Wolverine

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Cover of New Avengers #5 (March 2005)
Art by David Finch.

Wolverine (born James Howlett and commonly known as Logan) is a fictional character, a Marvel Comics superhero who has been a member of several teams, including the X-Men and the New Avengers. He was created by writer Len Wein and Marvel art director John Romita Sr., who designed the character, and was first drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe.[1]

Wolverine had a cameo appearance on the last page of Incredible Hulk #180 October 1974) and his first "full" appearance in Incredible Hulk #181 (November 1974). X-Men writer Chris Claremont played a significant role in the character's subsequent development as well as artist/writer John Byrne, who insisted on making the character older than the other X-Men. Frank Miller also helped to revise the character in the early 1980s with the eponymous limited series in which Wolverine's catch phrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn't very nice", was first written.

A mutant, Wolverine possesses animal-keen senses, enhanced physical capabilities, and a healing factor that allows him to recover from virtually any wound. This healing ability enabled the supersoldier program Weapon X to bond the near indestructible metal alloy adamantium to his skeletal system. He is also a master of hand-to-hand combat and martial arts.

Wolverine joined the X-Men's "All New, All Different" roster in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (May 1975). Wolverine was typical of the many tough anti-authority anti-heroes that emerged in American popular culture after the Vietnam War;[2] his willingness to use deadly force and his brooding nature became standard characteristics for comic book anti-heroes by the end of the 1980s.[3] As a result, the character became the clear favorite for fans of the increasingly popular X-Men franchise.[4] He has been featured in his own solo comic since 1988 and he has been a central character in every X-Men adaptation, including animated television series, video games, and the live action 20th Century Fox X-Men film series, in which he is played by Hugh Jackman.

Publication history

Wolverine made his debut in a battle against the Hulk. The Incredible Hulk #181 (Nov 1974). Art by Herb Trimpe.

Wolverine first appeared in the final "teaser" panel of The Incredible Hulk #180 (cover date October 1974) written by Len Wein and penciled by Herb Trimpe. The character then appeared in a number of advertisements in various Marvel Comics publications in early July (cover date November) before making his first major appearance in Hulk #181 (cover date November 1974) again by Wein and Trimpe. John Romita, Sr. designed Wolverine's yellow-and-blue costume. The character's introduction was ambiguous, revealing little beyond his being a superhuman agent of the Canadian government. In these appearances, he does not retract his claws, although Len Wein stated they had always been envisioned as retractable. He appears briefly in the finale to this story in Hulk #182.

Wolverine's next appearance was in 1975's Giant-Size X-Men #1, written by Wein and penciled by Dave Cockrum, in which Wolverine is recruited for a new squad. Gil Kane, who drew the cover of the comic, accidentally drew Wolverine's mask wrong, with larger headpieces. Dave Cockrum liked Kane's alteration (believing it to be similar to Batman's mask) and decided to incorporate it into his own artwork for the actual story.[5] Cockrum was also the first artist to draw Wolverine without his mask, and the distinctive hairstyle became a trademark of the character.

A revival of X-Men followed, beginning with Uncanny X-Men #94 (August 1975), drawn by Cockrum and written by Chris Claremont. In Uncanny X-Men, Wolverine is initially overshadowed by the other characters, although he does create tension in the team as he has a crush on Cyclops' girlfriend, Jean Grey. As the series progressed, Claremont and Cockrum (who preferred Nightcrawler[6]) considered dropping Wolverine from the series;[7] Cockrum's successor, artist John Byrne, championed the character, later explaining, as a Canadian himself, he did not want to see a Canadian character dropped.[8] Byrne created Alpha Flight, a group of Canadian superheroes who try to recapture Wolverine due to the expense their government incurred training him. Later stories gradually establish Wolverine's murky past and unstable nature, which he battles to keep in check. Byrne also designed a new brown-and-tan costume for Wolverine, but retained the distinctive Cockrum cowl.

Following Byrne's departure, Wolverine remained in X-Men. The character's growing popularity led to a solo, four-issue limited series, Wolverine (Sept.-December 1982), by Claremont and Frank Miller, followed by the six-issue Kitty Pryde and Wolverine by Claremont and Al Milgrom (November 1984 - April 1985). Marvel launched an ongoing solo book written by Claremont with art by John Buscema in November 1988. It ran for 189 issues. Larry Hama later took over the series and had an extensive run. Other writers who wrote for the two Wolverine ongoing series include Peter David, Archie Goodwin, Erik Larsen, Frank Tieri, Greg Rucka, and Mark Millar. Many popular artists have also worked on the series, including John Byrne, Marc Silvestri, Mark Texeira, Adam Kubert, Leinil Francis Yu, Rob Liefeld, Sean Chen, Darick Robertson, John Romita, Jr., and Humberto Ramos. During the 1990s, the character was revealed to have bone claws, after his adamantium is ripped out by Magneto in X-Men #25, which was inspired by a passing joke of Peter David's.

In addition to the Wolverine series and appearances in the various X-Men series, two other storylines expand upon the character's past: "Weapon X", by writer-artist Barry Windsor-Smith, serialized in Marvel Comics Presents #72-84 (1991); and Origin, a six-issue limited series by co-writers Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins, and Bill Jemas and artist Andy Kubert (November 2001 - July 2002). A second solo series, Wolverine: Origins, written by Daniel Way with art by Steve Dillon, spun out of and runs concurrently with the second Wolverine solo series.

Notes

  1. Green Skin's Grab-Bag: "An Interview with Herb Trimpe", p. 2: "That was John Romita's design. I drew him first in Hulk #181 [sic]. But it was Romita's vision based on Len's idea".
  2. Wright, Bradford W. Comic Book Nation. Johns Hopkins, 2001. Pg. 265
  3. Wright, pg. 277
  4. Wright, pg 263, 265
  5. Brian Cunningham, "Dressed to Kill", Wizard Tribute to Wolverine, 1996.
  6. X-Men Companion
  7. X-Men Companion
  8. DeFalco, Tom. Comic Creators on X-Men. Titan, 2006. Pg. 110

External links