40 years ago writer Len Wein helped create one of the enduring icons of the Marvel Universe, that dangerous and deadly Canuck known as Wolverine. Now, to help celebrate another milestone, Marvel’s 75th anniversary, Wein has returned to write a solo story for Wolverine in the MARVEL 75th ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL.
In anticipation of the reunion, Wein talked about his collaboration with artist Paul Gulacy, the Fantastic Four, and his desire to honor the past and the present in this newest story.
Marvel.com: It has been awhile since you have written Wolverine specifically and obviously he has changed a lot since those early days. Did you find him very different from the last time you wrote him?
Len Wein: Yeah, he’s constantly evolving and yet I found it was writing the same character. It was really interesting.
Marvel.com: Of course, part of what alters the experience of writing a character or story is who you collaborate with on it. In the case of this tale Paul Gulacy is the artist. How, in your opinion, does his style compliment your approach to writing?
Len Wein: We’ve never worked together before, so I’m very excited about that. His style is rather a different one than you usually get on Wolverine. A lot of people [who] have worked on Wolvie use a very rough style and then the inking adds to it, this sense of how scary, or how animal the character is. I think Paul’s style is exactly the opposite of that. It’s very tight, very sharp. I’ll be interested to see how it works.
We had met at a convention a few months back. I’ve always been a fan of Paul’s and he mentioned that he was available. I said, “Oh my God, I guess I’ll have to find something we can do together.” So when this came by, I said, “Let’s see how this works. This could be perfect.”
Marvel.com: Without giving too much information, what can you tell readers about the story?
Len Wein: The story’s called “Walkabout” and it gives me a chance to touch on some of the highlight moments of Wolverine’s life. For the 75th anniversary, I wanted to do something that was a contemporary story and yet, covered some of his past.
Marvel.com: As this is celebrating Marvel’s rich history, I was wondering if you can look back to your first exposure to Marvel; if there is a particular title or issue that stands out to you?
Len Wein: This is going to come as a shock. My first Marvel comic was FANTASTIC FOUR #1.
Marvel: Wow! If you have to start somewhere that is a great place.
Len Wein: Yes, it is. I remember I had a little comic shop. Well, not a comic shop, a drug store back in those days. They had racks of magazines and comics and one day I saw the Fantastic Four, the super hero logo. I let it sit there for days until I noticed—again, the brilliance of Stan [Lee]—I noticed the blurb that said, “Together for the first time: Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch, The Thing, The Invisible Girl.” I went, “Well, gee, if this blurb says they’re together for the first time, they must have been separate somewhere else before.” So I picked up the book to see what that meant and then I saw the full color with the giant monster thing and that was it. I was sold. And I’ve been a Marvel reader ever since.
For more on Marvel’s 75th anniversary, visit marvel.com/75