There isn’t a character that’s been brandished on more comic covers than Wolverine. This is largely due to his membership on every single X-Men team, but it’s also because he’s so damn sellable. Throw Wolverine on a book and it’ll sell. People can’t get enough of him, and to celebrate his newest film, The Wolverine in theaters Friday, we’ve picked our favorite comic covers in his history. But of course, we start with the covers that make us say, “WTF?”
Where we don’t understand, are insulted by or would rather stab our eyes with acid pops than look at these covers for various reasons.
Dave: “No not the branch! Anything but that!” Wolverine shouted before remembering that time he fell 10,000 feet onto concrete and lived.
Brendan: I mean, that branch could be all old and moldy. It could have bugs in it! Eww, bugs!
Dave: I still remember this in all its hologram glory but I never understood it. Why are the spikes flesh colored? Is he elastic? How are his blades still popping yet all the metal in the rest of him is bursting out? And above all else, how is Jubilee so hard to hold back? Is Jean Grey weak or what?
Brendan: It’s commonly known that Jubilee is her own special type of rage beast. Don’t get her started or there will be sparkly carnage to behold. I never really got into this era of Wolverine, so in truth I don’t even really know what’s going on. What I do know is that s--t looks painful.
Dave: Wolverine as Rambo. Take one! It’s sad the cigar has gone out the window for this character as it helps convey his wartime toughness. That said, where is the blood, where are the claws?! You make promises you don’t keep!
Brendan: I love the stern, unhappy look on Wolvie’s face. Have a little fun, man! You’re shooting a machine gun, smokin’ a stogie! There couldn’t be a better time to be had!
Brendan: I just love that throughout the history of Wolverine comic books, probably 90% of his covers depict Logan screaming in a berserker rage. I mean, how do you keep that fresh for over three decades? I’ll tell you how. You throw that little hairy midget into the backseat for the ultimate reflection cover! It’s brilliant!
Dave: This gives me an 80’s horror movie vibe straight out of a pulpy Stephen King novel. Can I just say I think that lizard is inspired?
Dave’s Honorable Mentions
Dave: The style of this cover is absolutely killer, but what gets me is the minimalist detail that is strengthened by the shadows. The sickly color added to the dead bodies also enhances the violence in Wolvies body language. I also love how svelte he looks like a highly trained ninja. Great stuff.
Brendan: I, too, love this style. It’s a fantastic blend of modern comic with Japanese folk art. The simple thin lines and straight, flat colors somehow allows this cover to pop in a way not often seen.
Wolverine (2003) #41
Dave: First of all, this was one hell of a single issue read and I recommend it to everyone. Second of all, this cover tells a story complete with heroics that don’t require popped claws or berserker rage. This cover solidifies Wolverine as a hero first and a fighter second; a rare thing.
Brendan: I deeply approve of the message given here. While you’ll find Wolverine screamin’ and clawin’ throughout the majority of his history, deep down he is a man who is trying to protect the unprotected. The is a simple, tragic kindness to this cover that I wish was in the forefront of Wolverine’s character more often.
Marvel Comics Presents Wolverine #92, 101 and 85
Dave: I don’t think there’s an artist who got the feral side of Wolverine quite as right as Kieth when it comes to Wolverine covers. He was always hairy, low to the ground and ready to strike like an angry dog. Nobody gives this guy enough credit when it comes to Wolverine, possibly because he’s more well known for The Maxx, but either way, the man should go down as top five Wolverine cover artists.
Brendan: I can never really decide whether I love or loathe Sam Kieth. His style is amazing and well-executed, yet personally I find it a bit jarring and unappealing. I love the beastial similarities that could be drawn between Wolverine and The Maxx. Despite it not being my cup of tea, I must admit Keith has always known what he’s doing.
Brendan’s Honorable Mentions
Wolverine Vol. 2 #2
Brendan: I think this cover encapsulates the character of Wolverine perfectly. “Shot in the chest a dozen times? I’m more angry that you jacked up my reading material.” On top of it all is the perfect expression for Logan. No rage face, no feral screams, simply a grumpy gruffness that resonates.
Dave: It just goes to show you Wolverine can’t have nice things. Just part of the usual day in the life when everything around you can be destroyed but your body stays intact.
Brendan: You can’t argue that Jim Lee basically was comic books during the 90s. This depiction of Wolverine more or less encapsulates the character from that decade. He was an angry little man with claws who pointed said blades in a direction and hurdled himself forward.
Dave: Maybe this is a fastball special? Brendan is right, at the time Wolverine was more about being a sharp, angry bullet more than an articulate fighter. I particularly like the curve of the blades on this cover.
Brendan: This cover holds a special place in my heart because it was one of the first comics I vividly remember reading. This was back when Wolverine was a gritty anti-hero and Deadpool was more of a murdering Spider-Man and less of a bumbling psychopath. I adore the simplicity of the three colors used to depict the besting of Wolvie.
Dave: To think these two became teammates nearly 20 years later! I’m not really getting the background on this cover. It’s as if it’s an extreme closeup of the Image logo, but I do like the colors, particularly how it makes Wolverine’s teeth and eyes pop.
Brendan’s Favorite Wolverine Cover
Wolverine Vol. 2 #66: Old Man Logan Wraparound
Brendan: Let us all take a moment and remember how f-----g awesome Old Man Logan was. In a time when I found Wolverine’s character boring and repetitive, Mark Millar (of all people) found a way to revitalize, humanize and re-badass-erize the stout murderer. And the art! Steve McNiven handed out page after page of gritty beauty (and in a timely fashion!) that is rarely rivaled by either of the big two companies.
This cover is a prime example of what we’re looking for when it comes to grade A work. Beyond impressive lighting, characters, colors and layout, this wraparound tells the story without a single word. The dead heroes, the vicious monsters, the long and lonesome road. If you haven’t read Old Man Logan, go buy it today.
Dave: It’s quite a cover, particularly with the blood streaking Logan’s arm and the shadows on his eyes and neck. The man has been through a lot. I can’t say he gets featured enough on this cover however. I feel like there’s more here telling us what the story is about than anything concerning Wolverine specifically.
Dave’s Favorite Wolverine Cover
Wolverine: Weapon X (1988 Graphic Novel)
Dave: Technically this is an interior page that was reused as the cover to the graphic novel, but for me, this is the cover that started my relationship with the ultimate underdog hero we all know and love. The pile of bodies, the blood streaking down and that hair! This is an intense look at the blind rage that has made the character so iconic in the pantheon of heroes.
Brendan: “Wolverine vs. the World” is what this cover screams. For a long period of time that was the truth of the matter for Logan and this cover perfectly depicts it. The way he stands atop his mound of murders gives off a sense of strength, yet at the same time he is naked and vulnerable. I mean, as vulnerable as an indestructible killing machine can be.
Single Issue Wolverine Comics To Be Released This Week
This is a cleaned up list via ComicList.com. Comic availability subject to change.
- MARVEL COMICS
- Wolverine #7, $3.99
- Wolverine And The X-Men #33 (Nick Bradshaw Regular Cover), $3.99