Wolverine has long been a fan-favorite X-man. With his tortured past and incredible skills, he’s one of Marvel’s most beloved anti-heroes. Logan’s brash attitude, ability to survive even the most harrowing injuries, and his retractable claws all add up to a fascinating character. For over forty years, he’s worn his yellow suit in hundreds of comics, including his own solo series. Expertly played by Hugh Jackman, Wolverine has also frequently been the point around which the X-Men movies revolve, becoming the first mutant to earn his own standalone film (two, actually). The third Wolverine film won’t hit theaters until 2017, so the details remain scarce. But we do know that it will be Jackman’s final time in the role.
He First Appeared in an Issue of The Incredible Hulk
Despite being one of the most recognizable X-Men today, Wolverine actually made his comic book debut in a 1974 issue of The Incredible Hulk as a villain. When Hulk crosses into the Canadian border, the Royal Canadian Air Force decides that it’s time to mobilize “Weapon X” to deal with him. While Hulk wonders through the woods in Quebec, he comes across a Wendigo, and the two engage in an epic battle. In the final panels, a third player enters the scene – Wolverine.
The next issue, The Incredible Hulk #181, features the first (but not the last) great battle between Wolverine and Hulk. Over the years, the two continued to face off, and in 2005’s Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk, Hulk ripped Wolverine in half.
He’s the World’s First and Greatest Canadian Superhero
At the time of Wolverine’s creation, comic books were just starting to take off in Canada. Marvel’s Editor-in-Chief at the time, Roy Thomas, wanted to capitalize on the market with the creation of a Canadian superhero, and he approached Len Wein about including a Canadian hero in an issue of The Incredible Hulk with two possible name ideas: The Badger and The Wolverine. Thankfully, they went with Wolverine. On his first full appearance, the comic book cover proclaimed, “He’s here! The world’s first and greatest Canadian superhero!”
The original Wolverine was drawn for publication by Herb Trimpe, and he was depicted with a much smaller mask. The larger mask can be credited to Gil Kane, who drew it incorrectly for the cover of Giant-Size X-Men #1, Marvel’s revamped X-Men series, in which Wolverine is recruited to the team. Dave Cockrum, who penciled the comic, decided to incorporate the mistake into the actual story, and the rest is history.
His Real Name Is James Howlett
Wolverine’s origins were left intentionally vague for years after his first appearance, undergoing a couple of slight changes in the process. In Wolverine’s first appearance, the creators just assumed that his retractable claws were actually just attached to the character’s gloves. His original power set was limited to agility and his healing ability. Over the years it was revealed that the claws were a part of Wolverine, but the character remained in flux. Rumors suggested Wolverine was originally an actual wolverine that had mutated enough to look and act human, though Wein denies these rumors. For a period, Wolverine nemesis Sabertooth was intended to be Wolverine’s father, but a S.H.E.I.L.D.-conducted DNA test proved there is no relationship between Wolverine and Sabertooth.
Wolverine’s official backstory finally appeared in Origins, a six-issue series written by Paul Jenkins, and it has been further explored in countless comics. Born James Howlett, he was a sickly child who discovered his powers after a man named Logan (who also happened to be his real father) shot and killed the man that James thought was his father. After he was driven into a rage that caused him to lose control, he adopted the name Logan.
He’s Not Just a Member of the X-Men
Despite being a self-described loner, Wolverine is one of the most well-known and popular members of the X-Men. He was first recruited to the X-Men in 1975, a year after his debut in The Incredible Hulk #180, and since that time, he’s appeared on at least 13 different Marvel teams. In fact, he’s joined up with some of Marvel’s most popular teams, such as the Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and the Fantastic Four. He’s a central member of Alpha Flight – Canada’s premiere superhero team – and he also founded the Hard 7 and the Jean Grey Academy.
He’s the Best at What He Does…
Wolverine’s iconic catchphrase – “I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn’t very nice” – was coined in a 1982 miniseries entitled Wolverine. The series, from Chris Claremont and Sin City‘s Frank Miller, was the first of the original flagship title created for the character and greatly influenced the future of Wolverine.
The latest Wolverine spinoff film, The Wolverine, was largely based on Claremont and Miller’s original mini-series, where Wolverine travels to Japan to seek out Mariko Yashida. However, Hugh Jackman actually uttered the famous catchphrase in a prior Wolverine film – X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The catchphrase has also made an appearance in cartoons and video games.
He Is a Father
In Wolverine: Origins, after Logan regained his lost memories, he discovered that he fathered a son named Daken with Itsu while he was in Japan. Daken shared similar mutant abilities with his father, and like Logan himself earlier, Daken was brainwashed into becoming a weapon by Romulus. He repeatedly went up against his father, just narrowly escaping only to later be punished by his masters for attacking Wolverine without their permission. Daken is generally portrayed as a villain with a grudge against his father, even joining the Dark Avengers using the name Wolverine and his father’s old costume.
Logan also has a female clone named X-23, who he eventually takes under his wing. She’s a product of the Weapon X program and was cloned from a damaged sample of Wolverine’s DNA. While she was trained to kill Wolverine, she eventually joins the X-Force and fights along side him.
Even With His Healing Power Wolverine Has a Weakness
A recent story line sees Wolverine lose his healing powers thanks to a sentient virus from the Microverse, which makes Logan kill-able for seemingly the first time. But before that, Wolverine’s healing powers protected him from some pretty serious injuries – like the aforementioned time Hulk ripped him in half. He’s also survived an atomic blast and getting run over by a steamroller, which might start to give you the impression that Wolverine was basically unstoppable.
Wolverine, however, has implied that he can be killed by drowning. There’s support for this theory in Uncanny X-Force #34, where Wolverine drowns his son Daken, who shares his father’s self-healing ability. Professor X has also suggested that Wolverine could be stopped by removing his head and keeping it far away from his body.
Comic Book Wolverine Probably Doesn’t Look Much Like Hugh Jackman
For many people, Hugh Jackman embodies Wolverine. But Jackman probably has little in common physically with the originally conceived Wolverine, who was supposed to be short and stocky. At 5’3″, Wolverine is one of the shortest characters in the Marvel Universe. Before Logan’s skeleton bonded to the adamantium, he weighed 195 pounds. Post-adamantium, the 5’3″ Wolverine weighed in at 300 pounds.
During filming, different angles are used to make the 6’2″ actor appear shorter. But Jackman wasn’t actually the first choice to depict Wolverine. Bryan Singer originally offered the part to 6’0″ Russell Crowe, who turned the role down. Dougray Scott was then cast in the part, but scheduling conflicts forced him to leave three weeks into filming, and Jackman was brought on at the last minute. The late Bob Hoskins, who was lined up to play Wolverine in James Cameron’s X-Men movie that ultimately never happened, is the almost-Wolverine actor (so far) who’s had the strongest resemblance to the character in his classic comic book form.
He Knows Many Languages
Wolverine was born in the late 19th Century, so it’s no wonder he’s picked up so many valuable skills thanks to his longevity. Not only has he trained in martial arts and military tactics (he fought in both World Wars), he’s also traveled all around the world, learning about different cultures and mastering virtually every fighting style on Earth. He learned Japanese, presumably during his early travels to Japan, and French, presumably from his adventures in the wilderness of Quebec.
He Lost a Fight to Spock From Star Trek
In 1996, Marvel decided to print a Star Trek/X-Men crossover. When Spock discovers the mutants aboard an alien space ship, in typical Spock fashion, he calmly requests that they follow him to Security. But before the words are even out of his mouth, Wolverine flies into a rage and hurls himself at Spock. Using his Vulcan neck pinch, Spock drops Wolverine as soon as he’s within reaching distance without much effort.
While staring at the fallen Wolverine, Spock says, “I trust I have made my point.” Granted Wolverine recovered a moment late thanks to his rapid healing ability, but then the whole scene just played out again.
Those are just some facts about Wolverine. How well do you know Wolverine? What’s your favorite Wolverine moment? Let us know in the comments!
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