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Posts Tagged ‘Carol Danvers’

Uncanny X-Men 141 cover DETAIL

Uncanny X-Men #141, cover (detail)

Like many, I became an avid fan of the X-Men in the late 1980s / early 1990s. I can’t remember the first issue that I read—my best friend Philip shared his copies with me on the school bus—but I remember the first one I bought: Uncanny X-Men #270, Part 1 of the “X-Tinction Agenda,” published in November 1990. Wanting more, the following month I picked up Wolverine #34, at which point I was hooked (at least for a while).

I also started purchasing back issues as best I could. But the high price of those comics prevented me from making it back past the mid-1980s. So I took for granted the way the characters were at the time that I was reading. As far as I was concerned, the Wolverine of 1990 was the same as the Wolverine of 1980, or ’75.

But one interesting aspect of serial narratives, whether they’re comic books or television series, is that they rarely start out fully formed. Rather, their concepts and characters develop over time, as the people making them figure out what does and doesn’t work. The Wolverine that I met c. 1990 was a significantly different character than the one that older readers were introduced to in 1974. And although I didn’t know it at the time, 1991 would prove another turning point in the character’s nature, as different creators brought different ideas to Wolverine, revising both his present and past.

In this series of posts, I want to delve into that history, demonstrating how the writers, artists, and editors behind the scenes created and refined Wolverine as a character over the first twenty years of his existence. Broadly speaking, there are three distinct periods:

  1. 1974–1982: Wolverine comes together as a character. Initially a short-tempered man with claws, animal senses, and a tendency to fly into berserker rages, Wolverine later gets his unbreakable adamantium skeleton and his fast-healing factor, as well as his fondness for smoking and drinking, plus his catchphrase.
  2. 1982–1991: Wolverine’s history as a secret agent gets fleshed out. He thinks and speaks frequently about his past, from the time he spent living in Japan, to his team-ups with fellow military officer Carol Danvers.
  3. 1991-onward: In a major retcon, Wolverine is reinvented as an amnesiac, as well as a victim of the nefarious Weapon X program. In order to accommodate these new ideas, much of his past life is rewritten.

In this first post, I’ll tackle the initial period, 1974–82, showing how it took around eight years for the people behind the scenes to get the basic character down.

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