Ashley Kafka

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Ashley Kafka
Ashley Kafka, as she appears in a comic book.png
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The Spectacular Spider-Man #178, July 1991
Created by J. M. DeMatteis
Sal Buscema
In-story information
Full name Ashley Kafka
Supporting character of Spider-Man

Dr. Ashley Kafka is a fictional supporting character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics, as well as multiple spin-offs and dramatizations of the Spider-Man titles. Ashley Kafka was inspired by therapeutic hypnotist Frayda Kafka[1] and was created by writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Sal Buscema. Dr. Kafka works as a psychiatrist for the criminally insane at the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane in New York City, and is a sometime ally of Spider-Man. Her first appearance was in The Spectacular Spider-Man #178 (July 1991) and the appearance of her death came in 2013 during The Superior Spider-Man #4 (April 2013).

Ashley Kafka has appeared in various Spider-Man media and was featured in the 2014 film The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Publication history[edit]

Ashley Kafka was created by writer J.M. DeMatteis and artist Sal Buscema. She first appeared in The Spectacular Spider-Man #178, in July 1991.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Ashley Kafka grew up in New York with her Mother and her sister, Norma, who had been born with severe facial birth defects and was mentally challenged. Kafka looked after Norma while growing up. Their mother died when Kafka was nineteen years old and Norma was left at a psychiatric hospital, where she died a short time later. Kafka then went to college and the Empire State University where she studied psychology and earned a degree.[2]

Kafka goes on to become a professional psychologist specializing in the criminally insane and founds a maximum security sanitarium called the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane, where she treats super-criminals.[3] Kafka is killed by Massacre during a breakout attempt.[4]

During the Dead No More: The Clone Conspiracy storyline, Jackal had created a clone of Ashley Kafka.[5]

Other versions[edit]

DC crossover[edit]

In the Marvel/DC crossover Spider-Man & Batman, Doctor Kafka was present when behavioral psychiatrist Doctor Cassandra Briar attempted to use Carnage as the test subject for a chip that would essentially lobotomise the homicidal instincts of dangerous patients, Kafka objecting to the treatment in the belief that she could still reach Kasady through conventional therapy (Spider-Man doubted this philosophy but agreed with her objections to Briar's work).[6]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Ashley Kafka appeared in the 1990s Spider-Man animated series, voiced by Barbara Goodson. In this version, she is a therapist at Ravencroft who treats Eddie Brock who falls in love with her in the episodes "Venom Returns" and "Carnage". In "The Wedding", she also treats Harry Osborn when he is incarcerated in Ravencroft.
  • Ashley Kafka appears in The Spectacular Spider-Man, voiced by Elisa Gabrielli. In this version, she is the founder of the Ravencroft Institute and therapist. She treats many criminally insane supervillains, such as Electro, Doctor Octopus and Cletus Kasady.

Film[edit]

Dr. Ashley Kafka, as he appears in The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Ashley Kafka appears in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, played by actor Marton Csokas. In the film, Kafka is re-imagined as a male German mad doctor and is a leading staff member of the Ravencroft Institute for the Criminally Insane, which is controlled by the corrupt scientific corporation known as Oscorp. He is shown to have been conducting inhumane experiments on his patient Electro, who retaliates by smashing Kafka's glasses and verbally threatening him. Shortly before his removal from Oscorp for a crime he didn't commit, former C.E.O. Harry Osborn discovers that the staff at Ravencroft have been experimenting on the patients. Osborn reacts by sneaking into Ravencroft and releasing Electro from his holding cell. During his escape, Electro brutally assaults Dr. Kafka, knocking him out. When Kafka regains his consciousness and tries to escape, Electro grabs him and traps him in the same harness where he was held. This harness presumably kills him, due to the electricity it contained and the fact that he was drowning in the water underneath. It is unknown whether Kafka survived this or not, though actor Marton Csokas has expressed interest in reprising his role as the character in future films.[7] In an interview with Vanity Fair, Frayda Kafka, the real life inspiration for Ashley Kafka in the comics, reacted negatively to the film's portrayal of the character.[8]

Video games[edit]

In the Amazing Spider-Man 2 game (a tie-in to the film), Dr. Kafka appears in the Ravencroft Institute alongside Donald Menken. Kafka is shown to be experimenting on his patient, Cletus Kasady, with the same type of spider venom responsible for giving Peter Parker his powers. The venom inadvertently transforms Kasady into the monstrous Carnage, who grabs Kafka by the throat. That is the last time Kafka is seen in the game.

References[edit]

External links[edit]