My Nasty, Brutish, and Short Hero: Wolverine

I don’t remember my introduction to the mutant superhero known as the Wolverine. I met him within the pages of the Spider-man Magazine, which started in 1994, so I know it was no earlier than that. The magazine often featured other Marvel characters having adventures with Spidey, mainly members of the X-men and Avengers. Including Wolverine.

I formed a swift attachment to Wolverine because he was always sarcastic and annoyed. Teenage me was also sarcastic and annoyed most of the time, so I quickly felt a kinship to him. Yes, to a growling mutant who chomps on cigars and calls people ‘bub,’ and who is, by his own admission, the best there is at what he does, even though what he does isn’t very nice. It wasn’t long before I was choosing Wolverine over all my brother’s other action figures when he asked me to play with him.

A few years later, I learned they would make a movie about the X-men. I learned they’d cast Patrick Stewart as Professor X, which thrilled me. Then I learned they’d cast a guy named Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, which didn’t please me at all. I saw pictures of Jackman all over the internet and in magazines, and I could see just how wrong he was for the role. You see, in the comics, Wolverine is built kind of like the animal he gets his name from. He is, to quote Thomas Hobbes, “nasty, brutish, and short.” Mean as poison, with a penchant for slicing and dicing his enemies, ugly, and short. But Hugh Jackman is handsome, tall, and exudes a charming kindness and good will.

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I boycotted the movie. They had cast my Wolverine all wrong, and I would not have anything to do with it. I understood Wolverine, and they didn’t. I knew he needed to be savage and snarling and ready to snap someone’s head off (either figuratively or literally) at the least provocation. That long-legged, smiling Australian could never embody my Wolverine.

I might not have a clear recollection of the first time I read a comic with Wolverine in it, but I recall the first time I saw the movie X-men. I was on a bus with a whole lot of my fellow college students, and someone had brought their copy of the movie on VHS so we could all watch it via the bus’s spiffy VCR-and-tiny-screens technology. I decided to ignore it. My best friend told me I was being dumb and should watch until after Wolverine’s first scene. And if I hated it, then I could do my homework or whatever I’d originally planned to do.

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My best friend had already seen it, and she was convinced I was being unreasonable about this whole Hugh-Jackman-could-never-be-Wolverine thing. I was tired of her telling me that, so I agreed to try it. If you’ve seen that movie, then you remember Wolverine’s introduction. He’s cage-fighting, mean as an angry tiger. He beats the snot out of his opponent with an indifferent swagger.

I was in love in a matter of seconds. By the time he popped his claws for the first time, I was ready to swallow every skeptical bit of nonsense I had previously spouted, no questions asked. Hugh Jackman and the film’s creators really did understood Wolverine, and I wanted to hug them for that.

It’s weird, though, isn’t it? That I love this baddest of all bad-boy superheroes? I don’t go around swaggering and sneering and beating up anyone who looks at me funny. I advocate no one doing that. In real life, I’m much more of a kind, smiling Hugh Jackman than an angry, snarling Wolverine. But I understand Wolverine. I understand that desire for being left the blankety-blank alone. And what I love about Wolverine the most is how he works so hard to rise above his baser instincts. Time and again, he does not walk away from the helpless. He doesn’t turn from doing what is needed just because it’s hard. He sacrifices his own desires and needs and instincts to do what needs doing.

Wolverine doesn’t want to be a hero. But he accepts that others need him to be one. Time and again, he steps up and fills that role. And that is a big part of why, whether or not he’s short, brutish, or nasty, he will always be my favorite superhero.

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 ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rachel Kovaciny’s book “Cloaked” is now available in paperback and Kindle editions. Learn more about her at her author website, rachelkovaciny.com

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5 thoughts on “My Nasty, Brutish, and Short Hero: Wolverine

  1. jessica prescott

    This fascinates me.

    I think I can see why you like him. He isn’t YOU, but he embodies something about you that’s hard to express any other way.

    I wonder if I have any favorite characters like that? I’m sure I must. *thinks*

    Scout Finch is a bit the same way, for me. I’m sooooooooooooooo not a tomboy who spits & swears & beats up other kids in the school playground for talking crap about my dad . . . and yet, I understand why she does it. And maybe in a different life, I’d do the same. I relate to that stubbornness, that insistence on making things RIGHT, by force if needed. Scout’s important to me, even if we don’t look or act much alike.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. hamlettethedame

      Jessica, yeah, it’s kind of like that. I’m not Wolverine, but I *could* be in some sort of alternate dimension. Or maybe like Belloq says in Raiders of the Lost Ark, Wolverine is a shadowy reflection of myself.

      Like

      Reply
  2. Justice

    That title I’m dying XD

    I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. I didn’t really know either before watching the movies, so I didn’t have any preconceptions. But now only Hugh Jackman can be Wolverine.
    Have you seen ‘Logan,’ then? That’s one of my favorite superhero movies, and it’s heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. hamlettethedame

      Thanks, Justice 😉 It amused me too.

      I love Hugh Jackman as Wolverine too. He GETS the character, you know? Physically wrong, but essentially right. I know they’ll recast the character sooner or later, and maybe that will work okay, and maybe it won’t, but I almost don’t even care because I have Hugh’s Wolvie in NINE movies and what more could I ask for?

      Logan is breathtaking. Astonishingly savage, brutal, and emotionally wrenching… and so very beautiful. I can’t watch it very often because it impacts me so powerfully.

      -Rachel K.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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