Wolverine co-creator Roy Thomas tells us about his latest creation. or should that be re-creation? Since he wasn't actually involved in the penwork previously? Because he did write the words on the cover of the original Incredible Hulk #181 back in 1974 and this week he did it again on his own re-creation cover. He writes, courtesy of manager John Cimino;
Just had fun "re-creating" (in a manner of speaking) Herb Trimpe's cover for INCREDIBLE HULK #181 for my good friend Alan Waite, who in turn passed it on to the great folks at Torpedo Comics. It really makes me appreciate the hard work that Herb (with, as he recalled, a bit of fixing from costume designer John Romita) did on the first glimpse that most of the world ever had of Wolverine. Back in the day, their was the hard part–all I had to do back then, after having given the super-talented Len Wein a few directions concerning the new character, was to scribble out a few pieces of cover copy–and then let the letterer spend a much longer time applying the ink to "AND NOW… THE WOLVERINE!" and a couple of arrows. If only we'd all known what we were starting! (Well, for one thing, we'd have all gone out and purchased as many copies of HULK #181 as we could find and store them away for half a century.)
Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas asked writer Len Wein to devise a character specifically named Wolverine, who is Canadian and of small stature and with a wolverine's fierce temper. John Romita Sr. designed the first Wolverine costume, and believes he introduced the retractable claws, saying, "When I make a design, I want it to be practical and functional. I thought, 'If a man has claws like that, how does he scratch his nose or tie his shoelaces?'" Wolverine first appeared in The Incredible Hulk #180 in 1974 written by Wein and penciled by Herb Trimpe. The character then appeared in a number of advertisements in various Marvel Comics publications before making his first major appearance in The Incredible Hulk #181 again by the Wein–Trimpe team. In 2009, Trimpe said he "distinctly remembers" Romita's sketch and that, "The way I see it, they sewed the monster together and I shocked it to life!… It was just one of those secondary or tertiary characters, actually, that we were using in that particular book with no particular notion of it going anywhere. We did characters in The Hulk all the time that were in issues and that was the end of them." Though often credited as co-creator, Trimpe denied having had any role in Wolverine's creation.