Needlessly Angsty – Wolverine’s Claws

As I was working my way through a marathon grading session earlier today, I was struck with an idea for a new series.  I’m the type of guy who’s in his own head a lot and, as a result, I tend to over think things too.  However, if I’m being honest, not everything I spend my time obsessively thinking about is worthy of the time I devote to it…or really even important at all.  So this series will highlight the questions and/or issues that I devote plenty of mental energy to – as I wrestle with all their ins and outs, awash in angst over a solution I just can’t find – when I should probably be thinking about, you know, things that really matter :).  Our first topic?  Why it’s none other than Wolverine’s claws!

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Aaaahhh!  I love ’em! / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

I’ve spent a lot of time in my life thinking about Wolverine’s claws.  How couldn’t you?!?  The man has razor sharp, retractable bone claws that pop out of the back of this hands and, because they’re (usually) covered with the indestructible metal known as adamantium (as is his skeleton), they can cut through just about anything.  As a kid, Wolverine was always my favorite X-Man so I often pretended to be Wolverine when we’d play superheroes.  I also had a few Wolverine toys I’d return to often when we’d play with our superhero action figures.  So I thought about his claws, and having claws myself, a lot.  As an adult, my imagination is still pretty good and sometimes it just wanders off.  I’ve written before how, at my last job as a Youth Minister, I’d often imagine popping Wolverine’s claws out of my hands as I’d walk across the parking lot from the church I worked at to the school that was tied to it.  I don’t know…there’s just something about imagining claws popping out of your hands that makes life seem richer.  I should also add that I imagine having claws pop out of my hands when I think of opening doors or anything really, when I’m walking by poles, anytime I’m watching one of the Purge movies, when I see someone has carelessly parked their car over the line and is taking up TWO PARKING SPACES LIKE AN INCONSIDERATE JERK, if I see someone driving like an asshat, if I ponder the age old question of what it would be like to get in a fight with some imaginary individual when you have claws that pop out of your hands and they just have lame, regular hands or maybe a weapon that isn’t even attached to their hand at all, or if my mind just has a free few moments.  Now, I grant that was a bit of a run-on sentence.  But I think about having Wolverine claws a lot so I have lots of examples I can list.  I could list more…but let’s move on.

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If only…… / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Imagining myself with Wolverine’s claws isn’t what’s causing me to be needlessly angsty though.  Imagining myself with Wolverine claws is fantastic.  Rather the issue is how Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (who I totally love; you can click here to read all about it) and the X-Men movies at large have forever ruined the fun of imagining myself with Wolverine claws.  Thanks Hollywood!  You ruin history when you poorly and inaccurately tell the stories of our past.  You ruin literature anytime you try to adapt it.  Now you’ve ruined one of life’s purest and simplest pleasures – imagining myself with Wolverine claws.  And try as I might, I can’t get around this problem and I think of it every time I imagine having Wolverine claws so I think of it A LOT.  And EVERY TIME it makes me angsty.

You see, when Wolverine was first created by Len Wein, John Romita Sr., and Herb Trimpe (for his original appearance in The Incredible Hulk #180-182), the claws were a feature of his gloves.  They quickly became a part of him, housed inside his forearms.  First they were placed there by the Weapon X project and later it was adapted so that they were always part of his mutation.  As part of him, they were covered with adamantium like the rest of his skeleton.  Anyway, the design was always that he had what amounted to metal sheaths on the back of his hands and the claws would slide up and out of those sheaths.

Wolverine's Claws 1

I loved, loved, looooooooved these cards as a kid! / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Then along comes Hugh Jackman (who I really do love!), Bryan Singer, and the Fox X-Men films and all of a sudden WOLVERINE’S CLAWS SLIDE OUT FROM BETWEEN HIS KNUCKELS NOW.  I’m sorry people but this is a HUGE PROBLEM!  Imagining claws popping out of the back of my hands is ENTIRELY DIFFERENT from imagining claws popping out of my knuckles.  Do you know what the biggest problem is??  It just doesn’t work the same.  AT ALL.  Imagine high fiving someone with your claws out.  If they are on the back of your hand, no problem.  They aren’t in line with your fingers.  You could totally high five someone with no threat of danger at all.  But if they are in line with your fingers and sliding out in between your knuckles then you could totally cut open someone’s fingers with a poorly managed high five.  This is unacceptable!

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Why oh why must you do me like this movie Wolverine claws? / Photo Credit – X2: X-Men United

Also, it just looks dumb.  Now, I grant they don’t look dumb if your hands are curled into a fist.  Then imagining them popping out from between your knuckles still looks totally badass and there is relatively little difference from having them pop out of the backs of your hands.  But all it takes is uncurling and extending the fingers and it all looks super stupid.  Think of jumping out of an exploding helicopter with your claws already extended (say, you were fighting a super villain so your claws were out (because why wouldn’t they be?? you were fighting a super villain!!) when the helicopter exploded and you had to jump for safety).  How silly does it look with your claws coming out in between your fingers like they are extra blade fingers or something?!?  I’ll answer my own question.  IT LOOKS SUPER RIDICULOUS.  Also, how do you even grab on to something in this helicopter scenario to save your life because as your fingers go to grasp it, your dumb claws (which are already out because, as we discussed, in this imaginary situation you were fighting a super villain (so claws out for safety and victory) and had to immediately jump out before you died (or got seriously burned) in a helicopter explosion) cut through whatever you were going to grab.

NOW imagine having your fingers extended and bending them back so they are angled slightly behind the palm of your hand.  In this situation these through-the-knuckles claws WOULD BE EXTENDED OUT SLIGHTLY IN FRONT OF YOUR FINGERS.  YOUR FINGERS COULD BE BEHIND YOUR CLAWS, CLAWS THAT ONCE CAME OUT OF THE BACK OF YOUR HAND WHERE THEY DID THE SAME THING BUT LOOKED 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 TIMES COOLER.  Oh my gosh are you kidding me or something?!?!?  Who is okay with this???

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Photo Credit – The Wolverine

Of course I remember that scene in 2000’s X-Men where, looking at Logan’s x-rays, Jean Grey tells Professor Xavier that the adamantium covers his whole skeleton.  Then they show the x-ray/computer image of his claws sliding up through his forearm and the knuckles in his hand separating so the claws could come out.  Yes, I get that’s all very plausible and arguably more “real world” (ugh…just like their black leather outfits as opposed to their actual comic book costumes) than having them just slide up and out of the back of his hand.  I mean, how would they angle up?  Does he have to clean the little adamantium sheaths?  What about when he didn’t have the adamantium that seemed to make the sheaths?  Did the claws just come out of the back of his hand at an angle?  These are all questions the claws-from-knuckles approach doesn’t raise.  These are also questions I never had in my head before the claws-from-knuckles approach became a thing.  Wolverine is one of the biggest, toughest, s.o.b.’s in all of comic history.  Do we really need to picture him with his fingers bending back (in a totally normal and natural way that fingers are want to do when you’re stretching them out for various reasons) behind his super cool claws?!?  I say NO WE DON’T,

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Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

But here’s the problem.  NOW I CAN’T STOP THINKING ABOUT IT.  Every single time I imagine Wolverine extending his claws or me having my own set of claws popping out of my hands, the imagination trip is derailed right at the start by thinking of where the heck the claws are popping out of.  I DON’T NEED THIS!!!  Yet here I am.  And because the comics now (sadly) seem to more often than not take their artistic/plot cues from the movies (think a needless Civil War II, the Guardians of the Galaxy hunting for Infinity Stones (which used to be called Infinity Gems) in the lead up to Avengers: Infinity War, Thor cutting his hair in The Unworthy Thor because Chris Hemsworth has short hair in Thor: Ragnarök, Quake growing her hair out because Chloe Bennet has shoulder length hair in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Guardians of the Galaxy losing Kitty Pryde/Ben Grimm/Venom because they aren’t in the films, the Defenders reforming around Luke Cage/Jessica Jones/Daredevil/Iron Fist, etc. and so on) Wolverine’s claws have started sliding out from in between his knuckles in the comics too.

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Better in EVERY WAY / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

Why are we here??  How has life taken this turn?!?  I can’t dump the mental image of the claws-from-knuckles no matter how hard I try and because I can’t get rid of it I can’t stop the cognitive dissonance that now pollutes the once simple joy of thinking about having sweet claws popping out of my hands.  I don’t know how to reconcile all of this!!!

Ugh…I can’t even.  I think I’m going to take some Excedrin and go to bed.  This is stressing me out.  It’s also making me needlessly angsty (so at least the title’s apropos ).  BUT, the claws-from-knuckles approach has become a part of my awareness of the character.  AND I think about Wolverine and having Wolverine claws a lot.  So this disturbing mental angst is now just a part of my life.  Siiiiiiiiiigh…say what you want about the bone claws from the 1990’s but at least they never stressed me out like this.

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Oh how I miss these days!! / Photo Credit – Marvel Comics

18 thoughts on “Needlessly Angsty – Wolverine’s Claws

  1. I’m afraid I have to fall on the side of Team Knuckles for this one. Having pondered it for the first time, in light of your post, I think of the scenario in which Wolverine slashes at a hard surface. In such a case the adamantium claws would create a severe amount of tension against the back of his hands. Imagine that straining against that weak flesh. Agony. Through the knuckles – almost like fingers – avoids this issue and thus prevents Wolvie from getting hurt even with his healing powers. Remember Michael, he has an adamantium skeleton, not adamantium flesh. I’m simply thinking of his wellbeing when I say…#TeamKnuckles.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Well, before the whole advent of bone claws (still hate), x-rays showed a track system attached to his bones that helped the claws. Those helped reinforce them and gave them a foundation. You can thank the bone claws for making it more unrealistic.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Okay, this helps me. So the little sheaths on the back of his hands were part of the track system then? That makes sense! Although, your comment has had the additional affect of making me resent the bone claws. I (and I know this puts me in the minority) always kind of liked them. But now I’m remembering even the artists didn’t know quite what to do. At first Logan always had bandages around his hands so you couldn’t see them coming out. Now I have a new layer of angst to enjoy :).


      2. I always loved the fact that in flashbacks Wolverine was a secret agent that had claw weapons as his calling card. With his reputation it would sense that they would graft the same weapon onto/inside of him. At first….way, way back the sheathed were part of him. It was phased out because it never looked right to have them on his bare fists. The original x-ray art in Marvel Universe gave the impression that Logan had cybernetic like claw mechanisms in his forearms. The bone claws did more harm than good and really seem lazy when you look at the great work artists and writers did with Wolverine throughout his history.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That’s part of the danger with the comic characters. They’re around so long people just keep adding things and it’s not always a good idea. Like with Spider-Man – I guess they developed his powers along the lines of making him some mystical Spider Totem. Each universe has a Spider Guardian and the webs tie creation together. It’s kind of a cool idea…but it really hurts Peter Parker’s “every man” reputation.

        More to the point, I miss Wolverine’s past too! Honestly, I found the character in the early 90’s and ran (mostly) forward with him without much looking back (hence my appreciation of the bone claws). But there is SO MUCH in his past that is so creative/exciting. How is Wolverine being a spy not something they’ve brought back?? There’s so much potential there! Wolverine + James Bond = AWESOME!!! I would LOVE to read new stories about that!


    2. I read this comment when I woke up and I’ve been thinking about it all morning. The thing is…YOU’RE RIGHT. That would be so painful! They would bend back and rip and stretch. I did wonder if those little metal sheaths he used to have were supposed to help with this? However, now two things have happened. First, you didn’t make me think the knuckles look any cooler. But second, they now seem more relevant/purposeful to me!!! So this has forever become part of the cognitive dissonance that surrounds my mental pondering. Thanks for the additional angst :). Also, I dig the hastagging.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ha! You’ve put sooooooo much thought into this… meanwhile, I’m still crying over Logan (which I just watched again) and can’t imagine Wolverine (and his claws) any other way. I think I would have your issue in reverse of I went back to old comics. I would be thinking “but that’s not how Hugh Jackman looks” lol. I do love Wolverine in any form though. He’s my favourite X-Man/ X-Men???? That looks weird to me lol

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha, yep I did. This is kind of what my head always does, when left unoccupied. So welcome to my craziness :). I can totally appreciate your suffering from…uh, Reverse My Problem if you read the old comics too. It makes sense. I think we all love the claws we knew when we fell in love with Wolverine!

      Also, I still get teary-eyed whenever I think of ‘Logan’ too! And I have yet to watch the film without crying. It was such a brutal, tragically beautiful, perfect film.


  3. Hi Michael,

    I am sorry for your angst. I watch this films not read the comics. So, I don’t carry the weight of or pain in acgaactef re-write. One thing is that helps me is to see things as layers of a story. If I live a story so much I want to see more if it and details that keep the narrative going. It is like reading the appendix in The Return if the King to see what happened next. I hope you can still enjoy the foundations as others share their interpretations. It’s hard with so many factors that keep the real story translating to film.

    Oh, my piece”50/50″ is out of you wanted to see your shout out. I encourage you to check out the other two bloggers I featured. We sort of have an online community between us.



    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s wonderful Gary, thanks! What an exciting notification to get…and what an appropriate week to get it. I’m certainly thankful for this shout out as well as our blogging friendship. Enjoy the holiday my friend.


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