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Week of Cool Wolverine Comic Book Moments – How Does Wolverine Celebrate His Birthday?

All week long we will feature brand-new Cool Wolverine Comic Book Moments in celebration of his recent film. Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far over the years.

We continue with the last issue of Chris Claremont’s inaugural run on Wolverines solo title, as he and artists John Buscema and Bill Sienkiewicz examine a messed-up birthday tradition of Wolverine’s…

The issue is split between the past and the present. In the past, Wolverine is fighting against Sabretooth, who had just killed Wolverine’s then-girlfriend, Silver Fox. In the present, Wolverine is dealing with a pair of psychos who keep trying to kill him. For some reason, Wolverine is especially mad about them bothering him on this day in particular. We eventually discover that it is his birthday…

Which, of course, informs the fact that the battle with Sabretooth in the past was ALSO on his birthday…

The two guys are killed, but it is unclear WHO killed them…

Awesome ending. This really epitomized how Claremont saw the Wolverine/Sabretooth relationship. Sabretooth would always be JUST a bit ahead of Wolverine, making Wolverine seem that much more impressive in his underdog spirit.


If Wolverine had no memories of his early life and no idea who he was, how does he know when his birthday is? Is that explained in the story?

T., that stuff came later – Claremont wrote Wolverine as knowing his past. Plus, Sabretooth was still his dad at this point.

T., that stuff came later – Claremont wrote Wolverine as knowing his past. Plus, Sabretooth was still his dad at this point.

Thanks Trevor, I understood that Sabretooth was supposed to be Wolverine’s dad in these stories so I knew why HE would know Wolverine’s birthday. I just didn’t get how Wolverine would know. But your explanation makes sense.

I didn’t realize even this late in the game Wolverine was supposed to know his whole past. Who introduced the missing childhood memories retcon then if not Claremont? If it was Claremont, when did he do it?

I think it was Barry Windsor-Smith in Weapon X who introduced the mental programming stuff. I know it was also fleshed out on Larry Hama’s Wolverine run.

nice pick for back then during this storyline clarmount kind of hinted at the old saberbooth is wolverines pop and that is why they fight on his birthday.plus silver fox gets added to the list of woman who should never have gotten involved with wolverine.

If I’m not mistaken, Bill Mantlo, in Alpha Flight, first introduced the idea that Wolverine forgot (or never knew) who was behind the adamantium because of the trauma he experienced and the way he went wild after the experiment (as shown in an earlier Claremont-Byrne issue of Uncanny). Like TattooedComicGuy said, BWS then made that out to be deliberate. Larry Hama then expanded on that story, so that Wolverine was questioning EVERYTHING he thought he knew about his life, which is the real start or the mystery man angle that was such a part of the character for years.

John Buscema and Bill Sienkiewicz are both wonderful artists, but they really do not compliment one another.

Chris Claremont doesn’t get nearly enough credit as an action writer. The Wolverine-Sabertooth fight sequence has really logical progression.

Captain Haddock

August 12, 2013 at 9:07 am

Brian, that’s really interesting stuff about how Claremont wanted Wolvy to be the underdog. I came across a few issues Claremont wrote when he returned to Wolverine in the 90s and while a lot of the stuff was really pretty “bad Claremont”, the fight scene between Sabretooth and Wolverine was awesome, and the way it played out was really great. It was the first time I’d seen a fight between the two where Tooth just manhandled Wolvy, and as a guy who started reading comics in the 90s that was something of a shock for me to see.

Sabretooth has been so neutered that it’s ridiculous, Greg Rucka did a pretty good job in his issues of Wolverine and I like Mike Carey’s treatment of him, but generally it’s been disappointing.

@Cap Haddock: Yeah, that’s the problem with trying to keep a character meaningful for decades. There was a time when Sabretooth was TERRIFYING. Now, he’s just a bad guy that shows up every so often and hates Wolverine. He was supposed to be an older, more cunning Wolverine who has none of the morals that keep Wolvy from being a monster (which, again, is scary as shit).

Over the years, different writers write him. Different things happen. He gets beaten by various heroes. And the big question for any big superhero nemesis: If he’s so scary and powerful, why is the other guy still alive? I hope someone makes him terrifying again.

The other side of that, however, is that Sabretooth was remarkably un-terrifying prior to the Mutant Massacre stuff that connected him to Wolverine. We’re talking about a guy who used to pal around with the Constrictor, accidentally tore his own face off while fighting Spider-Man and getting a faceful of webbing, and then got KOed by the Black Cat when he came after Spidey for revenge.

On the upside, this sort of stuff once led to a great letter to the Wolverine comic in which it was pointed out that Iron Fist had rather easily taken out Sabretooth and Wolverine himself during the last couple of issues of his 1970s solo title. Bear in mind that this is the pre-Brubaker/Fraction Iron Fist, the one whose mortal enemies included Chaka Khan (no, not the 1980s musical act) and a regular guy with a scimitar named Scimitar.

Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads
up and let you know a few of the images aren’t loading properly.
I’m not sure why but I think its a linking issue.
I’ve tried it in two different web browsers and both show the same results.

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