Len Wein and Christine Valada

Christine and Len.

Christine and Len.

Just wanted to post a quick note about the terrible turn of events for comics writer Len Wein and his amazing wife Christine Valada. An old piece of wiring inside their bathroom walls sparked and set their house afire. (Christine had been at work; Len and their son Michael, asleep.) As the fire began to crown, Len and Michael awoke and escaped — but Sheba, their dog, ran back inside to her usual hiding spot in the bathroom, and never made it out again.

I knew Christine when we were both in law school (me in my first year, she in her last), and we would often commiserate about the experience; like me, she eventually lost interest in a law career, and has now instead become a top-notch photographer and university professor. Len, meanwhile, remains a legend among comics writers, having created Wolverine and the new X-Men, and much that was lost can never be replaced — such as original artwork from Giant-Sized X-Men #1, the first appearance of the new team that would go on to become the most popular franchise in modern comics history. It utterly breaks my heart to find out what happened here, and how it quite literally could have happened to anyone, without warning, at any time.

The Wolverine movie opens in about a month; it’d be great if Fox steps in to help. And though it will be quite some time before they as a family can retrospectively look at the events rather than continuing to experience them, the final, essential truth will be: Len is OK, Christine is OK, and Michael is OK; Sheba is in their hearts, and everything else is just paper.

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