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Comic Book Legends Revealed #352

Welcome to the three hundredth and fifty-second in a series of examinations of comic book legends and whether they are true or false. Today, learn whether Spider-Ham was really inspired by Cerebus, discover what Marvel character was nearly Captain Marvel and marvel at the oddity that is the comic book baseball team in the Ken Griffey Presents Major League Baseball video game!

Click here for an archive of the previous three hundred and fifty-one.

Let’s begin!

COMIC LEGEND: The creation of Spider-Ham was inspired by Dave Sim’s Marvel parody characters in Cerebus.

STATUS: I’m Going With False

A couple of weeks ago, I did a Comic Book Legends Revealed about Dave Sim and his treatment from Marvel over his usage of the Wolverine parody character, Wolveroach. This legend is about what Sim felt that Marvel did in response to his parodies.

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Dave Sim would occasionally parody other comic book characters (heck, the book as a whole began as a parody of Conan the Barbarian), including Red Sonia, Moon Knight and Wolverine…

Shortly after Marvel warned him about using Wolveroach on the covers of Cerebus, they debuted Spider-Ham in 1983…

Sim gave his thoughts about the character in the essay “Dave Sim On Parody & Copyright” in Following Cerebus #3:

when Marvel did Peter Porker, The Amazing Spider-Ham – I suspect largely as a warning shot across my bow over my doing Wolverroach. Essentially they did Cerebus in a Spider-Man costume. It was an attempt to play some hardball with me. You want to play cute, we can play cute too. Of course my theory, which dates from that time period, is that you protect your trademark and copyright by being good at what you do. Twenty years later on, Wolveroach is far more memorable than Spider-Ham, even though there was, in my view, a far greater level of appropriation going on in the later case.

It is not like Sim has freaked out over the existence of Spider-Ham. He’s done two covers for charity featuring the character….

However, he believes that the character was based on Cerebus.

I figured I’d ask Tom DeFalco, the creator of Spider-Ham, about the question. Tom opened by saying that he had not heard the theory before and then explained:

Dave Sim and Wolveroach were never on my radar when I started working on Spider-Ham. Spider-Ham came out of a discussion that I had with Larry Hama about Marvel’s licensing program. Larry and I often discussed various aspects of the company. We realized that Marvel could license its characters in almost every way…except for plush toys. In our minds, the Marvel super-heroes didn’t seem to translate all that well to plush. Since Larry and I are both big fans of funny animal comics–I lean toward Walt Kelly’s Pogo and I believe Larry is a hardcore Carl Barks Duck Man–we started talking about about doing funny animal versions of our characters.

Not to belittle my own creativity, but Spider-Ham seemed the obvious choice for Spider-Man and Peter Porker for Peter Parker. Anyway, before I knew it, Larry and I had somehow convinced Shooter to sign off on a one-shot that we dubbed MARVEL TAILS. I no longer remember if I did a full script or a Marvel-style plot, but Larry got Mark Armstrong to draw the lead story. While the book was in production, Larry and I chipped in $100
bucks each and he hired a friend of his to make an actual Spider-Ham plush doll. When MARVEL TAILS came out, Larry and I took a copy and the doll up to the head of Marvel’s licensing division and tried to convince him to get a plush license on Spider-Ham. He wasn’t at all interested. Dejected, Larry and I went back to editorial with our tails between our legs. As far as we were concerned, the whole Spider-Ham project was a failure. We had failed to get the company into the plush market. Anyway, to our surprise, MARVEL TAILS sold very well on the mass market newstands and one-shot eventually became a regular comic book series. (Reminds me another title I later worked on with another webbed character!) Larry kept the Spider-Ham doll in his office until he left staff. It later moved in Jim Salicrup’s office and I have no idea where it is today.

I’m going with Tom here (especially because, even if I didn’t trust Tom – and I do – what reason would he have to lie about this? It’s not like Spider-Ham being a parody of Cerebus would affect anything about the character legally, especially nearly 30 years after the fact), so that’s a false from me.

Thanks for the response, Tom! Thanks to Frank Rook, Travis Pelkie and I’m sure others who have suggested this one over the years.

COMIC LEGEND: A baseball team made up of comic book creators was one of the teams in the Ken Griffey Jr.’s Winning Run video game.

STATUS: True

One of the amusing aspects of sports video games over the years is whether a particular game was licensed by the entire Players Association of the sport that the game is about.

If you did a video game and you paid Major League Baseball, you could have the rights to use all the names of the Major League baseball teams and their uniforms. However, unless you also paid the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), then you could not use the names of the members of the MLBPA in your video game.

When Nintendo first started making baseball video games, they did not bother paying the MLBPA. Most other video game companies followed suit.

In 1988, Nintendo released the classic game, RBI Baseball, which got MLBPA approval (but this time, not Major League Baseball approval, so the teams were just called Detroit, Minnesota, etc.).

This pattern followed suit for years, games would have one or the other, but rarely sprung for both. Eventually, companies would also spring for a single player, getting one guy to endorse the product. Ken Griffey Jr. was who Nintendo went with during their Super Nintendo days of the early 1990s.

In 1994, they released Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball, which was approved by Major League Baseball and, obviously, Ken Griffey Jr., but not the Players Association…

Each team had players with the same statistics as the actual players on each respective team, and the game even came with “Face Changing” technology where you could personally mold each player to make them look their real life counterpart.

But for the names of the players themselves, the game designers were able to basically just geek out and come up with groups of real life people to name the various teams after. The New York Mets, for instance, are named after famous figures from punk rock history. The St. Louis Cardinals are named after famous comedians (Ozzie Smith is Oliver Hardy). The Texas Rangers are famous western heroes (like Tom Mix). The Baltimore Orioles are hilariously named after John Waters characters (with Waters himself filling in for Cal Ripken Jr.), like Mondo Trasho for Mike Mussina.

The Houston Astros, though, are famous comic book professionals!

Check it out…

How can you not love the notion of Will Eisner going deep off of Mondo Trasho!??

Thanks to Comic Book Resources poster noface for suggesting this awhile back!

By the way, the Milwaukee Brewer pitching staff in the game is made up of comic book superhero secret identities (B. Wayne, P. Parker, etc.).

COMIC LEGEND: Gravity initially was going to become the new Captain Marvel.

STATUS: True

Amazingly enough, the comic book hero Gravity was, indeed, intended at one point to become the new Captain Marvel.

The character was introduced by Sean McKeever and Mike Norton in a neat mini-series in 2005 about a new superhero in Manhattan. A modern-day Spider-Man, if you would…

The character died in the nifty 2006 mini-series, Beyond!, by Dwayne McDuffie and Scott Kolins…

but returned to life in McDuffie’s Fantastic Four run. He was given the then-vacant position of Protector of the Universe but then returned to his normal life once again.

However, after the fact it was revealed that initially, Marvel had intended Gravity’s death to lead into a new series where he became the new Captain Marvel! The seeming return of the original Captain Marvel during Civil War squelched plans for this series.

Sean McKeever stopped by in the comments to explain what would have happened…

Just to add some more info to your Gravity item, it was CIVIL WAR that was intended to be the debut of the Greg Willis Captain Marvel, well before SECRET INVASION. Tom Brevoort revealed as much himself when he posted early CW draft notes on his old Marvel blog.

I was tapped by Joe Quesada to write the CM series, and it was to be left to me to come up with the story that bridged the gap between Gravity’s death and his climactic return. This CM was going to have the Starlin costume and the white hair, but still be a college kid, dealing with college-kid stuff and also cosmic craziness.

I still don’t know why plans changed, but they did, as often happens.

The late McDuffie also recalled the situation on the Comic Book Resources’ message boards back in 2010 (in response to the assertion that the idea was McDuffie’s)…

The idea came from elsewhere. I was supposed to kill him in “Beyond,” so that he could be resurrected as the new Captain Marvel in a new series. Just after I finished writing the last issue, Tom [Brevoort] called me up and said the Captain Marvel plans had changed, so if I wanted to, I could have him survive. I felt like that left me without much of an ending, so I left him dead, but added the bit with the Watcher saying his story wasn’t over, so that he could be easily brought back by anyone who wanted to use him.

Later, while I was on Fantastic Four, I decided to bring him back to life, and otherwise restore his continuity to where it was when I got him. I like teen heroes, and I really liked Gravity, so I put the toys back like I found them.

So there ya go!

Gravity has recently become involved in the Marvel Universe once again (with his original creators once again writing and drawing the character)…

Thanks to Dwayne McDuffie, who we all miss greatly, for the information. And thanks to Sean, too, for the cool info!

Okay, that’s it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week’s covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo!

Feel free (heck, I implore you!) to write in with your suggestions for future installments! My e-mail address is cronb01@aol.com. And my Twitter feed is http://twitter.com/brian_cronin, so you can ask me legends there, as well!

Follow Comics Should Be Good on Twitter and on Facebook (also, feel free to share Comic Book Legends Revealed on our Facebook page!). If we hit 3,000 likes on Facebook you’ll get a bonus edition of Comic Book Legends the week after we hit 3,000 likes! So go like us on Facebook to get that extra Comic Book Legends Revealed! Not only will you get updates when new blog posts show up on both Twitter and Facebook, but you’ll get original content from me, as well!

Also, be sure to check out my website, Urban Legends Revealed, where I look into urban legends about the worlds of entertainment and sports, which you can find here, at urbanlegendsrevealed.com.

Here’s my book of Comic Book Legends (130 legends – half of them are re-worked classic legends I’ve featured on the blog and half of them are legends never published on the blog!).

The cover is by artist Mickey Duzyj. He did a great job on it…(click to enlarge)…

If you’d like to order it, you can use the following code if you’d like to send me a bit of a referral fee…

Was Superman a Spy?: And Other Comic Book Legends Revealed

See you all next week!

89 Comments

Wow! I forgot I’d ever suggested that Ken Griffey video game one (I also forgot that I didn’t always post under my own name!). Thanks for featuring it!

Yeah, the CBR forums are currently doing a bit of housecleaning, with all posts from 2005-2007 eventually being deleted. So I went through the posts on the Comics Should Be Good forum from that time period to see if there was anything I wanted to save before they got deleted and, lo and behold, there was your post about the video game! With me saying it’d make a good Comic Book Legend…five years ago! :)

This leads me to another question… has The Simpsons or Matt Groening ever addressed the obvious connections between Spider-Ham and “Spider Pig” from The Simpsons Movie ? I guess you’ll have to rephrase that question as a legend too… maybe something like “Matt Groening ripped off Spider-Ham for The Simpsons Movie.”

So Dave Sim thinks there was never funny animal comics before Cerebus?

I presume it was more the timing than anything else. Marvel complains about Wolveroach and then within a few months, they have a character that Sim felt was a Spider-Man version of Cerebus.

Hmm… has there ever been a Spider-Ham variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man?

Schnitzy Pretzelpants

February 3, 2012 at 9:19 am

The amazing thing about that baseball game is also how uncanny the likenesses were to those comic book creators as well.

It was actually like you were looking at Will Eisner.

;)

Does Gravity still have the girlfriend he had in the miniseries and Beyond? (I realize this is an odd question, but I liked how their relationship was depicted, and thought it was a refreshing change how Gravity’s romantic life was relatively uncomplicated).

“Twenty years later on, Wolveroach is far more memorable than Spider-Ham….”

I am in no way dissing Sim or Cerebus when I say this, because I love the book, and Sim is a tremendous artist all-around , but no. Just no. I’m going to have to disagree with that statement as much as I have to disagree with many of Sim’s other opinions.

Hmm… has there ever been a Spider-Ham variant cover for Amazing Spider-Man?

Yes.

Is it at all possible that even though DeFalco didn’t have Cerebus/Wolveroach in mind when he conceived Spider-Ham that the artist chose to draw him with that in mind?

I totall geeked out when that “The Other” variant came out. Fondness in my heart for Spider Ham

ParanoidObsessive

February 3, 2012 at 9:39 am

>>> “Twenty years later on, Wolveroach is far more memorable than Spider-Ham”

Really? Really?

I’d say he’s out of his %&#$ing mind on that one. I know I’ve known and remembered (and liked) Spider-Ham for years while Wolveroach is barely on my radar most of the time.

Maybe I’m wrong, though? Does everyone else here find Wolveroach to be far more memorable than Spider-Ham? Or is Dave just crazy? Well… crazier than we already know he is for other reasons, I mean.

I agree… I have FOND memories of Spider-Ham. Wolveroach, I do not recall at all.

I had completely forgotten about Wolveroach until he was brought up in this Column a couple weeks ago. Spider-Ham, on the other hand, I remember.

I would pay less attention to the DeFalco version, simply because it is thirty years later. Memories change. The emphasis on plush toys indicates that, yes, they had a very good reason to avoid any IP connection. Maybe they would be safe, maybe not, but it would take expensive lawyers and a ton of bad publicity to prove it.

However, I think the Wolveroach versus Spider-Ham argument is the key. This demonstrates that Sim exaggerates the importance of his characters. Yes, Cerberus is very important to the history of comics, but Wolveroach is not.

I recall both characters, but Spider-Ham tends to be fresher in my mind because he had his own title and, with the conclusion of the Cerebus series, is more likely to continue to appear from time to time.

Sim is obviously an ego-maniac and that has been apparent for decades. I can recall Wolveroach but Spider-Ham was near and dear to me. I was a little too old to be reading funny animal books because I was in Jr. High at the time, but I could NOT resist buying those books because I was a huge fan of Spider-Man in general and the book was such a fun concept.

About that time frame, my friends and I were getting really into RPGs and I bought a copy of Toon because it looked fun, and it was. So I ran one session as a Spider-Ham themed game with one lucky player getting to play Peter Porker and others playing Captain Americat, Hulk-Bunny, The Simian Torch, and Iron Mouse. It was a total blast. I wish I could have made a ongoing campaign out of it but the gaming group broke up a few months later.

Ah….nostalgia

I loved that Ken Griffey game, but never noticed the connection. One thing I do remember is the ridiculously strong home run hitter named J. Hutt!

Is that a Michael Golden cover on Spider-Ham #1?

AverageJoeEveryman

February 3, 2012 at 10:27 am

I was going to mention as well that there is no way Wolveroach is more well known than Spider-Ham. If I had not read High Society a couple years ago I woulnt even know who the character is.

Never mind, I looked it up. It is.

I never liked Spider-Ham much (and I was a big Captain Carrot fan, so it’s not like I have anything against funny animals), and I was an avid reader of Cerebus, but it would never have occurred to me to draw any connection between Spider-Ham and Cerebus. They both have snouts, sure, but they’re really nothing alike. Whereas I look at that Gravity cover and think, “Hey look, Marvel made its own Invincible!”

I remember Cockroach, Captain Cockroach and Moon Roach better than Wolveroach (who indeed did not do much in the series). On the other hand, I have never read Spider-Ham…
I do notice a resemblance to Cerebus and can see why Sim might consider that a parody, but DeFalco’s explanation is believable too…

Does anyone really think Wolveroach is more memorable than Spider-Ham? I’m not questioning who is a better character, or which was written better. Only that I think Spider-Ham is undeniably, and DRASTICALLY more memorable than Wolveroach.

I fall squarely in the “buh wha?” camp on Sim here. I wasn’t even born yet when the whole Wolveroach thing occurred and frankly, I’d never even heard of it until CBLR mentioned him, but I’ve been well aware of Spider-Ham since I was a kid.

Settling the question once and for all, though:

Spider-Ham has his own dedicated Wikipedia page, Wolveroach does not. Check and mate, Mr. Sim.

You know, when sports games first started to allow you to make your own players, I used to always make teams with comic book creators and/or super hero secret identities. I feel a little less embarrassed about this now.

Interesting that Larry “G.I. Joe” Hama may have had an idea for a comic book that could help sell toys! But from what I know of Hama — I’ve conversed with him now and again — I wouldn’t put that past him. He’s known to be a big fan of the old Scrooge McDuck comics, plus he did co-create Bucky O’Hare.

No offense to Mr. Sim, but while fully aware of Cerebus, I never heard of Wolveroach until these series articles. On the other hand, I know fully well of Spider Ham.

I had never heard of Wolverroach (granted, I think I maybe read one issue of Cerberus or I think maybe he was in issues of the older Dragon Magazine? Epic?) till a couple weeks ago.

I have known about Spider-Ham since Marvel Tails was released on the newsstands and I picked it up. Kept it and the series with my Captain Carrot collection.

Spider-Ham has his own dedicated Wikipedia page, Wolveroach does not. Check and mate, Mr. Sim.

Technically he does, but it’s short: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cockroach And before you say, “But that’s not a WOLVEroach page,” it’s not like there’s a page for Oracle either, but there is one for Barbara Gordon. Most of these comic characters who change their superhero names get just one page, unless they’re Batman and need dedicated pages for every item in their utility belt.

It might be interesting to get Hama’s perspective on Spider-Ham. He clearly has a wacky sense of humor (read the file names of various G.I. Joe characters and the supporting cast he created for Wolverine if you don’t believe me), and I could totally picture him thinking, “Funny animal version of Spider-Man…. ‘Spider-Ham’ comes to mind… Hey, isn’t there some kind of stink between Marvel and the guy who does that aardvark comic book? I wonder if anyone will get it if we make Spider-Ham look like Cerebus?”

Interesting legend about Cerebus/Spider-Ham. I was recently sculpting a Spider-Ham action figure and everyone who saw the unpainted sculpt said it looked just like Cerebus – something that hadn’t occured to me until I put pictures side-by-side and saw how similar the overall shapes were…

I used to manage a comic shop, and when people find that out, all the geeks in the room “out” themselves and want to talk to you about comics. For some reason, “Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham” came up pretty regularly with anyone who was a kid in that time period. There’s no way Wolveroach is “far more memorable” a character considering the strangely enduring affection for Peter Porker.

I remember seeing that “Island of Duck-tor Doom” cover in an old Marvel back issue, years ago. I thought (and still think) that a Disney duck characters crossover with Duck-tor Doom would be completely awesome.

And, in the years since, Disney has purchased Marvel, come to think of it… whaddya say guys?

Sorry, but Wolveroach is NOT more memorable than Spider-Ham

Definitely have to agree with the majority here. I’ve been a fan of Spider-Ham since I was a kid, and until the Comic Book Legends entry on him, I had never heard of Wolveroach. Obviously I *am* aware of Cerebus the Aardvark’s existence, even though I never followed that series. But until now, the idea of any sort of similarity between Cerebus and Spider-Ham absolutely never crossed my mind. And, frankly, Sim’s statement “Twenty years later on, Wolveroach is far more memorable than Spider-Ham” makes him sound like an egomaniac.

Well, I was certainly aware of the Wolveroach before I was aware of Spider-Ham, but that’s because I was actively reading comics at the time and thus was aware of Wolveroach before Spider-Ham even existed.

That said, Sim’s claim of which is more memorable is absurd, although I can easily believe that the bubble of fandom that HE hears from regularly is much more Roachcentric, and would be more likely to talk to him about Wolveroach than Wolverine, let alone Spider-Ham.

Hey, Brian! Love your CBLR series. Just to add some more info to your Gravity item, it was CIVIL WAR that was intended to be the debut of the Greg Willis Captain Marvel, well before SECRET INVASION. Tom Brevoort revealed as much himself when he posted early CW draft notes on his old Marvel blog.

I was tapped by Joe Quesada to write the CM series, and it was to be left to me to come up with the story that bridged the gap between Gravity’s death and his climactic return. This CM was going to have the Starlin costume and the white hair, but still be a college kid, dealing with college-kid stuff and also cosmic craziness.

I still don’t know why plans changed, but they did, as often happens.

> Twenty years later on, Wolveroach is far more memorable than Spider-Ham

Gotta go with the crowd on this one. I suppose the word “memorable” leaves some wiggle room… but I’d never heard of Wolveroach before your column.

> even though there was, in my view, a far greater level of appropriation going on in the later case.

This, to me, is the far more egregious claim. From what I could see in last week’s column, Wolveroach *was* Wolverine, apparently unaltered but for his name. Spider-Ham was a pig (not even an aardvark) in a Spider Man costume. The only way there could have been a greater level of appropriation in the Wolveroach character would have been to go ahead and call him Wolverine.

oooh a McKeever sighting! Awesome!…. Gravity reminds me so much of early Quasar and thus I was hooked almost immediately. I hope he continues to have a working niche in the Marvel U…

Talk about stuff that needs collecting…I miss the old Spider-Ham stuff (mine were lost to a bit of flooding) and I admit to doing Spider-Ham/Captain Carrot ccrossovers when I was younger….

I guess that led to me buying stuff like the Looney Tunes/DC crossover, Marvel Apes, and Pet Avengers…. I blame Peter Porker for fostering this love.

Oh and Michael P. I know Gravity referred to her in the McDuffie Fantastic Four finale and she was alluded to in Youth in Revolt briefly (I believe… McKeever can correct me on that fact…) but I haven’t seen her since Beyond! .

I didn’t care for Spider-Ham much (though funny animals in general I like) but I do remember him. Of course, being Marvel and newsstand available it’s not really surprising–I don’t think we got a comic book store in my town that would pick up stuff like Cerberus until years after Wolveroach.
I remember feeling somewhat dissatisfied with the end of Beyond. Guess that’s why. So does Marvel have anyone as Captain Marvel just now? I assume they do, since I understand putting out a Captain Marvel comic is what keeps DC having to publish Shazam comics for Billy Batson rather than Captain Marvel.

I do remember buying an issue of Spider-Ham back then, and I remember seeing Wolverroach on those Sim covers, but never bought them. Actually, at the time, I think I thought it was somekind of company crossover thing, and was actually Wolverine. I haven’t thought or cared about either since that time. I suppose Wolverroach is more memorable because he’s just a cartoony version of Wolverine.

“This, to me, is the far more egregious claim. From what I could see in last week’s column, Wolveroach *was* Wolverine, apparently unaltered but for his name. Spider-Ham was a pig (not even an aardvark) in a Spider Man costume. The only way there could have been a greater level of appropriation in the Wolveroach character would have been to go ahead and call him Wolverine.”

Depends on if you’re going by looks or personality. They look the same in that one costume, yeah, but have very different personalities. While both the Roach and Wolverine are unstable, they’re unstable in very different ways; Wolverine goes nuts sometimes because he’s somewhat feral; Roach is portrayed as crazy 24/7 simply because he’s a superhero . Roach is basically a parody of comic book characters in general (especially superheroes), not just Wolverine; a madman who regularly spouts of references to other comics (not just superheroes). Not very bright, certainly less so than Wolverine. I’m not a huge fan of Wolverine, but if I was being mugged, I’d feel safer if Wolverine showed up than the Roach.

I think you can make a very good case for sampling the entire United States populace and having more people recognize Spider-Ham (as Spider-Ham and not just as a Spider-Man parody) than they would Cerebus. Not that that would excuse plagiarism, but it would certainly counter the idea of which character was more memorable.

Does that mean Spider-Ham is magic, too?

???????

I love how people still play the Super-Nintendo. I still have one and play it once in a while. It’s still great. Never finished that X-Men game though.

The Crazed Spruce

February 3, 2012 at 2:51 pm

And here I thought Spider-Ham was just Marvel trying to snag some of that sweet Captain Carrot lettuce that DC was raking in…..

Crazed Spruce:

I totally see what you did there.

Maybe I’m wrong, though? Does everyone else here find Wolveroach to be far more memorable than Spider-Ham?

I never would have considered Wolveroach for my avatar here.

I’d argue that the Roach (in all his incarnations) is more important a comic character than Spider-Ham. And a much better overally character. And, certainly, the Roach material has been continuously in print

The only cerebus I ever had was in that issue of Spawn where the aardvark showed Spawn around his own house in Vancouver. Turns out it wasn’t Spawn at all, it was just Todd dressed as spawn….

Yeah.:)

I really don’t know if it was Vancouver, Washington or Vancouver, British Columbia. That’s the mystery.

Spider-Ham showed up in a recent Spider-Man video game, and I’d never heard of this Wolveroach characters, so I’m going to have to say that Spider-Ham is more memorable. I also wondered about the Spider-Pig thing in the Simpson’s movie. It seems weird that they were beaten to the parody by Marvel parodying it’s own character in the exact same way.

I like how Dave Sim believed that Wolveroach was still more popular than Spider-Ham twenty years later. It’s amazing how delusional the guy can be at times.

Hey, Brian! Love your CBLR series. Just to add some more info to your Gravity item, it was CIVIL WAR that was intended to be the debut of the Greg Willis Captain Marvel, well before SECRET INVASION. Tom Brevoort revealed as much himself when he posted early CW draft notes on his old Marvel blog.

I was tapped by Joe Quesada to write the CM series, and it was to be left to me to come up with the story that bridged the gap between Gravity’s death and his climactic return. This CM was going to have the Starlin costume and the white hair, but still be a college kid, dealing with college-kid stuff and also cosmic craziness.

I still don’t know why plans changed, but they did, as often happens.

Thanks, Sean!

Well, really, guys, is the guy who created Wolveroach going to say the OTHER character is better? Of course not. But yeah, I don’t see that Wolveroach is more known than Spider-Ham.

I do agree with Mark Andrew that the Roach stuff is more important and has been in print continuously, so in theory, one could encounter the Roach more.

My guess is that DeFalco created Spider-Ham independently, but once someone saw the similarity to Cerebus’s look, it was an added bonus. And it appears that comics and not licensing is where the character took off, which would be fine from Marvel’s standpoint since Sim was licensing Cerebus stuff out.

To me, something like this is a poor example of Dave Sim’s importance to the comics world. There are so many other things that he IS important for, so something like this gets from me a shrug and a “sure it is, Dave”.

I was really confused by the Gravity legend at first, because (Geoff Johns to the contrary), whenever I read the words “Captain Marvel”, I automatically think of the Big Red Cheese, not whomever at Marvel is usurping the name this week.

Well we know what is coming next week. Did the Sim/Marvel war nearly erupt into World War 3!

I think someone could make the argument that Spider-Ham is better known than Cerebus in 2012, even. The further away we get from issue 300 and all. I wouldn’t make that argument, mind you, but I Would make the argument that Spider-Man 2099 is better known at least, and that’s one step away.

@Matt D

It’s not really the comparison between Cerberus and Spider-Ham, but Wolveroach and Spider-Ham. Which I really don’t see. But then again, I don’t have Dave Sim’s “unique” viewpoint on the world.

It’s actually pretty funny how incensed everybody got at the suggestion that Wolveroach would be more memorable than Spider-Ham. But I personally agree with Sim (“memorable” is an entirely subjective and personal thing after all); for me Wolveroach is indeed more memorable. Spider-Ham never appealed to me in the least, every time I’ve read one of the book it felt by-the-numbers and excessively concerned with its puns and multiple winks to the audience. And back then I read almost everything that came out, I even read Marvel Age ffs… but Spider-Ham was worse than Secret Wars II, and THAT’s saying something. :D

But that’s just me – and as I said, “memorable” is a personal thing. Mileages vary.

Of course, the Wolveroach is also a better character; that’s pretty self-evident, as an element of a much more ambitious series. Nobody ever read Spider-Ham for its characterization.

And it’s hilarious to say that a character that you’ve never read is less memorable than a character you read in your childhood – of COURSE it is, you can’t remember fondly something that you’ve never read. I’ve never followed baseball, so no baseball player that ever existed is memorable for me.

It’s actually pretty funny how incensed everybody got at the suggestion that Wolveroach would be more memorable than Spider-Ham.

It is always a bit of a treat to see which minor thing people will latch on to in any particular column. Like maybe 50 out of 60 comments will be about Wolveroach versus Spider-Ham. Or 40 out of 50 comments will be about grammar.

And, of course, FDR. He just rules all comments.

Dave Sim pitched an Objectivist Spider-Ham as a series? I did not know that. I do know another drawing of him appeared on the back cover of one of the issues of the Steve Ditko fanzine, “Ditkomania” a few years back. Here it is: http://cerebus.inri.net/checklist/otherds/ditkomania70back.jpg Plus Ditko Spider-Ham as Ayn Rand for another: http://cerebus.inri.net/checklist/otherds/ditkomania69back.jpg

I suppose now is a good time to mention the intended X-Men/Cerebus crossover from the mid-80s. This covers the basics: http://www.jazzbastards.org/cerebus/Cerebus_xmen.html

All this talk of Spider-Ham and no mention of the glorious art of Steve Mellor? Seriously check out the art in the back stories of those early issues. He also did the cover for the one-shot. He has this 70′s Crumb meets 30′s Disney that is so charming.

That’s just crazy talk, Brian. Spider-Ham is way more memorable than FDR. I don’t mean to invalidate your opinion, but your opinion is invalid.

Who’s FDR?

Maybe in the next Comic Book Legends Revealed you could reveal whether (as Butler already mentioned) Gravity’s look was inspired by Invincible? Because he does look very similar, especially in that first cover you posted.

I’ve never read a Spider-Ham story and did actually read a couple of the Wolveroach Cerebus issues, but until his name started showing up in this column recently, I’d pretty much forgotten Wolveroach had even ever existed. Loved that DeFalco story though. “In our minds, the Marvel super-heroes didn’t seem to translate all that well to plush” seems like a line destined to spark some kind porn parody.

@Travis Pelkie

The FDR is highway in New York City. I’m pretty sure those letters are just randomly assigned, though. ;)

Maybe not. I think the George Washington Bridge was named for some guy, maybe the highway was too.

All this talk of Spider-Ham and no mention of the glorious art of Steve Mellor? Seriously check out the art in the back stories of those early issues. He also did the cover for the one-shot. He has this 70?s Crumb meets 30?s Disney that is so charming.

Steve Mellor was the best. I still periodically Google his name just to see if I can find out what he’s doing now. If he’s drawing anything at all, I would buy it. It could be the cover art on a product and I would buy that product just to get his art. I can’t find out what he’s doing though.

Mark Armstrong who did the lead feature in this book was also another great cartoonist I can’t find out anything about. Later stuff by Joe Albelo and others totally lost me though and I stopped buying issues.

In fact I’d like to suggest that to Brian for a future series on CSBG, Life After Comics where you discuss the post-Comics careers of some of the artists and writers we used to love who disappeared from the scene. Mellor, Armstrong, people like Mark Beachum, etc. The profile you did on Dan Panosian was awesome.

Gotta go with the sims outta his mind crowd on that one too. Was Spider-ham anything like Cerebus (other than both having snouts)? Were his stories at all similiar to the types of stories or adventures told in Cerebus? Or were the stories pretty much just sillier versions of the same stories being told in Spider-man? No. No. and Yes. You could make a better argument that Spider-ham and Cerebus were both parodies of Porky. And no obviously they weren’t but it shows just how crazy the idea is. Was Captain Americat also a parody of one of Sims characters too? Or any of the other Marvel animal versions?

If they had Spider-ham brandishing a sword, speaking like Cerebus, having similiar distinct tales, or otherwise being like the character, even in a silly parody form, I could see a point, but he had none of the characteristics. He was clearly just a silly animal version of Peter Parker with all the standard storytelling that you would expect from a spiderman comic.

Maybe not. I think the George Washington Bridge was named for some guy, maybe the highway was too.

I still can’t believe they named that bridge after a supporting character in Punisher.

I seem to recall Steve Mellor also did some work for Marvel’s attempt at Mad magazine which was Crazy and I really like his stuff in that. Crazy was a bit of an overlooked gem IMHO and I always looked forward to the zany eclectic mix of material in it. Mellor had such a distinct style which was just plain fun and goofy. Whatever happened to him?

Ok, the real question here is: Did they ever get around to making a plush Spider-Ham? Because I would totally buy it.

I have some of Mellor’s “Crazy” Magazine work. He did a feature called Kinetic Kids. That would make a good band name. I’ve seen some of his freelance work including playbills and some illustrations in an airline magazine in the early 2000′s. But the freelance doesn’t look like his comic work. Would love to see Spider-Ham collected so I could have his best stuff collected.

If Sims thinks Wolveroach is more well known than Spiderham.. he’s on crack, it’s debatable that Cerebus was even as popular.

A Spider Ham plush wouldn’t sell? I would push my grandma down some stairs for a plush Spider Ham. All we have is a really rare Kubrick figure. UNFAIR!

I agree with Bob. Even though I’m not a Spider-Ham fan myself, I’d think lots of kids (and obviously a few adults) would go for them.

I think your timeline is all kerfluggered, Brian. The “returned” Captain Marvel debuted around the time of Civil War, not Secret Invasion — he even appeared in Civil War #7. I would guess that McKeever’s new Captain Marvel WAS scuttled in order to bring back Mar-Vell (who would later be revealed as a Skrull).

[...] was actually the lineup that I came upon Friday when pushed to Comic Book Resources (CBR) by an intriguing Twitter tease about Spider-Ham and Cerebus the Aardvark. Long story. At the bottom of this article — one in a series about [...]

I think your timeline is all kerfluggered, Brian. The “returned” Captain Marvel debuted around the time of Civil War, not Secret Invasion — he even appeared in Civil War #7. I would guess that McKeever’s new Captain Marvel WAS scuttled in order to bring back Mar-Vell (who would later be revealed as a Skrull).

You’re totally right. I’ll fix it!

Wasn’t there another Spiderham variant? – one where the background was all the same, but the Spiderman changed costumes? Like about 30 versions of the same cover – of is that the one you posted?

That’s the one I posted.

All this “Wolveroach or Spider-Ham” business aside, I was actually a pretty big Spider-Ham fan as a kid, and I can’t believe I’ve never heard of “Goose Rider”! That guy looks awesome! I gotta track down that issue (I’m assuming he was just in the one?).

That’s Dave Sim being full of himself again.

Well, I’ll just throw in another vote for Spider-ham. Just in the hope that the overwhelming evidence might get to Sims.

But really, rather than being redundant…while I completely see the Invincible comparisons, I find it interesting how much the current Captain Marvel’s new “Protector” costume looks like Gravity.

https://www.expertcomics.com/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/1196448-protector.jpg

And it’s probably an already confirmed legend, but anyone else want to know if anyone at Marvel still knows where that plush Spider-ham is?

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