Over the past couple of months I have been perhaps correctly accused of gross negligence in my solemn duty to acknowledge the great badasses of the fictional realm. While I was marginally-convinced that my diabolical one-man conspiracy to maliciously oppress the figments of other peoples' imaginations would go completely unnoticed by the unwashed masses, I apparently did not fully anticipate the rabidity of the crazed e-mail Vikings that pillage and plunder the digital thatched-roof cottages of the Intarw3bz. So this week, I figure that there is no better opportunity to announce my attendance at this year's San Diego Comic Con than by featuring one of my all-time favorite comic book badasses: The mostly-feral, ultra-ferocious Canadian lumberjack-assassin known as Wolverine.
(Side note: I understandably don't warrant billing on the same page as special guests like Stan Lee and Ray Bradbury, but rest assured that I will have a booth at Comic-Con this year… if you're so inclined, feel free to stop by and bodyslam your arch-enemy through my non-breakaway table while screaming the word "BADASS" at the top of your lungs.)
Like many great badasses, one of the coolest things about Wolverine is that nobody really knows where the hell he came from or why the fuck he always seems to want to impale people through the face with a half-dozen foot-long claws forged from a metal so intense and hardcore that it doesn't even exist in real life. His profile on Marvel.com claims that his real name is James, and that he was born in the 1880s, but this isn't really ringing any bells for me. Admittedly, I haven't read a whole lot of comic books in the last ten years or so, but I feel like I would remember something like Wolverine being raised by Indians, training as a Japanese samurai, parachuting into France during the D-Day campaign of World War II, and performing covert black ops with the CIA. While I won't question the badassitude of the Nazi-fighting spy-samurai lumberjack story, I really only know him as the mysterious Logan, a Canadian badass woodsman who chomps cigars and spends all of his time being drunk, super-hairy, and completely covered in whatever substance passes for the blood of his usually-bizarre enemies, and there was something kind of awesome about him not really having any backstory at all. Honestly the only thing more badass than having no family history and just one name is if your parents give you "Danger" as a middle name on your birth certificate. Back in the good old days when we rode our bikes 300 miles up a magma-covered volcano to buy comics we didn't really understand what the hell was going on with Logan or his past, and we were fine with it as long as he wasn't whining and bitching about it all the time.
In addition to being the prototypical comic book anti-hero who couldn't give a flaming shit about anything that didn't involve booze, revenge, or banging his commanding officer's wife, Wolverine's badass cred is largely precipated on the fact that he is a borderline-criminally insane sociopath who never combs his hair and who can shoot giant fucking razor-sharp claws out of his hands at will. These ridiculously-deadly hand-swords are so unbelievably gnarly that they can cut through pretty much any material known to man, and are apparently imbued with some sort of magical ridiculousness that lets them block bullets and re-direct rockets in mid-flight. I once saw Wolverine tear apart a helicopter in mid-flight with these things, and it was so over-the-top that I almost forgot he was being portrayed by Hugh Jackman in a movie. You've got to respect the fact that Wolverine, much like The Punisher doesn't seem to give a shit about subduing evildoers when he could just eviscerate them and kick their meat-less torsos into the molten-hot plasma core of some bizarre space station orbiting an undiscovered planet in another dimension. I mean, a gleaming set of huge bloodthirsty Ginsu blades protruding from your knuckles doesn't exactly scream, "peaceable solution," and by the time you hear the Snikt Snikt, all you can really do is get ready to discover what the inside of your scrotum looks like.
Logan takes his sweet superhero name from a permanently-rabid evil monster known as the wolverine. The biggest member of the weasel family and a larger relative of the notoriously-infernal African Honey Badger, wolverines are demonic hellspawns that voraciously devour caribou-sized mammals, attack anything that moves, and have absolutely no fear of anything and no respect for their own well-being. These things exist solely for survival at all costs – many rumors circulate where these creatures get their legs caught in bear traps and then chew their own fucking legs off in order to escape. Don't be fooled by how deceptively cute these awful creatures may be – wolverines are vicious, murderous beasts who live solely to wreak misery and destruction on the good citizens of planet Earth.
Our boy Logan chose his name wisely. Like his namesake, Wolverine also doesn't give a shit – he'll take on anybody, anytime, anywhere, no matter what the size differential may be, and he doesn't stop fighting. Ever. No matter how horrific his injuries may be. Able to take a severe amount of punishment because of his incredible mutant healing factor and his adamantium-laced skeleton, Wolverine is capable of absorbing wounds that would leave pussier heroes crying in their coffins from a mortal case of death, and he just gets up and keeps on stabbing supervillains in the balls. One time he had his entire adamantine skeleton forcibly ripped out by Magneto, but he still came back from it.
Wolverine also possesses heightened animal-like senses, which he presumably honed in his many years of being Canadian. He can fly into a Barbarian-esque blood rage at will, fueling his murderous kill-lust with a lethal injection of liquid rage and tearing even the most dismemberment-resistant villain into a moist pile of corpse parts. He has badass skills with a samurai sword, though why the hell he would want to use a sword when he has built-in dagger hands is beyond me, and is allegedly a master of every single form of hand-to-hand combat (including the imaginary ones). He's highly-resistant to psychics and leprechauns, fixes Professor X's jet aircraft, and, according to the X-Men wiki page, has a power known as "retarded aging", which sounds hilarious.
After he got bored of cage fighting for money and harvesting maple syrup by decapitating trees with his claws, Wolverine joined the X-Men, where he was originally drawn by a guy named Cockrum. Together with his X-Homies he battled Magneto, the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and the Juggernaut (a name I can't type without following it up with the word "bitch"), and later joined Alpha Flight, the Avengers, the New Avengers, and pretty much every single superhero organization in the Marvel Universe. In fact, it's a little known secret that for a short period of time in the late 90s Wolverine appeared in every single comic book ever printed. That's how much people liked him.
Wolverine on top of a pile of dead ninjas.
Even when he didn't have the Russian badass Colossus around to hurl him at people like a three hundred pound human javelin, Wolverine was cool with going out on his own and learning about his ultra-mysterious past by irrationally attacking every single humanoid that had any information about his origins. His battles with Sabertooth are part of comic book legend, though it was also totally sweet when he spiked Communism in the urethra while fighting the ultra mutant-Commie Omega Red. He also fought Dracula on a couple occasions, and I seriously once saw him shank a werewolf with his claws.
Basically, Wolverine is what you would get if you combined a hockey enforcer, a rabid animal, and a wood chipper. he doesn't talk much, never backs down, and can't be killed by conventional weapons. He's easily one of the most badass and popular comic book heroes ever.
Ridiculously long bio on the X-Men wiki
Some great info on the character and the animal
Info on actual wolverines