*Please note: Although the cover date for The Incredible Hulk #181 is November 1974 the true publication date is August 1974.
40 years ago to date, the iconic character, wolverine, first appeared in comics. Wolverine was created by writer Len Wein and artist John Romita, Sr. Wolverine is a mutant most commonly associated with the X-men, although he has been apart of many other Marvel teams. Wolverine's mutant power is the ability to heal any injury and he has 6 retractable claws, three on each hand.
So to celebrate this milestone birthday, let's take a look back at all the versions and changes Wolverine has gone through.
Wolverine's first major appearance was in The Incredible Hulk #181, though he had a cameo in issue #180. Wolverine in this version was Weapon X and worked for the Canadian Government.
Now this costume resembles what many comic book fans think of when they hear "Wolverine". The yellow spandex, stripes, pointy hat, weird shoulder pads. Although for some reason Wolverine's mask had whiskers, which must mean the artist was under the impression wolverines has whiskers (they don't.)
Wolverine went through a change when he was introduced in The Giant X-men #1. In this version Wolverine was invited into the X-men to form the second team of X-men, in order to save the first team.
His costume here has more blue, and shaper features. Also the whiskers have disappeared. (Someone must have seen a wolverine and realized they don't have whiskers.) This costume is the one that many people think fondly of when they think of Wolverine.
In 1980, Wolverine went through a, uh, interesting change. This version of his costume first appeared in Uncanny X-men #139.
This costume changed much of what we thought we know of Wolverine's costume. The tiger stripes and the blue would be replaced by....by...by this. This costume stuck around throughout the decade and into the early 90's.
Other costumes throughout the 80's
In the 80's Wolverine was a part off a few different story arches. In 1981, we see him in the future and he looks like the above image, with a leather coat. Then in 82, he went to Japan and got a make over.
And then in 1989 he was overseas a lot and became known as Patch, this is because of his eye patch. When he donned the eye patch it was so he could form a new identity as a bartender so he could go places a eye patchless Wolverine could not.
Through the 90's
In the 90's Wolverine went back to the yellow and blue, but in different ways. His Origins costume is one of my favorites. And he no longer as adamantium every since Magneto striped it from his bones here:
Then he becomes more Feral looking and he's missing a hand. In this alternate reality he was known as Weapon X. And instead of yellow and blue stripe combo it was red and blue.
Then he became, um, Savage Wolverine. Which O guess means he's either a pirate or a wrestler.
And then he became Death!
Now if you aren't a comic book fan, and just a movie fan, this is the Wolverine you know and love. Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine in all the X-men movies and spinoffs and his style doesn't change too much. We lose the spandex in favor of black form fitting leather.
Comics in the 21st century
Throughout the comics in this century Wolverine pretty much stays the same, the placement of stripes differ but the colloring stays the same iconic yellow and blue.
And this is our current Wolverine in the comic book world.
So as we remember all the good, the bad, and the ugly changes Wolverine has gone through let's wish him a very happy 40th birthday!
Happy Birthday, Bub! Looking forward to many more!
So which Wolverine is you favorite?