If you are just learning about comics but are unsure of where to start? Here is a great chance to kick start your new weekly habit.
1) First appearance:
Cameo: The Incredible Hulk#180 (October 1974)
Full: The Incredible Hulk #181 (November 1974) created by Roy Thomas, Len Wein, John Romita, Sr. and inked by Herb Trimpe
The claws were not retractable at this time although John Romita, Sr claims they were always designed to be practical and, therefore, retractable.
2) His character was a throw-away one-time appearance character until he was used as part of the X-Men revival in Giant-Size X-Men #1 (August 1975). He was a bit player even then but did provide much-needed tension.
The X-Men book had been canceled years earlier but roared back to life with Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum. Even as the new series (which kept the numbering from the original series progressed), the creative team actually considered getting rid of Wolverine in favor or Nightcrawler.
Received his own series in the late 1980's which showed a completely different and grittier world from his time in the Uncanny X-Men. He isn't even Wolverine at the start of this series, but instead goes by the name "Patch" because he wears and eye-patch and keeps company with a crime lord named Tyger Tiger on the fictional island of Madripoor.
3) His origin was basically a mystery even to him until the 2001-2002 mini-series Origin where it was revealed that he was much older than he thought (born in late 1800's in Canada) and actually raised as a sickly child named James Howlett. His history with Sabertooth is also shown from this point.
4) Jumping off point:
Origin - http://amzn.to/1Bc7YYZ
Wolverine (Collected Mini-Series from 1982 about his time in Japan) - http://amzn.to/1zQESuC
5) Top Villan:
Sabertooth - Iron Fist #14 (August 1977) created by Chris Claremont
Similar abilities but without any sort of moral compass. Basically, he is what Wolverine could become if he let himself go and become the animal he believes lies just below the surface
6) Movies like comics:
Yes and no - Each of these movies has some basis in the comics and has much that really never occurred in this manner. Wolverine Origins, not even remotely close to comics in any way. This was just a mash-up of Marvel Characters as a chance to maybe launch another movie. Deadpool and Gambit being two of the biggest force fed jumping off points. The Wolverine has characters that are involved in Wolverine's history, but never in this type of storyline. Enjoy them for what they are, not what you wish they were.
7) Why I like him:
He speaks to our primal urges. We have all wanted to let go and just lash out. We believe that with the healing factor, super sharp claws and unbreakable bones we could do anything. He doesn't age as fast, heals from anything and can abuse his body with little to no downside. He feels the pain from regeneration which may fuel some of his rages, but he is always trying to keep the animal at bay.
He can't ever seem to get and keep the girl. Jean Grey was out of reach, his time in Japan landed the girl, but he was never able to stay with her due to his other responsibilities. He has been a father figure to younger characters. A mentor to new mutant students as the Headmaster of the revived Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters.
He wants to do better and pay it forward, but at every turn he can't quite get there. He is flawed and, therefore, relatable to the reader. He doesn't suffer fools lightly, but he is excessively loyal and willing to resort to fighting and doing the things we wish didn't have to be done.
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