The Wolverine meme was all over the internet last week, and it’s probably one you’ve seen several times before. The short-lived meme was inspired by the latest Wolverine movie, which hits theaters on July 25th.
The character, which was previously portrayed by Hugh Jackman in the X-Men movies, is now being portrayed by James Mangold in the Wolverine movie. According to the meme, the best way to identify Mangold’s Wolverine is by looking at his hands. While his claws may be yellow in the comics, in the movies they’re always black, just like Jackman’s.
On the subject of the Wolverine meme, which was created by Twitter user @jakempner, Stephen King wrote:
“The only thing better than one magnificent meme is ten magnificent memes. When they come in pairs, the effect is even more powerful. Happy Birthday to me.”
Whether you love Wolverine or you hate him (like me), it’s pretty hard to deny that the meme grew in popularity last week. It probably wouldn’t be a stretch to say that Mangold’s version of Wolverine was the best-known version of the character yet.
The movie is directed by James Mangold and it features an ensemble cast, led by Hugh Jackman. Besides Mangold, the movie also features Boyd Gaines, Richard Harris, Stephen Merchant, Elise Neal, and Daphne Zuniga. While Harris and Jackman reprise their roles from the previous Wolverine movies, the rest of the cast are relative newcomers.
With so much press surrounding the movie, it’s no wonder the Wolverine meme arose. And while we’re on the subject of the Wolverine meme, it’s important to note that it’s not the only one related to the movie. There are also a number of Batman memes that surfaced in the wake of the movie’s release.
Batman’s Beard Is Also Popular
In the Dark Knight trilogy, which was directed by Christopher Nolan, Batman evolved from a cowl-wearing vigilante to a full-fledged superhero. But even before Nolan’s Batman trilogy, the Caped Crusader had already been depicted as a humanistic superhero in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. So it should come as no great surprise that Batman memes have also been popular since the premiere of Nolan’s trilogy.
While we’re on the subject of Batman, it’s important to point out that the “bearded” motif didn’t start with the Wolverine meme. Back in October 2017, a Batman meme surfaced on Twitter, depicting the Dark Knight as he appeared in Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. This particular meme was inspired by the orange juice brand Lucozade, which featured Batman in its 2015 Christmas advertisement. Even though it was just an ad, it wouldn’t be a stretch to call it a masterpiece of meme-making. Just check out the reactions from Twitter users, who were either excited or amused by the meme.
Like the Wolverine meme, the Batman meme also had an abbreviated lifespan. But it’s been around long enough for people to start referencing specific scenes from the trilogy, such as the “bat-beard” scene. This is what happens when you’re the biggest and arguably the best superhero movie ever made, and it spawned countless memes, including this one.
Ironman’s Beard Is Also Popular
While we’re on the topic of memes relating to superhero movies, it’s important to point out that the Ironman meme has been around for a long time. Back in 2012, when it was first introduced to the public, audiences were given a humorous picture of a bearded Tony Stark, accompanied by the line, “I don’t need to rebuild it. It’s already on the inside.”
The Ironman meme owes its existence to a series of commercials for the 2012 movie. In the commercials, Tony Stark discusses various themes, including friendship, loyalty, and revenge, before culminating in a plea to be allowed to continue building things. It was during this plea that Stark is depicted as he appears in the comics, with a full head of hair. Since then, the Ironman meme has been popular on social media platforms like Twitter, where it’s been used to portray everything from Tony Stark’s pleas to a Lego parody featuring the Ironman minifigure.
Wolverine’s Beard Is Also Popular
There are also a number of Wolverine memes, featuring the sharp-toothed mutant with the black claws. The best-known example of the meme is probably the one where Wolverine’s head morphs into a beard, as he snarls at the camera. The snarling Wolverine meme was most recently used by the Twitter account of the official Marvel movieverse, @marvel_movie, to show off their Photoshop skills. The ability to transform a head into a full-fledged beard has become somewhat of a trademark for the account, which regularly posts pictures of Spiderman, Black Widow, and other characters with various facial hair styles.
The Wolverine memes also have an interesting history. According to a 2009 interview with Marvel Comics, Dan Panosian, who runs the website MemeWorld, thinks that the prevalence of the beard-wolverine meme is a reflection of the fact that the character’s appearance in the upcoming movie is “more in-line with the darker edges of the character.”
While we’re on the subject of Wolverine, it’s important to note that another famous, if not necessarily well-known, Wolverine meme also made its debut last week. The viral success of Logan, the Wolverine movie starring Patrick Stewart as Professor X, led to an evolution of the character, as seen in the film. As a result, many fans of the character took to social media to share their new-found appreciation, with one user even doing a spot-on impression of Stewart’s famous speech at the end of the movie.
Logan seems to have been well-received by critics and audiences alike, so it’s no surprise that the movie’s star, Patrick Stewart, would lend his likeness to Twitter users for this particular meme. While some might consider this to be spam, Stewart has over 140 million followers and this is the sort of interaction that he often enjoys having on Twitter. Even though the character has been around since the 1960s, with his first appearance in Goldfinger, it was Logan that brought the character to “mainstream” audiences, via the Wolverine movie. While some might prefer to forget about their past, the Wolverine meme is a reflection of that past and it’s been used to pay homage to that history.
Wolverine’s Hands Predict His Identity
Speaking of which, it shouldn’t come as any great surprise that the best-known Wolverine meme is also the one with his hands front and center. After all, it was previously revealed that in the upcoming Wolverine movie, the best way to identify James Mangold’s Wolverine is by looking at his hands. And it seems that the folks over at Reddit agree, as one of the top-voted comments on the “Wolverine is revealed to be…” thread goes as follows:
“I think that Mangold’s Wolverine hands are the best way to identify him. There’s something about the blunt nail polish and the stubble on his knuckles that just makes his character so unique. He doesn’t really need to be described as having a giant claw coming out of his hand, because that’s exactly what it is…”
This particular Reddit comment was accompanied by a number of other equally interesting comments from other users, who weighed in on the best way to identify Mangold’s Wolverine. While some suggested looking at his eyes, or his character design, others focused on his hands, and all of them had a good point. Looking at Wolverine’s hands makes perfect sense, as they’re a clear indicator of who he is, and what he’s been through. His knuckles are rough from years of sparring with various enemies, and he nails every other part of the world to submit them to his “saber” hands.
The Future Of Memes
While we’re talking about Reddit, it’s important to note that the platform is one of the more “live” spaces for memes. Memes that appear on Reddit tend to rise to the top, rather quickly, and this is thanks to the platform’s emphasis on discovery and voting. If you want to get a sense of what the future of memes looks like, as it pertains to upcoming movies, you can check out the “Wolverine is revealed to be…” thread on Reddit. This is where the public gets to weigh-in on the topic, and it seems that fans of the Wolverine character have plenty to say, on this front.