There appears to be an issue missing from the longbox that I’m sure I’ll find during one of the next comic organizing project phases. Sadly it’s the first issue I owned, and I might have even picked it up when it first hit store shelves while the others are back issues. So even when I’m done with this series I may not be finished.
Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham #12
Star Comics (Marvel; November, 1986)
“Edam And Weep” or “The Gouda, The Bad, And The Ugly”
Now I know someone who read this series will ask why I’m not reviewing the back-up stories featuring other animal-ized parodies of Marvel characters. I will mention them in each review but it’s the same gag every time: they suck and if they do win it’s because of dumb luck…if the problem gets solved at all. I think only in a few issues do the back-up stories break that mold. Those I might review.
WRITER: Steve Mellor
PENCILER: Joe Albelo
INKER: Pierre Fournier
COLORIST (both stories): Julianna Ferriter
LETTERER (both stories): Kurt Hathaway
EDITOR: Larry Hamma
EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Tom DeFalco
J. Jonah Jackal is asked by an old friend to judge a beauty pageant (surprisingly none of the contestants are ants) in Hockawottamie, Wisconsin (which I’m sure is a gag I’ll get someday and facepalm hard but for now I’d rather live in blissful ignorance). However, there has been a rash of cheese smuggling to create spray cheese and other “crimes”, but Sunny Quacker and Ricardo Slug (yes, they’re Miami Vice parodies…it’s an 80s comic) are on the case. So is Spider-Ham when his Spider-Sense and a visit to Peter Porker by a former farmer who had his land stolen lead him to the ringleader of the smuggling operation, the Kingpig. Spidey delivers him to the police during the pageant and back at home he’s visited by the Bee-yonder, who gives him a fashion makeover. (Guess the new colors. It’s not hard if you know your Spider-Man.) He will ditch this costume by next issue, by the way.
The back-up story is the Fantastic Fur–Mooster Fantastic, The Invisible Gorilla, The Simian Torch, and the Thang (a bear if that matters)–who have to stop Galactypus (a platypus) from eating the Earth. He challenges them to prove themselves by fighting their evil doubles, and no matter what they try, the heroes lose. Luckily Galactypus gorges himself because he eats from his mouth and not some absorbing machine and decides to leave because he’s full. See what I mean?
What they got right: Taking Spider-Man out of New York is nothing new, which leads to a fresh story, and it’s the same with his porcine counterpart. There’s some decent fighting for a kids’ title.
What they got wrong: The Miami Vice parody is woefully underused here, as is the Secret Wars (the original one) parody. This story made me realize the trainees are just kids because they talk about adults being weird and they actually hate the idea of being around beautiful women in bathing suits. Meanwhile Jonah is a bit on the lecherous side. Peter is in the middle, which is fine. And the Kingpig is again just another criminal mastermind, with no pretending he’s an honest businessman that Spider-Ham fails to prove otherwise, unlike the Kingpin and Spider-Man’s association.
Recommendation: A fun story that’s worth checking out. The Fantastic Fur story isn’t very good but it doesn’t ruin the main story, which I can deal with.