365 Reasons to Love Comics #162
WordPress must’ve had a stroke, but I will fight through the glitches to bring you your Reason to Love Comics!
Anyway, Anthropomorphism Week, Part Deux, continues with today’s perfect porcine protector! With great archive comes great responsibility.
Spider-Ham, Spider-Ham, does whatever a… uh…
Peter Porker, the Spamtacular Spider-Ham, was once a mild-mannered spider, bitten by a radioactive May Porker– the pig equivalent of Aunt May. He was transformed into a Spiderpigman, which is different from Manbearpig. May ended up becoming his surrogate “Aunt” and he started dating Mary Jane Waterbuffalo. Yes, he was created by Tom DeFalco (along with a fellow named Mark Armstrong). Why do you ask?
The ham with the proportionate speed, strength, and agility of a spider first appeared in a “Marvel Tails” one-shot in the early 80’s, and was gifted with his own series a couple years later, published under Marvel’s kid-friendly Star imprint. All sorts of cool creators worked on these stories, including Steve Skeates and Fred Hembeck. Michael Golden drew the cover to #1.
Spider-Ham lived in a world populated by anthropomorphic representations of all the other Marvel characters, all of whom had, in their name, a reference to what kind of animal they were. For example, you had J. Jonah Jackal, Captain Americat, Deerdevil, Hulk-Bunny, Goose Rider, the Asinine Torch (my personal favorite), Nick Furry, Agent of SHEEP, Sub-Marsupial… and Spider-Ham’s enemies: Ducktor Doom, Doctor Octopussycat, Kingpig, Sandmanatee, and Galactypus. There are tons more. Check the Wiki for a list.
All good things must come to an end, however, and Spider-Ham’s solo series was roasted at #17. That was not the end of our bacon-y friend, however, as he later appeared in back-ups in Marvel Tales, as well as in several issues of What The!?, Marvel’s completely-insane 90’s follow-up to Not Brand Ecch. I really need to track this book down. After that folded, Spider-Ham mostly vanished into limbo, but still shows up in cameo appearances, such as in Generation X #52, or a Spider-Girl story, or a variant cover and the like. J. Michael Straczynski brought Spider-Ham back to the forefront in a recent one-shot which was not very acclaimed. Besides, he replaced all the wonderful, colorful animal characters with “ham” derivatives. Who wants Wolverham or Hambit when you can have Doc Clamson and Paste Pot Peep?
I love the concept of the wall-crawling hog, because it’s light, cheeky, fun stuff that kids of all ages can enjoy. Ahh, but those were simpler times, when Marvel poked fun at itself on purpose, for once. (Okay, low blow. I apologize. No snark here! Really! Just love!) I’m still waiting on my Spider-Ham/Captain Carrot crossover. C’mon, fellas! Give the world what it doesn’t know it needs!
The adventures of the webbed pig wonder have proven that you can’t keep a good ham down. For with great novelty, comes great resale value. Now if you’ll excuse me, my sausage sense is tingling. Mmm.