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When Sears Even Had Their Own Exclusive Wolverine Comic Book Story

Knowledge Waits is a feature where I just share some bit of comic book history that interests me.

Earlier, I did an article about whether Stan Lee ever wrote a Wolverine comic book story. The answer was a bit tricky, but it provoked an interesting reply from a reader.

Reader Ben S. wrote in to say, "I recall Stan writing a Wolverine backup in the Marvel history book “Marvel: Five Fabulous Decades of the World’s Greatest Comics” published in the early 1990’s."

While that's not the case, the story in question is still a fascinating little historical obscurity, so it was worth writing about on its own!

Here's the book in question, by the late, great comic book historian, Les Daniels...

The book ended with a few sample Marvel Comics stories along with commentary by Daniels on each story. For Wolverine, they went with a curious comic book story, which had only appeared once before...in a Sears book!

Sears, you know, is the longtime retail giant that just went through bankruptcy and is still alive and kicking over 130 yeaes after it was formed in the late 19th Century (who knows how long the revamped company will last, of course, but it is still around for now). For many generations of kids growing up, the yearly Sears catalog was a place to see all the latest toys and stuff like that. However, Sears is also famous for all of the exclusive products that they sold over the years (in an attempt to keep the company alive, Sears has sold off many of these exclusive brands, like Craftsman tools, but they still have some of them around, like Kenmore appliances). Sears used to have MULTIPLE record company labels over the years, for instance.

Therefore, it is not surprising to note that they cut a deal with Marvel Comics to put out a special hardback collection of the Best of Marvel Comics in 1987...

The collection mostly reprinted older comics, but it also had a Wolverine story by Chris Claremont, Marshall Rogers and Randy Emberlin that was exclusive to the collection (well, that is until it was also reprinted in the Marvel 50 Years book in 1991)...

Called "The Hunted," Claremont explained to Daniels that the idea of the story was to give sort of a primer on Wolverine. Not just a literal explanation of what his deal is (although that is included in the comic, as well), but rather a sort of introduction to not just what Wolverine can do but what kind of story he normally appears in. This story has a member of the Yakuza kidnap Wolverine's love, Mariko Yoshida...

We get to see Wolverine's healing powers in action, although this was still early enough that the bullets have a lot more of an impact than they would in the future...

When he breaks in, the villain has a twist in store for Wolverine (and Wolverine has a classic move prepared in response)...

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