Ivan Kragoff was the Soviet’s premier space pioneer who vowed to be the first human being to land on the moon. Using a fuel made of the same meteoric materials that Reed Richards used to create his, Ivan launched a spaceship at the precise time that the Fantastic Four launched their own into space. Ivan crewed his ship with a trio of apes that he had trained to operate the ship, repair its machinery, and fire weapons, which he kept under-fed so that they would continue to obey him. And because Ivan had spent time researching the Fantastic Four, he was prepared for the cosmic rays he would encounter along the way, though unlike the four heroes, Ivan constructed his spaceship out of transparent, ceramic plastic to allow as much of the cosmic rays to filter through as possible. So that once he had reached space, Ivan and his three apes were bombarded by an intense dose of the rays, more than the Fantastic Four before them. Ivan’s Gorilla became super-strong; his orangutan gained control of magnetism; and the baboon gained the ability to transform into other objects at will. Ivan Kragoff, himself, became the Red Ghost, with the power to make his body insubstantial, allowing him to pass through solid objects.
Once the Red Ghost and his Super Apes reached the Blue Area of the Moon, they found an abandoned city as well as a more modern, inhabited dwelling. They also found the Fantastic Four’s Thing, and fought with him until Uatu The Watcher appeared and stopped the apes and the two combatants. He explained that his species observed others, but never interfered. However, Earth was becoming dangerously close to a devastating clash between the United States and Russia, which might reduce the human race to savagery and barbarism. He also announced that the Red Ghost and the Fantastic Four must fight to decide the battle.
The Red Ghost and his Apes fought the Fantastic Four until Reed designed a paralyzing ray that enabled him to freeze the Red Ghost who could not otherwise be touched. Then, while the Watcher explained that he would have to move his base to a new place, now that humans were capable of traveling to the moon, the Red Ghost’s gorilla released him from his paralysis. But when the Red Ghost tried to control them, after the Invisible Girl had fed them, they turned on him and chased him across the moon.
He returned many times after, using his apes to fight the Fantastic Four. At one time he tried to strand the Fantastic Four on the Moon, but they escaped to the Blue Area and soon fought back, knocking the Red Ghost into a portal and returning home. The Red Ghost was also one of the villains that Doctor Doom used to disrupt Reed and Sue's wedding. He attacked Susan and Alicia Masters, but Doctor Strange appeared and used his powers to send him to a distant nether world.