John Byrne Originally Imagined a Very Different Wolverine

Wolverine is a superhero with an iconic look with and without his mask on, but if legendary artist John Byrne had his way, the Logan we know and love might have looked a lot different.

Photo by Luigi Novi / CC BY (

Marvel executive Tom Brevoort has been sharing old Marvel artwork on Twitter to pass the time during the industry shut down, and this tweet featuring an original John Byrne design for what Wolverine should look like under his mask caught our eye. Brevoort says that Byrne pitched the design before Wolverine first removed his mask in 1976's X-Men #98.

The Evolution of Wolverine's Look

Nowadays, everyone is used to seeing Wolverine without the mask on (and if you're Cyclops or Jean Grey, with even less). But back then, it was quite a shock to see the little runt's face. Sure, you might be thinking, hadn't Wolverine spent the last four issues, five if you count Giant-Size X-Men #1, with the X-Men non-stop, including a significant amount of downtime between missions hanging around the X-mansion? The answer is yes, but it turns out the X-Men pretty much hung around in costume 24 hours a day.

Sure, Colossus would change back to his human form and Banshee was exceptionally casual about the whole. But Storm, Wolverine, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops were perfectly fine with wearing their costumes all the time.

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In fact, with Nightcrawler's image inducer, one is inclined to wonder just how often he bothered to take a shower. In any case, at least wearing your tights around the house means you're ready to jump into action at a moment's notice.

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But X-Men #98 was set during Christmas, and that was an occasion for the entire team to put on some normal clothes and head out for a night on the town in the holiday spirit. And that meant our first look at Wolverine without his mask.

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It's impossible to picture Wolverine any other way. But John Byrne did. Here's how he thought Wolverine should have looked with a naked face.


Yeah, we're gonna go ahead and say Dave Cockrum had the better idea. Hell, we'll bet Byrne even thought Wolverine should only have one you know what, we're not even gonna go there right now.

Bored at home during the shutdown? Marvel Unlimited has the entirety of Chris Claremont's X-Men run to read. Just sayin'.

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A prophecy once said that in the comic book industry's darkest days, a hero would come to lead the people through a plague of overpriced floppies, incentive variant covers, #1 issue reboots, and super-mega-crossover events. Sadly, that prophecy was wrong. Oh, Jude Terror was right. For ten years. About everything. But nobody listened. And so, Jude Terror has moved on to a more important mission: turning Bleeding Cool into a pro wrestling dirt sheet!
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