Cover of Incredible Hulk #181, featuring Wolverine's first full appearanceCover to Uncanny X-Men #133. Art by John Byrne.The first issue of the 1980s Wolverine mini-series. Art by Frank Miller.Wolverine and Mariko. Cover to Uncanny X-Men #172. Art by Paul Smith.Mariko's death. Art by Marc Silvestri.

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Wolverine (Logan, born James Howlett) is a fictional character, a Marvel Comics superhero, and member of the X-Men. The character first appeared on the last page of Incredible Hulk #180 (October, 1974), with a full introduction in the following issue, Hulk #181 (November, 1974). more...

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In the 1980s and 1990s, he rose from relative obscurity to become a household name; he may be Marvel Comics' second most-popular character, after Spider-Man.

A mutant, Wolverine heals quickly, possesses animal-like senses and reflexes, and has three forearm-length claws on each hand. The claws -- and his entire skeleton -- are laced with the unbreakable metal alloy adamantium. He is an unparalleled master of combat who will not hesitate to meet lethal force in kind.

Wolverine's fierce nature helped forge the mold for comic book anti-heroes. His willingness to use deadly force, his efforts to come to terms with his questionable past and his angst-filled inner conflicts have become standard for anti-heroes.

Wolverine was created by Len Wein and John Romita Sr., with some additional influence by Herb Trimpe. The character was further developed by the celebrated creative duo of Chris Claremont and John Byrne, popularly remembered for their work on Uncanny X-Men. Frank Miller, usually remembered for his revitalization of Daredevil and redefinition of Batman, deserves credit for establishing important nuances in the Wolverine limited series he co-wrote with Claremont, such as the memorable catch phrase, "I'm the best there is at what I do, and what I do best isn't very nice."

Wolverine joined the X-Men roster in 1975 as part of the new group of mutants introduced in Giant-Sized X-Men #1, and has been featured in his own solo series since 1988. He has also been a central character in the various X-Men animated series and films.

Due to his massive popularity Wolverine has become one of the most overexposed characters in comics. It has even become a tradition of sorts over the last several years that every roster of the X-Men include Wolverine in it. Currently, Wolverine is an active member on all three teams of X-Men across the three main X-books and is a member of the recently formed New Avengers, along with continuing his solo adventures in his own book and making frequent guest appearances in many other books across the Marvel Universe. This habit of seemingly being everywhere at once has been noted in the comics and jokingly explained as an example of him "being the best at what he does."

Publication history

Wolverine first appeared in Incredible Hulk #180 (October 1974), in the final panel (enshrouded by darkness) of an issue written by Len Wein and illustrated by Herb Trimpe. His full introduction was in the next issue, #181 (November 1974. He appeared in a costume designed by John Romita, Sr: yellow-and-blue spandex which didn't particularly resemble a true wolverine; and sporting foot-long metal claws. His introduction left an ambiguous impression, revealing little more than that he was an agent of the Canadian government with superhuman powers. The basic facts about the character had not been established.

Wolverine next appeared in Giant-Sized X-Men #1 (1975), in which he joined the X-Men. Written by Wein and drawn by Dave Cockrum (who altered Wolverine's mask), the issue was successful enough to revive the title, starting with #94 (August 1975), drawn by Cockrum but written by Chris Claremont. Wolverine was initially overshadowed by the other characters, and, as the series progressed, Claremont even considered dropping the character.

However John Byrne, Cockrum's replacement as artist on The Uncanny X-Men, took it upon himself to champion the character. Himself a Canadian, Byrne did not appreciate the suggestion of dropping a Canadian character. One of his ideas involved creating Alpha Flight, a group of Canadian superheroes, who tried to recapture Wolverine due to the expense the Canadian government incurred in training him. Wolverine's murky past was gradually established, as was his unstable nature, which he battled to keep in check. To further deepen the character, Claremont and Byrne presented Wolverine as having a crush on Jean Grey (a subplot that has been revisited), the team leader Cyclops' girlfriend. This caused tension within the team dynamic, especially as Cyclops was written as a more cautious character, allowing another avenue for writers to develop tension, as well as adding a new dimension to the character. Byrne also designed a new, brown-and-tan costume for Wolverine, keeping the distinctive Cockrum-designed cowl. The new look succeeded and the readers' interest began to climb.

Following Byrne's departure, Wolverine remained with the X-Men, written by Claremont. By this point he was becoming popular with regular comic book readers, and appeared in his own mini-series Wolverine (#1-4 by Claremont and Frank Miller, September - December 1982) and in Kitty Pryde and Wolverine (#1-6 by Claremont and Al Milgrom, November 1984 - April 1985).

The success of these books prompted Marvel to launch a solo book for Wolverine, written by Claremont, with art by John Buscema, in November 1988. In addition to the Wolverine comic book and his appearances in the various X-Men comic books, two other stories have been published which serve to expand upon the character's past; Weapon X (by Barry Windsor-Smith, which was serialised in Marvel Comics Presents #72-84, 1991); and the Origin six issue mini-series (by Bill Jemas, Joe Quesada, Paul Jenkins and Andy Kubert, 2002).

Wolverine has also proven one of the most popular X-Men in other media, being one of the most prominent characters in the X-Men movies, and one of the main characters in each of the X-Men cartoons. For more details, see In Other Media section below.

Marvel Universe version

Wolverine first appeared as a Canadian superhero and government agent fighting The Incredible Hulk and the Wendigo, in order to halt the destruction in the wake of their battle. His speed and maneuverability proved to be a match for the two plodding powerhouses of vast superhuman strength, and he was able to fight both creatures to a standstill.


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