The first character called "Ka-Zar" came from the pulps, but when Martin Goodman decided to publish comic books, he moved that character over to his very first, Marvel Comics #1. The first Ka-zar was a boy whose parents' plane crashed in the African jungle when the boy, David Rand, was only three years old. His mother, Constance, died shortly after of the fever, but his father, John, lived until he was killed by hostile natives when David was about 12 or 13. He learned to communicate with the animals and blah, blah, blah... When Lee and Kirby revived the character in 1965 it was a complete reboot, but it was the pulp adventures of Ka-Zar which inspired young Kevin Plumber to... but wait. I'm getting ahead of myself.

There has been talk on this board, from time to time, of someone starting a Ka-Zar discussion for as long as I have been a member. The 80th anniversary of the first appearance of the comic book version of the first Ka-Zar seems as good of a time as any to finally do so. Some of the earliest comics I acquired as backissues were the "King-Size" Ka-Zar reprint series and the issues of Marvel Tales reprinting the issues of Spider-Man in which Spidey met Ka-zar. when I was in high school I read Ka-Zar the Savage, and when I was in college I began collecting his early appearances, previous series and reprints via backissues. One of the latest of the early appearances I acquired was his very first from X-Men #10. Up until that time I had been pronouncing his name as I had since I was a child: Kuh-ZAR.

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I'll save you the search, Jeff -- it was the inestimable Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas who coined the phrase "little continuity vortexes." The world thanks you, Luis!

Also, I found the story I mentioned above about the Golden Age Ka-Zar. It's "The Human Torch Battles the Sub-Mariner as the World Faces Destruction!" in Human Torch #5B (there were two issues of Human Torch numbered #5, because Golden Age). It begins with Torch, Toro, Angel and Patriot (not Captain America, as I had misremembered) toasting a newsman named Casey. As I said, Sub-Mariner is seduced by what passes for a sexy Atlantean girl (blech!) to conquer the world, and the heroes (really just the Torch) fight him.

I found it notable for a number of reasons:

  • While the Sub-Mariner invaded New York a couple of times in the early days, this 1941 story seems to come a little late for Sub-Mariner to still be mad at all of humanity. By Human Torch #2 (really #3, because Golden Age), the Torch and Subby are on friendly terms, and the former asks for the latter's help against some Nazis. Subby complies and is hailed at the end of the story as America's hero. He is thanked by the president and gets what looks like a ticker-tape parade in New York. But he tries to conquer the world a couple of issues later?

  • Also, Subby and Torch were old acquaintances, but this was the first and only story I've read where Torch was buddies with Angel and Patriot. Again, my GA knowledge is spotty, so maybe it was a commonplace for Timely to show its heroes as buddies. But it shows just how far back the "shared universe" concept goes.

  • Why Patriot and not Captain America? I can only guess. One possibility is that Patriot had a regular feature in Marvel Mystery Comics (as did Subby, Torch, Ka-Zar and Angel) and Captain America didn't, and maybe this story was originally slated for that title. (Golden Age stories were pretty fungible.) Another possibility is that Simon & Kirby were still in charge of Cap when the story was written (by Bill Everett and Carl Burgos) and either their egos or their contract restricted Cap's appearances. A third possibility is that they just wanted to give Patriot more exposure (that Cap didn't need). A fourth possibility, and the likeliest one, is that I'm just talking through my hat.

  • Ka-Zar's only appearance was when Torch is flying by Africa, and he stops to warn the jungle king about Subby's intentions. They clearly know each other, although Ka-Zar is spelled Kazar throughout. Kazar (sic) rallies the animals to build an ark. No, seriously.

  • Newsman Casey isn't a character I've run across in wartime Timely comics, but Jack "Flashgun" Casey was a crime photographer who starred in Black Mask pulp magazine in the '30s, gained his own radio show by 1944 and was adapted by Timely to comics in the late '40s. Black Mask wasn't owned by Martin Goodman, so neither was Casey, but this could have been a nod to the character. Given the Casey — Crime Photographer title in 1949, I think we can assume Goodman was a fan.

Inconsistencies in Golden Age comics? I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Captain Comics said:

...the Torch and Subby are on friendly terms, and the former asks for the latter's help against some Nazis. Subby complies and is hailed at the end of the story as America's hero. He is thanked by the president and gets what looks like a ticker-tape parade in New York. But he tries to conquer the world a couple of issues later?

I've read the Ka-Zar story from Marvel Comics #1 and that Human Torch one. 

Strangely enough, Marvel brought up the original Ka-Zar in All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #6 (2006) alongside his successor!

"I'll save you the search, Jeff -- it was the inestimable Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas who coined the phrase 'little continuity vortexes.'"

Oh, thanks! I didn't recall saying that, but who knows? (They say memory is the second thing to go.)

I do remember reading that story you mention from Human Torch #5B now that you've identified it. At first I thought you might have been misremembering a text feature as an illustrated story. (I do things like that sometimes.)

Speaking of Golden Age inconsistencies (and I'm pretty sure we've discussed this before, but again, who knows?) Bill Everett never referred to the Sub-Mariner's homeland as "Atlantis" in the Golden Age (not to the best of my knowledge, anyway). The first time he mentioned its name (page four of the Sub-Mariner story in Marvel Mystery Comics #15) he called it "Aquaria." 

Philip Portelli said:

Strangely enough, Marvel brought up the original Ka-Zar in All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #6 (2006) alongside his successor!

Why is there a woman doing the splits between the Ka-Zars?

Inconsistencies in Golden Age comics? I am shocked! Shocked, I tell you!

Here are your winnings, sir.

They say memory is the second thing to go.

I'm not falling for that one.

To the Captain: The woman's name is "Lacona" and she's part of X-Static and that's all I know about her (except for reading her entry). But what I do know is that the covers of the 2006-07 All New OHOTMU were known for their awkward poses!

Plus with all the new characters and changes to old ones after 20-25 years, I needed a new Handbook!

All right, back on topic!

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #2:

The issue begins with Ka-Zar still pining for Leanne. (Both Ka-Zar and Leanne had said "I love you" to each other in #1.) Just as Ka-Zar tracked Zabu to Pangea in #1, so to does Shanna track Ka-Zar in #2. She catches up to him in the opening pages, but there is an accident and they both fall to certain death from a rain-slicked cliff face. On the way down, Ka-Zar strikes his head and is knocked unconscious, but the last thing he hears is Shanna saying "I love you" to him.

Ka-Zar awakens in Shalahn, the aerie of a winged race of bird-people, who rescued him and Shanna in mid-fall. The leader of the Aerians is Lord Typ. News quickly arrives that Queen Leanne has been kidnapped by the Pterons, the Aerians sworn enemies. Queen Leanne is Lord Typ's ally, so Typ asks Ka-Zar and Shanna for their help rescuing her. Shanna is quick to accept, but Ka-Zar refuses... at least at first.

I want to avoid too much simple plot summary in these posts, but suffice it to say that Leanne was not, in fact, kidnapped, but rather eloped with Sep of the Aerians in league with the Pterons. Shanna finds out that Ka-zar and Leanne are, or at least were, in love and feels betrayed. As per their plan, Shanna has triggered an age-old failsafe to collapse the city of the Pterons (who drove the Aerions from it centuries ago... long story), and both Shanna and Leanne find themselves hanging from a cliff side by side. Ka-Zar  has time to save only one, and he chooses (wait for it)... Shanna! In the dust however, they see a winged figure that appears to be carrying someone fly up from the depths.

Pangea is the new series playground, and we can see here how Jones and Anderson expand it bit by bit, issue by issue. I can hardly wait to (re)discover what Ka-Zar and Shanna find next! 

I know I said I was going to limit this discussion to one issue per day, but I also said I can hardly wait for the next issue, so here it is.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #3:

First, a few random thoughts... Bruce Jones writes with a sense of humor. In this issue, for example, Ka-Zar tells a joke about a parrot and a plumber, and Shanna says he's developing a lisp when he tells her he was "Hit by a Buth." Last issue's story was titled "To Air is human" and this issue's is "To Forgive Dephine." (Bith and Dephine are two Aerians introduced this issue.) Also, I really like Jones' characterization of Zabu... more like a big dog than a cat, really. 

This issue's plot is reminiscent in many ways of Hal Foster's Prince Valiant and can be summed up as "soap opera and intrigue in Pangea." After their defeat of the Pterons last issue, the Aerons hold a great tournament featuring games and sports of all kinds. It starts with a game of "bala," which is like badminton except that it's played 300 feet above the ground. Ka-Zar and Shanna, astride huge bat-like creatures called skites, are matched against Lord Typ and his wife Wena. 

All throughout the game, Ka-Zar and Shanna are engaged in an adult conversation about their relationship. Ka-Zar obviously wants to go off alone in search of Leanne, and he wants Shanna to look after Zabu while he does so. I was in high school when I first read this story and had not yet experienced the kind of emotions that might lead one to abandon a hot girlfriend in search of another, and now I'm well past that stage, but Bruce Jones does a good job of portraying that situation here. 

After the game of bala, an Aerion named Buth challenges Ka-Zar to hand-to-hand combat on the ground. Buth cheats but Ka-Zar wins, and Buth's girlfriend, the stable girl Dephine, makes a play to seduce Ka-Zar, but he rejects her. Later that evening, everyone is involved in a "kelta" tournament, which is like a free-for-all in the air between two teams. Ka-Zar is playing on Typ's team. Meanwhile, Shanna's skite is injured so she goes to the stables for another mount. There, Dephine provides her with a "hoxing" skite, which means  the skite is in heat and under a strong compulsion to return to the isle of its birth to mate.

Back at the kelta tournament, treachery is afoot. the red teams' wooden practice swords have been coated with a drug which, one by one, removes Typ's blue players from the competition. Their is also an assassin whose blade is dipped in poison out to kill Lord Typ. No one knows who it is, but suspicions point to Buth. Buth is innocent, but he and Ka-Zar fail to prevent the murder of the Aerions' leader. 

Ka-Zar and Buth learn of Dephin's trick, but the hoxing skite's native isle has recently sunk. (the changing topography of Pangea is a sub-plot introduced in the previous issue.) With no island to return to, the skite will circle until exhausted, then fall into the sea and drown. Ka-Zar and Buth fly into the inland sea during a raging storm to rescue Shanna, but when they get to the isle's former location, there is no skite in sight, and Ka-Zar's mount is near exhaustion itself. 

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #4: The issue opens with a flashback to Shanna's skite being struck by lightning and crashing into the sea. The next morning, shanna has washed up on an island and is discovered by... someone.

The storm forces Buth to turn back, but Ka-Zar continues the search, despite the threat of near-certain death. Maybe Khup lied about the island sinking and maybe they were blown off course by the storm. It's a slim hope, but Ka-Zar presses on. As the sun rises, Ka-Zar's mount crashes into the sea, exhausted. It takes him another two hours to make his way to shore dragging the skite, but he would no more abandon it than he would give up the search for Shanna.

It will soon be revealed that this is the island of Nahgen which did sink, but then resurfaced. A scream alerts Ka-Zar to Shanna's presence nearby. He arrives in time to save her from being attacked by a small dinosaur, which she has somehow forgotten how to fight. she is suffering from partial amnesia, which gives Bruce Jones the opportunity to have Ka-Zar recap the first three issues. This recap brings her back to her senses, but something is still a bit off.

She slips away from Ka-Zar and meets up with the Aeron Sep and the comatose body of Queen Leanne. Sep rescued Leanne from her fall in #2, but she was badly injured. He took her to this island, which is where he is from. After the island sunk and resurfaced, he discovered a sealed chamber left by a previously unknown, highly advanced race. After he discovered Shanna washed up on the beach, he used the machinery to swap their minds.

Sep is in love with Leanne, but Leanne is in love with Ka-Zar. After returning to Ka-Zar, Leanne uses one of the most effective tools in the liar's toolbox: she tells the truth... some of it, anyway. While Ka-Zar was sleeping, she roughs herself up a bit and tells Ka-Zar that Sep and Leanne are in the hidden laboratory and are planning to switch her mind with Leanne's (which he, of course, has already done). Ka-Zar goes rushing off but, oddly, "Shanna" stays behind. Leanne has also filled Sep's mind with lies about Ka-Zar, but Ka-Zar has pretty much seen through Leanne's deception by this point. 

To cut to the chase, the minds are switched back and Sep opts to stay with the still-comatose Leanne until she wakes up, if she wakes up at all. This post is mainly plot summary again, but we did learn that some earlier advanced civilization once lived in Pangea. 

Why, thanks, Captain!

In case anyone wants to know the context, it was in pages four and five of this topic, while we were discussing the Astonishing Tales story involving AIM and Man-Thing.  I used the expression in a 2019-Sep-18 post and Jeff referred to it in Sep 26.

Captain Comics said:

I'll save you the search, Jeff -- it was the inestimable Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas who coined the phrase "little continuity vortexes." The world thanks you, Luis!

I'm going to have to fix this timeline at some point:

Ka-Zar the Savage #1-5

Marvel Fanfare #4 - p. 8

Ka-Zar the Savage #6-34

Marvel Fanfare #4 does occur after Ka-Zar the Savage #5, but not between #5 and #6. It occurs at some point after Ka-Zar and Shanna return to the Savage Land, and that is not in...

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #5: Ka-Zar and Shanna return to the Pangea mainland from the island of Nahgen. Most of the story is a flashback set prior to issue #1 dealing with the death of Tongah (Ka-Zar's friend from  the previous series) and why Ka-Zar is so down on the jungle and up on civilization. It also begins to explore the depth of the relationship between Ka-Zar and Zabu.

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #6: This is a nice little done-in-one which further develops the setting, Pangea. Brent Anderson is credited as co-plotter. Shanna awakens to snow in tropical Pangea, which turns out to be an hallucination. She later hallucinates that water is rising all around her. We soon learn that her connection to the mind-swap machine has linked her to Dherk, An ancient Atlantean scientist in a nearby hibernation chamber. Like an Atlantean Jor-El, Dherk had predicted the Fall of Atlantis but was disbelieved and sent to their farthest outpost, Pangea, where he worked on the hibernation device he hoped would save his race. He had been testing it, but a feedback loop when Atlantis fell trapped him inside for all those centuries. He now exists as a sort of holographic projection which can interact with Shanna.

Complicating matters, Ka-Zar was stung by a scorpion and will die without medical attention. Dherk offers to cure Ka-Zar if Shanna will agree to enter suspended animation with him. She is already attracted to him. (They have kissed a couple of times.) Ultimately, Dherk sacrifices himself to save Ka-Zar for Shanna. 

So... Pangea was an outpost of ancient Atlantis, eh? 

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