By Marc Strom
Kraven has Spider-Man in her sights once again.
Phil Jimenez, whose artistic talents have brought to life several of Spidey's recent adventures, steps into his writing shoes with a short story delving further into the newest Kraven's history in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: EXTRA! #3, on sale March 11.
Though Marc Guggenheim wrote the teenage Kraven's first appearance, with art from Jimenez, the creator reveals that he had a much larger hand in her creation than simply designing her costume.
"Actually, I created the new Kraven in her entirety—her look, her background, her connection to the original Kraven," Jimenez explains. "The Spider-Man Braintrust [members] were kind enough to let me play a little bit in their world, and to insert the new Kraven into their master plan. For that, I'm eternally grateful! Very few folks actually get to create new characters like this for Spider-Man, and I got to create her from the ground up, which also meant creating her mother, a character that we'd never seen before.
"As a matter of fact, the character became even more intimately tied to the original Kraven when I discovered, doing my research, that while Sergei Kravinoff had several children, the mother of his first born
son and his daughter, the new Kraven, had never been revealed—so we got to really fill in the branches of his twisted family tree!"
Given that he created her character wholesale, Jimenez tells us that actually writing Ana Kravinoff for the first time proved effortless.
"[It was] probably a lot easier [for me] than it was for Marc Guggenheim, who helped me introduce the character in the arc we worked on together," Jimenez admits. "I've had this new Kraven in my head for months, and so I know how she works, what makes her tick, and why she hates Spider-Man so much. And what she wants to do about it.
"More than anything, I'm just grateful that Marvel, and the editors in the Spider-Man office, have given me a chance to flesh out my vision," he continues. "I take Spider-Man, his fans, and his world very seriously, and I want to do right by everyone. So I'm really just so appreciative for the chance to write and draw these stories!"
As far as the actual story goes, Jimenez promises it will pick up some loose threads from Kraven's first appearance while also leading into future stories.
"I can tell you that it's a follow up to the arc that Marc and I worked on together," Jimenez elaborates. "A sort of 'day after,' where Spider-Man and the new Kraven learn a few more things about each other—
remember, Kraven thought she'd captured Spider-Man, but it was really just his roommate, Vin Gonazales, dressed in a Spider-Man costume. And it's one of many short stories that will lead into a much larger story later, focusing on more than just a crazy little girl and her appetite for vengeance, a favorite trope of mine!"
Bringing a new Kraven into Spider-Man's world offered Jimenez a chance to really get into Spider-Man's sandbox and leave a lasting impression.
"I knew that if I had any contributions to make with Spider-Man, it would be in reinvigorating his 'legacy' characters, particularly his villains—the characters I love so much in his universe," Jimenez relates. "I loved [the idea of] linking Spider-Man's past, from a character and a company perspective, with his future in Brand New Day. I think the easiest way to do that is to create new characters with connections to old ones—this way, you use the name and the legacy of the original character, but you can create a totally new one, and hopefully fans and other creators can take them and build on them in the way they have for the past 40 years.
"And I knew that I wanted to infuse a female presence into the Spidey villain roster, which remains largely male. Finally, I'm a sucker for the Kravens, that weird twisted Russian family, and I wanted to play with them without simply resurrecting the dead ones for a useless one-off. And thus, Ana Kravinoff was born!"
And if Jimenez has his way, fans will continue to see even more of Ana in the months to come:
"Fortunately, she's struck enough of a chord with the right people to bring her back to play with her and explore her past and motivations a little bit more. The Spidey Braintrust helped me come up with some amazing material for the Kravinoff family, and I certainly hope I get to play it out in the months to come!"
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN: EXTRA! #3, on sale March, also includes the work of Marc Guggenheim, Joe Kelly and more! And for the original Kraven's first appearance, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited!
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