published by Marvel Comics
. Kraven the Hunter
created by Stan Lee
and Steve Ditko
and first appeared in
Amazing Spider-Man #15
Two sets of origins have been presented for the man who was most commonly known as Kraven the Hunter. The first told how Sergei Kavenoff was the son of Russian aristocrats who fled Russia
for the United Kingdom. Orphaned at a young age, Kravenoff became
a wanderer, traveling the world as a stow away aboard ocean liners,
and soon had traveled over most of Europe and Asia. Eventually, Kravenoff traveled to Africa and began to work travel on
safari teams. There he changed his name to Kraven from Kravenoff
and found that he was a skilled hunter. Soon, Kraven had earned
a lot of money as a big game hunter, as well as a reputation as being
one of the best hunters around.
The second origin tells much the same tale, but with some subtle twists. Kravenoff was not actually orphaned, but lost his mother at an early age. Soon after his mother's death, his father married a maid, who was soon pregnant. Feeling that his father had betrayed the memory of his mother, Kravenoff bullied his younger brother Dmitri,
causing the boy to have deep psychological scars about his identity, which would later make themselves known when he took on the criminal identity of Kraven the Hunter' associate in crime, the Chameleon. Kravenoff soon left home and the rest of his tale is the same.
But Kraven's desire for success drove him to the other side of the
law. First, he partnered with an American criminal known as the
Chameleon to ship poached furs and ivory into the United States.
He also stole an herbal formula from an African witch doctor that
enhanced his speed, strength, and senses.
When the Chameleon ran afoul of the hero Spider-Man he called on
Kraven to travel to the United States and hunt the hero down and
kill him. Kraven the Hunter and Spider-Man clashed and Kraven
found that he was physically outmatched. Soon, he attempted again
to defeat Spider-Man but this time, he employed traps, nets, and
poisoned darts. Spider-Man soundly defeated him.
This began a cycle for Kraven the Hunter with him attempting to
best Spider-Man but never able to achieve success. His repeated
defeats soon left him depressed and realizing that he had betrayed
whatever honor he had had. His attempts to go back to his old
life were foiled by others and he continued to cycle lower and lower,
until he had no hope and no honor left.
In a last ditch effort to regain his self-respect and honor, Kraven
the Hunter returned to New York and ambushed Spider-Man, defeating
him. Kraven, who had become mentally unhinged, stole Spider-Man's
costume and buried the hero in a grave. He then donned the Spider-Man
costume and attempted to be Spider-Man for a time, tracking and
capturing the villain Vermin, which Spider-Man had been tracking.
Eventually, Spider-Man dug his way out of the grave and found
Kraven the Hunter. Kraven released Vermin as a distraction,
knowing that Spider-Man would have to pursue him, lest innocents
suffer. Feeling that he had regained his honor, Kraven the Hunter
committed suicide with a shotgun.
One of Kraven's children took up the mantle of the Grim Hunter,
seeking revenge upon Spider-Man for his father's death. The son
was killed by Kaine, a clone of Spider-Man and one of the many plot devices used in the now infamous Clone Saga.
A deep debt of gratitude is owed to sighmoan
for his help in reference material about the alternate origin for Kraven the Hunter
. The alternate origin is part of the Spiderman: The Ultimate Guide
by Tom Defalco