The Psychology of Marvel’s Wolverine


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About the Book

Wolverine. Logan. Weapon X. By any name, Marvel Comic’s savage, brooding antihero is, in his own words, the best at what he does—killing with gratuitous precision. Paradoxically violent yet humane, the beer-swilling, cigar-smoking mutant with retractable claws is universally misjudged in the Marvel Universe yet esteemed by fans worldwide. The author explores Wolverine’s development from bit character to modern legend over more than four decades, with a focus on his enduring appeal as an allegory for resilience through torment. Instructors considering this book for use in a course may request an examination copy here.

About the Author(s)

Suzana E. Flores is a licensed clinical psychologist, TEDx and keynote speaker, and media commentator. She lives in Arizona.

Bibliographic Details

Suzana E. Flores

Foreword by Paul Jenkins

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 205
Bibliographic Info: notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2018
pISBN: 978-1-4766-7442-1
eISBN: 978-1-4766-3319-0
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  viii
Foreword by Paul Jenkins  1
Introduction  3
One  Who Is Wolverine?  9
Two  Origin  18
Three  Weapon X  34
Four  What Does Trauma Have to Do with It?  55
Five  When the Claws Come Out  72
Six  The ­X-Men: Oppression and the ­M-Word  93
Seven  The One That Got Away  119
Eight  The Myth Behind the Claws  137
Nine  Wolverine’s Last Stand  156
Epilogue  168
Chapter Notes  173
Bibliography  179
Index  185

Book Reviews & Awards

• “Impressively informative and the result of meticulous and exhaustive research, Untamed is an absolute ‘must read’ for the legions of X-Men fans and would well serve as a template for similar studies of other Marvel comics heroes and villains”—Midwest Book Review

• “Surely, if any comic book superhero ever needed to be psychoanalyzed, it’s Logan, the extraordinary X-Man known as Wolverine—and Dr. Suzana Flores has shown she’s just the shrink for the job!”—Roy Thomas, co-creator of Wolverine

• “Wolverine is a savage who by adopting a philosophy learned how to control himself and found some degree of happiness functioning in society. To open the shell and understand the subtleties and history of this transformation I recommend you read Suzana Flores’ book Untamed.”—Joe Rubinstein, comic book artist/painter

• “Like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman, Wolverine is one of a handful of comic book characters who has become a cultural icon. His powers, personality and the mysteries surrounding him are often imitated and have had a profound effect on popular entertainment. It’s about time someone has done a definitive study on him. Enter Dr. Flores—who, like Logan, is the best there is at what she does!”—Tom DeFalco, former editor-in-chief of Marvel Comics

• “Untamed gives incredible insight into Wolverine, one of the most interesting and complex super heroes ever. Dr. Flores peels back the layers of personal damage and super heroics to reveal the heart of the killer. Absolutely brilliant!”—Jonathan Maberry, New York Times bestselling author of Marvel Universe vs. Wolverine and Black Panther: Doomwar

• “Comic book histories and analyses are nothing new. But, the genre is plagued with ‘fanboys’ who turn pro and run on, off the top of their heads, as if all their pontifications—factual or not—came to them from on high, without their investing disciplined research or citing sources in a way that truly serves history. More academic, related works by professors, professional journalists and doctors are few and far between and are something we’ve long looked forward to. Untamed: The Psychology of Marvel’s Wolverine by Dr. Suzana E. Flores is a very welcome addition.”—J. David Spurlock, noted pop-culture author-historian, educator

• “In these times of conflict and struggle with those who are perceived as different, the X-Men stories provide a template that is well worth consideration. Many who have suffered tragedies early in life find themselves being misjudged and vilified by others because of a lack of understanding about how emotional pain can create a protective shell that may give the appearance of being cold, callous, and even inhuman. The analysis conducted by Dr. Flores within these pages on characters like the Wolverine in particular, and X-Men in general, are invaluable in providing an opportunity for people to understand the transformational power of pain in sometimes building the framework for a type of resilience and strength that otherwise would not exist. The stories of the X-Men serve as a reminder that heroes are rarely perfect because it is often tragedy that drives their convictions and it is the darkness inside a hero that brings the light of justice to others. Thanks to Dr. Flores, not only is Wolverine more relatable, the character is an inspirational reminder of our own capacity to overcome our greatest challenge…the battle within to retain our humanity in times of adversity.”—Jon H. McCaine, director, The Lighthouse High Risk Intensive Youth Program

• “You have known him as Wolverine or Logan or Weapon X or even Patch. Born as James Howlett, he IS the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn’t very nice. He has been misunderstood by many, accepted by some, but loved by all. So how does one go about dissecting the mind of this man? This mutant? This monster? You must read Dr. Suzana Flores’ book Untamed. Using her specialization in mental health, Dr. Flores has analyzed the vision of the comic creators who brought this man to life. Find out what makes Wolverine the most violent yet humane of all mutants. But mostly, within these pages, is a special opportunity to get to know the man you simply know as Wolverine.”—Chandler Rice, comic book historian, Desert Wind Enterprises, Inc.

• “With her background in psychology, in-depth research, and creator interviews, Dr. Flores has provided us with what will be considered the definitive guide to the psyche of the world’s most popular mutant anti-hero! Untamed will intrigue fans of the adamantium-clawed X-Man, as they go on an exploration of his complex—and sometimes contradictory—history. From his greatest victories, to his most heart-wrenching defeats, through love and heartache, this psychological profile will give you a greater understanding of the man simply know as ‘Logan.’ And whether you know him from the comic books, or on the silver screen, you’ll learn how the Canadian superhero with a thing for cigars, beer, and calling people ‘bub,’ went from being a one-time foil for the Hulk to a pop-culture phenomenon.”—Elliott Serrano, Chicago’s King of Geeks

Author Interview

Review Fix‘s own Patrick Hickey, Jr., chats with Untamed author Suzana E. Flores, who discusses the origin of the book and who she thinks will enjoy it the most.  Listen to it here.