(the Hog of Steel) is an underground comic book
character, a porcine parody of Superman
, created by Gilbert Shelton
and Tony Bell.
His secret identity is the mild-mannered reporter Philbert Desanex. (Occasionally, however, Shelton has depicted Wonder Wart-Hog and Desanex as two distinct individuals, with Wonder possessing the ability to reside inside the reporter's body.)
Origin and history
The idea for Wonder Wart-Hog came to Gilbert Shelton in 1961
, while he was living in New York. The following year, Shelton moved back to Texas to enroll in graduate school and get student deferment from the draft. He then collaborated with Tony Bell. The first two Wonder Wart-Hog stories appeared in Bacchanal, a short-lived college humor magazine, in the spring of 1962. Shelton then became editor of The Texas Ranger and published more Wonder Wart-Hog stories.
Shelton moved to San Francisco in the late 1960s, and founded Rip Off Press with four friends from Texas (fellow UG cartoonist Jack Jackson, Fred Todd, and Dave Moriaty) in 1969. In 1976, Rip Off Press was located at 1250 17th Street at the foot of Potrero Hill in San Francisco, CA., where a group off ex-Texans had migrated to the Haight-Ashbury in the 70's. Gilbert Shelton later moved to Paris, France to keep company with Robert Crumb.
The first professional publication of Wonder Wart-Hog was in Pete Millar's Drag Cartoons
in the early 1960s. Many of these were reprinted in 1968
, when Millar Publishing Company brought out two issues of Wonder Wart-Hog Quarterly
. 140,000 copies of each were printed, but distributors did not pick up the magazine and only 40,000 of each were sold.
The following stories from Drag Cartoons have never been reprinted:
- 26 Wheelie (1966)
- 27 Vietnam
- 29 Masked Meanie 4
- 30 Parakeet
- 31 Marine
- 32 Brain-bender
- 33 Funny Car
- 34 Nazi
- 35 Jail (1967)
- 36 Dreamcar
- 37 Fiends
- 38 Meanie Fuel
- 40 Weevel
- 41 Photogrampher
- 42 Flame Suit
- 47 Highway Tragedy (1968)
Drag Cartoons 43-46 had work by Gilbert Shelton, but no Wonder Wart-Hog.
Wonder Wart-Hog also appeared in the following one-shot underground comics:
- Feds 'N' Heads (1968). (Note that there are two versions of this comic, one with a 35 cent cover price and one with a 50 cent cover price, with slightly different contents, but the same WWH story.)
- Radical America Komiks (1969) (volume III, Number 1 of Radical America, an SDS magazine) (WWH story reprinted in Nurds of November trade paperback)
- Philbert Desanex' Dreams (1993).
- Underground Classics #12: Gilbert Shelton in 3D (1990).
Wonder Wart-Hog's adventures were serialized in comic strip form in many underground newspapers and college newspapers from the mid-1960s through 1977.
Rip Off Press
appeared in Rip Off Comix
#1-10 and in several of the magazine sized issues of Rip Off
. His last new appearance in Rip Off Comix was in the 20th anniversary issue (#21) 1988
Many of these Wonder Wart-Hog stories were collected in three comic books from Rip Off Press in the mid 1970's (Not only) The Best of Wonder Wart-Hog. These three issues reprint all of the Rip Off stories (but not all of the covers and single page appearances) except for the following:
- Battle of the Titans Chapters 3, 4, and 5 (Rip Off 10 - 12)
- Philbert Dessanex and the Street Entertainer (Rip Off 14)
Rip Off also produced a trade paperback version in 1980 and a shorter comic book version in 1988 of Wonder Wart-Hog and the Nurds of November.
The most recent story of the Hog of Steel appears in Zap Comix (#15).