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Weapon X-plained: Wolverine Co-Creator Reveals the Truth Behind His Origin

wolverine snikt

This article was submitted for publication by former Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Roy Thomas, and his manager John Cimino, and curated by CBR staff.

While there have been many articles and books written on the origins of Marvel's most popular mutant over the years, there is also a lot of misinformation.There has been so much, in fact, that fans, historians and even comic creators alike are not fully aware of who was truly behind the creation of arguably the most popular X-Man of all time: Wolverine.

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That's why the co-creator of Wolverine, Mr. Roy Thomas, is here to help put an end to the confusion once and for all. No more false information. No more exaggerations. No more bogus claims. Here are the facts -- and nothing but the facts on the true history of Wolverine, according to the one and only Roy Thomas.

The idea and concept of Wolverine was birthed by Thomas, who was then Marvel editor-in-chief. Being the direct successor to Stan Lee as the head-honcho editor of the company presented some pretty big shoes to fill. Even still, Roy understood the dynamics of the comic-book business pretty well. He had been a fan since he was a young man, so to him, the job was pretty simple: make captivating and interesting stories to sell a bunch of comics.

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In 1974, it occurred to Roy that something like 5% or so of Marvel's readers were Canadian, so it seemed well past time that there should be a Canadian superhero in a Marvel comic. And why not base that character on a tough and fearsome Canadian animal? A... wolverine perhaps?

Roy also briefly considered the name The Badger, but the connotations included pestering, bothering being annoying. While a wolverine was not only a fierce little beast that was known to attack animals far larger than itself, it was also known as a solitary animal, with a reputation for ferocity. All of these elements would of course become integral to the character.

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Here's Roy explaining the creative process of creating Wolverine:

I told Len Wein to write the character because I had liked the accent he had given Brother Voodoo earlier (Jamaican for a Haitian character, but at least it had character, and Len did it well). I gave it to him because he was one of Marvel's best writers, and because I was busy just being editor and writing the various Conan comics.

I had only three requirements of the Wolverine, all of which I gave to Len in my office: (1) He was Canadian, and announced as such right away. (2) He was short, because a wolverine is a small animal. (3) He had a quick temper, because wolverines are known for being fierce and taking on beasts far bigger than they are.

That was the blueprint. The idea. The concept. The groundwork. But where did the creation of Wolverine go from there?

Next Page: Who really created the Wolverine?

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