Who Was Peter Porkchops Before He Was Pig-Iron?

Who's This? Turn to page 8 of Who's Who vol. XVIII and you'll find Zoo Crew member Pig-Iron there. But did you know he had this whole life before becoming a superhero, dating back to the Golden Age?
The facts: Pig-Iron started life as funny animal character Peter Porkchops, whose debut on the cover of Leading Comics #23 (1947) would eventually lead to his own series, which would last 62 issues between 1949 and 1960. Falling into disuse like the rest of DC's funny animals, Roy Thomas brought him back in the 80s, gave him powers and made him join the Zoo Crew as Pig-Iron.
How you could have heard of him: If you read any Zoo Crew stories, then you would know Peter Porkchops as his civilian identity, no more.
Example story: Peter Porkchops #2 (1950) by his creator, Otto Feuer
There's nothing particularly remarkable about DC's funny animal comics. They follow tried and true formulas set up by cartoon shorts of the 30s and 40s (Peter Porkchops is obviously meant to appeal to Porky Pig fans), but they're perfectly fine for younger children. Peter's stories are all pretty much the same: His neighbor Wolfie tries to cheat him in some way, and Peter gets the better of him. You'd think Wolfie would try to eat him, seeing as he's a wolf and the pig has a succulent surname, but no, these guys are rather friendly and vegetarian. Take one of the stories from issue 2, as an example:
Feuer offers a cute twist on the three little pigs fairy tale, with Wolfie's shack being easy to blow away, and him needing a place to crash for a while (he has a real house in other stories). So of course, he's going to try and squat at Peter's, over the pig's objections:
That's pretty amusing. So Wolfie scams Peter into leaving the house in a hurry (free money!!!) and makes himself at home. When Peter comes back (no free money), Wolfie gets a taste of the pig's usual medicine.
Well-placed signs with explanations written on them is a common trick in these stories, so I guess they're Peter's special cartoon power. He uses it again when Wolfie vows revenge and tries to haunt our porcine protagonist out of his home and gets haunted right back. Who knew ghosts had "territories"?
A couple gags, a softballed comic ending where Wolfie admits defeat... that's pretty much how it goes. A collection might well go into my niece and nephew's personal library, though this kind of material has been done better with better-known characters. A Zoo Crew cartoon show would be much cooler, all things considered. I mean, if I'm playing Peter Porkchops' agent. We know Peter returned as Pig-Iron, but Wolfie ALSO made an appearance in that context. In Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew #10-11, he got his hands on a magical amulet that turned him into a Wuz-Wolf (a reverse werewolf, he became a wolfish human who wanted to eat other animals).
See? Veggies, the lot of them.

Who else? I'm a little backed-up and I can't do everyone anyway, so one last character from volume XVIII, ok? I just have to decide which VERSION of him I want to cover.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

I shouldn't be surprised, not in the least, that Roy Thomas would repurpose Golden Age funny animals for the Zoo Crew.

Siskoid said...

Why he would write Zoo Crew was a mystery to me until I found this connection.

Anonymous said...

Do you imagine him breaking down in tears in editorial? That's the only way I can imagine the Zoo Crew coming about at all. "Plee-eee-eeez, if we don't do this, nobody will know wh-what happens to Peter Porkchops!"

Siskoid said...

I have honestly no idea how Roy Thomas got to do all the retro-projects he wanted to do.

American Hawkman said...

To read Roy's interviews, most of the time, they came to him and then edited his stuff so heavily that we hardly ever got the full Roy Thomas experience.

Siskoid said...

Imagine how opaque they would have been.

I think you get a better sense of the man from the text pieces in the back of All-Star Squadron.

American Hawkman said...

There's truth to that, although his essays in All-Star Companion are quite edifying.

Siskoid said...

Oh? In what way?

 

Blog Archive

Category

5 Things to Like Activities Advice Alien Nation Aliens Say the Darndest Things Alpha Flight Amalgam Ambush Bug Animal Man anime Aquaman Archetypes Archie Heroes Arrowed Asterix Atom Avengers Awards Babylon 5 Batman Battle Shovel Battlestar Galactica Black Canary BnB 2-in1 Books Booster Gold Buffy Canada Captain America Captain Marvel Cat CCGs Charlton Circles of Hell Comics Comics Code Approved Conan Contest Cooking Crisis Daredevil Dating Kara Zor-El Dating Lois Lane Dating Lucy Lane Dating Princess Diana DCAU Deadman Dial H Dice Dinosaur Island Dinosaurs Director Profiles Doctor Who Doom Patrol Down the Rabbit Hole Dr. Strange Encyclopedia Fantastic Four Fashion Nightmares Fiasco Films Within Films Flash Flushpoint Foldees French Friday Night Fights Fun with Covers Galleries Game design Gaming Geekly roundup Geeks Anonymous Geekwear Gimme That Star Trek Godzilla Golden Age Grant Morrison Great Match-Ups of Science Fiction Green Arrow Green Lantern Hawkman Hero Points Podcast Holidays House of Mystery Hulk Human Target Improv Inspiration Intersect Invasion Invasion Podcast Iron Man Jack Kirby Jimmy Olsen JLA JSA Judge Dredd K9 the Series Kirby Motivationals Krypto Kung Fu Learning to Fly Legion Letters pages Liveblog Lonely Hearts Podcast Lord of the Rings Machine Man Motivationals Man-Thing Marquee Masters of the Universe Memes Memorable Moments Metal Men Metamorpho Micronauts Millennium Mini-Comics Monday Morning Macking Movies Mr. Terrific Music Nelvana of the Northern Lights Nightmare Fuel Number Ones Obituaries oHOTmu OR NOT? Old52 One Panel Outsiders Panels from Sheena Paper Dolls Play Podcast Polls Questionable Fridays Radio Rants Reaganocomics Recollected Red Bee Red Tornado Reign Retro-Comics Reviews Rom RPGs Sandman Sapphire & Steel Sarah Jane Adventures Saturday Morning Cartoons SBG for Girls Seasons of DWAITAS Secret Origins Podcast Secret Wars SF Silver Age Siskoid as Editor Siskoid's Mailbox Space 1999 Spectre Spider-Man Spring Cleaning ST non-fiction ST novels: DS9 ST novels: S.C.E. ST novels: The Shat ST novels: TNG ST novels: TOS Star Trek Suicide Squad Supergirl Superman Supershill Swamp Thing Tales from Earth-Prime Team Horrible Teen Titans That Franchise I Never Talk About The Prisoner The Thing Then and Now Theory Thor Thursdays of Two Worlds Time Capsule Timeslip Tintin Torchwood Tourist Traps of the Forgotten Realms Toys Turnarounds TV V Waking Life Warehouse 13 Websites What If? Who's This? Whoniverse-B Wikileaked Wonder Woman X-Files X-Men Zine