The History Of Wolverine Pt. I

The first part of a complete two part history of everyones favorite mutant, Wolverine
July 08, 2008
Before I start this article I want to give a HUGE thanks to Retro Junk super writer Knites.

Mr. Knites is easily one of the best!

Knites painstakingly read over and edited this article for me. He did an incredible job and even helped by adding some new facts to the article that I did not originally have. For those of you who don't know Knites work check it out here with these two articles.

Cammy, Tell Me True

His latest article is about the Street Fighter character Cammy and gives you all the information that you would ever want to know about her.

"Go to the link and learn more about me!"

On Writing

This is the article that I can't praise highly enough. I think that it should always have a place on the front page of Retro Junk and be read by EVERYONE who is about to post there first article, its just that gosh darn good! Go to it read it and give it a thumbs up. If you read it your almost sure to fine some new ideas to improve your own articles and that some of the things you are doing are just plain

I'm not going to lie, the only reason I put that picture there is because Kevin Spacey is AWESOME.

I admit it. I am a huge fan of comic books. Call me a dork or a geek if you want, I don't care I assure you I have heard it all before. I did not care then, and I will not care now. Since I started writing articles here I have wanted to do one about comics, but I could not think of a topic I wanted to write about. So after some thought, I decided to abandon doing one on one of the many comic events that I could of chose from to focus on a single character. That was when I decided do an in-depth history piece on the most popular X-Man: Wolverine.

The man of the hour, Wolverine.

The Background:

Wolverine was created in 1974 by then THE INCREDIBLE HULK writer Len Wien and then AMAZING SPIDER-MAN artist John Romita Sr. However, while the extremely talented John Romita Sr. would take credit for Wolverine's creation, he would not be the first to draw Wolverine for an actual comic book. That duty went to the THE INCREDIBLE HULK artist at the time, Herb Trimpe.

Wolverine's proud papa's John Romita Sr. and Len Wein with another one of his famous creations Swamp Thing. Bet you didn't know Wolverine and Swamp Thing were brothers huh?

Wein wanted a hero unlike any other. He wanted a vicious little brawler that spilled as much if not more blood then any villain that currently appeared in the comics of the 1970's. So, for the first time since Batman in the 1940's, the public was given a brutal super hero who would dispose of villains in a quick and violent manner and all in a package that was shorter, but perhaps even more brightly colored, than Robin the Boy Wonder.

In the 1940's Batman had other ways of making you talk...

Wolverine's first full story appearance was in THE INCREDIBLE HULK Vol. 1 #181. However, something not as well known is Wolverine's first actual appearance was in the previous issue: THE INCREDIBLE HULK Vol. 1 #180. Wolverine only made a very brief cameo appearance in the last panel of the issue.

Incredible Hulk Vol. 1 #181, Wolverine's first full comic book appearance, its worth a buck or two these days

The first full appearance of Wolverine left a lot to the imagination. All that was really known about the yellow-clad hero was that he was a superhuman agent of the Canadian government's secret Department H. Wolverine does not even retract his claws in this first full story appearance, despite Wien always stating that he envisioned Wolverines claws to be retractable. Of course, what few people know is that the main reason for Wein's decision to make Wolverine's claws retractable was he was worried about how his marvelous new mutant would dial a phone

"What do you say you get to know me a little better huh Bub?"

The History:

1974: Wolverine Debut's

By 1974 the comic industry was still reeling from the fantastic bafoonary of the great Adam West from the excellent Batman television show. I won't take any shots at the show, it was awesome and I love it. Still, due to West's antics on the show, superheroes were considered about as edgy as a marble.

"We're more edgy then a marble don't you think old chum?"

The comics industry needed an anti-hero like never before. The thing was, anti-heroes were still not the norm. Anti-hero acceptance would not come until the 1990's. In THE INCREDIBLE HULK #181, however, the comics world got Wolverine, a sawed off mutant with one hell of a Napoleon complex. In this issue, Wolverine wasted no time jumping into the middle of a battle with not only The Wendigo, but also the always imposing Hulk, as he was ordered by the Canadian governments Department H to end Hulk and Wendigo's little scuffle. After getting very little results raking his claws on The Hulk's thick hide, Wolverine turns his attention to Wendigo delivering a six claw knuckle sandwich that put the big white monster down for the count. Since this first fight, Wolverine has become the Prototype for every comic book anti-hero since. A comic superstar, who would eventually be Marvels #2 hero behind only Spider-Man, had been born.

Since Wolverine jumped on the scene the comics world has never been the same

1975: Wolverine joins the X-Men

It did not take long for comic fans to want more of Wolverine, so when Marvel decided to revamp the poorly selling Uncanny X-Men they decided to do so with mutants from different ethnic backgrounds to continue the books underlying tones of racism and bigotry. The new team members would include the steel-plated Russian Colossus, the very demon looking German Nightcrawler, the African weather queen Storm, the hot headed Chinese man Sunfire, the noble Native American powerhouse Thunderbird and of course the surly Canadian Wolverine. In his first appearance with the X-Men, Wolverine made an instant impact on the team. He became a huge thorn in the side of team leader Cyclops, who would always reprimand Wolverine for the clawed mutant's brutal methods and complete disregard for teamwork The words bounced off of Wolverine like bullets on Superman.

The X-Men would never be the same again

1976: The claws are real

For the first three years, many people thought Wolverine's claws were just a part of his gloves. However, in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #98, it was revealed his gloves were just that, gloves. For the first time in his history, Wolverine was sans costume, which included his gloves and mask. It was never a big deal at this point that no one had seen his face, so to see his huge sideburns and crazy hair that only 50 pounds of gel can style for the first time was an extra bonus. The real treat was when Wolverine popped his claws for the first time without his gloves. What caused him to break out the claws was when the mutant hating Dr. Lang slapped Jean Grey in the face. "That tears it bub! You can dump on me an' Banshee all ya like, but when ya beat on the lady, that's when ya answer to the Wolverine!" -SNIKT!

Gotta love that trademark crazy hair/side burn combo.
1980: New costume

By the time 1980 came around, Wolverine's costume had changed. At first, Wolvie's mask had an almost cat like face with whiskers and eyebrows that went off the sides of the mask.

The whiskers never really could inspire the fear that Wolverine wanted.

In his very next appearance the mask had lost the silly whiskers and the eyebrows turned into the big wing-like pieces we have all come to know and love.

Wolverine's second more popular costume

In Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #139, however, Wolverine's costume went under a much bigger change. Out went the yellow and blue and in came the brown and tan. When Nightcrawler asked about the change Wolverine simply said, "It was just time for a change." The fans seemed to agree as the costume became an instant hit and would stay until Wolverine's own ongoing solo series started. The brown costume's introductory issue of Uncanny X-Men was also notable for another reason. It guest stared Heather Hudson of Alpha Flight, and she called Wolverine "Logan". It was the first time an X-Man, in this case Nighcrawler, heard Wolverine's name. Nightcrawler asked Wolverine why he had not told the X-Men his name, Wolverine simply replied "Ya didn't ask". Whether Logan was Wolverine's first or last name, no reader knew, but, at least now, another part of Wolverine's mysterious past had fallen into place. For those of you keeping score, however, it should be noted despite this being the first time the X-Men learned Wolverine's name the first time the audience learned of his name was in Uncanny X-Men Vol. 1 #103.

The brown costume seems to be 64% more effective against ninjas

1982: The Original mini-series

This time Wolverine takes no prisoners

Wolverine's popularity continued to grow, and it became apparent he could not be contained by a team book any more. So, in 1982, Wolverine got his first solo adventure in his own mini-series. In this mini-series, Wolverine travels to Japan where he comes face to face with his fiance Mariko's father, Shingen. Shingen also just so happens to be a mafia gang leader and disapproving father to boot. Once he meets Wolverine Shingen proclaims Wolverine unworthy of his daughter and proposes a friendly duel with wooden swords. When Wolverine questions why not use real swords Shingen says that Wolverine is unworthy of those as well. Wolverine had been drugged by Shingen earlier and, because of that, Shingen makes short work of him, nearly beating him to death and, even worse, destroying Wolverine's honor. You can't keep a good X-Man down though, as Wolverine starts to break down Shingen's criminal underworld from the ground up, one thug at a time. Eventually Wolverine comes face to face with Shingen again. This time, there are no wooden swords. They use steel blades and, this time the duel is to the death. After a lengthly sword fight, Shingen plunges his sword deep into Wolverine's midsection, Wolverine holds the sword in place and puts his other hand to Shingen's face and SNIKT! With the popping of his claws, Wolverine solved the world of the Shingen problem once and for all, and regained his lost honor.

Thats going to hurt in the morning

1986: Wolverine vs. Sabretooth

During the Mutant Massacre storyline, Sabretooth, is likely at his most brutal. He goes on a big killing spree, slaughtering the sewer dwelling Morlocks. This is put to an end, however, when the X-Men show up. Wolverine and Sabretooth lock horns, or rather claws, and both abandoned there humanity letting there feral sides out like never before. Despite being out-sized, Wolverine aims for each punch to be lethal as both try to bleed the other dry.

Best friends forever

1988: Ongoing series

Wolverine adds to his body count on the cover to the debut issue of his first ongoing series

It was six years after Wolverine's own mini-series ended, and with his popularity at an all time high, it was decided once and for all that Wolverine would finally get his own ongoing solo series. The series does not start off with Wolverine fighting off outer space threats or giant Sentinels though. Instead, Wolverine has a more shadowy sinister type of adventure, which was more befitting of the former spy and samurai. Readers find out Wolverine has an alter ego in Madripoor as Patch: one of Wolverine's more popular alter egos who's only costume was an eye patch. That costume rivals Superman's for worst ever to reveal you secret identity. Wolverine's first ongoing series lasted some 189 issues, before being relaunched again in 2003.

Wolverine as Patch with The Grey Hulk on the cover to Wolverine Vol. 1 # 8

1991: Weapon X

By 1991 Wolverine had been around for 17, and his is past was still shrouded in mystery. So Marvel decided to share a little bit of Wolverine's past with his always growing fan base. The story revealed Wolverine had been kidnapped by agents of the Canadian Weapon X program headed up by Dr. Abraham Cornelius who had been assigned as the head of the program and had perfected the process of bonding adamantium to a human skeleton. With help from his research assistant Carol Hines, Dr. Cornelius examined Wolverine and preformed several tests.

Dr. Abraham Cornelius & his assistant Carol Hines

Eventually he determined, largely because of Wolverine's mutant healing factor, Wolverine would be the perfect subject to bond the indestructible adamanitum to. However, after the incredibly painful procedure was complete, Wolverine went into a berserker rage and proved far too difficult for the Weapon X program to control. Wolverine trashed the Weapon X complex killing nearly everyone there and entered the Canadian wilderness in a feral state. He wandered the forests of the Canadian Rockies for months.

Wolverine as Weapon X

After 17 years fans had gotten there first true glimpse into the background of the enigma that was Wolverine, and it was great. And, it would have to last because it would be the last taste his background that fans for ten years later when the Origin story ran.

One of the covers of "Marvel Comics Presents..." that featured the Weapon X storyline in a years worth of issues

Thats Part I of my complete history on Wolverine. Part II should be up after I finish the editing on it, perhaps next week.

Good thing Wolverine has that crazy healing factor....

In the meantime if you really want some great articles to read check out Knites articles that I have already mentioned.

Cammy, Tell Me True


On Writing

Read Knites articles they are some of the best Retro Junk has to offer!

And Remember to come back next time for more Wolveriney action next time!
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