Pigs may get a bad rep in the real world, but in the fictional realm, they often take a starring role. From complex characters like Zhu Bajie to cute and cuddly ones like Piglet and Peppa, we all have a curly-tailed friend or two from our childhood.
In celebration of the Year of the Pig, we’ve made a list of our favourite pigs from film and literature.
Introducing the most glamourous pig in the world: Miss Piggy. First appearing in Jim Henson’s The Muppet Show in 1976, Miss Piggy is known for her enviable sense of style, her diva-like attitude, and as being the love interest of fellow Muppet, Kermit the Frog.
The timid best friend of Winnie the Pooh from A. A. Milne’s beloved stories may be a “Very Small Animal”, but he tries to be fearless – and occasionally conquers his fears.
Hamm is the wisecracking piggy bank from the Toy Story trilogy who is always losing his change. While good friends with Mr Potato Head, he tends to enjoy teasing Rex.
Wilbur is the loveable star of Charlotte’s Web, the 1952 novel by American author E. B. White. A livestock pig destined for the meat grinder, Wilbur is spared his fate thanks to an unlikely friendship with a spider named Charlotte. The story was adapted into a movie in 2006.
He’s one of the best-loved pigs in fiction – but don’t tell him that. As far as Babe is concerned, he’s a sheepdog, and a very good one, too. His skills win Farmer Hoggett first prize at the sheep herding competition in the 1995 comedy film, adapted from the novel by Dick King-Smith.
McMug first appeared in 1988 as the main character of a comic series published in the Hong Kong newspaper Ming Pao. Although the series is aimed at children, the stories often touch upon social issues such as poverty and single-parent families.
Alice Mak and Brian Tse, the cartoonists who gave life to McMug, also created his distant cousin, McDull, who can be recognised by the distinct birthmark on his right eye. Although he may be ordinary, McDull is full of aspirations, and never gives up on chasing his dreams.
Half-pig, half-human, Zhu Bajie is one of the characters in the novel Journey to the West by Wu Cheng’en, first published in 1592. He often gets himself and his companions into trouble because of his laziness and gluttony.
Tonde Burin is a Japanese superhero manga series featuring a teenage girl who is given the superpower to transform into Tonde Burin, the Pig Girl of Love and Courage. She must carry out good deeds, but only in secret. If her identity is revealed, she will stay in the form of pig for the rest of her life.
Peppa is the title character of the British children’s cartoon, Peppa Pig. However, kids and adults alike tune in to see Peppa’s adventures at playgroup, and at home, often in muddy puddles.
This adorable pair of anime-style characters – consisting of one black pig, and one white pig – were created by Japanese stationery company San-X, first appearing in stores in 2005 with the tagline, “Simple is Best”.
Snowball, Napoleon and Squealer
These three pigs feature in George Orwell’s 1945 dystopian classic, Animal Farm. Snowball leads the animals’ revolution against their human farmer, but is later banished from the farm by his fellow pig Napoleon.
This whimsical pig first appeared in a series published by DC Comics in 1947. His adventures usually involve his neighbour A. Wolf (or “Wolfie” as Peter calls him). Although Wolfie likes to play tricks on Peter, they still have a lot of fun together.
Olivia is the title character in a series of children’s books written and illustrated by American writer and artist Ian Falconer. He was inspired to begin writing the series by his young niece of the same name, and the books are now popular all over the world.
The Three Little Pigs
The story of the Three Little Pigs centres around three pigs who each build their homes using different materials. The first two houses, made of straw and sticks, are blown down by the Big Bad Wolf, but the house made of bricks built by the third little pig withstands the wolf’s huffs and puffs, keeping the piggies safe.
The Erymanthian Boar
One of the best known stories in Greek mythology is that of the hero, Hercules, who must carry out 12 trials for King Eurystheus. The fourth task is to capture the menacing Erymanthian Boar and bring it to the king alive. Hercules succeeds by tricking the boar into thick snow.
OK, he's not in books or on TV, but the pig-shaped gummy sweet launched by British store Marks & Spencer in 1992 has developed a life of his own, appearing on mugs and shopping bags and spawning a whole range of pig-themed candies. In fact, Percy has become such a celebrity that his Facebook page has more than 216,000 likes.
This character from classic Warner Bros cartoons was first introduced to the public in an animated short film called I Haven’t Got a Hat back in 1935. He is known for his signature farewell line at the end of many films, “Th-th-th-that’s all folks!”