SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL (2019)
Writers: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller and Jason Latour
Artists: Jason Latour and David Lafuente
Colorist: Rico Renzi
I have seen Into the Spider-Verse (ITSV) a total of eight times. That’s the actual number. I can’t get tired of it. When I learned that a comic based on Spider-Ham was coming out, I pre-ordered it real quick!
After reading the Spider-Ham Annual, I realized that Ham was telling the truth. It CAN get weirder!
This one-shot Spider-Ham annual is pure joy on paper. If you’ve only ever seen ITSV you can pick it up and still be absorbed into the story. It’s written by Jason Latour and the guys behind ITSV (Phil Lord and Christopher Miller).
The annual is broken up into two main stories. In the first one, “Boared Again!” (yes, that’s a Daredevil reference), Spider-Ham has to get his mojo back by fighting The Ringmaster and some animal themed baddies. It’s written by Jason Latour, drawn by David Lafuente, colored by Rico Renzi and lettered by Joe Caramagna.
Phil Lord and Christopher Miller join Latour as writers in the crazy second story, “A Secret Roar Rages?”. Latour takes up art and color duties in this one. In it, Spider-Ham takes a break from the chaos of the “Secret Roars” (like Secret Wars) and ends up having a heart to heart with Howard the Duck. In short, it’s about two joke characters talking about constant reboots and morality while bonding about how no-one takes them seriously. It’s touching, backhanded and inspiring at the same time.
Just like Peter Parker, Peter Porker is a ham down on his luck. He’s constantly stressed by life, work and his crime-fighting gig as Spider-Ham. Sometimes the responsibility is so great that it’ll weigh a guy down.
“So much responsibility. Can’t live with it. Can’t live without it,” as Spider-Ham says in the issue.
I want to mention that Jason Latour is one of my favorite creators in comics. Ever since I read Southern Bastards from Image, Latour has had my money. (Southern Bastards is written by the Mighty Jason Aaron and drawn by the Spectacular Jason Latour)
What I appreciate about Latour is the unique passion and creativity that he brings to his books. Marvel needs to hold on to him and never let him go because Latour is a gold mine of expressive creativity. He’s put out books as an artist and writer and he *created* Spider-Gwen. Since then, he’s been an irreplaceable part of the Spider-Verse.
We are lucky to have him.
Long-time fans are going to get their socks knocked off by animal-puns and easter eggs in this annual.
You’ll see classic Spider-characters like you’ve never seen them before. Duckter Doom, J Jonah Jackal, Spider-Guin, Meows Morales… you get the idea. I’m going to let the surprises in this book, well… surprise you.
But did I mention that Howard the Duck shows up? I did? Well, some things just need repeating.
Really, if you’ve seen ITSV or if Spider-Man has affected you in any way, buy this book. It’s worth every cent. If this is what a Spider-Ham movie will be like, I want Latour, Lord and Miller to take my money right now.
Thing is, under all of it’s wacky humor, vivid colors and anthropomorphic insanity, there is a message in this issue. It’s about learning to get out of autopilot, to stop stressing about “the job” and taking time to appreciate life, the little things and people who care about you.
There’s more to life than just waking up and going through the motions and there’s more to Ham than being a pig in a Spider-Man costume.
Despite it’s absurdity, this annual has a lot of heart. It’s obvious from Latour and the Spider-Verse guys’ writing, to the art and colors that the team was firing on all cylinders making this book. It truly is a passion project and the passion shines through and puts a big grin on my face.
I would have read this issue faster but I had to stop so many times because I couldn’t stop laughing.
Without a doubt, Spider-Ham is my pick of the week. When it ended, I just wanted more. It’s well-written, well-drawn and offbeat in the best way. It’s a comic that I know I’m going to read over and over again.
Let’s hope Latour, Lord, Miller and Marvel cook up more Ham in the future.