Film To Comics: WOLVERINE

I know what you are thinking–didn’t Wolverine come from comics? Yes. he did. But in honor of May’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Marvel Comics is carpet bombing us with new Wolverine series and collections. April is the big month for this campaign, where most Marvel Comics published will feature special “Wolverine Appreciation Variant” covers, but it starts this week, as three seminal Wolvie stories–ones that tie somewhat directly into the movie–are republished in trade paperback.

wolv_claremont_tpb-cvIf you have ever heard comic fans saying they wished the Wolverine solo film would take place in Japan, it’s partly due to this work. This trade paperback collects Logan’s first solo miniseries. The classic work by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller (yes, of Sin City, 300, and, ugh, The Spirit fame) helped define the character of Wolverine, and introduced his ties to Japan into his mythos.

While it doesn’t tie into the film, per se, it is a great story done my two creators who were in their prime. If you want to know why Wolverine is one of the most popular comic book characters today, you’ll find some answers here.

wolvwx_tpb-cvBarry Windsor-Smith is a legendary name in comics, dating back to his work on Conan the Barbarian. In 1991, Marvel gave him the honor, if you will, to reveal the mystery behind one of the lingering questions about Wolverine–how he got his Adamantium claws. That story is what composes this trade paperback.

But Windsor-Smith did more than just that. He created a shadowy government agency, a remote secret laboratory, and a big tank of mysterious liquid for the newly metal boned Wolvie to pop out of to flesh out the tale. The story, called “Weapon X”, was serialized in Marvel Comics Presents #72-84 and inspired what little we’ve seen of the movie Wolvie’s origin in X2: X-Men United and will play a bigger role in the upcoming film.

Image courtesy of Midtown
Image courtesy of Midtown

It took Marvel another ten years to complete the origin of Wolverine. They did it in a special six-issue miniseries written by Paul Jenkins and art by Andy Kubert called Wolverine:Origin.

The story, collected in this volume, told the tale of a young James Howlett, a foppish boy in 19th Century Canada. From these humble beginnings grew the rough and tumble hero known as Wolverine.
Eagle-eyed fans who watched the trailer closely might have caught glimpse of a young boy in a white shirt with bone white claw popping out of his fists. That same scene is taken appears in this series, which leads me to believe that the new movie will take some parts from this collection.
Each trade paperback retails for $16.99 and can be found in better bookstores and comic shops everywhere. If you are non-comic literate and would like to learn more about the character Hugh Jackman plays in this May’s flick, these three trades will teach you well.
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About Bill Gatevackes 2035 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken, and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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Alex Bialy
March 4, 2009 12:48 pm

Dear William, This is Alex Bialy, Windsor-Smith Studio manager. We appreciate your favorable mention of BWS in connection with Marvel’s latest reprinting of their collection of Barry’s Weapon X. But I need to correct a misrepresentation of the facts included in your article. Marvel did not “give him the honor” of revealing the mystery behind the origin of Weapon X. BWS conceived and created the story entirely on his own, without any prompting or direction from Marvel. They were not even aware it existed until he took in the first four finished chapters. And despite, as you noted, the inspiration… Read more »

Alex Bialy
May 5, 2009 9:05 am

Don’t worry, Willam, Barry was not offended by what you wrote. You were clearly being supportive of his Weapon X, and were being helpful in pointing out the extent to which the films, especially the new Wolverine movie, are drawn significantly from his work. We simply meant to point out that your wording about Marvel’s “giving” him the honor was easily misinterpreted as meaning that they assigned him the story, which couldn’t be further from the case. Barry also very much appreciates your sympathetic reply concerning the lack of official credit for his contribution to the film. While he has… Read more »