Real Name: Ivan Kragoff
First Appearance: Fantastic Four #13 (April, 1963)
Affiliation: Intelligencia, Frightful Four, Master of the Super Apes
Did You Know? Ivan Kragoff and the Fantastic Four participated in Marvel’s version of the Race to the Moon
A Little History
Ivan Kragoff, the Red Ghost took a very similar path as a well-known superhero family to acquiring his powers.
Kragoff was a devote Communist who studied the effects of cosmic rays on humans. He became particularly interested after witnessing how cosmic rays had changed Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and The Thing.
His infatuation became an all-out obsession and Kragoff made it his life’s work to replicate the accident that left the Fantastic Four changed. In fact, he not only desired to replicate it but he wanted to increase the abilities given by the rays. To do this he constructed a ceramic ship that exposed its inhabitants to even more rays than the one carrying the Fantastic Four.
With his ship complete, he loaded it with three highly trained primates, Peotor the Orangutan, Igor the Baboon, and Miklho the Gorilla. He had trained the apes to operate the ship, fix it when needed, and fire its weaponry if required. He kept them under his command through inhumane tactics, most notable of which was starvation.
The quartet passed through the cosmic rays and upon their landing on the moon they realized that they had received powers. Ivan now possessed the ability to become intangible, Peotor could now control magnetism, Igor became a shape-shifter, and Miklho gained super strength.
Coincidentally, the flight that Ivan and his primates were on flew to the moon at the same time as the Fantastic Four ventured there. This didn’t matter to Ivan, however. He saw the opportunity presented and sent his super apes to do battle with the Fantastic Four.
His ambush of the Thing caught the attention of Uatu the Watcher who wanted him to stop what he was doing. He told the space walkers that the Earth was in great danger due to the issues between Russia and the United States. He then explained that, while he does not interfere with the happenings of others, the two opposing parties must do battle.
The Fantastic Four made short work on their enemy and at the conclusion of the battle, Uatu said that he must find a new home now that the Earthbound humans were no longer Earthbound. With the battle over, the apes, due to their inhumane treatment, turned on the Red Ghost and chased him across the moon.