WW Philly: Got Kraven? Guggenheim Re-imagines the Hunter

That's right web-heads.

Kraven is back. Not from the dead (just yet) but writer Marc Guggenheim introduces the Hunter's heir apparent in a three-issue arc of "Amazing Spider-Man" this July in #565-567.

Despite the storyline featuring a guest appearance by fan favorite Daredevil, Guggenheim ("Young X-Men") told CBR News he knows it's all about the girl.

"This woman, or this girl, I should say, is a new character, who has never been seen before. She is the product of months and months and months of work and discussion between me and [artist] Phil Jimenez and the overall Spidey braintrust. So she comes into the story with a lot of dimension and a lot of her character already worked out," he explained.

"But I'm not going to promise that you are going to see all of that stuff by the end of this first arc. In fact, I will promise that you won't see all of this stuff in these issues."

Guggenheim said the braintrust of "Amazing Spider-Man," including Editor Steve Wacker and the flagship title's rotating creative teams, think they are on to something with the brand new Kraven and that readers "are going to get to know her much, much, much better over the next couple of years."

One thing readers won't learn in July is Kraven's name.

"The entire arc, she is never referred to by name," said Guggenheim. "It just wasn't organic to the situation."

"What I can tell you is she is related, with a lower case 'r,' to the Kraven legacy in some way," he teased, adding the link between the new Kraven and the old (dead) one will be revealed in the pages of the three-issue arc.

"I guess it depends honestly how you define link," laughed Guggenheim, who would not confirm or deny whether the new character was Kraven's daughter. "Depending upon your definition, the link is revealed either very early on or on the very last page of the arc. It really truly depends on what you think that link is."

Introduced as a villain, the stakes are incredibly high for both Kraven and Spider-Man, right out of the gates.

"I am big believer that the best way to introduce a villain, and I'll admit, I haven't always been successful in following this rule myself, is to have them come out swinging, causing major damage and hurt," said Guggenheim. "If the first arc is Round 1, and Spider-Man barely survives Round 1, you are going to want and see what happens in Round 2."

The 38-year old writer cited the introduction of Venom in "Amazing Spider-Man"#299 as the way to make a good first impression with a budding supervillain.

"I think one of the reasons Venom is the last Spidey villain to be introduced, the Brand New Day villains notwithstanding, to really stand the test of time is while you may not remember much about Venom's introduction, but you remember him going after Mary Jane," he explained.

"The villain is only as good as the threat he or she proposes and with this character, she discovers where Spider-Man lives and she literally hits him where he lives."

In discussing the origin of the new Kraven, Guggenheim hinted, with a laugh, that perhaps Spider-Man hadn't seen the last of the original Hunter just yet.

Sergei Kravinoff, a big-game hunter who was obsessed with capturing Spider-Man, finally made his dream kill in the 1987 storyline "Kraven's Last Hunt" and having nothing left to do, committed suicide. Kravinoff's two sons have both taken on the mantle over the years but neither lived up to the Kraven name.

"There were a couple of different things driving her creation," explained Guggenheim. "The first one was me thinking Spidey doesn't have any strong female antagonists. Yes, he's got Madame Web, who is sort of a quasi-antagonist in my opinion. And you've got Paper Doll, who is brand new and wonderful. But as female supervillains go, Spidey's rogues' gallery is pretty lean. So the idea of a woman who can come in and really kick Spidey's ass really intrigues me.

"And I was also thinking a lot about Kraven. I love Kraven. He's one of those characters, who is very, very original but has sort of got a little tarnished over the years just from bad execution, leading up to him being so disposable that Marvel thought nothing of killing him. And yes, thankfully, he was killed in such a way in his story that reminded you what was so cool about him. So while the character's dead, maybe [laughs], all of the things that make him cool are still alive."

"It all developed coincidentally," he continued. "Phil Jimenez had been working on a lot of cool stuff relating to Kraven with Steve Wacker. At first, it was just the three of us coming together with Dan Slott and talking about this new character.

"We went back and forth and threw around a lot of ideas, and brought in the rest of the Spidey braintrust and really fleshed her out. Like I said at the outset, what's really, really cool about her is she is incredibly well fleshed out for a character making an initial three-issue appearance. She comes with a complete backstory. Her look is very specific and there is a reason behind that too."

"This arc is just the first layer of this onion," said Guggeheim. "I am not promising I will peel the entire onion in these first three issues, but what's cool is, and let's be honest, sometimes you create a character and they only have one layer to them and then the character takes off and is popular and you have to suddenly retrofit all the background so you can tell more stories with them. I kind of feel like that's what happened with Green Goblin.

"Hopefully you'll get a hint of all of those different layers as you read through these three issues. And you are intrigued and go, 'I can't wait to see her face off against Spidey again.'"

Guggenheim said that in the first draft of the arc, the new Kraven won the right to use the title in a bar bet.

While that part of her mythos has been erased, the brand new Kraven "fits into larger plans, larger arcs and larger schemes."

"She is a critical component," said Guggenheim, who said the braintrust has the "Amazing Spider-Man"mapped out for at least two years.

Guggenheim was hoping to attend Wizard World Philadelphia this weekend to make the announcement about Kraven personally, but ABC picked up his critical hit "Eli Stone" for a second season earlier this month and he is busy in California writing and producing the show.

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