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CC2K Comics Interview: Len Wein

Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer


ImageWolverine creator Len Wein will help DC Comics celebrate its 75th anniversary with a “major project,” the comic-book legend told CC2K in an interview.

Wein’s credits are vast, with contributions to the worlds of comics, film, TV and more. His most high-profile achievements include his editorial hand in the classic Watchmen comic-book series, and his creation of Marvel’s Wolverine character. He also created DC’s Swamp Thing and had a hand in the creation of Marvel’s Nightcrawler, Storm and Colossus.

The man gets around.

I had the pleasure of appearing on the online talk show Comics on Comics to discuss all things Watchmen with Wein. You can see that episode here. After the release of Watchmen this March, Wein moved on to write a three-issue run of Justice League of America that pitted the super-team against the Royal Flush Gang. Wein said he’s still finishing up the last bit of writing on that project, but in the meantime, one of his character creations is finding life on FOX’s TV lineup: the high-powered bodyguard Human Target.

Wein created the Human Target, aka Christopher Chance, with Carmine Infantino back in the 70s. In his original incarnation, Chance would adopt elaborate disguises and assume the identities of his clients. The pilot made its debut at this year’s Comic-Con, and Wein was pleased.

“It looks terrific,” he said. “I’m really, really pleased with the outcome. I think it’s one of the most fun pilots I’ve seen in awhile, and even though I have some personal involvement with the character, I’ll go ahead and say it’s my favorite pilot of the year.”

The new series stars Boston Legal alum Mark Valley as Chance. The square-jawed Valley brings some genre cred to the show, having come off a memorable multi-episode arc on J.J. Abrams’ latest opus, Fringe, also on FOX. The rest of the show’s cast includes Watchmen’s unforgettable Rorschach, Jackie Earle Haley, and Pushing Daisies’ Chi McBride.

Human Target fans will note that the new series makes one major change to the character: Chance doesn’t assume his clients’ identities – he simply protects them.

And that’s just fine with Wein.

 

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Haley, Valley and McBride in Human Target.

“You have to write for the medium you’re working in,” he said. “When you move a character into a new medium, you have to make adjustments, and something that works fine in a comic setting might not work so well on TV.”

 

In the case of Human Target, Wein said that asking Valley to don elaborate makeup every week might not be the best call. Makes sense to me.

Speaking of moving between mediums: Wein has seen many of creations jump from the comic page onto the silver screen, though not all of them.

Are there any he’d really like to see jump from one medium to another? Yes: Gideon Faust. For the uninitiated, Gideon Faust appeared in the pages of Heavy Metal magazine under the title, Gideon Faust: Warlock at Large. Wein worked with writer and artist Howard Chaykin on the Faust stories.

But what about DC’s 75th anniversary and Wein’s involvement, you ask?

Wein couldn’t divulge many details, but he did promise that his project will “knock everybody’s socks off.”

DC Comics itself has also been quiet about plans for its 75th anniversary, but we can say that the celebration will take place in 2010, and when it comes to the DC Universe, there’s a lot to consider: Bruce Wayne is dead and the Justice League of America will see a major shake-up in its membership after Wein’s run. There are also the events of Blackest Night to consider, the huge storyline in Green Lantern that’s seen the birth of six competing Lantern corps in the fulfillment of an ancient prophesy called the War of Light.

But again – that’s pure speculation. We’ll wait and see how Wein knocks our socks off.

mm

Author: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer

Robert J. Peterson is a writer and web developer living in Los Angeles. A Tennessee native, he graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism. He’s written for newspapers and websites all over the country, including the Marin Independent Journal, the Telluride Daily Planet, CC2KOnline.com, Offscreen, and Geekscape.net. He co-hosts the podcasts Make It So and Hiram’s Lodge. He’s appeared as a pop-culture guru on the web talk shows Comics on Comics, The Fanbase Press Week In Review, Collider Heroes, ScreenJunkies TV Fights, and Fandom Planet. He’s the founder of California Coldblood Books.

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