiences presumably explain why Wein went into the field.

After becoming a writer at Marvel, he was named editor-in-chief after Roy Thomas (who had succeeded Stan Lee) stepped down. It wasn’t an easy time for the company. “Wein struggled with the constant cycle of cancellations and launches,” Sean Howe wrote in his book, Marvel Comics: The Untold Story. Wolfman took over.

Eventually, a number of people (Thomas, Wein, Wolfman and others) got deals where they were editors of the titles they wrote. In the late 1970s, these deals were ended and Jim Shooter was put in charge of Marvel’s titles.

Nevertheless, Wein stayed in the field for a long time. Joss Whedon, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and director of the first two Avengers movie for Marvel, posted a tribute:

UPDATE (8:55 p.m. ET): Hugh Jackman posted a tribute to Len Wein on Twitter.

//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Advertisements

Logan and Hugh Jackman’s longevity

Hugh Jackman in Logan's poster

Hugh Jackman in Logan’s poster

Recently, we ran a not completely serious post about the longevity of actors who had played “The Other Spies.”

But Logan, coming out this weekend, features the real thing when it comes to longevity: The final of nine appearances (including two cameos) over 17 years with Hugh Jackman as the X-Man.

It’s a physically demanding role and it’s understandable why Jackman, now 48, is hanging up his Adamantium claws after such a long run.

It’s hard to remember now, but in 2000, Marvel Comics characters had a so-so record in being adapted to other media. That year’s X-Men, made by 20th Century Fox, which licensed Marvel’s mutant characters, was a hit and Jackman was a big reason.

Jackman, taller than six feet, was about a foot taller than the character. But it didn’t matter. For fans, Jackman came across as Logan/Wolverine transplanted to movie screens.

So, with Logan, it’s the end of an era for the actor and character. It was a long run by any measure.

2004: BusinessWeek discusses 007’s value

Back in 2004, BusinessWeek (now Bloomberg Businessweek), ran a short story by Ronald Grover discussing how much the cinema James Bond might be worth. It’s interesting to read because at the time Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Inc. was up for sale (as it has been recently). People were wondering about 007’s long-term prospects (as has happened recently). One sample:

The current Bond, 51-year-old Pierce Brosnan, has said he may soon turn in his license to kill. X-Men’s Hugh Jackman and Pirates of the Caribbean’s Orlando Bloom are possible successors. As MGM did by getting Brosnan in 1995, the right blend of actor, director — and maybe a little more skin — could well make Bond a $1 billion man. Doubtless, he’s still got a lot of bad guys left to battle.

In short, there’s an element of the more things change, the more they stay the same. You can read the entire article (which isn’t that long) by CLICKING RIGHT HERE.

Daniel Craig’s play proves profitable for investors

A Steady Rain, the recent Broadway play starring Hugh Jackman and Daniel Craig, paid off for investors. According to a story by Bloomberg:

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) — If you were lucky or smart enough to invest $100,000 in “A Steady Rain,” the $3 million drama starring Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman that ended its limited Broadway run on Dec. 6, your 12-week gamble would have returned $165,000 in time for Christmas shopping.

If, on the other hand, you were unlucky enough to have dropped the same amount on “Ragtime,” a revival that opened at the Neil Simon Theatre on Nov. 15 on the tails of glowing reviews at the Kennedy Center in Washington, you will probably never see that money again.

According to the complete story on Bloomberg.com, A Steady Rain, an 85-minute play with two actors and sparse sets, stood a better chance of making a profit compared to elaborate musicals charging similar prices.

The financial success of the Craig-Jackman play may cause changes similar to what occurs in Hollywood. For example, there’s this anecdote:

A few weeks ago, Fred Zollo, the lead producer of “A Steady Rain” who works both on Broadway and in Hollywood, announced a deal with Broadway’s biggest landlord, the Shubert Organization. Zollo and his investors will supply big stars and brief runs; Shubert will guarantee a great theater.

In Hollywood, it’s known as a housekeeping deal, where a studio gives office space to a producer in return for first dibs on new projects. I expected other producers to howl over the arrangement; instead, most cheered it. It’s the wave of the future, and if you invested in either “A Steady Rain” or “Ragtime,” you know why.

Zollo, it should be noted, is the husband of Eon Productions co-bossperson Barbara Broccoli.

An October Bloomber story shows the play generated profits despite hefty paychecks to Craig and Jackman.

Craig and Jackman to do play; so when does Craig play 007 again?

From a Chicago Sun-Times story:

James Bond and Wolverine are headed for Broadway.

Daniel Craig and Hugh Jackman are set to star in Keith Huff’s play “A Steady Rain” slated for this fall. Barbara Broccoli, the daughter of legendary “James Bond” film producer Albert “Cubby” Broccoli, is set to produce.

Well, that’s just great. No dates set yet, according to the article.

Meanwhile, recently The Sun newspaper in the U.K. had this quote from Barbara Broccoli’s half-brother, Eon Productions bossman Michael G. Wilson about Bond 23:

“We have started work on the new film, which I can’t say anything about. DANIEL CRAIG is very keen to get going.”

Hmmm. Apparently Craig isn’t that keen.

Let’s do a little math. For a movie to make the Christmas 2010 period, the latest it could start filming is April of 2010 (similar to the schedule for Tomorrow Never Dies in 1997). Given the Craig-Jackman starring duo, it seems doubtful this play will be a limited engagement unless the play bombs. If the play debuts in the fall, could Craig exit it by April of 2010? We’re kind of skeptical.

This would seem to indicate the earliest Bond 23 could come out would be 2011. We’re still thinking 2012 may be more likely given how Wilson keeps complaining the past decade about the exhaustion of producing Bond movies while Eon simultaneously talks about producing its first non-Bond project since Call Me Bwana.

To read the Sun-Times story, click RIGHT HERE. To view The Sun story, RIGHT HERE.

UPDATE: Over at the CommanderBond.net site, a poster on the message board found AN INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL G. WILSON on a Norwegian Web site. The poster translates it thusly:

Interviewer: But when will the film be released, will we have to wait until 2011?
Wilson: Yes, I can confirm that. We need more time and don’t want to stress things.

A tip of the cap goes to The Ghost Who Walks, the poster who found the item.