Wolverine has one of the most iconic looks in comics even without his mask on, but the character wouldn't be seen outside of his trademark costume until two years after he made his debut. Sporting the thickest of sideburns and jet-black pointed hair, Logan's face and hairstyle are recognizable even in silhouette. So what if the character had gone in a completely different direction? Would he have become as popular as he is now if he looked...more like a regular guy? Marvel Editor Tom Brevoort shared a version of unmasked Wolverine created by legendary artist John Byrne that is quite different to say the least.
"Before Dave Cockrum has Wolverine take off his mask in Uncanny X-Men #98," Brevoort wrote. "John Byrne had done and pitched this design for what he looked like under there. What might have been."
The caption on the image, which looks Clint Eastwood in his prime and features precisely zero sideburns and what looks like blond hair, reads: "In case The Wolverine should ever decide to take off his mask, Tah dah!"
Before Dave Cockrum has Wolverine take off his mask in Uncanny X-Men #98, John Byrne had done and pitched this design for what he looked like under there. What might have been. pic.twitter.com/MQ3vPoawy0— Tom Brevoort (@TomBrevoort) March 30, 2020
On the forum for his official website, Byrne wrote about the alternate design back in 2012 when asked by a fan about the image saying: "Ah, yes -- that was my original suggestion for Wolverine's face. I sent that to Chris and he responded 'You blew it! Dave has already designed Wolvie's face.' Not sure how that constituted me "blowing it", but that seemed to be Chris' favorite phrase at the time. (When he asked me to draw his mother into an issue of MARVEL TEAM-UP, but sent no reference, I did the best I could based on having met her once before, and his response was "You blew it!")."
Byrne continued that this design he created for Wolverine would go on to be used as the basis for none other than Sabretooth, albeit with some more modifications (like sideburns). The artist also had a note about Dave Cockrum's design for Wolverine which has a basis in a different comic from Marvel's Distinguished Competition, writing: "Dave's design was, of course, based on Timberwolf, who he'd been drawing for a while in the Legion of Superheroes."