Comic Fodder

Restoring Len Wein’s Collection

The weekly reviews were posted later than I would have preferred, but I have a good explanation: I was organizing my comic books. Okay, granted, normally that would not be enough of a reason, but hear me out. I was doing it to see if I could help out a comic book writer. Longtime veteran Len Wein had a fire consume major portions of his house on April 6, and the loss of comic art and comics themselves was devastating. Even trying to set aside the immense financial value that the original art held as a potential resource in tough times, the sentimental value which most (if not all) of it held for Len is huge. The Google Alerts news push I have set up brought Tom Mason’s article to my attention, which steered me to Mark Evanier's site, povonline, where he is spear-heading an effort to help restore Len's comic collection, one each of every comic book Len Wein has ever written and/or edited.

So I set aside the weekly reviews for a night and pulled out a half dozen long-boxes. Over the past 30 years, I have accumulated a bunch of duplicate comics. Some of them were purchased in bulk as part of collections where I only wanted a few select comics, but the owners wanted to get the whole collection off their hands. Three or four dozen are ones that I bought that I already had (despite my best attempts to keep track). Still others were given to me, because people know I like them, and the pack-rat inherited qualities from my parents forbid me from saying no or throwing them out. Under protestations of my girlfriend, who remarked that the dusty smell was causing her problems, I spread out all of the comics on the bedroom floor and sorted them alphabetically by publisher. I succeeded in compiling the Marvels by midnight, and then compared them to the list of still-needed comics for Len Wein. No matches there. The easy ones have already been spoken for!

Tonight, I sorted through the DCs and the independents. I've been meaning to put these in order for ages anyway, but it took a good cause for me to set aside the time to knuckle down and do it. I'm hoping to find one or two comics to contribute, but either way, the duplicates will be neat and orderly, and ready to go whenever I want to take a stab at unloading some of them, or just need to quickly locate a particular item. In the meantime, they go back in the corner, stacked on top of each other... to the protestations of my girlfriend, who thinks they should all go into one room. I love her, but she has definite plans for the future orientation and interior decorating of my house, I can tell. I can only ward her off for so long.

So please spread the word to your fellow fans, there is an emergency, and we need some superheroes to step up and deliver. The aim is to fill in every gap until the list is complete, and we can use this method as a way of thanking Len Wein for all of the enjoyment he has given us through the years with his great stories and characters. If we can't find all duplicates, maybe some people will just buy a piece from Ebay and send it in. It won't be possible to reconstruct all of the original art that has been lost, but if you just do what you can, this will be a good thing.

let's rebuild Len Wein's comic book collection project

Note: Len Wein is most known for co-creating DC's Swamp Thing, and later Marvel Comics' Wolverine, along with co-creating a bunch of new mutants to revamp the X-Men, little characters such as Storm, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Thunderbird. For those who went to see the recent Watchmen movie, Len was the editor of the original series when it first came out, and wrote the story for the video game. For those who went to see Batman: The Dark Knight, Len created Morgan Freeman's character, Lucius Fox. He's had a hand in writing and/or developing a lot of other stuff in pop culture, so even people who might not normally care might perk up if you find a linkage between something Len did and something they like. Check out his body of work and start asking questions, you might be surprised who feels moved to do something to contribute.

Tpull is Travis Pullen. He started reading comics at 5 years old, and he can't seem to stop.