Of all of Spider-Man's foes, none know how to make a fashion statement quite like Kraven the Hunter. Seriously, this bad guy's yet to meet an animal print that he won't turn into leggings or an accessory of some kind. The man's known for his stealthy tracking skills, but his wardrobe practically screams. That contradiction has endeared Sergei Kravinoff to the hearts of many Spider-fans, making him one of the web-head's go-to bad guys for over the top physical action. That's definitely what the hunter brought to AMAZING SPIDER-MAN back when he debuted all those years ago.
Kraven first appeared 50 years ago this month in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15 by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Kravinoff traveled to New York City from the continent of Africa at the behest of Chameleon; the master of disguise had had enough of Spider-Man's meddling and hired the best to hunt him down.
Kraven proved his extraordinary strength right there on the pier, as wild animals broke free from their cages mere seconds after the hunter stepped off the boat. The feats floored the Daily Bugle staff, including Peter Parker, who began to panic when Kraven revealed the subject of his next great hunt.
That last panel contains the highest exposition-per-balloon ratio in Happy Birthday history.
Kraven's first step: testing Spidey's abilities by throwing a whole mess of mobsters at him to fight. Spider-Man escaped the fray and ran across Kraven, pegging the hunter as the mastermind behind the attack. The two brawled for a bit, and the hunter landed a poison-tipped punch on Parker.
Chameleon and Kraven can bro out with the best of them.
Kraven upped the stakes by giving an interview to the Daily Bugle, claiming "DEFEAT OF SPIDER-MAN IMMINENT." Still shaky from Kraven's poison, Peter had no choice but to track the fur-covered maniac down and end the hunt. Spider-Man tracked Kraven – or at least what appeared to be Kraven – to a park. Then, the sound of drums…!
Manacled and on the ropes, Spider-Man turned the battle to his advantage by unmasking the fake Kraven – Chameleon in disguise, of course – and relentlessly tracking the real hunter down with his belt's spotlight. Soon, Kraven got caught in a giant web and Chameleon got a new accessory – handcuffs.
But even after suffering defeat, Kraven would not give up his hunt. Sergei would come back time and time again, always trying to add Spider-Man's mask to his trophy room.
Relive Kraven's latest hunt in the pages of SCARLET SPIDER on Marvel Unlimited!