Hi and welcome back for the twelfth part of the epic The Science Of Superheroes: Science Goes Wild! This week you join us outside Gay Sainsbury’s, on Regent Road in Salford as we go on a hunt for pigs! Now I know that Gay Sainsbury’s doesn’t sell pigs, but they do stock ham, bacon and pork chops… so it’s the best we can do on a limited budget. Oh and before you write or email in (and yes I am talking to you Mrs Maureen Sagoo of Altrincham), Gay Sainsbury’s is not a derogatory term, it’s the name of that particular branch of Sainsbury’s as 90% of the customers are gay.
Anyway, the reason we’re in search of pigs is because this week we’re looking at the spectacular Spider-Ham. So let's get crackling! I mean, cracking!
WHO IS SPIDER-HAM?
Spider-Ham is the Marvel Comics super... erm... pig, created by Tom DeFalco and Mark Armstrong, who first appeared in Marvel Tails #1 in 1983. If you haven’t guessed, Spider-Ham is based on Marvel Comics’ popular character Spider-Man!
IS HE A SPIDER OR A HAM...ERM PIG?
He’s a pig! He’s not an ordinary pig though; he’s a pig with the proportionate strength and skill of a spider. He gained his super abilities after being bitten by irradiated scientist May Porker and upon donning a costume he decided to fight crime against deadly villains such as Raven the Hunter, Ducktor Doom and Doctor Octopussycat! As you may have guessed, he wasn’t one of the most serious superheroes ever to appear in the Marvel Universe, but that didn't stop him putting his porcine powers to good use.
OH, SO TELL ME, WHAT MAKES PIGS SO SPECIAL?
Well pigs are from the genus Sus, within the Suidae family of…
Look all you need to know is that domestic pigs (the one’s you will have seen in picture books about farms) are also known as Sus scrofa domesticus. Pigs are omnivores which means they eat both plants and animals, they weigh anything between 50kg and 350kg and have large heads and big snouts which help pigs forage for food. This should be something that you’ll be familiar with Ryan, as if you remember I once caught you foraging for food that one time your parents went on holiday and left you at home without even a tin opener. Anyway, pigs have been around for years, with remains dating back to 11,400 BP, but the domestic pig was domesticated roughly between 5,000 & 7,000 years ago and there are quite a number of variations of pig, including wild boar, bearded pigs, warty pigs and of course those ickle cutie piggy wigs, known as micro pigs. Oh they are just so damn cute! Micro pigs make quite good pets and it helps that pigs are quite clever animals anyway, although a vast majority of pigs are used by us as livestock, meaning that a lot of pigs bypass the pet stage completely.
NO PIGGY PETS?
Nope. You see pigs are really useful animals in terms of what can be produced from them. Look around your local supermarket and you’ll see pork, ham, bacon, sausages and a whole host of other foods that are made from a pig lining shelves, and personally I’m quite partial to the odd packet of pork scratchings (washed down with a pint of lager of course).
SO HOW ALIKE ARE PIGS AND SPIDER-HAM?
Quite alike actually, as Spider-Ham is a pig, so there’s that similarity, although regular pigs can’t talk and Spider-Ham can. In general pigs seem quite nice animals, although they can sometimes be aggressive, so it’s debatable that if given the choice they might turn to a life of crime fighting.
SO WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD THAT A PIG WOULD BECOME A SUPERHERO?
In reality? Pretty slim. Oh we might be big fans of pigs, with the likes of Babe, Porky Pig, Pumba and Peppa Pig being just some of our favourites, but at the end of the day, we like to eat pigs, which makes it highly unlikely that they’d ever want to help us. Well think about it, would you help someone who wants to eat you? No, didn’t think so. Oh and don’t even get me started on swine flu. Pigs might be very useful and micro pigs are cuter than the cutest thing imaginable in a world filled with only cute things, but as far as costumed crime fighting goes… forget it!
That’s it for this week, but don’t forget to come back next time as we go turtle-y craze for those Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles! See you soon.