Origins Without Endings

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In a year of many changes and revelations in the Marvel Universe, it’s arguable that the biggest and most important one was Wolverine gaining his memories from the ending of House of M.  For the longest time no one, not the readers, writers, or editors, had a definitive idea of who the man known simply as “Logan” really was.  So obviously, when the chance arose, it easily warranted its own ongoing series.

Wolverine: Origins, according to series writer Daniel Way, is the “untold, secret history” of the character.  The things that have never before been discussed will be addressed in this series.  Origins will go about filling in all the bits and pieces of Wolverine’s past and his story. “What we’ve seen thus far has been a mixed bag: some of the stuff was true but presented falsely and there were a lot of lies.” But Way clarified that this would not be stomping all over the stories that we already know, “We’re definitely paying attention to previous continuity.  But you could say that we’re dissecting it rather than deconstructing it.”

Axel Alonso then gave some of his thoughts on the series.  It was obvious from hearing him speak that he was incredibly impressed with Way’s ideas and stories thus far.  He spoke about how Daniel had spent a long time working on the story and his interesting theories on the gaps in his life.  “There was an odd sense of repetition that we found going through the old stories.  This series will present new reveals and re-examinations of the past.”  Alonso explained that each story arc would contain both a real time story and flashback revelations.

All of Marvel’s representatives expressed their happiness at the book’s success on the market sales-wise and promised that issue #5 would present a very important revelations that would have massive repercussions that wolverine would be dealing with for the rest of the series.  At this point the floor was opened to questions.

In discussing the next arc “Savior,” Way re-iterated that it was difficult to discuss what would be happening in the arc without revealing what would be happening in issue #5.  But he did promise that the arc’s real time segment would continue with one of Logan’s “quests for revenge” but that a new complication might cause him to detour from it to save some people.  Editor Axel Alonso was quick to point out that fans of Jim Lee’s landmark X-run would especially enjoy the flashback segments of the book that deal with Team X (the World War 2 team of Maverick, Sabretooth, and Wolverine) and a very important mission that the team went on.

When asked about his penchant for ending the issues with a “big bang last page” Way said that it was a very effective way of presenting a story that presents itself when telling a story with a lot of surprises.   “The episodic nature of comics requires a strong ending to keep interest.  And with a story like this all the moves are for all the marbles all the time.”  He reminded everyone that we were seeing the stories unfold through Logan’s eyes and that with a 100 year history Logan almost presented an omniscient view of the world.  Not to mention that everything he sees in the present will now cause him to remember and reflect on an incident in his past.

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There was a question as to whether or not this book would ever come back to the Paul Jenkins/Andy Kubert mini-series, Axel Alonso pointed out that Origin could be considered Chapter 1 of the story and that Wolverine: Origins was going to present the rest of it.  Daniel Way also pointed out that in a sense, the two books presented two different characters. “Origin was the story of James Howlett.  Wolverine: Origins is the story of Logan.  They are both important to the mythology but there is a distinct difference.”

At this point it was noted that most of the people involved in the book referred to the character not through his codename of Wolverine, but instead by his taken name of Logan.  Way explained that this was how he saw the character because it was the way the character saw himself.  “That’s the name he gave himself.  His name was James Howlett but he chose to go with Logan for all these years.”  Axel Alonso said that his references of the character varied between both names until Jim McCann exposed that Alonso actually likes to refer to the character as “cupcake” in a moment that brought with it a good amount of laughter.

The conversation then moved on to how Logan has always been seen as the pinnacle of masculinity and how the revelations of his past would affect this perception.  Whereas Axel Alonso jokingly said the lesson here was that “Chicks dig short hairy men.” Daniel Way was a little more specific, “He’s a throwback: the strong silent type.  That will never go out of style.”  They also mused that while Wolverine always seems to have a woman and be viewed in a certain sexual way by the women of the Marvel Universe, he doesn’t think of himself in any sexual terms.  They explained that part of what makes him so attractive to the opposite sex was that he was capable of both incredible violence and also incredible kindness.  This gives many people reasons to like and not like him and a reason why many of the revelations in the book will make readers and his fellow characters uncomfortable.

This segued nicely into a discussion of some of the women that may be showing up in the book and their relation to Logan.  “Jubilee filled a void in Logan’s life.  She will be showing up and she needs him now more than ever before.” But as always, there is a decision for Logan to make, because being around him is not a safe place for people to be.  “Kitty was a little bit different, but likewise filled a role in his life.”  The creators then explained that this book will address the women of his life and why he is always drawn to the problematic ones.

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The other important character that was almost required to start showing up is Sabretooth. “Right now he’s just in the flashbacks, but he plays a pivotal role in the mythology of Wolverine so he’ll be showing up a lot.”  Axel Alonso pointed out that he is very important and they love the story options that having around Sabretooth presents.  Way also explained his choice for using the character of Nuke, “Because he’s a badass character.  He is a fantastic character that had a great intro and nobody ever followed up on it.  So we did.” Alonso also promised that Nuke was back in the Marvel Universe and would be showing up elsewhere.

Way then discussed his preliminary work for a story of this magnitude. “I started with the Marvel Handbooks, which are basically a dry history text for the characters.  From there I made some notes and went to tracking down back issues and doing online research to look for the facts behind the facts.  And when I was going through it, a pattern emerged.” Alonso pointed out that there was about 8-9 months of preliminary work before even the story idea and pitch were ready.  Way explained that he even flew up to New York to pitch this story important because it was too important to handle over the phone.  “It was great to get the OK to tell the story, but getting our own book was just a cherry on top, although it was almost necessary because this particular story idea makes it hard to do crossovers.”  Alonso pointed out that Way had painstakingly researched to the point where he cleaned up any questions about Logan’s history.  “He made everything count.”

Finally, it was explained that despite any rumors that had been going around this was an ongoing series and that Steve Dillon would be the artist for the entirety, even though he couldn’t draw unless he was in a pub with a Guinness in his hand.

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