With an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, it’s fair to say Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was one of cinema’s slam dunks in 2018. A critical and box-office success, full of potential for expansion, it was only a matter of time before we heard more from this universe and its multitude of characters.
Swinging from the cinema screens to our computer screens, the first breakaway star from feature is the cult figure of Spider-ham, who has been given his own short Spider-Ham: Caught in a Ham.
Described as a Looney Tunes take on Spiderman, this four-minute film was written and directed by S/W alum Miguel Jiron (La-Gar-To). Eager to find out how he became involved in such a high-profile project, we asked the director to fill us in on his involvement so far.
As a story artist on the feature, Jiron found himself directing some custom animation (anything that needed to be animated using these characters and world outside of the actual film, for promotional efforts, etc.) for the film, but soon became involved in an even bigger project when plans for the Blu-ray were discussed. “Phil Lord and Chris Miller (rightfully) insisted we need a Spider-Ham short!”, Jiron explains as we discuss his involvement in the short. “I like to think I had built up enough trust with the filmmakers and studio and was also in the perfect place to handle the short. Phil asked if I wanted to do it and two intense months later, we had a Spider-Ham short.”
Though both Spider-Verse and Spider-Ham were high profile pieces, Jiron talks about the production with real passion and it sounds as if there was an unusual amount of freedom allowed for the animators. “At times it felt like a lot of (very talented) people just throwing stuff at the wall to see what stuck”, the director reveals. “In that respect, it didn’t feel much different than working on my own indie short films. That was such an exciting feeling, and the collaborative and inclusive spirit the directors and producers fostered gave room for not only my voice, but the voice of many other artists. Career-wise, I’d be lucky to keep working on projects like these”