Super-Blog Team-Up Goes To Hell! Spider-Ham In The World Of Licensing Hell!!

Posted: October 26, 2022 in Uncategorized

If you are a fan of this blog then it comes as no surprise that I love Marvel 1980 Star Comics imprint!! Well there is no better time than Super-Blog Team-Up month to talk all things STAR with a very special Halloween issue of Peter Porker The Spectacular Spider-Ham!!

Before we begin..for folks who are not readers..enjoy this episode via audio Podcast in the link below!!

For those who enjoy the written word..enjoy the blog!

The existence of STAR comics came out of almost nowhere due to a failed rights acquisition from Marvel comics! More on that later! First let discuss it’s origins!! The imprint began in 1984-and lasted until 1988 and was blatantly aimed at younger audience demographic. Star comics would only see the light of day due to a failed purchase of Harvey Comics famous for such characters as  Richie Rich, Hotstuff The Little Devil, Wendy The Witch, and of course Casper The Ghost. Marvel wanted in on the Childrens market which at this point was almost solely owned by Archie and Harvey (Gold Key and Charlton both had years of liscenced history too but we’re long gone at this point publishing wise) at the time almost exclusively. 

They had dipped their toes in the liscenced market a few times with projects like Smurfs and the A-Team with mixed success. Acquiring Harvey would fill that demographic hole in their print line up! It was not meant to be after months of what felt like a done deal between the two companies fell through when one of the Harvey brother pulled out and killed the Harvey sale to Marvel. Harvey as a company went on to fold as a publisher shortly after this but they did so while still maintaining their property rights!

Despite the loss Marvel decided to continue to create a new imprint in its place even going so far as to use now out of work former Harvey staffers and created a Harvey Adjacent line of original characters like Planet Terry, Wally The Wizard, Top Dog, Royal Roy. I loved the look and feel of these characters and if capturing the Harvey vibe was their goal than mission accomplished. These looked and felt like Harvey publications both in art style and reading!! all You didn’t have to look to deep under the surface to see these were Harvey clones.. too close actually because Harvey comics would sue Marvel over Royal Roy being too close to Richie Rich… and he was. Old Roy was a red haired version of everyone’s poor little rich kid and Harvey just knew that there wasn’t a court in the world that would not see that!!  In 1985 the lawsuit was brought forward forcing Marvel to the plug on Royal Roy after 6 issues. The problems were already creeping in and we were not off of the ground floor yet. 

Keep in mind the next big phase for STAR was literally to create a “STAR” studded line up of liscenced properties that were popular at the time boasting Masters Of The Universe, STAR WAR’S, The Muppetts, Thundercats and many many more!! You may ask yourself.. how could this fail!! Well it found a way!! 

STAR hung its hat on a multitude of pop culture liscenses from Toy and Cartoon related franchises!

Trivia question!! What title did STAR COMICS launch with? The answer would be the first book to arrive with official STAR Comics branding would be … drum roll please… The Muppets Take Manhattan movie adaptation!!

But there were many many many more! Here is a non comprehensive list of most of the STAR Comics imprint!!

Let start with their Original titles

Misty (six-issue limited series (1985–1986) this was a bizzare one! After acquiring the majority of the most popular franchises for children missing from the list curiously was Barbie (Which Marvel would get in the early 90s!!). Misty was the niece of Stan Lees favorite Marvel fashion plate Millie The Model and she was essentially… Barbie.. straight up. Can’t get the original… let’s make a clone.. or an echo as Rob Liefeld once coined! Misty was a strange comic filled with all things fashion and fame and even cut out doll clothes to lower the value of this 6 issue limited series which was already worthless so I assume they OWE me money maybe?

Anyways…back to our list..

Peter Porker, The Spectacular Spider-Ham (1985–1987)

Planet Terry (1985–1986)

Royal Roy 1–6 (1985–1985)

Top Dog (1985–1987)

Wally the Wizard (1985–1986)

Licensed titles: just take a look at this list!!! 

Air Raiders (1987–1988; #1–2 under Star imprint, continued under Marvel imprint)

Animax (1986–1987)


Bullwinkle and Rocky (1987–1989; #1–2 under Star imprint)

Care Bears (1985–1989); #1–14 under Star imprint)

Chuck Norris: Karate Kommandos #1–4 (1987)

Count Duckula (1988)

Defenders of the Earth (1987)

Ewoks (1985–1987)

The Flintstone Kids (1987–1989) #1–4 under Star imprint)

Foofur (1987–1988; #1–4 under Star imprint)

Fraggle Rock (volume 1: 1985–1986 under Star imprint; volume 2:1988 under Marvel)

The Get-Along Gang (1985–1986)

Heathcliff (1984–1991)#1–22 under Star imprint)

Heathcliff’s Funhouse (1987–1988) #1–5 under Star imprint)

Hugga Bunch (1986–1987)

Inhumanoids (1987)

Madballs (1986–1988; #1–8 under Star imprint)

Masters of the Universe (1986–1988)

Masters of the Universe: The Motion Picture (1987)

Muppet Babies (1985–1989) #1–17 under Star imprint)

The Muppets Take Manhattan 1–3 limited series (1984)

Popples (1986–1987)

Silverhawks (1987–1988; #1–5 under Star imprint, 6 & 7 under Marvel)

Star Comics Digest a.k.a. Star Comics Magazine (1986–1988)

Star Wars: Droids 1–8 (1986–1987) bi-monthly with four issues and issue 5’s cover of the series were drawn by John Romita, Sr.

Strawberry Shortcake (1985–1986)

ThunderCats (1985–1988; #1–24 under Star imprint)

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Light (1987; #1–6)

How did this fail?? How!!?? Marvel is a company that saved itself from Bankruptcy with Star Wars…a liscenced property that not only saved the company but gave new life to the industry. So using that logic.. if you own ALL the famous and popular IP’s then you will be set for life.. right? Well actually the answer would be no. Each liscence costs Marvel money in either straight up payouts to hold the license or an impact to bottom line profit. Keep in mind some of the rights holding companies who leased the property to Marvel gets a portion of the profit action.. and at times a significant portion of profits. To add to the debacle the rights holders also sometimes serious amounts of creative control. It’s possible to actually make zero dollars! In some instances that was indeed the case! For all the profits and losses the STAR comics line, though doomed from the get go legally, had such a vast array of titles it kept me coming back to the spinner rack for one or two new titles every month some I kept and others I abandoned quickly but I sure did enjoy the perks of seeing all the cool toys and cartoons in a comic book form!

But onto our story at hand… Spider-Ham the Halloween issue!!

Spiderman Vol. 1 13 January 1987

Old McDonalds House of Horrors 

Written : Mike Carlin (Somewhere Rob Liefeld is swearing and I was as well a little later.

Pencils: Joe Abelo (Spider-Ham 10-19, What If, 34 What If The Watcher was a Stand Up Comedian?) stumped? I was as well so I did my research and found that while not doing Spider Ham did indeed draw in What If number 34… for one… single… page!! Yes… and here it is! 




Anyways back to our book!!

Editor Larry Hama GI Joe! 

Executive Editor Tom Defalco

EIC Jim Shooter

Now.. the character himself. For folks who didn’t read a single STAR comic or see the film Into The Spiderverse there is a chance you have never met Spider-Ham! Let’s catch you up!

Spider-Ham is the super hero alias of one Peter Porker a fictional superhero Marvel Comics. The character is .. get ready for this… an anthropomorphic pig and a cartoon animal parody version of the classic Marvel Spider-Man.Spider-Ham was created by Larry Hama, Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong respectively. Curiously he appeared in a comic BEFORE the launch of his own book.. he would debut in a special one shot called Marvel Tails Starring Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham from November 1983! Hunt this one down kids for us who love the first appearances!! Even get this slabbed!! Lol… don’t do that. Please. Read the book. That’s all I will say..

This one shot was then followed by an ongoing bi-monthly series, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, in May 1985 under Marvel’s Star Comics imprint!! For continuity lovers Porker and his supporting cast exists on Earth-8311, a full  universe populated by anthropomorphic funny animal parody versions of then modern Marvel superheroes and villains. 

Now that you are armed with knowledge let’s dive into the book!

Peter Porker The Spectacular Spider-Ham Vol. 1 issue 13, dated January 1987 in a story titles

“Old McDonalds House of Horrors”

Yes… Old MacDonald .. because.. you know.. he has a farm! You remember the nursery rhyme right? I mean … let’s stop here. Yes, THIS is the type of low hanging fruit to expect from this Carlin led team. Lower your expectations kids.. after all these titles are aimed at children not 45 year old man babies.. like me. 

On to the story..

An innocent duck is putting up a billboard late at night when Quakula Scares him away.. we see that the billboard was all about a Mega Mall opening soon in 1986.. hmmmm. The 80s… a property in danger.. a large corporation going to shut down an old town favorite location to build its fancy new what ever!! It’s the plot lol heisted from every 80s kids film from the Goonies onwards.. again.. it’s a kids book. Bottom line.. someone doesn’t want to pave paradise and put up a parking lot!!

Later we see Peter Porker in his apartment watching an old Horror film and he is scared. He laments that despite being a Super powered hero he is still scared of a silly horror film. Outside his window he hears gun fire. He leaps into action changing into Spider -Ham to check it out! It’s the Pinhead of crime and the police are shooting at him. Pinhead is a Kingpin echo but is the size of a building and is a large white rat/mouse in a pin stripe Blue Suit and has a body shape like a bowling pin!! He is wreaking havok in the city but it’s because he wants something.. or someone!

He is calling out Spider-Ham and by for Porker in full spider regalia  answers the call. After a quick tussle Spidey hits Pinhead with a rolling web bowling ball knocking the giant on his ass as the police swarm him! An easy win for our porktacular hero!

With his heroing complete Peter makes it back in time to watch the last half of the horror film he was watching!! We see that Peter has an irrational fear of vampires and werewolves but then he sees a very scary Egyptian Cow Mummy and literally hits the roof when the phone rings!!

It’s J Jonah Jackel from the Daily Beagel with a late night assignment for Peter! After having his job threatened Peter is there.. Instantly before Jonah even hangs up the phone! Is this a statement on workplace culture? Does Peter not have a right to refuse work? Does he need a mental

Health break? Nope this pig goes to work!

Jonah is sending Peter to the Catskilled Mountains where there have been reports  of hysterical construction workers claiming to have seen monsters! Porker is scared.. of course he is. It’s the only plot thread that is consistent in this story!! He hates monsters if you dont remember and he tries to back outta this mission citing he has to alphabetize his Alvin and The Chipmunks record collection and offers up his office supporting cast for the job! Does anyone else find it fascinating that STAR Comics never featured Alvin and The Chipmunks yet we had two.. count them two Heathcliff comics! What’s up with that?

Bunson, Upton and Jeremiah are some seriously stereotypical characters.. we have time let’s review. Bunson is the super intelligent plaid shirt wearing nerd character who will come in handy building gadgets and explaining science at opportune times. This was a time prior to Big Bang Theory need acceptance. Next is Upton.. a jive talking black cat… I’ll leave that where it is. Last is Jeremiah the pink wearing roller skater who wears thigh high socks a certainly a thinly veiled homosexual personality. So there you have it.. the 80s everyone!! Back to our story..

As a boss that would not be conducive to 2022 workplace sensibilities J Jonah Jackal ain’t buying it and demands Porker go alone! Peter has a bad feeling about this!

Porker drives to the Catskilled Mountains to a farm area hopefully he gets mileage but something tells me it’s on his own dime. He gets on the move investigating the place hoping these reports of folks seeing Monsters are all a hoax. He sees something that scares him ..and he rushes into a barn!! That’s what I always do when I am scared.. I find a deserted barn and run inside for safety! Once inside he encounters a scary figure with a pitch fork!! Suddenly from his travel bag leaps his co workers Bunsen, Upton and Jeremiah!! They begin snapping pictures trying to beat each other to the scoop. 

It’s nothing more than the farmer that owns the farm named conveniently Old MacDonald! He ain’t one for snoopers in his farm and his pitch fork Bessie likes em even less!! Peter pulls out his Press credentials and explains to Old MacDonald that he is there to investigate the reports of Monster sightings! Old MacDonald suddenly becomes interested that they are going to report on these monster sightings and to stay away from the farm as a result of this scary news! Hmmmmm…

The farmer is suddenly pleased that these kids will keep folks away from his farm and tells them they can stay as his personal guests and stay in the barn! Almost too easy…thinks Peter! He is right!

That night it rains.. like it does in every horror story and Peter is trying to get some sleep but his colleagues are not interested. They decide to investigate the barn that they discover has secrets of its own!! The gang discovers a secret laboratory with its own mad scientist! 

The time has come for Doctor Chickensteins greatest experiment!! The weather is perfect and all that remains is the doctor to pull the giant level! There is a body covered in a sheet on a operating room style table… the room is filled with computers and electrical gizmos..the level is pushed electricity goes everywhere!! The mad scientist marvels that the experiment is working … the doctor is about to unveil after years of experimenting …

Doctor Chickensteins monster!! It’s a huge fruit and vegetable based monster with a lettuce for a head, banana for a nose, watermelon torso, corn arms and zucchini legs, you get the idea. The monster rises from the table menacingly with its arms held high in triumph as the doctor rejoices as Peter’s colleagues snap up photos like crazy as Peter slumbers!!

The mad doctor hears the reporters camera clicks and sends the monster after Peters friends! Hearing the commotion in the next room Peter awakens and quickly suits up into Spider Ham to protect his friend and leaps into action!

The farm house becomes overtaken by monsters. Spidey faces off against the Mooomy…a cow like beast wrapped in bandages who looks VERY familiar.. almost like a farmer we know!

Overcoming his fear Ham drops the Cow Mummy with webbing around the legs and swings into the next room suddenly feeling heroic!!

Still trembling Spiderman faces off against Chickensteins monster and uses the old web bowling balll trick again and what do you know it works!! Ham is surrounded! The Moomy, Quakula , Chickenstein and the monster all converge on him and his friends but as Spiderham uses the bowling ball on the Monster his part fly everywhere revealing The Moomy as old MacDonald the farmer! The jig is up!!

Old MacDonald explains that he was upset that he was going to lose his farm as a result of the Mega Mall being built. He and his farm hands Dick and Rick concocted the whole monster story deal to scare off contractors in hope they would leave his farm alone! Spider Ham sympathizes with the old cow and has a solution!

Months later we see that Old MacDonalds Monster Fruit Stand is now inside the new mall selling the worlds biggest veggies and fruit fruit fruit!! The gang laments that Old MacDonald will be selling parts of his fruit monster for years to come! Another happy ending.. compliments of The Amazing Spider-Ham!!

It gets worse..

Back Up Story 

Nick Furry Agents of Sheep! The low hanging fruit like these funny animal titles keep the laughs going.. right?

We see Nick Furry and DoDo Duggan inside SHEEP HQ and we see that Deathsquak (Deathlok) is on the loose. Furry sends out an all points bulletin that the chicken cyborg must be taken down!

Despite great weaponry Deathsquak is a trouble soul desperately lamenting the meaning of his existence!! Deathsquak roams the countryside upset that he hasn’t discovered his reason to live while Furry and DoDo try to bring him down and he stops them at every turn all the while lamenting his flight! Maybe it was his childhood that made him this way? Maybe it was his teacher.. his parents… maybe kindergarten!!??

Furry has the last straw.. he pounces on Deathsquak and presents him with what he has always wanted.. his blueprints! Deathsquak finally has his answers.. his reason for being!! He pulls a plug in his side and … cooks himself. Yes.. he becomes a whole rotisserie cooked chicken..his insides were a microwave oven and he cooked himself! That’s the joke! Dodo falls over from

The revelation.. and so do we.. The Mericful end.

There is a letters page!

In summary…Folks are demanding that Peter Porker get his black suit!!

We also have someone ask when this comic will end to which they say there are no plans to cancel the book despite it ending several issues later!! 

One would like to see Peter Porker on TV like many other star comics! We may have to wait a few years but it will be worth it Christian D!! He also wants a Secret Furs cross over.. editorial suggests Secret Warts!! And we wonder why this thing didn’t last!! C,Mon!

Fan Ian Frater buries the book! He refused to buy issues 3 and 4 because it didn’t feature Mellors work!!? Called the art cheaply done and bland!! Seriously? This is what you print!? Marvel editorial always did these things to send messages and would openly allow criticism on certain creators to show their discontent with something happening inter office and these letters pages and info pages were often passive aggressive inter office memorandums 

Overall Thoughts

Art.. Perfect for its subject matter! I mean for funny animal fare it’s more than passable! In fact the Spider-Ham portion may simply be perfect for what it’s aiming for.  

Story : We have seen this plot line in movies a hundred times. Capitalizing on Halloween is cool but what about using the Marvel horror characters in anamorphic form to appear like Manthing? Morbius, Werewolf By Night! So much missed opportunity here. 

The story may be too juvenile and happily spent time simply enjoying the name puns on all the characters .

Cover is great! I would still have bought and did buy this upon release! 

That’s it.. and if you had any question how this post relates to the Super-Blog Team-Up Goes To Hell theme now you know!!

The Satellite will return again soon before Christmas!! Until then..

Transmission Ended..

 The fun keeps on rolling as The Mighty SBTU has many more entries for you to enjoy!! Thanks for joining us yet again and here are the links for the rest of the internets best blogging and podcasting contributors! 

Between The Pages Blog – Hostess Comic Book Ads Were Hot Stuff

Magazines and Monsters: Bonus Episode! – Marvel Spotlight 12 & 13 (Damon Hellstrom)- with Charlton Hero!

The Telltale Mind – The Ballad of Patsy Walker To Hell And Back And Back And Back

Source Material Comics Podcast – Batman/Punisher “Lake of Fire” – Evan Bevins and Jesse Starcher

Mark Radulich : Alternative Commentary on Hell Comes to Frogtown

Ed Moore: News Print Commando Rex Zombie Killler from Bad Dog Ink/Panda Dog Press 2013

Dave’s Comics Blog: Superman: The Blaze/ Satanus War

In my Not So Humble Opinion: Savage Dragon Goes To Hell

Asterisk 51 Blog – Sunday school with… Hellboy?!?!?

Comics Comics Comics Blog – The Son of Satan and the preacher’s kids – Will looks at Son of Satan and the Defenders

The Superhero Satellite: Spider-Ham in the world of Licensing Hell!

Relatively Geeky Presents #43: Afterlife with Archie Issues 1 – 6.

  1. […] Superhero Satellite – Spider-Ham in the world of Licensing Hell! […]

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