The Wolverine/Michigan connection

Erick Von Erich
dWb Superstar
Joined: May 13th, 2005, 9:06 pm

June 6th, 2013, 6:21 pm #1

It's no realization that when Wolverine first appeared, he would've made Bo Schembechler proud. Sure, we were told that Wolverine was Canadian, but there he was sporting the blue n' gold of the University of Michigan; a state that just happens to border Canada. Furthermore, he had three claws (and whiskers on his mask), similar to the way the University of Michigan has three "wings" (or stripes to the layman) on their football helmets.

Makes you wonder if the original Weapon X program/Department H had additional operatives named Spartan, Badger, Wildcat or Boilermaker. If it had been revealed that Avengers Yellowjacket and Hawkeye had ties to Wolverine/Weapon X, then our minds would've been blown.... and Marvel probably would've gotten a cease-and-desist from the NCAA. Still, I'm sure there are/were frat party flyers in East Lansing that use/used Marvel's Wolvie in an unofficial manner.

Wolverine, the character, was a blank state. Hell, he still is a blank slate and they tack stuff on to him all the time. In the 80's, he was given an original brown costume and the similarities to Michigan were dead and gone. His character traits were further developed in "Uncanny X-men" and he was fleshed out. But then they brought back his original costume in the early 90's. His back-story nowadays has absolutely nothing to do with Michigan and they're established as (almost) completely separate entities.

I read somewhere that the similarities to Wolvie in the 70's and UM were pure coincidence; probably in an interview with original creators Len Wein and Herb Trimpe. But I've always been suspicious. Trimpe, specifically, seemed to be a bit of a flake and I could see him easily being influenced by the UM colors and designs. I'd speculate that Wein simply thought of the name "Wolverine" because, yeah, it's cool. Trimpe then went to design the character and was either intentionally or subliminally influenced by UM. Things were going 100 MPH at Marvel in the mid-70's, so to think that they took time to plan out a character that was just intended to be a Hulk villain-of-the-month is questionable.

You could torture Wein or Trimpe all you want and I'm sure they'd never confess to borrowing from Michigan. Heck, they created Wolverine, undoubtedly the biggest and most popular character to be created in comics in the past 40 years.

I'm highly suspicious. I still feel that Wolverine was initially influenced by UM. What do YOU think? Are Wolverine and UM another of those weird "coincidences" in comics, like the X-men/Doom Patrol similarity?