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 Spider-Man Encyclopedia  - Spider-Man Villains - Chameleon

The Chameloen was reated by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, his first appearance was in Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963). The Chameleon has the ability to disguise himself as almost anyone.  Chameleon is a Russian citizen named Dmitri Smerdyakov  and half-brother to Kraven the Hunter, Sergei Kravinoff. The Chameleon's first outing was disguising himself as Spider-Man.

When Kraven the Hunter committed suicide, the Chameleon became obsessed with making Spider-Man suffer for his failure to prevent Kraven from killing himself. The Chameleon's most ambitious play against Spider-Man happened when he formed an alliance with Harry Osborn, the second Green Goblin. Before Harry's death, he told Chameleon Spider-Man's secret identity could be found though Peter Parker, to construct androids of Peter Parker's (Spider-Man) parents (Chameleon later admitted that he went through with the plot to confirm once and for all that Peter was Spider-Man).


Amazing Spider-Man Issue 1 - First appearance of the Chameleon

 The plan led to a psychotic breakdown for both Spider-Man and Chameleon. Chameleon's confirmation of Spider-Man's secret identity led him to attacking, rather unsuccessfully, Spider-Man through his family and friends several times, including one incident in which Mary Jane Watson subdued him with a baseball bat. Somewhere in between this and subsequent appearances, he appeared to have been destroyed by his Nephew, Alyosha Kravinoff (alyosha was later to throw a Chameleon mask at Spider-Man's feet, referring to it as 'That weakling, Dmitri'), but apparently recovered, waking in a hospital.

After tricking Spider-man to the bridge where his first love Gwen Stacy died, on the pretext of having kidnapped his wife, he declared his own loneliness and love for Peter. When Peter laughed out of surprise, he threw himself off the bridge. He reappeared some time later in a mental institution, completely incapacitated, believing himself to be Sergei Kravinoff rather than Dmitri Smerdyakov. He later reappeared in his Chameleon identity as part of the Sinister Twelve villain team organized by the Green Goblin. He was successfully apprehended by the authorities.

The Chameleon suffered his most humiliating defeat at the hands of Peter Parker's Aunt May, when he attempted to trick her into believing he was Peter, to murder her. However, May was not fooled, and defeated the villain with a plate of oatmeal-raisin cookies laced with Ambien. (see Sensational Spider-Man #31).

Cartoon Appearances

The Chameleon appeared in the 1981 Spider-Man episode Arsenic and Aunt May, posing as the spirit of Spider-Man's Uncle Ben to manipulate Aunt May.

The Chameleon was the featured villain in the "Seven Little Superheroes" episode of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, in which he lured Spider-Man, Iceman, Firestar, Captain America, Doctor Strange, Sub-Mariner and Shanna the She-Devil (referred to as "Shanna of the Jungle") to a remote island to pick them off one by one. He was voiced by Hans Conreid.


Chameleon in Spider-Man: The Animated Series, Chameleon was an international hitman and spy in Spider-Man: The Animated Series. He also can't (or doesn't) speak while he is in his true form. Though in the episode "Framed" Richard Fisk indicates that Chameleon told them about Peter Parker's parents. Chameleon has a belt, which is capable of capturing an image of a person, so that he can turn into a person to disguise himself. In his first appearance, he attempts to kill two diplomats at a U.N. conference, but is foiled by Spider-Man, incapicitated by a punch to his imaging device. In "The Insidious Six" and "Battle of the Insidious Six", Chameleon became a member of the Insidious Six. In "Framed" and "The Man Without Fear", he was working for the Kingpin's son, Richard Fisk in framing Peter Parker for getting restricted government information. But Parker's name was cleared and Richard and Chameleon were sentenced to jail. Later, in "The Cat", it was revealed that he was jailed in S.H.I.E.L.D. and he was assigned by Kingpin to release Felicia Hardy's father. He successfully did and disguised himself as Felicia's father so no one would know the real Hardesky was abducted. Also, Chameleon is infused with a techo-organic virus, which made him part-machine and was able to change into any person without the belt. Eventually, his ruse was uncovered by Nick Fury. Later, in "Six Forgotten Warriors" part 1-5, he was rescued by the rest of the Insidious Six and became a member again, but would betray them and join forces with his foster father, the Red Skull (they have no relation in the comics), and his brother, Rhienholdt Kragov, who would later become Electro. In the end, Electro and Red Skull, along with Captain America, were trapped in a time dilation loophole and Chameleon escaped, never to be seen again. Interestingly, in the Chameleon's last appearance when he was fighting against Spider-Man, he was grunting numerous times and the grunts were provided by Jim Cummings, who also played Shocker in the series, which hints that the Chameleon can speak but just doesn't have much use to talk in his true form.

Appearnaces in the Show:

Day of the Chameleon
The Insidious Six
Battle of the Insidious Six
Framed
The Man Without Fear
The Cat
The Black Cat
Six Forgotten Warriors:
Unclaimed Legacy
Secrets of the Six
The Six Fight Again
The Price of Heroism


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