Comics writer Van Jensen (full disclosure: also the blogger formerly known as Jean-Claude Van Doom) commented in February about the apparent similarities between a pitch he submitted to Marvel and what was then a newly solicited Wolverine story by Jason Aaron. At his blog, Van described his “day in the life” story as “a comedic, slightly meta take” on Wolverine and his ability to be in so many places at once. The story follows Wolverine through a single day as he scrambles from place to place, bouncing through various fights to take part in all the different books he’s a part of — Wolverine, Origins, Astonishing X-Men, X-Men, New Avengers, etc.
The joke is that Wolverine is regarded as a loner, but that perception exists because he’s so in demand that he doesn’t have time to make friends while he’s running from one tussle to another.
Things got interesting when “A Day in the Life” (which was the title in the February solicitations) writer Jason Aaron found Van’s blog and quickly refuted the implications that the plot had been passed to him through Marvel, adding “‘Day in the Life’ types of stories are obviously nothing new, and mine is not tongue in cheek or slightly-meta, so I imagine you’ll find our stories aren’t even as similar as you’re supposing.”
That seemed to settle everything. But I happened to pick up Wolverine #73 this week, the first issue in this two-part story, and I was shocked to the point of laughter at how strikingly similar this story is to what Van pitched. Wolverine starts out fighting solo against Juggernaut, then in the next panel, he’s with the New Avengers fighting in the streets, and in the next panel, he’s fighting zombies with the Punisher, then in the next panel, he’s fighting alongside X-Force, then in the next panel he’s fighting alongside the X-Men, and in the next panel he’s fighting alongside Spider-Man, then he’s searching for Romulus, and so on and so on. Throughout, Wolverine is shown to be in such a hurry to get from one place to another that he’s unable to maintain relationships, leaving Iceman hanging in the middle of a sentence, too distracted to participate in the poker game, and ultimately so overwhelmed and tired that even Yukio is put off by his lifestyle. The story also implements some snappy dialogue and transitions like “four eggs and three cups of coffee later…”
In other words, it’s a lot like what Van pitched.
I personally think the discussion about whether or not Marvel, and thus Aaron, “stole” the idea is largely pointless. Marvel editors are presumably smart people, and there are simply too many creative minds out there for similar ideas to not overlap. What really strikes me about this situation, though, is the manner in which Aaron decided to distance himself from it. The fact that Aaron suggests these two stories are nothing alike is pretty funny, but the best part is how he’s claiming there’s nothing tongue-in-cheek or “slightly-meta” about what he’s written.
Its purpose is to show just how many teams and missions Wolverine is involved in on a day to day basis. The story is good because it’s poking fun at the overexposure that Wolverine has become known for over the years.
All of the stereotypes are in here. He plays cards, drinks, fights along with the X-Men, gets killed, finds a woman, gets killed, prays like a samurai, gets killed and on and on. Some of the scenes are hysterical, such as the red Hulk punching his face off, literally. Or when the X-Men battle Mystique and Cyclops remarks that Logan had told him he’d killed her already.
It’s basically a thinly veiled comment on “Wolverine is in every Marvel book there is…”
It’s a borderline farcical riff on the idea that “Wolverine is everywhere,” depicting the days of the week and allotting each one to a different title in which he cameos or features. Monday is the Avengers, Tuesday’s a Punisher team-up, Wednesday’s X-Force, Thursday is spent with the X-Men, Friday is a Japan jaunt, Saturday is Romulus business, lather, rinse, repeat.
Poor Jason Aaron. The guy thinks he wrote a serious story and has no idea there’s comedy or commentary in it!