By Michael Griffin, Hollywood Staff
Ever since he burst onto the scene, Wolverine has been one of the most popular and enduring characters in Marvel Comics history. He's become so popular that the people running the show over at Stan Lee's home base have welcomed the character into many different titles. His prevlance has reached the point where readers joke that the only way for him to be in so many places at the same time is for him to be an alien.
It looks like that run is over, though. The powers that be are publishing a four-part series called The Death of Wolverine, and it sounds like it's going to be pretty darn final. Then again, Marvel seems to treat death like a a minor malady. They use talk of killings to drive comic sales, only to bring characters back to life within a year. Remember when they killed Wolverine's X-Men teammate Colossus? Captain America? Chances are good here that some fingers were crossed behind backs when this title was announced.
Why has Wolverine been so popular? Well, in short, he's a killing machine who has a mutant healing power and is also armed with a wisecracking sense of humor. He's basically a guy that very few people want to mess with. His character is a cathartic outlet for the rage and frustrations of many a reader. There's a reason that he and the Hulk are two of the most beloved characters in the Marvel Universe.
So now, especially with an X-Men movie coming out, is it wise to have him killed? There's also talk of another actor stepping in for Hugh Jackman to play Wolverine in the movies soon, since he is supposedly tired of the role. Sure, it's been a long run for Wolverine in the comics, what with him living for centuries and surviving some truly ridiculous things (like the Hulk ripping him in half), but all things do come to an end. Still, when people identify with a character, it's hard for them to see anything happen, even if it's in a universe where characters die more often than Kenny on South Park. The hardcore Wolverine fans are the ones Marvel should be worried about losing. Others? They may just merely shrug and continue seeing the movies and reading the comics, hoping that Wolverine will be back among the land of the living sooner than later, stogie wedged firmly in mouth. Others still may see it as a shock event designed to drive comic sales and stop reading or attending those movies for a while. The hardcore fans though? That's a big risk and subsection of the fandom to possibly lose.
When it comes to creative endeavors, there's never going to be a way to please everyone. This, however, may be way too big a risk to take. We shall see what the end result is, though. Stay tuned.