J.M. DeMatteis and Mike Zeck gave us one of the best Spider-Man stories of all time 30 years ago this month. Kraven’s Last Hunt is often at the top of the “Best Spider-Man stories” It even came in at the number one spot on a recent Crawlspace top 50 list. DeMatteis reposted an entry on his website talking about writing the story and how it was rejected twice before it got approved. In fact it wasn’t even originally pitched as a Spider-Man story.
Here’s an excerpt from it.
Autumn, 1986. I was visiting the Marvel office one day when Jim Owsley, editor of the Spider-Man line, and Tom DeFalco (what? Him again?) invited me out to lunch. They wanted me to pick up the writing duties on Spectacular Spider-Man but I was reluctant to commit to another monthly book. Owsley and DeFalco were insistent. I weakened. They pushed harder. I agreed.
And, by the time I got home, I realized what a stroke of good fortune this was: I now had another chance, probably my last chance, to take a crack at this “back from the grave” idea. More important: I discovered, as I worked away on the proposal, that Spider-Man—recently married to Mary Jane—was a far better choice than either Wonder Man or Batman. Peter Parker is perhaps the most emotionally and psychologically authentic protagonist in any super-hero universe. Underneath that mask, he’s as confused, as flawed, as touchingly human, as the people who read—and write—about him: the quintessential Everyman. And that Everyman’s love for his new wife, for the new life they were building together, was the emotional fuel that ignited the story. It was Mary Jane’s presence, her heart and soul, that reached down into the deeps of Peter’s heart and soul, forcing him up out of that coffin, out of the grave, into the light.
And that’s how Kraven’s Last Hunt was born.
There have been a few adaptions of the story in audio and video form. Check these out.
The Crawlspace Interviewed DeMatteis back in 2008. Here’s that two part interview.
Mister Mets also recently attended a panel that discussed the anniversary. Check it out here on this link.