The Wolverine

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To most they are considered creatures of myth, the wolverine belongs to the weasel family. Rarely seen except in the Northern climes it is known as one of the greatest fighters and strongest North American mammals compared due to its small stature. With razor sharp claws it has been reported that a single wolverine can fight off an entire wolf pack defending it’s young. In modern day cinema wolverine is a mysterious character. He knows little to nothing about his past and he is a peaceful animal unless provoked. Much like the wolverine of the forest.

Wolverines are one of the only animals besides humans that bury their deceased. The interesting fact about this creature is that it will also dig a hole and sit on it to protect it’s young. For example a bear or mountain lion comes along, they will dig a small burrow and place there young underneath them and sit on top of it to defend its offspring. You have to keep in mind they are diggers; the reason Gluskabe blessed them with their long sharp claws.

They belong to the weasel family; from the Latin derivative of “glutton” (Gulo gulo). They mainly find sustenance from prey species including porcupines, squirrels, beavers, marmots, rabbits, moles, mice, shrews, lemmings, caribou, roe deer, white-tailed deer, mule deer, sheep, moose, and elk. They have also been known to eat berries, bird eggs and carcasses.

Logan or Wolverine as he is known to most has the ability to regenerate at a speed much faster then regular humans. Hence the reason he is considered a mutant by normal standards. In the X-men saga it is believed that the mutant gene is derived from him. Due to the fact he has a much slower aging process then others; he has been on earth for a long, long time. As well he has claws, made of bone that project from his knuckles when he is angry or startled, a self-defense tool.

“The Wolverine has shown a long trap-wisdom. Nevertheless, his doom is spoken. He has enrolled a host of enemies; for every hunter, trapper, and farmer on his range considers him a bandit, an atrocious robber, a creature of such malignity that he must be destroyed by any means, fair or foul, and at any time.”
– The Worlds of Ernest Thompson Seton, Alfred A. Knopf; New York, 1976. –

How Wolverine Was Frozen to Death (Native American Mythology):

“One day Wolverine visited his older brother Bear, who was very glad to see him, and at once put the pot on the fire to cook him something. After the food was cooked and they had eaten it, Bear said to his younger brother Wolverine, “How would you make a fire if you did not have any flint and steel?” Wolverine acknowledged that he would be helpless without flint and steel. “Now I will teach you,” said Bear, “how to make a fire, when you do not have any flint and steel.” Having said this, Bear went out and got some maple bark, which he put in a little pile, and then jumped over it. As soon as he jumped over it, it burst into a flame. Then he said to his younger brother, “Now I give you power to make a fire.”

Wolverine was very happy and was in a hurry to get away and try his power. As soon as he got out of the house, he started to run. He continued running until he got to a place where he could no longer see Bear. Then he collected some maple bark and made a little pile of it and jumped over it. When it broke into a blaze, he was very much pleased. He took out his flint and steel and threw them away, saying “These are no longer of any use.”

Wolverine had no use for the fire he made; he only made it to try his power. So he went on, but he had hardly gotten out of sight of his first fire, when he decided to make a new fire. After that he made fires more frequently until at last he made them every ten steps; but finally his power gave out, for he had used it all up. When he next collected a pile of maple bark and jumped over it, it did not burst into flame. By that time it had grown dark and was very cold, and he was indeed in need of a fire. Then truly he jumped, but no success crowned his efforts. He had thrown away his flint and steel and was very much frightened, for it was very cold. He kept on jumping, but it grew so cold that he froze to death while he was jumping. He lay there until spring, when he thawed out. He was lying there dead, when his younger brother, Raccoon, came along and saw him.

Raccoon went over and tried to wake him up, saying, “Older brother, get up, you are over-sleeping, it is very late.” Then the Wolverine rubbed his eyes, got up and said, “Younger brother, I overslept. I would have lain there forever, if you had not come by and awakened me.” He would have rotted there, but as it was, he got his strength back and was as strong as ever.”

In Native American mythology: wolverine is a creature of magic, he is the trickster. In Abenaki culture “Pezo” or wolverine can act much like that of a human in laughter, mimicking hand gestures and even demonstrating hand sign. Understood as a ferocious beast all the while unbeknown a very kind and gentle creature, the trick being it is not an enemy but a friend. To the Innu people of Labrador and Quebec, wolverine is a more benign trickster-transformer who shapes the earth and helps the people as well as entertaining them with his socially inappropriate misadventures. The Alaskan “Athabaskans” admire wolverines for their strength and tenacity, and some Athabaskan tribes use wolverine teeth as a charm on baby baskets. Some tribes of Northern California, wolverines are considered lucky animals– they feature in legends as successful gamblers, and seeing a wolverine is a sign of good fortune to come.

James Howlett also referred to as Logan first appeared in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180, with his first full appearance in #181 (cover-dated Nov. 1974). Wolverine from Marvel Comics was taken into the weapon X program by the Canadian government. Due to his healing factor they covered his bones in the strongest metal known to man Adamantium, and replaced his claws of bone with adamantium 13 inch blades. Born in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, during the late 1880s, purportedly to rich farm owners John and Elizabeth Howlett, though he is actually the illegitimate son of the Howletts’ groundskeeper, Thomas Logan, After Thomas is thrown off the Howletts’ property for an attempted rape perpetrated by his other son, named simply Dog, he returns to the Howlett manor and kills John Howlett. In retaliation, young James kills Thomas with bone claws that emerge from the back of his hands, as his mutation manifests.

The idea of the wolverine of the comics compared to wolverine of the forest is that they share the same lost and alone story. An animal unwilling to give up the fight for it’s own survival. Misunderstood and out casted. Nearly hunted to extinction wolverines are scarce in numbers. It isn’t really known how many exist in the world today however the population numbers are not plentiful. This is an endangered species and unless we come together to help save our furry little friends we will loose them. Make donations to the WWF or simply treat your mother earth with more respect. Reduce, reuse, and recycle.

-Johnny Ryan-

Dedicated to Stan Lee