Kraven the Hunter

Real Name: Sergei Kravinoff
First Appearance: Amazing Spider-Man 15
Died In: Amazing Spider-Man 294
What's His Problem? When the Chameleon had Spider troubles, he sent for his old pal Kraven (much, much, much later revealed to be his half brother) to do a little arachnid extermination. A famous big game hunter, Kraven had successfully tracked every animal on the planet -- which left only man to challenge him. Spidey's spider-sense and spider-tracer saved the day; a fuming Kraven was deported for hunting humans out of season. Lured back by the Green Goblin's promise of a cash reward for the destruction of Spidey, Kraven was once more humiliated, setting up a pattern doomed to be repeated numerous times over the years. As attempt after attempt failed, Kraven perceived his obsession with Spider-Man was costing him his honor, and returned to the business of supplying animals for zoos. He stayed out of Spidey's way until goaded by his girlfriend, Calypso, into seeking a battle. Discovering that she had invalidated the fight by poisoning Spidey, he walked away determined not to return to her until his honor had been satisfied. This time the obsession totally overtook him; defeating Spider-Man (ironically enough, by poisoning him), he buried Spidey alive and took his place for two weeks, proving to himself (if not to Mary Jane Watson) that he was the better Spider-Man. Honor satisfied, he patted Spidey on the cheek, glanced fondly at a photo of his parents, and blew his own head off with a shotgun.
Powers: Let's have Kraven explain it: "I possess undreamed-of strength and speed which I obtained by drinking a secret potion, stolen from the witch-doctor of a hidden African tribe! With but one punch, I can stop the charge of a bull elephant!" Kraven's unnatural strength and unbreakable grip (well, "unbreakable" except by Spidey...and Tigra...and Ka-Zar...) were maintained by ingesting the jungle herbs on a regular basis. (Whether the herbs were what caused him to slowly go insane or whether his insanity was of a hereditary nature -- his mother also committed suicide after rumors of insanity -- has never been specifically stated. Neither his half-brother nor either of his sons, however, were all that emotionally stable.) Kraven was perfectly willing to resort to gadgets when necessary. He used things like a double-barreled ray that emitted from his ... er, chesticular region ... to neutralize enemies, as well as various sleep-inducing gases, blow-guns, bolas, and spears. He was also capable of on-the-spot hypnosis, and would mesmerize underlings like the Gibbon into doing what-ever Kraven needed done.
Favorite Quote: "I do not believe in honor, Ka-Zar -- only in expediency." (Amazing Spider-Man 104. Kraven would later, of course, come to prize honor above all things; but he had to lose it before he could appreciate what it was!)
Heroes He Kept Running Into: Kraven got around (and I'm not just referring to that flock of children he seems to have sired). Heck, he even pulled stints in Marvel's horror line, appearing in Creatures on the Loose (chasing after Man-Wolf) and Marvel Chillers (Tigra chasing after him). He visited the Savage Land a few times and experienced repeated confrontations both there and in New York with Ka-Zar and Zabu. He did pretty well when he went up against DareDevil, tossing the Scarlet Swashbuckler to what seemed like certain death in DareDevil 105. He never enjoyed that sort of success with Spider-Man.
People Who Think He's Not So Bad: Kraven thought pretty well of the extra-terrestrial Gog, so much so that he went to New York to try and avenge the alien's death. Shanna the She-Devil treated him with a certain grudging respect after he tried to save Ka-Zar's life with a jungle herb. His lady friend Calypso was obsessed with Kraven, so much so that she dressed like him and has died a couple of times in the course of trying to resurrect him (she had/has the distinct advantage of being a vodoo witch, so unlike Kraven, she doesn't stay dead). His death drove the Chameleon to desperation and his sons to emulation. The first of his sons, the Grim Hunter, met his own death following in his father's footsteps chasing after Spider-Man; his surviving son has taken Kraven's name and appears to be far, far more unbalanced than anyone else in his insane family.
Most Despicable Act: Not that burying Spider-Man alive for two weeks wasn't cruel...but Kraven has done worse. Kraven had no qualms about killing, and, in a scene that looked like Vlad the Impaler had dropped by for a visit, once gruesomely offed half a dozen members of his gang because they botched their assignment (Marvel Chillers 4).


Kraven Mug Shots!

Kraven hassles Spidey!

Amazing Spider-Man 15
1964


Amazing Spider-Man 34
1966


Amazing Spider-Man 47
1967


Amazing Spider-Man 104
1972


Amazing Spider-Man 209
1980


Amazing Spider-Man 294
1987

Kraven hassles just about everybody else!

DareDevil 104
1973


Marvel Chillers 4
1976


Ka-Zar 20
1982


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