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Who Is Spider-Ham? The Origin Story of the coolest anthropomorphic pig from Marvel Comics

Now a well-established character in the Spider-Family, Spider-Ham started his life more than 40 years ago as a character for a one-off Marvel comic, without any real future. But who could resist this funny animal version of Spider-Man? Not long after his introduction, Spider-Ham headlined his own series for a short while before slowly fading into relative obscurity.

This situation changed in the 2010s when Spider-Ham came back slowly but surely into the spotlight. First, with his cameo in the video game Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. Then, making his real comeback into the comic book world in the big Spider-Verse event, followed by a stint as a main member of the Web Warriors team. And finally, making a splashing entrance in the mainstream area with the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2018. 

Today, let’s explore Spider-Ham’s creation and origin story, from his improbable invention to his also improbable transformation into a superhero pig!

Spider-Gwen Reading Order - Spider Ham Web Warriors

The Creation of Spider-Ham: From Parody…

Once Upon a Time, or more precisely, around 1983, Marvel editors Tom DeFalco and Larry Hama were talking “about Marvel and licensing and that type of stuff,” as DeFalco recalled in the magazine Back Issue! 39. “We said, ‘Marvel can license just about anything, but the one thing they can’t license is plush.’ They had nothing for young kids or plush-kind of toys. So Larry said, ‘You know what we should really be doing? Funny-animal comic books !’”

Hama, known for the G.I. Joe and Conan Comics, was a fan of comic book animals in the style of Carl Barks, so naturally, when DeFalco asked if he were talking about doing something like Peter Porker, Spectacular Spider-Ham?, Hama confirmed it was exactly what he had in mind.

Both men started working on a story for Spider-Ham for a one-shot they called Marvel Tails. They made a proposal, mentioning they were doing it for licensing, and editor-in-chief Jim Shooter gave his approval. They even had a Peter Porker doll made!

Spider-Ham wasn’t the only cartoon animal parody pitched by Hama who also created Captain Americat, Hulk-Bunny, Ducktor Doom, and The Fantastic Fur! Penciled by Mark Armstrong, Marvel Tails Starring Peter Porker the Spectacular Spider-Ham #1 was released in November 1983. It was only the beginning of the adventure for Spider-Ham!

Spider-Ham by Wendell Dalit

… to his own series

Remember, Spider-Ham was created with the idea of making some toys. As intended, DeFalco and Hama presented their comic and doll to licensing. But they were not in the least interested at all in the anthropomorphic pig.

End of story, right? That was at least what DeFalco thought at the time, as he told “When licensing said they weren’t interested, I thought it was a failure, that it had bombed out.” And as one-off comics are one story and done, DeFalco and Hama went on working on other projects, not thinking too much about Peter Porker.

That is until DeFalco was called into Marvel president James Galton’s office and learned of the big success that has been Marvel Tails – surpassing the usual sales figures, selling twice as much as the usual for a single Marvel comic on the newsstands. Now, Marvel wanted more stories with Spider-Ham who just obtained a regular monthly comic book.

Titled Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham, the series was published by Star Comics, a short-lived Marvel imprint aimed at younger readers. It was very popular overseas but didn’t sell well in America. Spider-Ham lasted only 17 issues, but that was enough for the anthropomorphic pig to live wild adventures, facing off characters such as Ducktor Doom, The King Pig, HobGobbler, and Raven the Hunter among many other parodies. He teamed up with Captain Americat, but also Deerdevil, Croctor Strange, Fantastic Fur, the X-Bugs and Iron Mouse.

After the conclusion, Spider-Ham still made a few appearances before fading into obscurity. He came back into the spotlight with Spider-Verse.

Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham #15

How Spider-Ham Gets His Powers, the Origins of Peter Porker

‘The Strange and Wondrous Secret of How Peter Porker, Spider-Ham, Came to Be!’ was revealed in Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham #15, Written by Steve Mellor and penciled by Joe Albelo…

In the universe of Earth-8311, where anthropomorphic animal superheroes live, Peter Porker is fighting crime as The Spectacular Spider-Ham. Yet, Peter Parker began life as a common house spider, dwelling in the basement of May Porker’s house. May, an eccentric anthropomorphic pig with grey hair, was working on her ambitious creation – the world’s first Atomic Powered Hair Dryer.

Unfortunately, May’s experiment went awry, leading to her accidental self-irradiation. In a delusional state, she bit her arachnid friend, Peter, before collapsing. In the aftermath, Peter transformed into an anthropomorphic swine, resembling May’s own appearance.

Initially, Peter was left confused by this new situation, a confusion that intensified when he realized he still retained all the spider abilities he once possessed. What’s more, upon regaining consciousness, May Porker had lost all her memory, now perceiving herself as a very ordinary old lady living with her sweet and darling nephew—Peter! Faced with this massive, life-altering event, Peter chose not to reveal the truth to May Porker and instead used his amazing powers to fight evil. After constructing webspinner gauntlets and fashioning a distinctive Spider-Ham suit, Peter Porker was ready to become the Amazing Spider-Ham!

Spider-Gwen Reading Order - Spider Ham Web Warriors

Finally, let’s not confuse Spider-Ham with Spider-Pig, Homer Simpson’s pet pig.

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