While many Marvel Comics characters have long histories, most of their origins can be summarized relatively simply. Spider-Man was bitten by a radioactive spider. The Fantastic Four were bombarded by cosmic rays. But Wolverine? Well, his origin was only revealed to him a few years ago as a result of the "House of M" event, and it is anything but simple.
Even now, Wolvie is still trying to put the miscellaneous pieces of his life together in the appropriately titled ongoing series, "Origins." For a change of pace in our little X-POSITION experiment, we caught up with Daniel Way – writer of the aforementioned series – to get from him the answers you've wanted about Wolverine and his varied past.
Daniel, you've written "Origins" for a number of issues now. What do you think the biggest challenge of writing Wolverine is?
Nah, just fuckin' around. The hardest thing about writing Wolverine is constructing a story wherein the character is actually in danger – not in mortal danger (that's kind of impossible) but in danger of losing. Losing his mind. Losing his friends. Losing someone he loves.
Also, Wolverine works best when he's pushed to the absolute bleeding edge – and then goes over it. The challenge is to find a new angle to get him to the point where he'll jump.
As Wolverine now remembers his personal history (thanks to the events of M-Day), how would you describe Wolvie's mission in "Origins?" Is he seeking redemption? Is he trying to reclaim part of his life?
Revenge, pure and simple. Only it's not that simple, is it?
With "Origins," you are getting to create a large part of Wolverine's history. Has editorial given you some large book with the character's timeline? Have you ever suggested anything to add to Logan's history that an editor thought was too crazy?
I wrote out a timeline when I first began work on "Origins" and – with only minor adjustments – I've stuck to it. Everything in that timeline came from previous continuity – what I created was the glue that sticks it all together.
To answer your other question – yes, I've found that editors will never tell you what the limit is until you go beyond it. Then it's made very clear. I'd hate to find out, years later, that I could've gotten away with something but didn't because I simply failed to ask.
Steve Dillon is the artist on "Origins," and you've worked with him on several books by now, including "Bullseye: Greatest Hits" and "Supreme Power: Nighthawk." Would you say you've developed a shorthand for working with one another? What is it about his art that you feel makes him a perfect match for you on this book?
This is a story not only about what Wolverine has done in his past, but also how he feels about what he's done. And when you want to convey intense emotion via sequential art, you call Steve Dillon. As far as being able to shorthand the script...I don't know. I think I write the same way for every artist that I work with. But with Steve, since I'm so familiar with his work, I pretty much know what it's going to look like as I'm writing it so...yeah, it does save me some time, now that I think of it.
Now it's time for some reader questions. We'll let Valeria Kèmentari kick things off. "Seeing as Logan appears in about every Marvel book, how do you manage to make all Wolverine stories fit in continuity? Do you actually read what other writers write about Logan in the same month your stories come out or do you have to disregard continuity (to a certain extent)?"
That way lies madness. No, I pretty much drew the line at "House of M," as far as continuity.
Ah, a simple answer to a relatively simple question. Andrew, however, has two questions, and I'm afraid the first one is a doozy:
1) What do you make of the (somewhat convoluted) history between Wolverine and Silver Fox? I want to discuss my reasoning behind this question: throughout the Larry Hama run, it was revealed that Sabretooth's murder of Silver Fox (as detailed in 'Wolverine' V2 #10) was in fact an implanted memory, and Fox turned out to be alive, a member of Hydra, and had an axe to grind with Wolverine (hence her fairly significant role in the death of Mariko Yashida, which Wolverine never found out about).
Fox was killed, seemingly for real this time, by Sabretooth a few issues later (during that business with the so-called Psi-Borg) but lately, not only during 'Origins' but in Loeb's 'Evolution' story as well, the cabin murder (and subsequent brawl between Sabretooth/Wolverine) seems to be treated as having actually occurred.
On the surface this may not seem too bad a thing – issue #10 is one of my favorites, so having it all turn out to be an implant never seemed a good idea in the first place as far as I'm concerned – yet if it really did happen, it throws some of the most important developments of Larry Hama's run out of whack. Therefore, I'm curious what you think of this.
This will actually be explored/explained in an upcoming "Origins" arc.
2) I've loved the reappearances of Omega Red, Maverick, Silver Samurai, Cyber, the Shiva robot, the flashbacks to the Team X days and Madripoor, and would like to know if there are any other such characters or events from Wolverine's past that we can expect to see referenced in the future?
The Hudsons, Alpha Flight, Viper...the list goes on. And many of the characters you mentioned are actually coming back later in the story. For revenge.
It seems lots of vengeance occurs in this book. BobbySue is more curious about the familial aspects of this series though. He asks, "Whose idea was it to give Wolverine a kid? Does he have other kids out there too? He's been around a long time…"
Daken was my idea. Does Wolverine have any other kids? None that I know about.
Samuel Mendoza asks, "Is there going to be any type of resolution to the Romulus storyline in this upcoming arc? Will it solve some of the (many) things not known about it?"
Romulus – just as he's been in Wolverine's past – will be a presence throughout "Origins." You'll be learning more about the character soon, in both "Origins" and the regular "Wolverine" series.
TonyK had a question about recent events in Wolverine's self-titled series. "Even though Sabretooth is dead in present continuity, is there a chance we'll see more of his relationship with Logan in 'Origins'?"
There is a 100% chance, actually.
Terrific. McGriddle is next and he's wondering, "In 'Origins' you can write Wolverine in different time periods (in a sense). Is there a time period you've wanted to write but haven't gotten to yet? Depression-era Wolverine? 1970s Hippie Wolverine?"
Wolverine as a hippie? Get this guy outta here...
But to answer your question, yes. And I will get to it eventually.
Hm, I wonder whether Marvel would consider making a Hippie Wolverine action figure…
In any case, Ray-Ray had a question about Wolvie and upcoming events. "I really like the 'Origins' stories and I've liked what you've done with the character. Can you give any hints about what's next? Will any of the 'Messiah CompleX' stuff affect your book? And I just wanted to make sure you're not leaving the book anytime soon."
Currently, there are no plans to cross over with "Messiah CompleX" – we'll probably avoid it just like we've avoided every other crossover event. Those things don't really work well with the structure of "Origins," frankly.
The next arc will feature...well, I can't tell you yet. But I can give you a clue – the title of the arc is "The Deep End." Discuss.
Let's close things up with a query from Dromo, who wanted to know about scrappy fighters other than Wolverine. "'Origins' is awesome, but I've got to know – if you and Steve Dillon got drunk enough to brawl, how long would the fight last and who would win?"
Steve and I once spent thirteen hours drinking together in a bar in Arizona, and we didn't so much as speak a cross word to one another. Now, I could barely stand up then , so – to answer your question – Steve [would be victorious] because I'd already be unconscious…or possibly dead.
Note to self: never get into a drinking competition with Steve Dillon.
That's it for this installment of X-POSITION. Next week, we have a special guest for all of you art lovers – Larry Stroman ("X-Factor," "Alien Legion"). As seen by the most recent Marvel solicitations, Stroman is making a return to the X-Universe to draw "What if? X-Men: The Rise & Fall of the Shi'ar Empire."
Are you curious about his artistic process? Would you like to know what else Stroman has been up to? Send any and all questions my way with "X-Position" in the subject line as soon as you can. See you in seven!