Yes, Marvel Published a Steamy Wolverine Cover Without Realizing – Screen Rant

In Wolverine #6 (2003), Esad Ribic drew a cover depicting a scandalous interaction between Logan and Kurt, slipping the cover past Marvel editors.
One of Marvel’s steamiest covers featured Wolverine and an apparently naked Nightcrawler. written by Greg Rucka with art by Darick Robertson and Tom Palmer. 2003’s Wolverine #6 prominently features the two friends drinking in a bar. The issue’s cover artist, Esad Ribic, then a new artist for Marvel, drew a steamy cover for the issue depicting Wolverine staring at a suggestive, nude Nightcrawler, and somehow the Marvel editors approved it.
This saucy cover has been written about several times over the years, but it remains clear that at the time of publishing, Marvel editor Axel Alonso either didn’t realize the connotations or didn’t care. Some might think that Esad Ribic created the cover as unintentionally salacious, but writer Greg Rucka remembers it differently. Rucka wrote the following on Tumblr back in 2015,
“Also please note the placement of the beer bottle.
I once was at a show where I asked Esad about this cover.
Esad is a big, cheerful, man with a wicked sense of humor.
He just looked at me.
And then he smiled.
And the smile got bigger.
And bigger.
And he said, “And nobody at Marvel noticed!”
And then he couldn’t stop laughing.”
Related: X-Men Animated Series’ Best Wolverine Meme Has Hilarious Cover
While this scandalous cover might seem completely out of the blue, there is actually some precedent set for Wolverine and Nightcrawler to be in an intimate relationship together. The underpinning of Ribic’s cover could speak to the emotional support that Nightcrawler offers Logan in this issue, where they comfort each other after Colossus’ death, especially given the long and close friendship that the two share. Additionally, Marvel (and every other major comics publication) have a long history of sexualizing female heroes on covers, so it’s only reasonable that Ribic was allowed to sexualize two male heroes.
The decidedly erotic cover depicts a clearly nude Nightcrawler approaching a drunk sitting Wolverine, who has a beer placed in a very suggestive position. While neither Kurt nor Logan have ever been confirmed to be anything but straight, Wolverine has been shown to be in a romantic relationship with Hercules in another universe and is currently in a polyamorous relationship with both Jean Grey and Cyclops. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler has a history of dealing with bigotry and discrimination that has been compared to the struggles of the LGBTQ+ community, especially as he is a devout Catholic who looks like a demon.
Ribic’s cover works so well because it is much more suggestive than it is explicit, with two drunk friends potentially just “having a fun night together.” While other covers that depict sexualized Marvel characters such as Spider-Woman have since been removed from publishing, Esad Ribic’s classic Wolverine cover remains iconic, and continues to elude Marvel editors. While readers may never know exactly how no Marvel editors noticed Ribic’s suggestive cover art, many fans of both Wolverine and Nightcrawler are thankful for the gorgeous addition to a favorite head cannon.
More: Nightcrawler’s New Costume Turns Him Back Into a Sex Icon
Alex Schlesinger is a freelance Comics News writer for Screen Rant. While his career is in social work, one of his biggest passions is reading and writing about comic books. While Alex loves to write about all things comics, the X-Men will always hold a special place in his heart. Alex lives in Seattle with his fiancé Zach and their two cats Jasper & Harley. When not writing Comics News he is cooking, baking, reading science fiction, and travelling around the Pacific Northwest.

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