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"This is astounding! Am I a spider with the limitations of a pig? Or a pig with the proportionate strength and agility of a spider? I've become something greater than either spider or pig... I've become a Spider-Ham!"
Peter Porker, Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham #15
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Debuting in a comedic one-shot comic entitled Marvel Tails in 1983, Spider-Ham was created by writer Tom DeFalco and artist Mark Armstrong as an animal-based parody of Spider-Man. Hailing from Earth-8311, Peter Porker is an anthropomorphic pig who actually began life as a common house spider who was bitten by a radioactive pig scientist after an atomic-powered hairdryer accident. Upon being bitten and transformed, he found that he retained all his spider abilities in addition to gaining the genius of scientist May Porker, who now believes herself to Peter's aunt. After coming to terms with these changes, the arachnid-turned-pig decided to become a superhero and use these talents to fight crime. Spider-Ham proved popular enough to get his own series published by Marvel Comics subsidiary Star Comics, a short-lived imprint of the company focused on children's comics, with this solo series lasting for 17 issues and featuring back-up material starring anthropomorphic animal versions of other Marvel heroes. After that, Spider-Ham made a few appearances in Marvel Tales and humor magazine What The—?! before fading into obscurity during the 1990s.

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Spider-Ham gained newfound prominence during the 2010s thanks to an unexpected cameo in the video game Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions. He would return to comics as a supporting character in the Spider-Verse crossover event a few years later, after which he became a main member of the dimension-hopping Web Warriors team. The character's popularity was further bolstered by his cinematic debut in 2018's Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, where he is transformed into a Looney Tunes-inspired character voiced by John Mulaney.


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Tropes:

  • Anthropomorphic Animal Adaptation: The basic premise of the comic is that it takes place in a version of the Marvel universe where everyone is an anthropomorphic animal.
  • Canon Foreigner: Aside from anthropomorphic animal versions of traditional Marvel characters, there were some original characters created for this continuity as well, such as the villains Bullfrog and Dragon Lassie and the three junior reporters Bunsen, Upton, and J. Jeremiah Jackal, Jr. (J. Jonah Jackal's nephew).
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Peter Porker eventually in his own series gained a love interest named Mary Jane Waterbuffalo, this reality's version of Mary Jane Watson. She hasn't been seen since the story "The Pig from Porker's Past, Part 1" from the 224th issue of the second volume of Marvel Tales, being replaced in the stories from Amazing Spider-Man Family and the Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special one-shot by a different character named Mary Crane Watsow.
  • Decomposite Character: Some Marvel characters have more than one counterpart in this reality. For instance, the Kingpin has appeared in the series as the Kingpig and the Pinhead.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: This reality's version of Ant-Man is known as Ant-Ant.
  • Expospeak Gag: Bunsen often says overly complicated versions of simple phrases, like saying "Do my audio receptors deceive me?" instead of "Do my ears deceive me?"
  • Failure Hero: Awful Flight, this universe's version of Alpha Flight, who are shown to be completely inept and easily distracted from their mission. The ending narration even snarks that the reader shouldn't count on them ever saving the day.
  • Fishbowl Helmet: Mysterio's parody in this world IS a fish swimming inside the fishbowl helmet, called "Fish-Terio".
  • Humanity Ensues: A rare anthropomorphic animal example. Peter Porker used to be a spider, but became an anthropomorphic pig after an eccentric and elderly scientist named May Porker bit him after being exposed to radiation. The accident damaged May's brain and caused her to believe that she was Peter's aunt. Peter Porker chose not to tell her the truth out of fear that she'd die of shock.
  • Interspecies Romance:
    • Peter Porker, a spider mutated into an anthropomorphic pig, has fallen for a bat named Batty Brant, a water buffalo named Mary Jane Waterbuffalo, a catfish named Black Catfish, and a crane named Mary Crane Watsow.
    • One of the back-up stories in Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham featured a relationship between Ant-Ant, an ant, and Waspbunny, a bunny.
  • Jive Turkey: Upton tends to describe everything using urban slang.
  • Left Hanging: There were some stories that ended abruptly with no proper conclusion.
    • "Secret Furs", a take-off of Secret Wars (1984) where the Bee-yonder forced several characters to fight each other to promote profitable merchandise, ended on a cliffhanger in the 17th and final issue of Peter Porker: The Spectacular Spider-Ham, with the Bee-yonder still not punished for exploiting the heroes and villains.
    • The 224th issue of the second volume of Marvel Tales had a story entitled "The Pig from Porker's Past, Part 1". The story had Porker and Mary Jane Waterbuffalo go on a date and meet an until then unestablished love interest known as Sylvia Sowmeister, alias the Silver Sow. Peter Porker eventually left to change into Spider-Ham while some thugs were threatening Sylvia at gunpoint, ending the tale on a cliffhanger that was never resolved.
  • Lighter and Softer: Due to being aimed more at children, the comic was definitely more lighthearted than regular Marvel comics.
  • Negative Continuity: Some stories seemed to contradict Spider-Ham's origins of being a spider mutated into his current state from being bitten by a radioactive pig. For example, the aforementioned "The Pig from Porker's Past, Part 1" established that Peter and Sylvia Sowmeister knew each other when they were 12 years old and met in school, which is at odds with Spider-Ham's origin having him state that being bitten by the irradiated May Porker caused him to become a full-grown pig. And that's not getting into how some Marvel characters' Larval Earth counterparts lack a consistency on what animal they are.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Some of the anthropomorphic animal characters were named after and based on famous celebrities. One particular example was an ostrich rock star named Ozzy Ostrich.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted. May Porker refers both to Peter Porker's "aunt" and his daughter in the "Swiney-Girl" stories from Amazing Spider-Man Family and the Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special one-shot.
  • Punny Name: Quite a lot of the characters have names consisting of puns on their species. For example, Magneto's counterpart is named Magsquito, and this reality's version of the Beyonder is called the Bee-yonder.
  • Species Surname: Several characters have surnames consisting of their species. J. Jonah Jameson's counterpart, for instance, is named J. Jonah Jackal.
  • Spin-Offspring: The 4th issue of Amazing Spider-Man Family and the Spider-Ham 25th Anniversary Special both featured a story focusing on a take-off of Spider-Girl called Swiney-Girl, where Peter Porker had a daughter named May "Mayday" Porker who decides to become a superheroine after learning that she's inherited her dad's powers.
  • Tailfin Walking: The Pun-fisher, the version of The Punisher in this universe, walks around on his tailfins.
  • Take That!: It's made evident that whoever wrote the "Awful Flight" story doesn't have a high opinion of Alpha Flight, since they're portrayed as incompetent and useless.
  • Ultimate Universe: Eventually a Miles Morhames is introduced. Also another Ultimate Larval Earth is introduced in the finale arc of Ultimate FF.
  • World of Funny Animals: Just about everyone in this universe is an anthropomorphic animal with humanoid limbs and torsos.

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