A new trailer for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has arrived in anticipation of New York Comic Con 2018, and with it our first look at three new spider-powered cast members: Spider-Man Noir, SP//dr and, of course, Spider-Ham.
The three were revealed at San Diego Comic-Con 2018 in July, but this is first time anybody outside of Hall H has seen the characters, each of which has his or her own slightly different animation style. Spider-Ham and SP//dr are nearly flat, the better to reference their respective Tex Avery and anime-inspired looks, while Spider-Man Noir is entirely black-and-white and lit in stark contrast.
But who are these folks? Glad you asked. The three new characters’ histories and origins help form the deep and continually experimenting Spider-Man universe that has entertained fans for more than half a century.
Voiced by: John Mulaney (Saturday Night Live)
Spider-Ham is, in fact, the oldest of the these characters and the one with the longest solo series in comic books. He first appeared in 1983’s Marvel Tails #1 and later got his own book, Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham, a 17-issue run under Marvel’s Star Comics imprint in the middle 1980s.
Peter Porker is from a parallel Marvel earth (called “Larval Earth,” canonically called Earth-8311). He began life, actually, as a spider! Then he was bitten by a radioactive anthropomorphic pig, becoming an anthropomorphic pig with spider powers, or vice versa, we’re not sure.
Porker/Ham was the centerpiece of a goofy run of humor comics that included Captain Americat, Hulk Bunny, The X-Bugs, Thrr, Dog of Thunder, and the Fantastic Fur battling Ducktor Doom, Magsquito, Galactypus and others. Spider-Ham most recently appeared in Marvel’s Lockjaw miniseries, when it was revealed that one of Lockjaw’s long-lost siblings had grown up into an anthropomorphic dog in Larval Earth.
Voiced by: Nicolas Cage (Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance)
Spider-Man Noir takes his namesake from the Marvel Noir Universe, an interconnected setting running from 2009 to 2010 that featured alternate versions of Marvel characters in a 1930s-1940s film-noir setting. There were two Spider-Man Noir miniseries within this arc, both four issues long.
In this realm, Peter Parker is the protégé of Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich. He mistakenly receives a tip meant for Urich, goes to a warehouse where a crime lord (the noir-realized version of The Green Goblin) is offloading stolen antiquities. Spiders burst from a broken spider idol and swarm Peter, bestowing him with his great powers. Notably, he never got the lesson “With great power comes great responsibility.” He also uses firearms and has no compunctions about killing. Spider-Man Noir’s abilities are implied to be more mystically bestowed (as from a spider-god) rather than from mutation or a scientific accident.
Peni Parker (SP//dr)
Voiced by: Kimiko Glenn (Orange Is the New Black)
The youngest of the three characters announced, Peni debuted in 2014’s Edge of the Spider-Verse miniseries, which was the first big miniseries to unite an eclectic group of spider-persons across the Marvel multiverse. Edge of the Spider-Verse also featured Spider-Ham and Spider-Man Noir, as well as Spider-Gwen and Miles Morales — in fact, every character in Into the Spider-Verse also appeared in Edge of the Spider-Verse.
Peni pilots a mech suit (called SP//dr) her father created — and died operating. Piloting that mech suit meant that she had to allow herself to be bitten by a radioactive spider, which formed part of the mech’s CPU, and of course we know what happens from there. Peni Parker will also be part of this fall’s forthcoming Spidergeddon #0 which follows up Edge of the Spider-Verse by bringing together all kinds of spider-friends who have taken on the name and powers. That includes the Spider-Man cooked up by Insomniac Games for the new PlayStation 4 title.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse premieres Dec. 14.