Sunday, January 14, 2007

A Point of Clarification...

In response to my previous post noting the unexpected but gratifying credits my fellow creators and I received on the back of the X-Men: the Last Stand DVD box, Glen Cadigan wrote:
It has to be said...

Herb Trimpe did not develop Wolverine. Wolverine was co-created by Len Wein and John Romita, Sr.. Herb did draw Wolverine's first appearance, but even Herb tells people that he had nothing to do with Wolverine's creation, and he should know.

Plus... it was Dave Cockrum who designed what Logan looked like, and it's his Logan design which is used in the movies, not John, Sr.'s "cat suit." That doesn't take anything away from what John, Sr. did, it just states the facts.

I hate to write what could be perceived as a negative comment here when this is a big step forward, but facts do matter. Not saying that Mr. Wein doesn't know what happened (because he does), or that he was trying to give credit where credit wasn't due. He was just quoting the box. If only the box knew what it was talking about, we wouldn't have to start all over again where Wolverine's credits are concerned.

Well, Mr. Cadigan, in response, I'm obliged to say you're right...and you're wrong.

While the original Wolverine visual was indeed co-created by myself and the talented John Romita Sr., the credit on the DVD box reads Wolverine character developed by Len Wein & Herb Trimpe. That's developed, not created. And since Herb drew Wolvie's entire first appearance, from the last panel of Incredible Hulk #180 through the first couple of pages of Hulk #182, I would say he did indeed develop the character, how he stood, how he moved, his expressions, attitudes, all critical aspects of Wolverine's natural evolution.

I certainly don't begrudge Herb the credit. Why should you?

1 comment:

Glen Cadigan said...

Just saw this...

I don't begrudge Herb the credit for drawing Wolverine's first appearance(s), but we both know that's not what the back of the box meant. The word "developed" was used instead of "created" for legal reasons. After all, from a legal standpoint, Marvel Comics "created" Wolverine, and for anything associated with Marvel to say otherwise would have legal ramifications. So they said "developed."

Herb's name was used because whoever wrote the box was not a comic book historian and assumed (as many do) that Herb co-created Wolverine. That's what the back of the box meant. Giving Herb that credit is taking it away from John Romita. If you want to follow the strict dictionary definition of "developed," then it should have read Wolverine character developed by Len Wein, John Romita, Sr., & Herb Trimpe. But it doesn't. In fact, if you look at the front of the box, you will see a Wolverine character "developed" by Dave Cockrum. So why begrudge him credit on the box, if that's what "developed" really means?

So to answer your question again, I don't begrudge Herb the credit for drawing Wolverine's first appearance, but I also don't fall for legal codewords, which is what "developed" really is. Wolverine is a very important character, and the number of people who don't know who created him is very high. I see it happen all the time, and when someone is given false credit, that means that someone else is being robbed of earned credit. It's nothing against Herb, who is a swell guy, but when the man himself has to go around in interviews telling people that he didn't create Wolverine, there is obviously a problem with public perception which needs to be fixed, and putting his name on the back of a box isn't fixing it.

It's one thing for misinformation to be spread within the comic book community, but when it leaps out of the bottle and infiltrates the mainstream media (the one which gives Stan Lee exclusive credit for creating Spider-Man, among others), it is damn hard to put that genie back in the bottle. If errors can be corrected, they should be, before they become widespread, and to focus on the meaning of a single word is truly to miss the forest for the trees.