Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and twenty-first week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.
Click here for Part 1 of this week’s legends.
Wolverine getting shot squarely in the chest had to be changed to him being “grazed” despite him still, you know, getting shot squarely in the chest.
As I’ve noted a few times in the past, perhaps due to it clearly being on the upswing as a title at the time, “X-Men” in the early 1980s seemed to get a few more directions from Marvel Comics’ Editor-in-Chief at the time, Jim Shooter, than other books. Or maybe it was that the characters were newer, so there were more room to make definitive statements about the characters? Or hell, maybe this stuff happened on every title and we only hear about the “X-Men” stories because Chris Claremont and John Byrne have been interviewed so many times over the years and, of course, the whole “this was a historic run that comic fans will be talking about forever” aspect of it all.
Anyhow, whatever the reason, Shooter tended to give certain orders to the book based on his view of the book. The most famous example was him telling them that they couldn’t let Phoenix “get away” with destroying a whole planet of people (that led to Claremont and Byrne deciding that they would just kill her then, instead). However, there were other little examples, as well, like when Shooter wanted them to write a scene to show that Wolverine was barely holding back his berserker rage, even around his teammates (this led to a scene where he almost stabs Nightcrawler in “Uncanny X-Men” #143).
It also led to a hilarious sequence in the famous “X-Men” #133, the issue where Wolverine tears through a bunch of Hellfire Club guards on his way to saving his teammates from the Hellfire Club (note that Shooter then said that they couldn’t have Wolverine actually kill anyone, so Claremont later had to show that these guards all somehow survived their encounter with Wolverine)….
Now, notice how Wolverine was shot squarely in the chest? By a MACHINE GUN? You see, Byrne and Claremont had decided to play around with Wolverine’s healing factor and really try to amp it up a bit, to the point where he could survive getting shot in the chest, even from a machine gun. Then editorial told them, after they had already draw Wolverine getting shot squarely in the chest, that that was too far (for the time, at least) and so they had to then add in the dialogue about how it had just grazed him, even though it clearly had not “just grazed” him (there’s even a hole in the back of his costume from where the bullet(s) when through him!).
Of course, decades later, Wolverine would be healing from getting destroyed down to a skeleton, but it’s funny how back then, surviving a shotgun blast was too much!
Check out my latest TV Legends Revealed at CBR: How did the 1988 Writers’ Strike change the Borg forever?
Check back Sunday for part 3 of this week’s legends!
And remember, if you have a legend that you’re curious about, drop me a line at either email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org!