On April 6, fire destroyed the home of superhero comic book creator Len Wein.
To fans of mainstream comics, Wein's name is a familiar one. A writer and editor for Marvel and DC in the '70s and '80s, Wein was co-creator of such iconic figures as DC's Swamp Thing and Marvel's Wolverine. In his capacity as editor, he also oversaw the original run of Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen. A much-respected comics pro, Wein was inducted into the Will Eisner Comic Book Hall of Fame in 2008.
News of the fire spread rapidly over the Internet, in large part due to the efforts of fellow writers Mark Evanier and Harlan Ellison. Aside from the family dog, no living things were injured in the conflagration — Wein's wife Chris was away at the time, while both Len and his son Michael managed to get out of the house safely — though the writer's invaluable collection of art and comics-related material was lost.
While insurance is covering the house and furniture, the prolific writer's collection of comics is another matter. To help rectify this, Wein's friends have initiated the "Let's Rebuild Len Wein's Comic Book Collection" Project. The project's goal is simple: to get a replacement copy of every comic with Wein's name in the credits back into his collection. "Check your collection for duplicates," Evanier writes. "If Len's given you some moments of reading pleasure, you might even want to buy him some of these issues. A few may be pricey but he's written so many, you may find a stack in the bargain bins."
The Project makes no claim of being a tax-deductible charity, just the work of a bunch of friends and fans trying to help a writer reclaim copies of his own past. For the many admirers of Wein's work, though, that's a good enough reason for getting involved.