Comic Books You Should Collect: The Incredible Hulk #181
This February, Dibbs, is showcasing iconic comic book issues that you should be collecting, all in part to celebrate comic books making their way onto the platform!
The First Appearance of Wolverine
In the early 70s, Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Roy Thomas, tasked Len Wein to create a Canadian superhero. Marvel had recently seen a spike in Canadian readers, and Roy thought a hero from Canada would help draw in even more readers. It was decided to introduce this new superhero (Wolverine) in The Incredible Hulk series that Len was writing at the time, and John Romita Sr. was brought on to help with the characters design, based on a wolverine.
Although Wolverine’s first appearance is largely considered to be in issue #181, he technically introduces himself on the last panel of issue #180. CGC now denotes issue #180 to be Wolverine’s first “cameo” and issue #181 to be his first "full" appearance.
Wolverine would make his second appearance in 1975 as a member of The X-Men’s “all international” team, featured in Giant Sized X-Men #1. The character would largely stay the same, with a few minor details changing. Wolverine’s claws were originally intended to be attached to his gloves, but were now attached to his skeleton. This later becomes a giant part of Wolverine's identity. His costume's ears were made larger, and the character's whiskers were removed.
Wolverine jumps into the middle of a fight between the Hulk and the Wendingo, much like how the reader jumps right in the middle of a pretty complex story arc. Prior to Wolverine's entrance, the Hulk had been lured to Canada to help Marie Cartier and Georges Baptiste free Marie’s brother, John, from the curse of the Wendigo. As the two juggernauts exchange blows, Wolverine jumps on the Hulk's back and starts slashing.
The rest of the issue is a pretty back and forth fight between the Hulk, Wendigo, and Wolverine. Wolverine convinces the Hulk to team up with him and after Wolverine knocks the Wendigo unconscious, Wolverine turns against the “Big Green Guy”. The subplot between Marie and Georges continues, but the meat and potatoes of this one is the epic fight between the two iconic heroes!
Wolverine’s Rise in Popularity
It didn’t take long for the Canadian hero to become everyone’s favorite X-Men and his secret past helped him resonate with comic readers of the 80s, who were interested in darker, more action packed stories. His seemingly infinite history would oftentimes see him depart from The X-Men, which gave writers a chance to really (over)develop his history and storyline.
“X-Men” first debuted in theaters in 2000, with Hugh Jackman being tapped to play the Adamantium-clawed hero. The popularity of Jackman as Wolverine sparked three solo spin-off films, and even a cameo in X-men: First Class - a film that took place many years before Wolverine would be an X-Men.
Read More Wolverine
Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven