The Chameleon is a fictional character that appears in comic book published by Marvel Comics. The character first appears in Amazing Spider-Man #1 (March 1963), and was created by writer Stan Lee and artist Steve Ditko; the Chameleon is the first member of Spider-Man's rogues' gallery, based on issue publication date, excluding the burglar who murdered Ben Parker (Supercharger was the first Spider-Man supervillain chronologically ).
The Chameleon was born a Soviet citizen named Dmitri Smerdyakov. In his youth, he was a servant and half-brother to Kraven the Hunter, Sergei Kravinoff, and eventually became a minor associate to one Gustav Fiers. Although Dmitri and Sergei were friends, Sergei was often abusive to him, leading to a combination of admiration and resentment towards Kravinoff from Smerdyakov. Eventually, Smerdyakov emigrated to the United States of America. As he had made a talent for himself during his youth, impressing his brother by impersonating friends and neighbors, he assumed an even more impressive disguise: the identity of the Chameleon. During his first known criminal outing, he impersonated Spider-Man, though he was exposed and arrested. Shortly afterward, Kravinoff, now Kraven the Hunter, himself came to America, and the Chameleon set his old associate's sights on Spider-Man. Both men became long-time enemies of Spider-Man, part of his primary rogues' gallery.
The Chameleon inspired Kraven the Hunter to begin hunting Spider-Man, inviting Kraven to dispose of the hero. With Kraven, the Chameleon battled Iron Man and then confronted the Hulk. At one point, the Chameleon disguised himself as Henry Pym, and robbed Pym's laboratory for documents to combat Virus Nine. While delivering the documents and a shrunken Hulk to HYDRA, he was encountered and defeated by the real Pym as Ant-Man. The Chameleon disguised himself as the Torpedo and battled Daredevil.
When Kraven the Hunter committed suicide, the Chameleon became obsessed with making Spider-Man suffer for his failure to prevent Kraven from killing himself. He ingested a serum which made his face permanently featureless and malleable. He attempted to kidnap America's leading expert on superconductors, but was thwarted by Spider-Man. He then kidnapped J. Jonah Jameson. He approached the Maggia for support to become New York's new crime lord, and formed an alliance with Hammerhead. Disguised as a scientist, the Chameleon temporarily removed Spider-Man's powers. He allied himself with the Femme Fatales, Scorpion, and Tarantula to eliminate Spider-Man and the Black Cat, but escaped when his plan failed.
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