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 Spider-Man Encyclopedia  - Spider-Man Villains - Kraven the Hunter

.Kraven was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko, he first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #15

Kraven is the half brother of the Chameleon.

Sergei Kravinoff was born in Stalingrad. As Kraven, he was a maniacal big game hunter who sought to defeat Spider-Man to prove that he was the greatest hunter in the world. Unlike other hunters, he typically disdained the use of guns or bow and arrows preferring to take down large dangerous animals with his bare hands even though he often made elaborate preparations to weaken a quarry before hand. He also used a mystical serum to give him similar strength to Spider-Man, but even without the serum he was a threat to the wall-crawler. Spider-Man proved a frustrating quarry because Kraven continually underestimated the superhero's resourcefulness.
 

In the  story "Kraven's Last Hunt", by J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck,  Kraven's anger toward his inability to defeat the superhero destroyed his sanity. With that, he hatched a scheme that actually defeated Spider-Man, and seemingly and uncharacteristically shot him dead. Considering his enemy effectively dead, Kraven buried him. After this, Kraven donned a copy of Spider-Man's costume and sought to prove that he was superior at his enemy's activities. This culminated with his successful singlehanded capture of a minor super villain, Vermin, whom Spider-Man needed the help of Captain America to defeat. After that triumph, Spider-Man revived from the tranquilizer dart he was actually shot with and dug his way out of the grave. Kraven greeted him and explained that he had made his point about defeating his enemy. Then he released Vermin and told Spider-Man to pursue him. At this point, having no further purpose, Kraven committed suicide while Spider-Man captured the villain on his own.

Kraven's allegiances and relatives in life were, for the most part, revealed only after his death. The Chameleon was the person who initially gave Kraven the idea of hunting Spider-Man in Amazing Spider-Man #15. After Kraven died, the Chameleon was revealed to be Dmitri Smerdyakov, Kraven's half-brother, personal servant, and the victim of Kraven's abuse, and yet, according to Smerdyakov, the two were best friends nonetheless. Kraven's lover, the voodoo priestess Calypso, manipulated the Lizard against the wall-crawler in the first issues of Todd McFarlane's best-selling Spider-Man series. It was later revealed in a story arc concerning Ka-Zar that Kraven was trained as a hunter largely by a mysterious man named Gregor, a mercenary who battled the Jungle Man.

Kraven has two sons take up his role. There was a third son as well, Ned Tannengarden, who tried to kill Alyosha, but was murdered by the Chameleon (who believed himself to be the original Kraven at that point).


Vladimir Kravinoff
Vladimir Kravinoff, mutant, took up the name "The Grim Hunter" and decided to hunt down Spider-Man and several of his foes. He only had one battle with Spider-Man, and his methods were nearly the same as his father's. He was briefly involved with the Hobgoblin, even giving that incarnation (Jason Macendale) his father's super strength formula. When he got out of jail, he decided to track Spider-Man down again, only to fight the Scarlet Spider instead. Kaine, a clone of Spider-Man arrived, and after a confrontation, Vladimir was killed by the insane duplicate.


Alyosha Kravinoff
Main article: Alyosha Kravinoff
Some time after the death of Vladimir, his half brother, Alyosha Kravinoff (or "Al Kraven"), became the newest Kraven. During his tenure as the Hunter, he was manipulated by Calypso and killed her before joining The Sandman's reformed Sinister Six. After the team dissolved following the Sandman's betrayal of Venom, the symbiote began hunting down his former team mates, wounding both Sandman and Electro. He was surprised that Kraven was able to hold out the longest against him, but ultimately defeated and almost disemboweled the hunter, who was saved by Spider-Man at the cost of Venom's escape. Shortly after, he retired from the supervillain scene, and decided to become a Hollywood star and semi-superhero. Alyosha is a mutant and retained his superhuman powers after the M-Day. He was prominently featured in the Beyond! miniseries.


Al Kraven (Alyosha Kravinoff), Kraven II has the same abilities and skills of his father, with the addition of an ability to control animals which has never been fully explained (possibly a mutation). He has a greater education than his father or brother, and is relatively sane compared to the rest of his family, though still prone to personality lapses where he may turn from a cool and calm gentleman to a raging animal in seconds. He has also revealed to Spider-Man during in a conversation in a bar that his mother was a mutant like him.


There is reason to believe that this character is named for one of Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov: Kraven's ally the Chameleon was born Dmitri Smerdyakov. Dmitri and Smerdyakov are two of the Karamazov brothers, and it is unlikely that the occurrence of all three names in the mythos surrounding Kraven is simply coincidental.


Kraven in other media
Kraven's first on-screen appearance actually pre-dates Spider-Man's own show (on which he never appeared), appearing in 1966 on one of the Iron Man episodes of The Marvel Superheroes Show, entitled "Cliffs of Doom".

Although never identified as Kraven, a character with remarkable similarities to him appeared on an episode of the live-action Incredible Hulk series, entitled "The Snare". The story was similarly based on The Most Dangerous Game as Kraven himself was in the comics.


Amazing Spider-Man 15 Cover



Amazing Spider-Man 34 Cover


Amazing Spider-Man #47 Cover



Kazar vs Kraven the Hunter comic cover


Amazing Spider-Man 294 Cover

Kraven's next official appearance was on the 1981 Spider-Man series, in an episode called "The Hunter and the Hunted", which also featured Ka-Zar.
Also in 1981, Kraven appeared on a first season episode of Spider-Man and his Amazing Friends entitled, "Crime Of All Centuries"
where he was voiced by Robert Ridgely.

 Kraven also appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series played by Gregg Berger. In this series, Kraven has a more heroic personality than he did in the comics. He had a fiancee named Dr. Mariah Crawford. Seigei Kravinoff became Kraven the Hunter when Crawford uses a serum on him to save his life after an animal attack, which causes him to become insane. In the end of his debut episode, Kravinoff was cured by Spider-Man to prevent him from attacking innocent people. In Morbius, he makes a cameo when Dr. Crawford calls him from New York to Africa about Spider-Man having his disease mutated. In Duel of the Hunters, a mutative disease turned Spider-Man into a spider-like monster which went on a Hulk-like rampage, and Kraven was sent to track him down. His hunt was initially interrupted by Punisher, who wanted to kill Spider-Man, but they eventually work together to track down Spider-Man and restore his human form. In The Return of Kraven, he came back to New York to cure Dr. Crawford when she took the serum that made Kravinoff became Kraven, turning her into Calypso. In the end, Kraven cured Crawford to prevent her from attacking innocent people under the influence of the serum.

In the Spider-Man Unlimited animated series, a similar character named The Hunter, who hunts humans appeared. The Hunter was hired by Sir Ram to hunt down Spider-Man. In doing so he kidnapped Karen O'Malley as bait for capturing Spider-Man.
In the MTV Spider-Man animated series, Kraven was voiced by Michael Dorn. His role in the series was he killed the Gaines wife and husband by poisoning them with a serum. However, the couple spawned two fraternal children, Roxanne and Roland, who got hypnotizing powers from the affects of the serum. The Gaines Twins could not use their powers on Kraven (as his senses were too keen for their abilities). In Mind Games: Part One, the Twins hypnotized Spider-Man into thinking Kraven killed Mary Jane Watson and the Twins used this moment to have Spider-Man kill Kraven. In Mind Games: Part Two, Spider-Man and Kraven fought inside a warehouse in which Spider-Man almost kills Kraven by hanging him. Luckily, Spider-Man snaps out of the hypnosis and spares Kraven's life in time, learning Kraven didn't kill Mary Jane and the criminal was sent back to jail.
In the Ultimate Spider-Man computer game, an ad for Kraven's TV show can be seen on billboards and the sides of bus-stops.
Kraven appeared in the Xbox version of Spider-Man: The Movie as a boss villain. He poisons Spider-Man and puts him in a maze. After the maze level Spider-Man fights Kraven for the cure (and eventually, Spidey wins, putting Kraven in jail for his crimes).


Ultimate Kraven

In the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Sergei Kravinoff is the host of his own reality show in which he hunts down dangerous animals, obviously paralleling The Crocodile Hunter. He intended to hunt and kill Spider-Man on live TV in order to boost his ratings. But when he finally confronted Spider-Man, he was knocked out with a single punch (revealing that he is actually a fraud), only to be arrested by the police moments later. His defeat was captured on live television and after this public humiliation his show was cancelled.

In the Ultimate Six story arc, Kraven genetically tampered with his DNA, allowing him to become a gruesome werewolf-like monster. He did this to be able to get revenge on Spider-Man and to try to get his show uncanceled. Unfortunately he was arrested by the Ultimates for illegal genetic tampering before he could face Spider-Man. They imprison him with Spider-Man's other genetically altered enemies Electro, Sandman, Doctor Octopus, and the Green Goblin. After their escape he joins them in a plot to regain their permanent freedom. Unfortunately their plan fails and it ends with a big showdown between the Six and the Ultimates. Kraven, on the cusp of attacking Spider-Man, gets hit by one of Thor's thunderbolts in a moment of dramatic irony and is recaptured by S.H.I.E.L.D. He mentions that his battle with Peter Parker lost him his wife and Job.