Though it seems impossible to believe today given

Wolverine

's overwhelming popularity, it took a decade and a half from his first appearance until Marvel gave him his first solo book in 1989.

Even more incredibly, it took a whopping 17 years for Marvel to launch a second ongoing, "Wolverine: Origins."

In a brilliant move they responded to the demand for more Wolverine material by delving into the long repressed memories of the character.

After repeated brainwashing, torture and reprogramming, Wolverine's past was as convoluted and murky to longtime fans as it was to Logan himself. When the character had all his lost memories returned to him, many felt it would cost the character the unique mystique that played such a big role in his popularity.

"Wolverine: Origins" exists to tell these newly discovered parts of Wolverine's history, explore how these revelations have ramifications today and give us a Wolverine focused on punishing those who have wronged him and hidden the truth from him.

One of the more jarring aspects of a book like this is that "forgotten" characters are suddenly thrust into the spotlight in a significant way and play a major role in the character's life in the present day.

One of the better examples of this is Wolverine finding his long lost son Daken, who may be more vicious, ruthless and unstoppable than his father. though writer Daniel Way has yet to give this father-son relationship much depth beyond the reverse-Darth Vaderesque "Logan! I am your son!" vibe, it is interesting to see Logan deal with a son who not only long blamed him for his mother's death but who reminds the hero of the man he used to be and still could be if he let himself lose control.

Daken is so lethal that in issue No. 35, he fights Wolverine and a group of X-men to a draw. Noble Cyclops then asks Wolverine to end Daken's threat permanently - a request that just doesn't ring true for the character.

Another sour note is Wolverine discovering a foe named Romulus has secretly controlled Logan and has been responsible for the majority of his misery through the years. Comics Guy feels it's a lot more haunting to think that all the pains Logan has endured were due to a series of random acts, rather than the machinations of a big, bad super-villain behind the scenes. It lessens the impact by making the reason for Logan's hard life logical instead of inexplicable and random.

Issues Nos. 35-36 deal with Daken seeking to possess the muramasa blade, a physical embodiment of his father's rage and the one thing on the planet that can kill Wolverine for good.

Daken is currently assuming the role of "Wolverine" in Norman Osborn's "Dark Avengers" and takes over his father's "Wolverine" title this month, so that gives you a clue both that the character is here to stay.

Universal 'Love'

In a story that is becoming common, the brand new "The Strange Adventures of H.P. Lovecraft" has landed a movie deal.

Variety reports that Universal and Imagine Entertainment have picked up the film rights to the property, which may be directed by Ron Howard.

The comic depicts elements from Lovecraft's life, from his family's struggle with mental illness to his own struggles with writer's block and transforms his own nightmares as a young man into a reality when he comes upon a book that curses him and lets the evils he imagines loose upon the world.

'Boy' battles

for a deal

The Hollywood Reporter says that screenwriter Alex Tse ("Watchmen") will adapt Paul Pope's "Battling Boy" for Brad Pitt's Plan B production company and Paramount Pictures.The graphic novel will hit next year.

The storyline centers on the son of a god who tries to rid the city of Monstropolis of a plague of beasts.

'Forgotten' remembered

The Hollywood Reporter says producers John Wells and Don Murphy have optioned the rights to "The Forgotten" by Evan Young and Jareth Grealish.

The comic centers on a man who, no matter what he does or whom he meets, is forgotten five minutes later. While it gives him great advantages with investigations and problem-solving, it leaves him incredibly alone.

'Black Cap' coming back?

"Captain America" No. 600 hits today, and Marvel is preparing retailers for mainstream media attention.

With the movie coming up and Cap collaborators Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting and Alex Ross involved, many feel that the recently deceased Steve Rogers will soon return.

But given Marvel's history of blowing away expectations, a sketch by Kyle Baker, and rumors of a Will Smith "Captain America" movie, Comics Guy wonders if Marvel will shock everyone by bringing the old, mentally addled "Black Cap," Isiah Bradley, back to his prime self.

Think of the buzz that would create in the Age of Obama. It would also allow Marvel to have a black star in its "Avengers" movie to go with Robert Downey, Jr. and the rest.

My gut says Rogers is returning, but the return of "Black Cap" as the Cap is possible. *