BY MATT TUCK
Finally! After years of speculation, we are getting a Kraven the Hunter solo movie, and he could be setting the stage for a live-action Sinister Six.
Following in the steps of Morbius, Sony is working on yet another solo villain flick that spotlights Spider-Man’s classic foe, Kraven. The funny thing is, he will be played by Quicksilver. That’s right, the MCU’s Pietro Maximoff, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, will don the lion skin vest and bring everyone’s favorite big game hunter to life. The film does not yet have a director attached, but Sony is reportedly in talks with J.C. Chandor to helm the superhero epic.
Whether or not this will be a good movie is debatable. Personally, I was not a fan of 2018’s Venom, and I think both Morbius and Let There Be Carnage look a bit suspect. There’s only so many cringy, slapstick comedy bits in a superhero movie that a man can take. On the other hand, Venom was a huge success for Sony, so they are definitely capable of giving mainstream audiences what they crave.
Sony has been full-steam ahead in its Spider-verse sans Spider-Man. Along with the upcoming Morbius, Venom 2, and now Kraven, the studio is still developing its Silk solo movie, and they’ve even hired a writer to pen the Jackpot screenplay. The biggest surprise to me is that apparently there really is going to be a Madame Web movie. I had thought that would end up being filed under “thank God that didn’t happen,” but Sony has actually hired S.J. Clarkson to direct it. To me, that sounds like Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider level bad.
Fans will be flocking to the auction sites to buy up all the Kraven keys they can find. Between rumors of Kraven appearing in the Homecoming trilogy and the longstanding gossip that he would be the villain in Black Panther 2, audiences have been waiting for Kraven to get his live-action turn. Now we will see the fireworks light up the secondary market.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #15
The first key on anyone’s Kraven wish list is no doubt ASM #15. Drawn by the original Spidey artist Steve Ditko, this is the first appearance of Sergei Kravinoff. Thanks to all those pesky rumors, this issue has been climbing in fair market value for years. At the top of the heap, a 7.5 brought over $7k earlier this month. On the opposite end of the spectrum, a lowly 2.0 sold for $888 on May 18.
No matter what route the filmmakers take in bringing Kraven to life, they will pull from this particular issue. Even if they didn’t, it’s still the first appearance. Look for that 2.0 to cross into $1k territory very soon, and that alone tells the story of how crazy these prices are about to get.
AMAZING SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL #1
There’s no question in my mind that Sony is working to cross all its franchises with the MCU. After all, Alfred Molina’s Doctor Octopus and Jamie Foxx’s Electro are confirmed for Marvel’s Spider-Man: No Way Home. Then there’s Micheal Keaton reprising his role as Adrian Toomes in the Morbius trailer. On top of that, Ruben Fleischer, the director of 2018’s Venom, confirmed that the goal would be to eventually bring Venom to the MCU.
Now that Kraven is being added to the mix, it would be a disappointment if Sony and Marvel didn’t bring a big-screen version of the Sinister Six to life. The Homecoming movies have already given us Mac Gargan, aka Scorpion, and Mysterio, who may not be dead since he is the master of illusions, and that gives us six card-carrying members of the Sinister Six. Even better, if Mysterio doesn’t return in some fashion, the rumor is that Willem Dafoe will again play Norman Osborn, so the Green Goblin could fill that sixth spot.
My guess is that Venom and Morbius and possibly Silk would fight alongside Spider-Man to defeat them. Going back to the Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony has long been interested in putting the Sinister Six in a movie, and that lends more credence to this theory.
So far this month, a 1.8 sold well below average for $650 when its 90-day FMV stands at over $800. Meanwhile, a 3.0 earned almost $1,400. On May 21, a 4.0 sold for an astounding $3,000, obliterating last year’s record-high of $1,560.
TALES OF SUSPENSE #58
Here is a Kraven key that will likely fly under the radar. His second appearance was outside the Spider-Man comics, and it largely goes overlooked. There’s not a lot to say about this issue, but it is worth having for the Kraven fanatics, or if you just recently hopped on the bandwagon. Want one? Aim for the lower grades. The 2.5 is averaging less than $100, but if you are willing to invest a bit more, the 4.5 is still selling for less than $200 for now.
KRAVEN’S LAST HUNT
Mike Zeck was on his game back in 1987, and “Kraven’s Last Hunt” has some of the most iconic covers of the 1980s. By far, his depiction of Kraven from the character’s single best story - and one of the all-time best Spider-Man stories ever told - can’t be narrowed down to just one comic. J.M. DeMatteis brought to life the tale of Kraven, dying of cancer, finally defeating Spider-Man. Foreshadowing Venom, he even put on a black costume of his own and pretended to be the hero. By the end, Kraven was given a dramatic and poignant death scene that will leave you with chills. It was so good that I hated when Marvel resurrected Kraven years later and negated that powerful moment.
Cover collectors have long sought out Zeck’s amazing works in this Spidey crossover. Spanning Web of Spider-Man #31, Amazing Spider-Man #293, Spectacular Spider-Man #131, WSM #32, ASM #294, and concluding with SSM #132, these are a treasure trove of classic Kraven and black-suit Spider-Man artwork.
The cover of WSM #32 is the most widely homage, and for good reason. Graded at a 9.8, it last sold for $550 just this month. If you are looking for something a bit more affordable, the 9.2 generally brings less than $100.
SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN ‘96 #1
Here is a hidden gem that you can get for relatively cheap. While I don’t predict it will suddenly skyrocket in value, it could be inspiration for the film. This issue, titled “Kraven’s First Hunt,” retells the first meeting between Spidey and Kraven, but from the villain’s point of view. The last time one sold, it brought a surprising $68 in August, 2020.
CRAVIN’ SOME KRAVEN
It is a given that the Kraven keys will take off as word spreads that he is on his way to the world of live action. The prospect of the Sinister Six and the MCU only sweetens the deal. Sure, Aaron Taylor-Johnson has already played one Marvel character, but he would not be the first actor to play more than one superhero. Time to jump on those key issues before the prices get too crazy.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.