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Wolverine's List Of Creators On Deadpool 3 Just Sparked A Huge Marvel Controversy

"Deadpool & Wolverine" is reportedly crediting Roy Thomas as one of Wolverine's creators in a move that is sparking controversy in the comic book world.

Wolverine debuted in "The Incredible Hulk" #180 before making his first full appearance in the following issue. The Canadian hero was created by comic legends Len Wein and John Romita Sr. However, according to former Marvel comic book editor Bobbie Chase, Thomas, who edited the "Hulk" comic series at the time, is about to receive credit as one of the fan-favorite's creators. On Facebook, she wrote that Wein's widow, Christine Valada, got a phone call from Marvel telling her Thomas is named as one of the co-creators of Wolverine in the upcoming "Deadpool & Wolverine" film. While not suggesting Thomas didn't contribute or wasn't around when Wolverine conceived, she questioned whether the credit was deserved, especially considering he got it after everyone else involved in making the Marvel hero has passed away.

The reaction from comic fans and creators to Thomas gaining credit as Wolverine's co-creator was largely confusion and frustration. "Wow, this is incredibly sh***y of Thomas' representation and a very bad look for Roy," @zakiscorner posted on X (formerly Twitter). Meanwhile, @OzTheMid took to X and compared Thomas to Stan Lee, the Marvel icon with his own complex legacy. "Roy Thomas really is Stan Lee's successor given how well it seems he's mastered the art of stolen valor." "Superman/Batman: World's Finest" writer Mark Waid also chimed in on Facebook, calling out Thomas for being a "ghoul," adding, "It's pathetic and ironic that, in scrambling for as much credit as he can possibly find, Roy's guaranteeing that his legacy will be all about stolen valor."

Who really created Wolverine?

The longtime credited creators of Wolverine are Len Wein and John Romita Sr., with the latter designing the clawed hero. Herb Trimpe also helped bring the character to life as the main artist on "The Incredible Hulk." In a conversation with Comics Interview in 1991, Wein, who passed away in 2017, wrote that Thomas gave him the name of the hero and that he wanted him to have a Canadian accent but offered no other details. The late writer added Romita Sr. made the suit and that he himself came up with the idea of putting him on the X-Men.

Thomas' past remarks on the situation claim similar minor input. In a 1982 interview in the "X-Men Companion," Thomas said, "My only other part in the new X-Men besides getting it going and the international idea in general was to make a few vague suggestions to Len that even I couldn't remember. Probably I may have approved a general kind of line-up, but it was basically Len's idea, I think. The only thing I suggested to him over lunch was that I thought it was time we had a Canadian hero," while adding he suggested the name "because the animal inhabits Canada as well as the Northern United States and would be familiar to both."

Marvel has been called out for not properly crediting creators based on their work before. In 2020, "New Mutants" co-creator Bob McLeod expressed disappointment in how his work was adapted and how his name was misspelled during the end credits. The following year, David Aja not properly being credited for "Hawkeye" led to some fans boycotting the Disney+ series. Understandably, Thomas' inclusion as one of Wolverine's co-creators has raised some eyebrows.

What does Roy Thomas have to say?

Roy Thomas spoke with Forbes about getting credited as Wolverine's co-creator with the 84-year-old calling the situation unfortunate and saying that he wasn't "trying to rob the corpse of Len Wein for credit and money," and that he simply wanted to be noted for his role in making the hero.

According to Thomas, he is only getting formally credited in "Deadpool & Wolverine" and that he isn't receiving any financial compensation that may have otherwise gone to Wein and John Romita's respective estates. "First and foremost, this is not a financial issue," he explained. "I'm not getting a penny, as far as I know, and it in no way takes away from whatever Len [Wein] and John [Romita]'s families may be getting, if anything. I don't know what their financial arrangement is with Marvel. I'm already getting money from my other contributions to Marvel; I don't need Wolverine money, thank you very much." Additionally, Thomas said while he wasn't usually involved in creating characters as editor-in-chief but was in conceiving Wolverine.

Ultimately, while editors do important jobs for comic book publishers, they often aren't responsible for creating characters unless they are writing or drawing it themselves. Thomas did neither during Wolverine's debut in "The Incredible Hulk," but if he did suggest the name and his origin, it creates a tough question of whether he should be considered as such. However, the timing of the claim and comparing himself to Bob Finger, the creator of Batman who wasn't properly credited as such for decades, as he does in the Forbes interview, isn't going to garner much sympathy from fans.