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Havok & Wolverine

Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown issue 1

Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown issue 1

Well, our previous blog was on DC’s Cosmic Odyssey, so hey, here’s Marvel’s big prestige format limited series from right around the same time.

Written by the Simonsons, 1988′s Havok & Wolverine: Meltdown was published through Marvel’s Epic imprint. As Walter (Simonson) explained in an interview that appeared in Marvel Age 68, “The Meltdown story is intended as a mixture of superhero adventure with elements of spy stories. There’s a prologue which takes place at Chernoybl in the Soviet Union at the time of the nuclear disaster there, a partial meltdown.”

Of course, pretty soon after this series was published, the Soviet Union collapsed!

Well, anyway, what was really interesting about Havok & Wolverine, was how the illustrative chores were handled. Both John J Muth and Kent Williams were high profile comic book painters at the time; for whatever reason they were both hired for the gig, so the work was split…Muth did all the Havok artwork, and Williams did all the Wolverine artwork. For panels where both characters appeared, the artists basically just alternated tackling those. Their painting styles, while unique to each artist, were close enough and blended well so there was no real distractions in storytelling.

From a collector / comic book investor point of view, I do remember Havok & Wolverine being pretty heavily speculated on. I mean, hey, it was deluxe book starring Wolverine…and at the time, Wolverine hadn’t yet had the billion guest appearances and series since. (More about that in a future blog, how Wolverine guest appearances were highly collectible for a while.)

I clearly remember being at a convention — probably the big Thanksgiving ’88  Creation Convention in NYC — and overhearing some collector telling a retailer who had a booth there, “I just ordered a lot of copies of the Havok & Wolverine series,” and the retailer was like, “Why?,” and the guy responded, “Because it’s gonna go up!”

I think the highest value of issue 1 was $5, and then it fell back down to below cover price. That collector / speculator most likely learned a somewhat pricey lesson: Don’t bet on a prestige format (aka bookshelf format) comic with a $3.50 cover price (then a high price tag), that’s obviously gonna be heavily ordered by everybody and their grandmother!

More info / resources:

Jon J Muth’s website is here, and Kent Williams’ website is here.

Havok & Wolverine was indeed collected into a trade paperback edition, which seems to be currently out of print. Fortunately, because the original issues were heavily ordered, there are a lot of them out there…

…first try your local comic shop, and if no luck there, mycomicshop.com has them for under a buck each. Get ‘em!

2 comments to Havok & Wolverine

  • I remember how groundbreaking and strange this comic was at the time – a comic that featured mainstream superheroes (esp. Wolverine) but which was painted in an intense, artsy, at times abstract style that was very much unknown back then in any kind of mainstream comics. (much like how bewildered everyone was when Bill S. did STRAY TOASTERS) :) All anyone had to reference Jon J. Muth’s art, pretty much, was the wonderful fantasy/autobio/coming of age metaphor MOONSHADOW by J.M. DeMatteis. I remember Kent Williams was known, but don’t remember what he was known for. I also recall Muth’s DRACULA adaptation back then – or was that Kent Williams’…?

  • i found your blog over on the side of a facebook page, it’s great. on this post, i have the havok/wolverine and pull it out pretty often i never noticed the jon j muth before, i’m in my late thirties now and have two kids and read jon j muth books to them all the time, “the three questions” and “zen shorts.” cool.

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