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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Before Ka-Zar can deal with Gog and the Plunderer (whose costume, inside the issue, is now green and blue, BTW), Gemini attacks. (Joshua Link is now suddenly called “Whitey.”) After Ka-Zar defeats him, Plunder sics Gog on him. Gog holds Ka-Zar helpless while his brother brings him up to speed. The Plunderer went to the Savage Land following the same story J. Jonah Jameson did in Spider-Man #103-104. He was there to witness Spider-Man lure Gog into quicksand and leave him to die, but the Plunderer rescued him earning Gog’s eternal loyalty.

In England, an AIM scientist named Conrad recreates the imperfect 1950s version of the super soldier serum. A SHIELD agent arrives on the scene and is killed, but drops a bomb before he dies. Back on the helicarrier, Fury sends Bobbi Morse (now “Agent 19”) to retrieve Ka-Zar and Dr. Calvin’s formula. Zabu joins the fray. Bobbi bargains with the Plunderer. Gog teleports them all to Liberty Island by banging his wrist bands together. He climbs the atatue and rips its arm off. Gog is getting increasingly bigger. He teleports again, to the top of the World Trade Center, but this time only Zabu is caught in the teleportation effect.

The Plunderer drops the formula, Bobbi snatches it up, Ka-zar attacks. Gemini and the Plunderer escape, Bobbi and Ka-Zar take the VTOL to the World Trade Center. Gog transports himself away… into space…?

Back in England, it is revealed that Conrad took the super soldier serum at the last instant in order to survive the explosion.

This story is an example of what Luis referred to last week as a “little continuity vortex.” We know of, say, Grant Morrison’s tinkering with the legacy of the super soldier program, but few, I think, remember this one.

I'm sure I was buying Astonishing Tales at the time but I don't remember reading this story. Maybe the cover images of the Plunderer and Gog together turned me off and I never read it.

So Gog suddenly had the ability to teleport? Why wouldn't he have used it to avoid the quicksand in Amazing Spider-Man?

It doesn't really say. It does specifically mention that his physical form matured at a greater rate than his mental abilities, so I suppose he could have, he just didn't think of it.


The scientist Conrad, now the super-soldier “Victorius”, and Gemini kidnap Bobbi. Nick Fury sends Ka-Zar to the rescue… with a sample of SHIELD’s super-soldier serum to take if he runs into trouble. As soon as he arrives at the castle, he discards the serum. He defeats the Plunderer, then Gemini, then proceeds to fight Victorius. Bobbi goes to retrieve the discarded serum as Victorius prepares to attack Ka-Zar from behind.


The fight continues for 5 2/3 pages followed by a flashback of Conrad’s background. Victorious defeats Ka-Zar. Bobbi defeats two guards who have found the super soldier serum Ka-Zar threw away. She takes it and goes to rescue Ka-Zar. She is joined by Zabu, who is subsequently taken out by knockout gas. She takes cover and tosses the serum to Ka-Zar before succumbing to the gas herself. Rejecting the serum, Ka-Zar destroys it by tossing it into a lit brazier. Ka-zar tosses Victorius out of a castle window. He lands in the moat and doesn’t resurface. That’s hardly conclusive, but I don’t think we’ve seen him since.

Ka-Zar hates civilization and Bobbi hates the jungle. Wordlessly, she accompanies him to the airport and they share a passionate kiss before Ka-Zar boards a plane for the Savage Land.


Here’s another one I’m going to present slightly out of publication order. That’s because, after Astonishing Tales #20, Ka-Zar was awarded his own series, and once that starts I don’t want to interrupt the flow. (Astonishing Tales was essentially Ka-Zar’s own series by this point, anyway. Why Marvel opted to give him a new #1 rather than change the title with the 21st issue I have no idea.)

As the story begins, Curt Conners had been doing some work with dinosaur DNA which had been acquired by SHIELD in the Savage Land. Conners’ assistant, Vincent Stegron, concocted a serum, based on Conners’ own lizard serum, designed to turn hium into a human/dinosaur hybrid. He then absconded with it to the Savage Land, with the intention of leading a dinosaur rebellion. SHIELD gives Spidey a lift to the Savage Land, where he fights Stegron alongside Ka-Zar. Ultimately, Stegron escapes in his flying “ark” with at least ten dinosaurs and Spidey in tow, leaving Ka-Zar behind.



MMW Ka-Zar v2 has two introductions: one by Mike Friedrich, dealing with Ka-Zar, and one by Carole Seuling, who wrote wrote and/or plotted the first four issues of Shanna the She-Devil. One advantage of reading these collected in MMW format is that this collection includes Astonishing Tales plus Ka-Zar plus Shanna plus Daredevil. [Hell, yes! Theseare the good old days!] Back when I was in college, I picked up #1-2, 4-5 as backissues, but to this day I have yet to read #3. That situation will soon change.

Starting with the cover, that is Biri on the right and Ina on the left. George Tuska provides the interior art. Shanna spends most of this issue fighting a group of poachers led by Ivory Dan Drake and Vole. Her origin is told in a series of flashbacks interspersed throughout. (And if you’re wondering why a woman who champions the cause of big cats wears a leopard skin, that’s covered, too.)

When Shanna O’Hara was a teenager living in Africa with her parents, her father, attempting to shoot her mother’s pet leopard (which was killing livestock) shoots and kills her mother instead. After that, her father disappeared into a bottle. Shanna’s gymnastic skill won her a spot on the Olympic team, but she decided to pursue her D.V.M. instead. (Her father mining investments paid her way.) Years later, she found herself working at the Municipal Zoo.

One day, a maniac shot all of the big cats at the zoo with a high-powered rifle. Shanna found one cat, a leopard named Julani which she had raised from a cub, still alive. Comforted by shanna’s familiar voice and scent, the wounded Julani emerges from hiding to lick her hand. Thinking Julani is attacking, a guard panics and shoots it dead. Julani’s two cubs, Ina and Biri, were safe in the zoo hospital at the time. Shanna accepts the assignment to return the zoo-born cubs to the wild of the Dahoney Reserve in Africa. It is there she comes into conflict with Ivory Dan and Vole. Her love interest is a game warden named Patrick McShane. Fittingly, Ivory Dan is trampled to death by a herd of elephants.

I always wondered how Marvel got away with "Shanna" from the "Sheena" people?

We have indeed seen Victorious since, in Marvel Two-in-One #42-43, published in 1978 - also the first appearance of Project Pegasus.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Ka-zar tosses Victorius out of a castle window. He lands in the moat and doesn’t resurface. That’s hardly conclusive, but I don’t think we’ve seen him since.

Shanna the She-Devil was one of three female characters debuting in their own titles with women as part of the creative team; the other two being Claws of the Cat and now-infamous Night Nurse.

"We have indeed seen Victorious since, in Marvel Two-in-One #42-43..."

Oh, yeah... I've read those. I even have them collected.


Steranko cover. Ross Andru takes over interior art. In addition to the Silver Surfer’s board, Professor Xavier’s X-Men and Sarek’s wife, this cover adds leopards to the list of “Toomies.” This story deals with human slavery, but also heroin, a French Moon shot and “sand yachts” Seuling saw in an issue of National Geographic. The villain is El Montano. In this story, Ina and Biri kill Shanna’s jailer, which sparked controversy in the letters page.

“White fangs flash, razor claws sink deep and the Arab’s shrieks are suddenly and finally—cut off!” to which Shanna responds, “If you’d had respect for human life, you might have kept your own!”

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