Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special #1
(that’s what the indicta says. The cover says The Amazing Spider-Ham special 25th anniversary issue)
Marvel Comics (August 2010)COVER ART: Joe Jusko PRODUCTION: Taylor Esposito EDITOR: Tom Brennan SUPERVISING EDITOR: Stephen Wacker EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Tom Brevoort OK, I’m all editored out
Beginning in the pages of the anthology special, Marvel Tails, Spider-Ham is a “funny animal” parody of Spider-Man. In his own Star Comics title (an old imprint of Marvel Comics that started out as a kids-targeted line but turned into the home of kid-friendly licensed titles–although oddly not Transformers), back-up stories would feature similar parodies of other Marvel characters, usually as ineffectual morons. (No wonder Ducktor Doom went after Spider-Ham instead of the Fantastic Four-ish group. He likes a challenge.) He would later be a back-up feature in the anthologies Marvel Tales (note the spelling) and later Spider-Man Family.
This comic features three different stories set in the Spider-Ham universe (listed in the Marvel Database wiki as Earth-8311). Actually, two and a “What The…” parody of What If. But more on that in a minute.
The first story, “The Swinester Six”, was written by Tom Defalco, with Jacob Chabot on art duties. Chabot draws more realistic (relatively speaking) characters than the original comics, and colorist Emily Warren follows suit. It’s not that big a deal breaker. The story finds Dr. Octopussy, Eelectro, Green Gobler, the Buzzard, Sandmanatee, and Mysteriape forming a group to seek revenge on Spider-Ham by kidnapping J. Jonah Jackal, Aunt May, and Mary Crane. (The original comics had Mary Jane as a water buffalo to match the last name, but Defalco decided during his Family run to just drop the last name and went with a crane.) It’s a fair story, but more of a refresher course in what passes for continuity in this series.
The second features “Swiney-Girl”, the counterpart of the M2 alternate “Spider-Girl” that debuted in Family. DeFalco wanted to do his own version of a “Kraven’s Last Hunt” parody, which the original title already did with Raven the Hunter. Instead we get “Crayfin the Bunter” a baseball player Peter Porker exposed in a story for the Daily Beagle. (Which would go against Spider-Girl continuity, where Peter works for the police, but Peter Porker’s origin doesn’t quite match Peter Parker’s, either.) Get beyond this and it’s a fairly decent story as Swiney tries to win Spidey’s approval as a superhero and rescue him from Crayfin.
Unfortunately, the story is split in half by a story of What If? parody “Why Not?” (what happened to “What The?”) which has Spider-Ham turning human thanks to Ductor Doom’s scheme. Peter responds by having a duck dinner. Tom Peyer writes a very unnecessary and unlikable story that only lasts a couple pages and does nothing. Agnes Garbowska’s art is difficult to read, at least in comic form.
Overall, it’s a pretty fun mini-series, and makes me long for the original Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham series, of which I only have a few issues. If you’re a fellow Spider-Ham-Fan, this comic is worth the price.
Tomorrow’s Comic> Batman Beyond #2