Many know that Kraven is associated with Spider-Man, but did you know how early he was introduced in comic books? In Amazing Spider-Man issue 15, the wall-crawler’s enemy called The Chameleon decides that he is over his head and needs to hire his old friend, who he regards as the most dangerous stalker on Earth. Here we discover Kraven The Hunter’s backstory as we navigate not only a classic story, but classic art work from Steve Ditko as well.
In the comic, Jonah Jameson explains to Betty Brant that Kraven is a living legend, and the greatest hunter of all time. He had, single-handedly, defeated every beast that has lived. He arrived by pier from Africa, and can defeat anything that lives with his bare hands. Peter Parker (Spider-Man) is there for his arrival so he could take pictures for The Daily Bugle newspaper. Liz Allan (spelt “Allen” in this issue) is there with him and Betty Brant is jealous. As a loading crate snaps full of gorillas and cobras, we get to see Kraven in action as he instantly disables all threats. Most incredible of all, he lifts a gorilla above his head. Peter is stunned. This is just the start of Kraven The Hunter’s backstory as he tells Jameson that he came to his destination to hunt Spider-Man.
After meeting up with Chameleon, Kraven explains that he has super strength and speed, due to a secret potion he stole from a witch-doctor of a hidden African tribe. A midnight burglary was set up by Chameleon so that Spider-Man could stop it, and Kraven could witness what is happen. He remarks how he always studies his prey in action before he begins to hunt. He soon is battling Spider-Man and manages to scratch him with some special poison to weaken him. Peter retreats back home and sleeps, but his hands can’t stop shaking. In the morning, Aunt May lets Peter know that she set him up on a blind date. (This later turns out to be Mary Jane Watson. She ironically says that Mrs Watson’s niece would make a good housewife.)
Spider-Man is worried about Kraven, especially since he overheard him and Jameson striking up a deal to deal with Spider-Man. He decides to somehow put a tracer on Kraven so he will know where he is and can anticipate an attack. Spider-Man tries to follow him but it turns out to be a decoy. The decoy turns out to be Chameleon and, despite all efforts to capture Spider-Man, the hunter becomes the hunted as Spider-Man captures Kraven in a web. In the end, both criminals get deported out of the country and that’s how the story ends.
And so there you have it. Kraven The Hunter’s backstory is that he is from Africa and became a great hunter by using a special potion to give him strength and speed. He meets Spider-Man due to The Chameleon hiring him, and the rest is history. If you have a small fortune, go ahead and buy Amazing Spider-Man 15 so you can feel superior due to your awesome comic collection. It’s interesting to ponder how different Kraven’s life might have been if he hadn’t stolen that magical potion from the witch-doctor. Perhaps he would have pursued a career as a humble wildlife photographer or even a zoologist. But alas, with great potion comes great responsibility and the inevitable course toward villainy.