The Big Question ♯23

Now, some of you may remember back in the summer, I ran this series called "The Big Question" here on the blog, where I'd give you guys a topic, give my thoughts on it and then let you guys discuss it. It got dropped by the wayside because I ran out of topics that really interested me, but recently I've been going back through them and something sparked my interest. It was one of the earliest BQ's, on the topic of why Batman is so popular. Some of the answers I got were very thought provoking, so I started wondering, what about other characters. So that's what we're going to be doing over the next few weeks. Discussing the reasons for the popularity of two of the greatest and most popular superheroes in existence. Starting with this guy.

Wolverine-Wallpaper-wolverine-3508352-800-600

Now, lets get this out of the way at the top, I don't actually care that much about Wolverine, so shoot me. There are X-Men characters I like more (Nightcrawler, Beast, Shadowcat and Angel to name a few) and ok at least he isn't as bad as Cyclops, but he has a tendency to be incredibly stupid at times. As far as I can tell his popularity comes down really to one thing, violence.

Now, this can be split into three categories, his attitude, his powers and his claws, but it still boils down to the fact that he is the most violent mainstream comics book character that is actually considered a hero, rather than a vigilante (i.e. Punisher).  And this is appealing to that little part of a guys brain (and I'm sorry to be sexist, but this is something that is predominantly a guy thing) that wants to be a soldier as a kid (or as a adult, if you are or have been in the military), that as a child makes a toilet roll tube or a stick a sword/ gun to a young boys mind, and lets be honest guys, we never really grow up do we? We may age, get jobs, have families etc. but inside we're all still children. And before you start to argue, may I just remind you, you are currently on a website, the primary function of which is to allow you to create and dress up a superhero. That is something my mother would describe as "childish". And there's not anything wrong with being childish. But it does at least give us a small insight into why Wolverine is so popular in my opinion.

Now lets look at those three factors a little closer shall we. Wolverine is considered one of the great originals in comics because of all the rip off's that followed in his wake (Sabretooth, Deadpool, Lobo, countless characters from Image Comics), but if you look closer, he isn't that original himself. The attitude is taken straight from Batman (especially pre-Robin and early 70's Batman) and given that little twist of amnesia to give him a decent reason to be brooding and miserable without resorting to the lost family story. Next we have his powers, or more specifically his most noteworthy power, his healing factor. We all know superheroes don't get hurt in the same way normal people do, they heal way too quickly or don't even get hurt at all in some cases, I mean how the hell do people like Captain America, Batman or Spider-Man keep going after all of the beat downs they've had if they got hurt and healed like a normal human being? So Wolverine is just taking this to the logical next level, showing us a character whose whole shtick is that he doesn't heal like a normal person, takes our minds off of the fact that none of them do, because now we have the extreme. Plus it allows for him to be put through impossibly painful and violent experiences (culminating in him being thrown into the sun and surviving) without people getting angry at what they're seeing because, hey, he's always fine at the end of it. Finally, we get to the cherry on the top, his claws, and by extension, his adimantium skeleton. So, we take an invincible, super-healing character and make him more invincible by lacing his body with an indestructible metal, therefore making him doubly unkillable, because that is badass. Luckily this also acts as his kryptonite, because he's on a team whose main enemy can manipulate magnetism, because otherwise Wolverine would just be boring and predictable, right? But the fact, he's a superhero and also carries weapons just adds awesome doesn't it? It's not like Daredevil had been carrying nun chucks since the 60's (those things aren't to be laughed at) or that a few months prior, Marvel had introduced another weapon wielding anti-hero type character who manages to be much more threatening than Logan ever was, Punisher. And lets be honest, both of these guys are shoot first, ask questions later type characters, which had been done to death in westerns (movies, tv and comics) long before the 70's had come around.

Anyway, that's my piece (as rubbish as it was), now it's over to you. Why do you think Wolverine is so popular?

Next week we'll have a look at my favourite character (it'll be fun trying to write the counter-arguement against him); Spider-Man. See ya then.

JR19759

About JR19759

Email: jr19759@hotmail.co.uk Twitter: @jr19759 Deviantart: JR19759 Deviantart HM Group: Heromachine-Art

18 Responses to The Big Question ♯23

  1. here’s my spiel: batman is so popular and awesome because he equals the Flash, Superman, and Green Lantern, even though he’s not cosmically empowered. Superman was born with great power. this made him morally obligated to use it to help people. batman was orphaned. he was not morally obligated to do anything. no one would have blamed him for just sitting back, and trying to rebuild his life. despite this, he went to lots of different countries and different masters, learning all sorts of awesome crap FOR YEARS! then he CHOSE to come back and beat the tar out of street punks so that no kid would end up like him.

    as i have seen it online:
    Batman + Kryptonite > Superman
    Batman + EMP > Iron Man
    Iron Man – suit and money = man
    Superman – sun = man
    Batman – suit and money = ninja
    ninja > man
    Batman > Superman

  2. @FRM- Whilst that’s great and all, you’re a bit late for the “why Batman is great” party, we’re talking about Wolverine here.

  3. Well, let’s try to relate it, shall we? [picks up chalk]

    FRM:
    as i have seen it online:
    Batman + Kryptonite > Superman
    Batman + EMP > Iron Man
    Iron Man – suit and money = man
    Superman – sun = man
    Batman – suit and money = ninja
    ninja > man
    Batman > Superman

    If we say that man plus Vigorous Training plus Ninjitsu Master plus Minor Mysticism = ninja, then we might say that Vigorous Training plus Ninjitsu Master plus Minor Mysticism > sun . . . I think someone forgot to carry the two.

    [arched eyebrow, resumes chalk-working unreadable formulae]

    However, if we equate Vigorous Training to ‘Wolverine staying alive as a warrior/soldier for a few centuries,’ which I believe is reasonable–equate Minor Mysticism to ‘unknown genetic anomaly that seems to bend physics if not break it’–accept multiple basic trainings and ‘school of hard knocks’ as an unknown fraction of Ninjitsu Master–THEN add in that an adamantium skeletal coating is an unknown fraction of an Iron Man Suit and add the survivability of Superman . . . what do we have?

    A full chalkboard? No. Well, yeah, but really we have a character that we will never have die on us, never make us envious of his wealth or the level of fun he can have, never be too dependent on gadgets, never grow out of violent behavior, and never feel like he has to be too nice to anybody. He’s most of Batman without being as mentally evolved, the important parts of IronMan without the adoring public and love-life and vulnerability, and yet he feels the injuries that Supes doesn’t.
    The result is that it’s easier for a modern conscience to let him behave worse. Which is one reason I don’t like him as much, but sympathize with him more. [snarl] I like being left alone when I’m grumpy too! [shatters chalk and dashes out–]

  4. I would kind of like to cynically say, “I have no idea,” but that’s a cop-out. I can’t say I’ve ever really liked Wolverine, but I had plenty of friends that did, and I’m pretty sure the entire thing comes down to his attitude. He’s a badass, he doesn’t take crap from anyone. It kind of appeals to some guys, like that’s how they wish they could act (or in some cases, actually do).
    By the same token though, he also comes off as a bit of a jerk, which is why I never cared for him. Go away, Logan.

  5. JR19759:
    @FRM- Whilst that’s great and all, you’re a bit late for the “why Batman is great” party, we’re talking about Wolverine here.

    er.. i knew that! i did, in fact, read more than the first few sentences!:P
    so sue me.

  6. Is anyone but me having an issue seeing the image in this post ? I have a blank area where the picture should be

  7. Kaldath: Me too, I had to go see it on the site.

    Wolverine, yeah, he’s a male power fantasy: He’s the ultimate warrior, doesn’t take crap from anyone, and all the ladies have a thing for him.

  8. Kaldath:
    Is anyone but me having an issue seeing the image in this post ? I have a blank area where the picture should be

    It’s odd, it sometimes shows for me sometimes it doesn’t. I’m not sure what is up with it, but its happened to some of my older posts too. Either way, the image isn’t really that important, so I’m not that worried.

    @FRM- I was just confused about why you were talking about Batman that’s all, sorry if I came off as being rude.

  9. I remember when I first read abut Wolverine in Contest of Champions, an old Marvel limited series. Badass, short, Canadian, I was hooked. Then I read Frank Miller’s limited series run and he was awesome. He was mysterious (no memory of his history) and always stuck out in any situation because of his no nonsense attitude. And the Marvel does what it always does and put him in every comic they published. Lessened the character and his myth. Even seeing him in the movies today deflates the concept. I like Hugh Jackman as an actor, BUT WOLVERINE IS SUPPOSE TO BE SHORT!!!!! He is the runt! I just can’t look past it. Thanks Marvel!

  10. @FRM- I was just confused about why you were talking about Batman that’s all, sorry if I came off as being rude.

    not at all. i just wasnt paying attention.

  11. Kaldath:
    Is anyone but me having an issue seeing the image in this post ? I have a blank area where the picture should be

    i dont see any pic

  12. FRM: i dont see any pic

    What pic???????

  13. I went ahead and made a slight edit to the post and the pic should be showing now.

  14. Wolverine’s been in my top five since the 80’s along with Night crawler, Shadowcat and Spiderman.

    As to why? Well I think it’s his attitude, his confidence that he can get out of any situation, and his code of honor. He comes across as barbaric and all, but he’s still a good person, if a bit on the violent side of things.
    He’s not perfect by any strectch of the imagination, but I still think he’s a great character with a log of depth.

    Now I haven’t read any comics in over 15 years, so I don’t know how things are now with him. Last I read he had just lost his adamantium and was getting used to his original, super revved up, healing factor. *shrug*

  15. If I may add two points to this, one being personal and the other pop cultural, I’d like to start off as to why I believe Wolverine is popular to me.

    I didn’t grow up during the Silver and Bronze Age of Comics (I did happen to read some of Uncanny X-Men) of where the X-Men came to popularity, but I started to be a fan of Wolverine after reading Fatal Attractions and how the latter parts of the story focused on him having his adamantium teared out of his body by Magneto (I believe that’s what Gene was referencing to in his post). I could feel for the guy, I mean that has to be painful. It’s like if you’re a guy and you see another guy get hit in the nuts you begin to feel the same way. Not to mention he saves Jean after nearly being sucked out of the Blackbird. I just thought that he was an overall bad ass, to come out of something that painful into still becoming the hero. And I mean, violence too after gutting out Magneto. Anyway, that’s why I believe he’s popular.

    To take on the pop culture prospective, I think it’s the movies. The movies are what made the X-Men and Wolverine “big” on the pop culture scale. I mean, not to mention Wolverine is kind of a big focus on the posters of X2 and Last Stand. Let’s not forget his own two separate movies. A lot of people who go see the movies are because of how the media portrays them; it’s the action, the violence, the good triumphant over evil sort of thing that makes them popular. I’ll be honest, I didn’t start to like Wolverine more until the movies, but that’s only because it’s in the age of media and comic books I grew up with and what a lot of people have grown up with too in recent years. I guess it all to depends on how you view Wolverine, from either a comic book or pop culture point of view.

  16. uh… momentary thread hijack.
    hey, moderators! how do you make your comments show up yellow?
    i figured it wasn’t important enough to pm.

  17. FRM:
    uh… momentary thread hijack.
    hey, moderators! how do you make your comments show up yellow?
    i figured it wasn’t important enough to pm.

    Be the author of the post.

  18. oh

    JR19759: Be the author of the post.

    ohh… that would make sense….