By Richie Burke Contributor Published Jan 03, 2024 at 6:01 PM

One day in 2010, John Frank Hamann was approached by a stranger at Veterans Park who excitedly came running up to him with his cell phone. "You’re the Milverine!" the man said. 

Hamann was a combination of confused and amused. However, "Milverine" had a pretty nice ring. 

The jacked, power-walking construction worker had no idea that he had a dedicated Facebook page and Reddit thread where people tracked sightings of his whereabouts around the city. Unbeknownst to him, he was gaining a cult following as Milverine, a playoff of Hugh Jackman's Wolverine character but the Milwaukee version.

He also had yet to learn that a decade later, Vice Media would fly a crew out to produce an eight-minute documentary on him. This documentary has now garnered over one million views on YouTube and over seven million views on Facebook.

Milverine is now 60 and semi-retired after experiencing a torn rotator cuff that required surgery before he could return to work. Interestingly, this injury occurred while he was lifting 120-pound dumbbells and slipping on ice, though not simultaneously. Despite these recent setbacks, he remains very active. When asked about a typical day, without hesitation, he mentioned that he walks about 45-55 miles per day. On longer days, he can cover up to 75 miles. Engaging in some basic math, Milverine walks about two marathons daily, and on extended days, he nearly covers the distance from Brookfield to the Capitol in Madison.

Milverine grew up on the south side, and despite having no desire to compete in high school sports, he has been a health nut and has loved lifting since he was 8 years old. He also comes from a family of athletes with good genetics. His great-grandfather lived to be over 100 and, as Milverine puts it, "could kick the crap out of anyone in his 90s." Additionally, his uncle Hank Gardner won the Wisconsin State Open golf tournament in 1941.

Speaking about Milverine's health these days, he mentions that he hasn't been sick a day in 20 years. He attributes this to maintaining a primarily plant-based diet, abstaining from drugs and alcohol throughout his life, and staying active. In addition to his dedication to a healthy lifestyle, Milverine is a devoted Milwaukee sports fan. During the Bucks' 2021 Finals run, he spent every game day in Deer District for two months, showcasing his passion for the team.

Along with Milverine's health routine, we also get into his thoughts of and love for the city of Milwaukee. 

Milverine teaches us a history lesson about his favorite Milwaukee landmark: Bradford Beach, which he insists is the best urban beach in the United States and contends that it rivals Waikiki Beach in Hawaii.

Some other notes from the episode:

  • Milverine's refusal to fight Charlie Berens due to Berens only lasting 30 seconds and being a nice guy. However, he expresses a desire to fight ESPN's Stephen A. Smith in the ring, particularly after Smith's comments about Milwaukee, whenever he is back in town.
  • When asked about what he loves most about Milwaukee, Milverine mentions the seasons, parks, year-round activities, the arts, sports and more.
  • Milverine doesn't travel because, in his words: "Where the hell am I going to go?"
  • The episode concludes with a round of Milwaukee trivia, offering viewers a chance to see how well Milverine knows the city.

Overall, if you're looking for a fascinating conversation with Milwaukee's superhero, be sure to tune into this episode of Milwaukee Uncut.

For more on Milwaukee Uncut and to submit guest, topics, or partner opportunities click here.

Milwaukee Uncut is produced by Story Mark Studios, sponsored by Central Standard Distillery, in partnership with OnMilwaukee.