15 Characters That Wouldn't Exist Without Len Wein

Author Thumbnail BY Jon Arvedon - September 11, 2017
Feature Detail

The comic book industry has sadly lost another legend. Len Wein, the award-winning writer and editor with a long and storied history at both Marvel and DC Comics, sadly passed away on Sunday, September 10, 2017, at the age of 69.

Wein’s contributions to the industry include notable runs writing some of the most high-profile superheroes in comics, a massive revival of the X-Men in the ‘70s, and Wein even served as editor on Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ seminal miniseries Watchmen. However, one of the things Wein will be remembered for the most is the characters he created and/or co-created.

In honor of his memory, let’s look back at 15 characters that wouldn’t exist without Len Wein:

#15- Cottonmouth

Feature Detail

If you’ve watched Luke Cage on Netflix, then you’re no doubt familiar with Cornell "Cottonmouth" Stokes, who was portrayed in the series by Mahershala Ali before being killed off far too soon. This Luke Cage villain was created by Len Wein and George Tuska, debuting in the pages of Power Man #19 in June 1974. Beginning his criminal career as a drug kingpin in New York City, Cottonmouth eventually gained superhuman strength and durability, rivaling that of his heroic nemesis. 

#14- Human Target

Feature Detail

This past season on Arrow, Jessica Jones alum Wil Traval made a brief appearance as Christopher Chance, AKA the Human Target. The first Human Target, Fred Venable, debuted in 1953, but the Christopher Chance iteration of the character, created by Len Wein and Carmine Infantino, premiered in a backup story published in Action Comics #419 (December 1972).  Chance operates as both a private investigator and a bodyguard,  assuming the identity of clients that are being targeted by assassins, thugs, and other violent criminals. Chance would go on to appear in The Brave and the Bold, Detective Comics, and even his own limited and ongoing series.

#13- The Multiple Man

Feature Detail

James Madrox, more commonly referred to as the Multiple Man, was created by Len Wein and made his first appearance in Giant-Size Fantastic Four #4 in February 1975. The character is a mutant with the ability to create instant duplicates of himself, and although he largely served as a supporting character after his creation, he would go on to play a significant role in the 1987 miniseries Fallen Angels, as well as Peter David’s X-Factor runs in both the ‘90s and the 2000’s. In 2004, a MadroX miniseries was published by Marvel, and the character was last seen in Death of X, where he was killed by the Terrigen Mist cloud that had been decimating the mutant population.

What Others Are Reading

Author Name
Jon Arvedon was born and raised on the not-so-mean streets of Central Massachusetts. Jon uses his time consuming, collecting, and sharing all aspects of nerd culture. Follow Jon on Twitter @JonArvedon.
@Jon Arvedon | jon@epicstream.com