The Wolverine Files & Contest

July 21st, 2009 by | Tags: , ,

I’m not usually a fan of deep continuity stuff. “Who cares,” I think to myself. “Get to the story.” For me to get into continuity porn, I need some kind of hook. It has to be lovingly mocking, as in our Continuity Clashes on the Fourcast!, or kinda funny, like NotBlogX’s X-Men recaps. Another way to win my heart is to come up with a new approach. With The Wolverine Files, Simon & Schuster have come up with a great hook. Colonel Fury, Director of SHIELD, wants to know everything about Wolverine’s past and orders his intelligence teams to gather up all of the info and come up with a definitive history. Thus was born The Wolverine Files.

I like this. Mike W Barr wrote it, and he kept up an informative, but slightly tongue-in-cheek, tone. That tone is what makes this book, rather than breaks it. If this was just another generic Encyclopedia of Comic Information Portrayed as Boringly As Possible, it would be no good, However, Barr keeps things moving with short bios, delivering only necessary info, and having some fun with the format of the book. There’s a few blacked out sections, others that take a more whimsical approach to explaining Wolverine’s relationships.


There are ten major sections, covering Wolverine’s origin, history, allies, lovers, enemies, travels, and weaknesses. It’s a fun trip, because I half remember some of this stuff and am completely surprised, or appalled, by some of it. Either way, it’s a fun read, and it even goes into a few of the What Ifs Wolverine has starred in.

I like it. It’s a fun book, and works really well as an art history, too. Most, if not all, of the major artists who’ve drawn Wolverine are represented in here. To call it a trip down memory lane is a bit of an understatement. This really is Wolverine’s history, warts and all, and it’s a fun book. You can pick up a copy here, directly from Simon & Schuster. Before you do that, though, check this out. S&S’s PR arm was kind enough to help facilitate a contest. We’ve got five copies of The Wolverine Files to give away.

Here’s what we’re gonna do. You need to tell me a) your favorite Wolverine artist, b) your favorite Wolverine story, and c) why it’s your favorite. Be as specific or as general as you like, just tell me why you like it. You’ve got seven days, and I’ll post a couple reminders between now and next week. After that time is up, I’m going to go through and pick the most convincing comments and they get free books.

Sound good? Hit me.

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11 comments to “The Wolverine Files & Contest”

  1. that last page you have has helped me coin a new term for this type of marvel product:

  2. a) Leinil Francis Yu
    b) Wolverine #145. It’s after he’s revealed to be Apocalypse’s new Death and it shows the process of him becoming Death, getting his adamantium back, and fighting the Hulk.
    c) I think the most basic reason is that it was one of the first things I read when I was getting into comics, so that’s hard to beat. But it also had a bunch of iconic Wolverine elements. There were fights with Sabretooth and Hulk and his whole control issue. There’s a bit in the issue that I still enjoy where Sabretooth fights Wolverine for the title of Death. Sabretooth is clearly going to relish it, which makes Wolverine snap and gut him. I always found the animal within aspect more interesting than the enigmatic, man with an unknown past part, but maybe that’s because they keep telling you more of his origin so the enigma totally disappears. The issue is also probably Yu’s best work. Secret Invasion was a huge step up from his New Avengers stuff, but still not equally to this issue.

  3. a) Marshall Rogers, and b) Claremont and Rogers’s “The Hunter”, and here’s why, although plenty of you already know:

    Les Daniels had a bigger impact on me as a kid than the comics he wrote about. Other than Bagley and Michelinie on Amazing, nothing current from the Marvel Universe kept me hooked as a kid. Picking up X-Men near the end of X-Cutioner’s Song convinced me that I didn’t want to read this comic. It was everything else from cartoon shows to trading cards to classic reprints that interested me: the reproductions of comics history.

    Daniels’s reverential history “Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics” was a library book I read, reread, and eventually purchased with my small allowance, not just because it gave a wonderful overview of such trade history Wertham, the Code, why Spider-Woman and She-Hulk exist, etc., but also because it contained annotated reprints of: a ’50s Namor adventure; Amazing Spider-Man #2; “This Man This Monster”; and . . . “The Hunter”, a Claremont/Rogers standalone that previously appeared only in a Sears-exclusive hardback.

    It is the Wolverine character to a T: it gives you everything you need to know to understand or build a story about the guy. Rogers’ clean Marvel Style gives Claremont’s story a sense of smooth progress from light to dark as Wolverine lopes, hangs, and clambers from Tokyo’s public eye to its private corners. It’s also a fantastic piece of schlock tourism: emerging from a crowd of drunk sailors, Wolverine relentlessly seeks his kidnapped Japanese lover in the underbelly of his adopted country, using every last one of his powers and skills in sequence to find her and avenge her. His healing factor gets the best scene, preceded by one last misuse of his senses:


    And then, in a Rogers-orchestrated crossfire of zig-zagging bullet trails, Wolverine drops to the floor, dead.

    Now, when I was a kid, I knew Wolverine could heal because it was on TV. But they never straight-up riddled him with bullets on TV. They couldn’t. So this was a little bit of a shock to me, even though the character continues narrating, and, you know, of course Wolverine could not be dead. But it got the exact rise out of me that it was designed to get from a new reader, and Rogers has as much as Claremont to do with it.

    Wolverine wakes up, the suicide run a feint to get him in front of the gloating kidnapper, and from then on it’s a standard era action scene where Wolverine wastes the bad guys (clearly severing the limbs of living people – young me was shocked), foils the plot to get him to accidentally kill his girl, and then, unbelievably, leaves the villain alive without doing much but cutting his neck. But you know just what I mean when I say that: two claws on either side. And then the middle one sloowwwwly extends . . .

    All in all, it’s every last single thing that makes Wolverine iconic and influential, for better or for worse. He’s working alone, he’s killing people who cross him, he’s angsting over a kidnapped and possibly dead girlfriend, and he’s purposefully harming himself because he can take it and he doesn’t give a fuck. I’m surprised anyone put a story as graphic as this (no blood, but plenty of serious violence) in a book for Sears, much less reprinting it in a colorful history aimed at a younger audience, but I’m glad they did. Without that comic and the other three collected there, I’d probably never have come back to comics as an adult.

  4. I was going to answer this question until I realised I can’t think of one Wolverine story I’d consider a favourite. I’ll admit I’ve pretty much avoided the character as much as possible, with the possible exception of the first dozen-or-so issues of the Rucka/Robertson relaunch.

    That said, I liked Darick Robertson’s take on him just after the solo series relaunch. He got him back to being a squat ugly beastman until he was editorially mandated to make him more Jackman-y.

  5. A. John Romita, Jr. But he’s my favorite everyone artist, so…

    B. This is a lame answer, but Enemy of the State.

    C. Now as for why, I think it really plays with a lot of the cool aspects of Wolverine in different ways. It begins with the Hand and Hydra and the Gorgon, kinda delving into both Wolverine’s Japanese samurai aspect and his Cold War superspy aspect. Afterward, most of the story deals with a brainwashed Wolverine globetrotting and attacking the Marvel Universe, which plays with the whole “Wolverine knows everyone” aspect of him. Add in some great scenes with the X-Men and one of his sidekicks (Kitty in this instance), plus cameos by every major Marvel character under the sun (all drawn by Romita, Jr.) and you’ve got a great book, period.

    So you’ve got all the little slices of Wolverine in it, but maybe the major one is notably absent: the tortured Weapon X experiment fighting his bestial urges. Well, fuck, man, that’s the whole freakin’ story! Hydra uses Wolverine just like Weapon X did and, despite their brainwashing being a whole lot more effective, he fights it the whole way and hates what he’s become.

    I think we’re missing a Hulk fight and an Alpha Flight appearance, but really, that story has it all.

  6. a: John J. Muth & Kent Williams
    b: Walter & Louise Simonson’s “Havok and Wolverine: Meltdown”
    c: It was three of my favorite genres; sci fi, buddy flick, and noir, and it was all beautifully executed by Muth and Williams. Little touches like Wolverine smashing his nose up against things to track a scent, or the way his hair kinda trails off the tops of his little hair wings makes this imagining of Logan really unique in my mind. That and he’s far from pretty or tall. Definitely my favorite take on Wolverine.

  7. a : Barry Windsor-Smith (he did very nice Wolvie pinups and the beautiful Weapon X and Wounded Wolf)
    b : The first Wolverine mini of the 80s (in Japan with Shingen and Mariko)
    c : That was back when Wolverine was tough but not invincible. Lethal but restrained. Knowing he’s an animal but trying to be better.

  8. A. Frank Quietly
    B. Grant Morrison, “New X-Men”
    C. I feel like Grant Morrison is one of the only creators to move Wolverine’s character forward from the “Beer Drinkin’, Tough Talkin’ Badass” he’s often stuck as. Morrison’s Wolverine was the sum of his decades of experience in the Marvel Universe – wiser, more zen, more relaxed, and more entertaining.

    For example, when Jean Grey jealously kisses him, he coolly tells her that it’ll never work out between them. In that moment, Morrison plays both respect for the comic’s history and the strength of his character. He’s wise enough to not get wrapped up in an old jealousy game, and smart enough to know what’s best for Jean Grey. In that moment, we see how much Wolverine loves her, and it’s heartbreaking.

    When Quentin Quire tries to overthrow the school, he and his cronies encounter Wolverine casually leaning against a wall. His friends are immediately terrified, and Wolverine calmly tries to reason with Quentin. Again, Morrison achieves two aims – 1) showing Wolverine’s dangerousness through others reactions to him, and 2) reminding us that Wolverine’s a teacher as well as a superhero. The second point is especially clever as plenty of writers forget that he’s been a professor at the institute for years.

    There are plenty of other great Wolverine moments in New X-Men. Discovering that he’s Weapon 10, and the mad look on his face as the question of his identity is finally answered. His incredibly satisfying decapitation of Magneto, moments after he killed Jean Grey, made all the more shocking by his previously controlled portrayal. And finally, his death in “Here Comes Tomorrow”, where he finally finds peace.

    I honestly which I had more to say about the art other than “it looked really cool”, but hell, it looked really cool. Quietly’s redesign of their costumes (and of Beast) during this run was really well done, and his oddly drawn faces fit perfectly in a world of mutants.

  9. […] -The Wolverine Contest is still on. Go, enter, and win a free book or two. It ends tomorrow, so go ahead and get your entries in. -I interviewed Adam Warren after discussing his Dirty Pair and Gen 13/Livewires work. It’s a good read. He went above and beyond in answering all those questions. -Podcast is due to return in the middle of this week. We’ve got a couple of special guest stars this time around, and it required a little more time than usual. -Lone Wolf & Cub has been on unannounced hiatus for the past couple weeks. I hope to get back to it this coming Sunday, but at worst, it’ll begin again on August 9th. San Diego Con and a few other things bearing down on me meant that something had to give, and LW&C ended up being the victim. -I totally screwed up my back at the con. Yow. […]

  10. A) John Romita, Jr.

    B) Uncanny X-Men #133 “Wolverine, Alone!” (and the last page or two of #132)

    C) This is pretty much the first time we see what Wolverine is really about. His initial appearance in Hulk was basically just another Hulk fight, and really showed us nothing about him. His appearances in UXM leading up to this show him being an ass and start his common badass portrayal, but this story started him at his worst: dumped into a sewer and left for dead, fighting for the survival of not only himself, but his team, as well. So what’s he do? Takes it right to the enemy, slaughtering plenty of Hellfire grunts, as well as a couple Inner Circle members. Of course, this was all part of the buildup of the Dark Phoenix Saga, so it’s a bit overshadowed.

  11. A)Francis Yu
    B)X-men #251…I know I know its an x-men comic…
    C)Wolverine coming home to the x-men in the outback has found the x-mens adopted base overtaken by the reavers. The whole issue is one continuios fever dream as he recalls how he walked into the trap and winds up nailed to a giant X jesus style and each of the x-men come to him in a classic “this is your life” messed up fever dream that ends with wolverine pulling himself off the cross and barely escaping the reavers with jubilees help. I first read it when I was 10 years old and it was one of the first comics I ever read (“the last hunt of kraven” being the first) That one issue endeared me to the x-men and I stayed with it until the x-cutioners song when I realized that only claremont was going to be producing good trippy stories like that….then I discovered doom patrol and never looked back…well until Francis Yu first drew Wolverine…his early work was awesome.