Art by Mark Bagley
|First appearance||Ultimate Spider-Man #1 (October 2000)|
|Created by||Brian Michael Bendis
|Full name||Kenny McFarlane|
|Supporting character of||Spider-Man|
|Notable aliases||Kong, King Kong|
Kenny McFarlane (also known as King Kong or simply Kong) is a fictional character in comic books published by Marvel Comics' Ultimate Marvel universe. Created by Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, he appears in the pages of Ultimate Spider-Man. Kenny is one of the few characters not based on a counterpart from Marvel's main continuity, being an original Ultimate Marvel invention to the comics.
Fictional character biography
Obese, yet strong, Kenny McFarlane is the best friend of Flash Thompson and Liz Allan. Kenny attends Midtown High School where he plays basketball for the school team. There, he can regularly be found cooperating with Flash bullying Peter Parker. However, without Flash in the vicinity, he shows a more likeable side and is often shown being friendly and open to Peter, even letting Peter stay at his house after Peter had a fight with his Uncle Ben. When Peter is bitten by the genetically enhanced spider that gave him his powers, Kenny crushes the spider under his sneakers, killing it. Later, noticing changes in Peter's physical strength and abilities, and recalling the spider bite, he deduces that Peter is Spider-Man. Flash and Liz refuse to believe him and demand he prove it by kicking Peter from behind. Peter's spider sense warns him that the kick is coming, and he willingly takes the abuse rather than reveal his abilities, which appears to dissuade Kenny. This confrontation is observed by new-student Gwen Stacy sticking up for Peter by pulling a knife on Kong.
Kenny still has a fascination with Spider-Man, even to the point of hero worship. Upon hearing about the upcoming Spider-Man movie, Kenny enters a casting call for extras. His only line was "Look in the sky, it's Spider-Man!" With the film's success, he achieved some fame in his school.
When Kenny and Peter share detention, Peter tells Kenny that Flash only hangs out with him solely out of a sense of superiority and treats him badly. Whether or not Kenny takes Peter's words to heart, he later has a particularly violent confrontation with Flash after the latter begins ridiculing new student Kitty Pryde for being a mutant; Kenny slams Flash into a locker and furiously forces him to apologize, claiming he is "sick of [Flash's] racist crap". Frightened, Flash leaves the scene and Peter and MJ introduce Kitty to Kenny, and the pair walk away in conversation. He is later seen at Kitty's house, and Kitty later tells Peter that she is thinking of dating him.
Later, when Liz's mutant abilities manifest at a party, Kenny tells Peter to go help her; he still knew that Peter was Spider-Man all along but had kept the knowledge to himself.
When Kitty was singled out by federal troops for being a mutant after the events of Ultimatum, Kenny was one of the few classmates to stick up for her, physically assaulting an agent to buy her time to escape. Kitty phased herself and Kenny through the floor and into the sewers, and they resume their relationship. Later, Kitty tells Peter that Kenny's mother took him out of the state and hasn't been seen since.
Writer Brian Michael Bendis did not name Kenny McFarlane consistently during his run on Ultimate Spider-Man. In the first scenes, he is called by his nickname "King Kong" or simply "Kong" or even his real name). In the first issue, his last name was hinted to be Harlan, and in issue #15, his mother called him Clifford, while in Ultimate Marvel Team-Up around the same time, in a story also written by Brian Michael Bendis, a teacher calls him Kenny. As a result of this information, in the "Official Handbook of the Ultimate Marvel Universe", he was referred to as "Kong Harlan, aka Clifford Kenneth Harlan." However in issue Ultimate Spider-Man #82, his name was finally revealed to be "Kenny McFarlane". He now refers to himself as Kenny McFarlane, and in an interview with Bendis, it is confirmed that this is his real name.
In other media
- The character appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Andrew Kishino. Unlike his comic counterpart, he is more fat than muscular, his ethnic background is changed to Asian, and his name is changed to Kenny Kong. He is on the Midtown football team with Flash Thompson and Randy Robertson. He dated Glory Grant until she broke up with him for being too childish but she later forgives him and they get back together.
- Kenny McFarlane has a cameo appearance in the Ultimate Spider-Man video game. His character can be seen in the models section of the special features.