Characters : Kraven The Hunter
Strength and speed of a savage beast.
Typically wears animal skins when active.
Kraven's pride and arrogance has often caused his downfall.
No extraordinary powers.
Hunting knives, spears, and other African weapons.
Formerly Russia, UK, USA, Eithiopia
"The World's Greatest Hunter"
Africa and U.S.
Original Sinister Six (See Amazing Annual #1)
Big game hunter
The Chameleon, Calypso
Vladimir Kravinoff (son, deceased), Alyosha Kravinoff (son), Ned Tannengarden (son, deceased), Chameleon (half-brother)
Spider-Man, Iron Man
Kraven arrived in New York after being told by Smerdyakov about how dangerous Spider-Man was. Seeking a new challenge, Sergei relished the challenge to hunt new prey. After his ship docked, several of the animals escaped and before Spidey could round them up, Kraven had captured the cobras and gorillas. He then announced that man was the most dangerous animal of all and Spider-Man was the most dangerous man. At Chameleon's lair, Smerdyakov gave Kraven a file of everything known about Spider-Man but warned him that he wasn't hunting an animal anymore. Kraven reminded him that he had the strength to stop a charging bull elephant with one punch, thanks to a potion stolen from a witch doctor of an African tribe.
That night, Spider-Man heard a gunshot, went to investigate and found a bank robbery in progress. Kraven watched from the shadows, observing his prey in action. Spidey swung away after the crooks were captured but was stopped by Kraven. Spidey asked why he wanted to fight, and was told that there were no more challenges and Spider-Man would be Kraven's greatest trophy. Kravinoff tried to stop Spidey with a nerve punch, but the web head dodged and the punch merely made his arm go limp. Even with one arm, Spidey was beating the hunter, who cut him with a horn filled with a poison. The hunter fled, saying the poison would weaken the hero and he would be back later to finish him off.
The next morning, Peter was feeling better but still had shaking hands. He went to the Bugle to see JJJ, and was surprised to see him in a meeting with Kravinoff. Kraven promised that Spidey's days were numbered and Jonah demanded that it all be done legally. Spider-Man went looking for Kraven and followed his spider sense to Central Park. He followed a seemingly oblivious Kraven through the park but was soon captured in a metal net by the real Kraven. Spidey broke out of the net but was distracted by jungle drums and Kraven clamped metal shackles to him. The shackles were magnetized and they were constantly pulling Spidey's arm and leg together. Spidey ran and Kraven followed, until Spidey webbed the shackles and managed to shut them off. Turning back to fight, Spider-Man found the decoy hunter, the Chameleon in disguise. He tossed Chameleon's mask to Sergei, who ran into the woods to form a new plan. He again tried the net, but Spider-Man's speed again saved him. Kraven tried to run but was soon caught in webbing woven between two trees. Soon, Chameleon and the hunter were on a ship and being deported. Kraven promised "I'll get back in shape hunting in the jungles of the Congo--and then, when I'm more powerful than ever--we shall return, and continue our hunt for Spider-Man! A hunt which will never end until he is destroyed!" (Amazing Spider-Man #15)
"The Sinister Six"
Kraven accepted the offer made by Doctor Octopus to join the Sinister Six with Mysterio, Vulture, Electro and Sandman. Each villain was given a battleground that worked to their advantage over Spider- Man, and Kraven fought the web slinger at a zoo. Even with the aid of a pair of cheetahs, the Hunter was captured by Spider-Man. (Amazing Spider-Man Annual #1)
"The Thrill of the Hunt!"
In Africa, Kraven was eager to return to America to once again face Spider-Man. As he toured his trophy room, he makes a prophetic statement. "The mask of Spider-Man must one day cover that plaster head...even if I pay for the victory with my very life!" Needing to feel the excitement of a hunt, he left his camp and found a rogue lion. He tackled the animal and beat it into submission, allowing it to run for its life. He was soon at the port of Nairobi, Kenya, preparing captured animals to be taken to a zoo in America. This was also his ticket back to New York. Once there, he returned to the Chameleon's hideout. His disdain for Smerdyakov was on display as he thought, "I don't care what happened to him, so long as he stays away until my mission is over!" Eventually he came up with a plan to draw out Spider-Man.
Kraven, wearing a Spider-Man costume, harassed Jonah Jameson, causing the irate publisher to hammer at the webhead in the Daily Bugle. Peter refused to stand by as his reputation was shredded and so he went after the imposter. His search was short, as the fake shined a spider signal at him and led him toward a condemned area. When Spider-Man arrived, he found Kraven the Hunter waiting. The hunter had booby trapped the area, and unknown to both of them, a gang of crooks had spotted Spider-Man and were planning to attack him. The gang stumbled upon both costumed combatants and were easily swatted aside. The two were separated by the gang, and Kraven later pounced on Spidey from an open window. They grappled in mid air and Kraven managed to throw him through another window. Spidey caught a second wind and beat Kraven mercilessly until he was beaten. Soon, Kraven and the Hogan gang were webbed up and waiting for the police. Kravinoff had promised to confess to impersonating Spider-Man and he kept his word, calling himself a man of honor. (Amazing Spider-Man #34)
"In the Hands of the Hunter"
Sergei often worked in cooperation with other criminals in order to bring down his hated prey. He took on a job offered by the Green Goblin to rid New York of Spider-Man. After serving time for the aborted hit on Spider-Man, Kraven returned for partial payment on the job. Norman Osborn had acted as the Goblin's middle man, but Norman had lost his memory of being the Goblin in the time Sergei had been in jail. To force him to comply, Kraven kidnapped Harry, who was rescued by Spider-Man. Kraven also took a job from Mister Sinister to collect DNA samples from the original five X-Men. He achieved his goal and even gave some of his own DNA for experimentation, (this resulted in the clone known as Xraven).
Sergei's pride was wounded when the second Vulture (Blackie Drago) was considered the most dangerous man in New York in the media. Kraven took him on and both of them were beaten by Spider-Man. He also sold a street drug called ZMB to the Maggia and was captured by the Human Torch and Captain Stacy.He first met Ka-Zar in the Savage Land after capturing Zabu, the saber toothed tiger. Kraven took Zabu to New York, where he was beaten by Ka-Zar. His next beating came from the Beast. He lured Beast into being hunted by poisoning his friend and with holding the antidote. This didnt sit well with Beast.
After this loss, Kraven returned to the Savage Land and used the creature known as Gog to face Spider-Man and Gwen Stacy. In revenge for his pet's death, Kraven preyed on the vulnerable Martin Blank's (aka the Gibbon) sense of isolation to fight Spider-Man. He was hired by Lightmaster to get rid of the pesky wall crawler. Needless to say, all of these attempts on Spider-Man's life were to no avail.
Again, Kraven tried to take on another vigilante under challenge from Kerwin Broderick. Daredevil was the target, and he was nearly killed by Sergei after being thrown off a cliff. The hero was saved at the last minute by Moondragon, who teleported him to safety. He also took on the Man-Wolf for extradimensional dictator, Lunatik. Sergei pitted the Man-Wolf against J. Jonah Jameson but the police captured Kraven before he could force John to harm his father. In Chicago, Kraven tried to gain more power by kidnapping Dr Herbert Malraux and was beaten by Tigra. His reputation in tatters, Kraven teamed with the Tarantula to capture Empire State University chancellor Richard Gorman. He was beaten when he was accidentally electrocuted on top of a movie marquee.
After escaping police custody, he managed to defeat Tigra and force her to fight Spider-Man. He controlled her by an electronic collar, which was destroyed by Spider-Man. Kraven retreated to the Caribbean to rethink his life and met Calypso Ezili, a voodoo priestess. The two fell in love. However, Calypso had an agenda and forced Kraven to return to New York. She forced Kraven to fight Spider-Man, but he gave up the hunt after learning that she had drugged his foe. Not wanting to win in an unfair fight, Kraven and Calypso were captured by the police.
After being liberated from jail by AIM, Kraven was sent to kidnap Ka-Zar. He nearly killed his foe, until Ka-Zar saved him from falling to his death. Respecting his enemy's honor and realizing that Ka-Zar had been shot, Kraven gave him a healing jungle concoction before leaving. Kraven and Tigra fought for a third time in Los Angeles after an art museum robbery. Wanting a rematch, Tigra challenged Kraven to a fight to the death and was nearly killed, until reinforcements in the form of the West Coast Avengers arrived. Kraven and the Legion Accursed were sent to kill the Beyonder, but were stopped by The Thing and sent to jail.
All of these repeated failures took a deep toll on Kraven's psyche. More than any other Spider-foe, perhaps with the exception of the Green Goblin, the defeat of Spider-Man was Kraven the Hunter's obsession. Sergei was becoming an old man, despite his youthful appearance. The Hunter could not rest until he defeated his enemy. He simply could not rest.
In his madness, Kraven believed that Spider-Man was possessed by "the Spider," the supernatural entity responsible for all of mankind's suffering. "It was in the jungles that I first began to understand the ways of the spirits and demons...of the ravenous Spider. And tonight I finally see that even the man inhabited by the Spider--is ignorant--of its devious ways!"
Kraven finally defeated Spider-man and buried him alive. He then took Spider- Man's black costume and started to live the life of the wall crawler. This was to prove that he was a better Spider-Man than the original. His crime fighting was considerably more deadly than the real Spider-Man's methods. A group of drug dealers that he came across ended up dead or badly beaten. He hunted and defeated the creature called Vermin, something Spider-Man was not able to do without the aid of Captain America.
Spider-Man eventually clawed out from his grave and attacked Kraven. But Kraven did not retaliate because he had already won. "Hit me again if you like, Spider-Man. Hit me a hundred times. I wont resist. I wont fight. There's no reason to fight. Don't you see? I've finally WON!" To further drive home the point that Kraven was superior to Spider-Man, Sergei forced the hero to battle Vermin. Spidey was quickly overpowered, and Vermin was about to kill him when Kraven stopped the creature. Kraven released Vermin onto the streets in order to distract Spider-Man while the deranged Hunter took his own life.
Spider-Man is not free of Kraven the Hunter's legacy, however. He has faced Kraven's son's Vladimir Kravinoff and Alyosha Kravinoff. Calypso and the Chameleon have also returned against impossible odds to torment the wall crawler for the death of their loved one.
The Kravens recently gained their greatest victory in resurrecting Kraven the Hunter. Sergei's wife, Sasha Kravinoff and daughter, Ana Kravinoff, captured the Spider-Clone named Kaine and sacrificed him, not knowing he was a clone and not the real Spider-Man. Sergei was not happy to be reborn, blaming his wife for cursing him with "the unlife." Spider-Man was even less happy. Mattie Franklin was dead because of the Kravinoffs, as was Kaine (whom had met Sergei years prior as a hit man) and Madame Webb had been tortured. When Peter went after Kraven it was with a vengeance. (Amazing Spider-Man #636)
The enraged Spider-Man made quick work of Kraven. Spider-Man wanted to kill him, as Sergei had hoped. Only Spider-Man could kill him, as they shared a spiritual bond. However, the totem magic that gave Peter his power would be corrupted if he became a murderer, a risk he couldn't take. Sergei and the family escaped to the Savage Land, where he killed Sasha and Vladimir. Alyosha wanted nothing more to do with his insane family and the sadistic Ana went to "talk" with her brother. As they left, Kraven contemplated the new family he would start in the Savage Land. (Amazing Spider-Man #637)
Sergei soon tangled with Flash Thompson, who was in the Savage Land as Agent Venom. A terrorist organization had been using Antarctic vibranium to build weapons of mass destruction and Venom was sent to destroy the mines. Little did he know that Kraven had made the area into his base of operations. Kraven saw the black suited figure with the white spider, assumed it was Spider-Man and immediately tried to force Flash into killing him. Kraven eventually overpowered Flash in a mine tunnel, and realized he wasnt Spider-Man. Flash escaped with the aid of giant bats in the tunnel. (Venom, vol. 3, #2)
Kraven was called from the Savage Land by Dr Sheri Holman, who had saved Sergei's life in Africa years beforehand. His sense of honor demanded that he owed her a favor, which she took advantage of by asking him to hunt down a teenage boy named Brian. (Kraven was also enticed to kill the Black Panther by Dr Holman, who claimed that science and magic were not so different and that she could find a way to return him to death.) Brian was a metahuman who had been lobotomized and was wandering the streets of New York and Dr Holman needed him for her illegal experiments. Meanwhile, T'Challa was the employer of Brian and was also looking for him. (The Panther was in Hells Kitchen at the request of Daredevil who had left New York.) Kraven managed to poison T'Challa with a dart and chased him across Queens. (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #519)
Kraven caught up to T'Challa at a bridge and pushed him off it, only for the Panther to be caught by his wife, Storm. They eventually found Kraven, who had found Brian and was forcing him to use his powers against them. As long as Brian could touch the ground, he could manipulate the earth under a person. He was forced to smother Storm, using her claustrophobia against her. A battle of cat and mouse was played between Kraven and Panther to control Brian, eventually leading to Storm's release. Kraven was chased back to the hospital where Dr Holman was experimenting on her human/animal hybrids. Panther quickly explained that he knew that Holman was a compulsive liar and likely had no way of killing Kraven. He was willing to bet his life on it. Kraven concluded that Panther was a man of honor and that his debt to Holman was canceled due to her lies. He later was seen in the Savage Land, releasing the hybrid creatures into the wild. The Panther was right: Kraven did revere animals more than people. (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #520)
Kraven next appeared in the Pacific northwest of the United States, tracking the Hulk. He actually managed to subdue the behemoth long enough to explain his reason for attacking him. Sergei wanted to die and he wanted the Hulk to bring him Spider-Man to do the killing. In return, he would help Hulk find the hidden City of Sasquatches, thinking that Hulk knew what it was that Banner was looking for. Hulk didn't care about the city but did hate that Kraven slowly murdered a Bigfoot, making it's nearby kin respond to its screams of pain. The enraged Sasquatches took Hulk captive and Kraven rescued his "partner" from their city by threatening to kill one of the few remaining Bigfoot cubs. Hulk responded by punching him far out of the city. (The Incredible Hulk #11)
Sergei and Ana next showed up in Houston, Texas, observing Kaine Parker. Ana was ready to begin the hunt, but her father made her wait. (Scarlet Spider #16) They finally made their move on Kaine, drugging him with a compound that made him think that his degeneration disease had returned. Disguised as the original Scarlet Spider, Sergei hunted Kaine across the city as the drug made the clone hallucinate that the Jackal and Superior Spider-Man told him to kill Ben. Kraven eventually grew tired of toying with Kaine, telling him that they had unfinished business. (Scarlet Spider #21)
He blamed Kaine for his un-dead status, saying that the Scarlet Spider's imperfections had tainted the resurrection ceremony. When Kaine arrived after defeating Ana, Sergei threatened to kill the Scarlet Spider's kidnapped friends: Dr. Leland, officer Layton, Annabelle and Aracely. The only way for him to save his friends was to kill Kraven. (Scarlet Spider #22) Kraven demanded that Kaine act like the monster that he knew he was and kill him but Scarlet Spider held back, despite the beating he was taking. When Kaine still refused to take Sergei's life, he ordered Ana to kill one of the hostages. Anna stabbed Dr. Leland and her father demanded that she kill the rest of Kaine's friends. Sergei was then killed by the Scarlet Spider with a hit to the chest, stopping his heart. After Kaine bound Leland's injuries, he saved Kraven with CPR. He and Ana escaped. (Scarlet Spider #23)
Kraven found work training people that wanted to hunt alien life on Earth. One such alien creature that his team encountered was Rocket Raccoon, of the Guardians of the Galaxy. Rocket's ship had crashed on Earth and he'd had a falling out with the other Guardians, leaving him on his own. Kraven entered his own contest after Rocket had beaten one of Kravinoff's personally trained hunters, which intrigued him. (Rocket Raccoon #2) Kraven had captured Rocket in a burlap sack, which he gnawed out of. Kraven was more than a physical match for the alien, but the creature's resourcefulness helped it escape from the abandoned building. Rocket didn't get far as Kraven hit him with a van. After Rocket woke up in the back of the van with the other captured aliens, he cut himself loose and tackled Kraven, who was driving the van. The van crashed and the aliens escaped, except for Rocket, who passed out on the side of the road. A group of cops showed up and were fooled into thinking Rocket was an Avenger, until Kraven showed up and beat the officers.
Rocket tried shooting Kraven with one of the cops guns, which only grazed the Hunter before running out of bullets. Kraven told Rocket that he was starting to enjoy hunting him, but Rocket flipped him off and escaped on the back of a taxi. Kraven was able to track him across New York and followed him to a dumpster. Actually, he found an actual raccoon that Rocket had dressed in his clothes. Rocket used the opportunity to hit Kraven with a garbage truck and lifted the dumpster into the back of the truck. He switched on the trash compactor, and thought that was the end of the Hunter. Naturally he was wrong, as Sergei cut his way out of the truck with an adamantium knife. Rocket fled to the Staten Island ferry and fell asleep. He woke to the sound of an oil tanker horn blaring. Using binoculars, he saw Kraven piloting the tanker toward the ferry and tried to shoot it with a flare gun. Naturally the flare was useless against the tanker and Rocket wondered why someone would make a gun that sucked so much. The oil tanker then smashed into the ferry. (Rocket #3)
|Aug 1964||1st: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #15|
|Year 1996||App: Sensational Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual 1996 (Story 1)|
|Date TBD||App: Tales Of Suspense #58|
|Year 1964||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual #1 (Story 1)|
|Nov 1964||App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #18|
Here is the Full Appearance List (44 Apps) for Kraven The Hunter.
The assistance of the Marvel Chronology Project is gratefully acknowledged.
Some of the above information is extracted from the various versions of the Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe and the more recent Marvel Encyclopaedias.