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Wolverine Through the Years

From his debut to his new movie, discover the many faces of Marvel's mightiest mutant
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Incredible Hulk #181 wolverine Click to Enlarge
Courtesy of Marvel Comics

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Courtesy of Marvel Comics

Debut

His past would remain shrouded in mystery for another three decades, but one thing about Wolverine was clear from the start: he had many fathers, none of whom expected their shared son to become a superstar. Incredible Hulk writer Len Wein was known around Marvel for his skill with writing national accents and regional dialect, so editor-in-chief Roy Thomas suggested he create a Canadian character, eh? It was Thomas who provided Wein with the name "Wolverine," after the small but ferocious predators that roam the Canadian tundra. Wein used the animal's characteristics as the basis for his new warrior's size, personality and fighting style, right down to the razor-sharp claws. The initial costume design was provided by legendary Marvel art director John Romita Sr.: the whiskers would soon disappear, but the retractable razor claws came to define the character. Incredible Hulk artist Herb Trimpe was the first to draw the Wolverine in action, and the physical juxtaposition of this diminutive brawler against his much larger, much stronger opponent went a long way toward rooting what could have been a throwaway character in the minds of Marvel staffers and readers alike. After a shadowy one-panel appearance in Incredible Hulk #180 (October 1974), he made his official debut in the next month's #181 – a memorable opponent for the Hulk, but not yet the icon he'd come to be.

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