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.
The Land of Cancelled Heroes bit is wonderfully witty. I'm sure that's Devil Dinosaur at the door.
The cover is a Steranko Nick Fury homage, of course. It's a good cover idea in itself, but I think the image is also an intentional joke on the blurb.
IRON MAN #202:
After the destruction of the Savage Land, the Avengers put Ka-zar and Shanna up in their East Coast mansion. Dealing with survivor’s guilt, Ka-Zar is restless and leaves his pregnant wife behind to drive cross country to “find himself.” He gets into a brawl in a diner. Iron Man is there to meet him at the Avengers’ West Coast compound. Iron Man tells him he’s a fool to have left Shanna by herself at this point. The fixer attacks and Ka-Zar helps Iron Man defeat him. Then he returns to Shanna.
Jeff of Earth-J said:
I skipped ahead to cover X-Men #115-116 and Marvel Fanfare #2 & #4 with the hope that Ka-Zar #6-20 would one day be collected in MMW format. Now I’m going to skip ahead again with the hope that Ka-Zar the Savage #1-34 will one day be collected as well.
I don't know about Ka-Zar #6-20 (it hasn't been solicited yet), but an omnibus edition of Ka-Zar the Savage #1-34 Has been solicited for May 2021 release. Yeah, I'm pretty happy right now.
"An omnibus edition of Ka-Zar the Savage #1-34 Has been solicited for May 2021 release."
Wow, is it May 2021 already!? Seems like only seven months.
"A new world for the jungle lord! A hunt for his four-legged friend Zabu takes Ka-Zar beyond the Savage Land and into the ancient paradise of Pangea! From shining citadels to the lofty heights of the Aerie, it's a land filled with newfound friends - and fresh dangers! Caught between bird-people and pterons, will Kevin Plunder meet his end or find new love? Either way, things will soon get complicated between Ka-Zar and Shanna the She-Devil. But Shanna isn't short of other suitors herself, including... Spider-Man?! And abandon all hope when Ka-Zar faces a twisted version of Dante's Inferno! This fresh hell comes complete with a Minotaur, Cerberus...and the demonic Belasco! Plus: Alien nightmares, a jungle wedding and tiger tales of Zabu in this complete collection of a series that, like the Savage Land, is a hidden gem! Collecting KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #1-34."
As I explained above (initial post), among my first comics were reprints of Ka-Zar's earliest appearances in "King-Size" Ka-Zar and Marvel Tales. I liked the character well enough, but even then I saw him as little more than the "Tarzan" rip-off he was. That changed in the early '80s when I ventured into a dedicated comic book shop for the first time. As I have related elsewhere, I had been collecting only three titles via subscription for the previous three years. When I first walked into "The Fantasy Shop" I bought one of virtually everything. (By "virtually" I mean no DCs and not every single Marvel.)
There were three titles at the time sold via direct market only, Moon Knight, Micronauts and Ka-Zar the Savage, and I wasn't particularly interested in any of them. I had never heard of Moon Knight, Micronauts was based on a toy line and, as I've mentioned, I found Ka-Zar to be somewhat derivative. I eventually tried all three and discovered I liked them all, but this is a discussion about Ka-Zar.
In 2019 I started this chronological discussion of Ka-Zar's appearances, but the chronology broke down when I got to the second volume of Marvel Masterworks. I could have continued the discussion using my periodical copies, but I prefer the hardcover reprints. Consequently, I presented some appearances out of order once I got to the fifth issue of Ka-Zar's first series (or his second, if you include Astonishing Tales). Here is a chronological list of what's been covered so far (and where to find it on this thread), as well as what's yet to come.
Ka-Zar #1-5 - pp. 6-7
Ka-Zar #6-20 - (forthcoming)
X-Men #115-116 - p. 8
Marvel Fanfare #2 - p. 8
Ka-Zar the Savage #1-5 - (just ahead)
Marvel Fanfare #4 - p. 8
Ka-Zar the Savage #6-34 - (just ahead)
Avengers #256-257 - p. 9
Iron Man #202 - p. 9
X-Men Annual #12 - p. 9
Discussion resumes Wednesday (or shortly thereafter).
Just a quick note because I don't think that it's included in the omnibus but I bought Ka-Zar the Savage #1 (Ap'81) when it came out because I was working then and could buy more books. I don't recall any promotions for it. The book was just there!
However Marvel Team Up #104 (Ap'81) came out the same month and featured the Lord of the Hidden Jungle working with, not Spider-Man, but the Hulk who they were trying out as an alternate lead briefly! I don't remember much about the story offhand but Ka-Zar was still acting like "Ka-Zar is Mightier than Mastodon!" in it and not at all as the new series portrayed him. His appearance probably tied in to his new book but it wasn't by Jones and Anderson and seems like a miscommunication.
I am [vaguely] aware of MTU #104 although I have never read it. It's not included in my "chronology" because... I don't know why, really. Perhaps because I've never read it. Thanks for the note, though, for completeness' sake.
"For completeness' sake," then, here's what The Official Marvel Index to MARVEL TEAM-UP featuring Spider-Man says (I had to move only seven longboxes to get to it, but I knew right where it was): "Ka-Zar [was] last seen in X-Men #116; appears next in Marvel Two-In-One Annual #6."
What!? You've got to be kidding me!
Revised chronology should read...
Marvel Team-Up #104
Marvel Two-In-One Annual #6
Marvel Fanfare #2
Ka-Zar the Savage #1
So, Jeff, you've convinced me to get Ka-Zar the Savage Omnibus, just to keep up with your thread. I already have all the floppies, thank you very much!
A couple of thoughts while we pause for the Omnibus to arrive:
* The comics fan in me loves the phrase "little continuity vortexes," although the pedant in me wants to change it to vortices. The AP Stylebook (and Webster) actually accepts both plurals, and AP isn't usually that wishy-washy. But I learned the plural of vortex as vortices back in prehistory and "vortexes" makes my ears hurt.
Anyway, those little backwashes of continuity were one of the great joys of '70s Marvel Comics, where Mandrill and Nekra would start over here and get abandoned, but show up over there somewhat pointlessly, only to then suddenly be used to great effect somewhere else entirely. There was an issue of Daredevil where Hydra's various departments were spelled out in a big chart, and it was like The Land of Lost Characters. Nekra, Mandrill, Fixer, Blackwing, Mentallo, Silver Samurai, all these lost and missing characters, all appearing in one place, as if it had planned -- and required the reader to have read comprehensively for years to understand. Weird, and fun (if you had read comprehensively).
Reading through this thread reminds me of all the times Ka-Zar was the epicenter of these lost stories/characters, or the launcher of same. Jeff, you said you were surprised when you found out Garokk preceded Claremont/Byrne's Uncanny X-Men; imagine my surprise when this trivial and pointless character from old Ka-Zar comics (himself a sort-of D-list character) suddenly showed up in the world's most popular comic book title so many years later. "The Petrified Man?" I no doubt exclaimed. "You're kidding me!"
And then there's Bobbi Morse, who was a bespectacled scientist and helpless wimp for years in Ka-Zar's strip (and I want to say she was in some Man-Thing stories, too) before suddenly becoming an @$$-kicker on par with Black Widow who suddenly doesn't need glasses. Oh, yes, I have that Bizarre Adventures, and those Marvel Fanfares, and those Astonishing Tales. Her journey from Girl Hostage to Huntress to Mockingbird was preposterous, and made me laugh.
But those "continuity vortexes" could also be the worst thing in 1970s Marvels, as this thread makes testament. Sometimes in their zeal to tie up old stories or just use trivia-answer characters (Gog? El Tigre? Seriously?) writers would create character gumbo that just didn't make sense. Given my zeal to read and remember everything, a story where Maa-Gor become Man-God (and you know it's temporary, because he was basically Ka-Zar's entire supporting cast) was almost physically painful.
* I can't remember where I read it, but the Golden Age Ka-Zar was in a story where Sub-Mariner had been conned by a hot Atlantean chick into attacking the entire surface world that involved, at least in cameo, most of the Timely characters, including Captain America, Angel and others I can't remember off-hand. The point is, the GA Ka-Zar wasn't entirely isolated, and some of today's characters (like Cap) could conceivably remember him.
* So GA Ka-Zar means "Brother of Tiger" and modern Ka-Zar means "Son of Tiger"? I wonder if that still holds up.
* I almost didn't buy Ka-Zar #1 back in the day because it was a reprint. I don't remember why I did buy it, just that I was reluctant to do so and almost didn't. And then when I got home, I found out it wasn't completely reprint, and had an original Angel story in it. Holy cow! I almost missed that! Had I missed other original stories hidden in reprints all these years? The world swam before my eyes ...
* It struck me as odd at the time that Angel the Superhero Mutant would appear in a reprint jungle comic. At the time I just assumed they were burning up inventory stories, or maybe the Angel story was left over from the "Origins of the X-Men" backup stories in 1960s X-Men.
And those Angel stories probably were inventory, or maybe try-outs. They certainly weren't very good. But maybe, must maybe ... Silver Age Angel and Ka-Zar shared a book because their Golden Age counterparts shared Marvel Mystery Comics and some old hand was having a little joke?
Hmm... now I'm going to have to re-read this entire thread myself to discover where I used the term "little continuity vortexes." :)
Oftentimes on this board I have read less-than-stellar runs of certain comics ("so you don't have to," I always said), but just last week I put the wraps on a discussion of two omnibus volumes of John Byrne's Fantastic Four and really enjoyed them. I have decided, for the time being, anyway, to concentrate on projects I really enjoy reading, and although, like FF, I haven't read it for many, many years, I expect that this will be one of those projects. I set a pace of one issue per day for FF and ended up far exceeding that goal, but I'm going to try to hold myself to a single issue each day in this case. without further ado, then, on to...
KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #1:
As I mentioned on Monday, when I first discovered there was a new "Ka-Zar" series I wasn't particularly interested in it. I have often said that the Hulk was my "first favorite character." I have have many favorite characters since, and for a time in the early '80s, because of this series, Ka-Zar was one of them. As the series began it was written Bruce Jones and penciled by Brent Anderson (although you wouldn't know that from the credits because editor Louise Jones left them off the first issue). Brent Anderson is now very well-known has has received many well-deserved accolades for his work on Astro city with Kurt Busiek, but I'm happy to say I've been a fan of his ever since his Ka-Zar days. (KTS wasn't his first work, but it was this series that put him on my personal radar.)
The story opens with Ka-Zar but, as the series begins, Shanna is already living in the Savage Land. To this day I'm not certain how she got there, unless it was in those Savage Tales stories Luke mentioned back in October 2019 (which I did seek out but could not find). As she relates her origin, she makes it sound as if she came directly to the Savage Land after abandoning civilization. The timeline of the backstory as presented this issue is a bit fuzzy. Ka-Zar was just a boy when he, as Kevin Plunder, came to the Savage Land. the story also mentions that he's been living there for ten years. Shanna says that she was already a veterinarian when she left civilization eight years ago. Either she's quite a bit older than Kevin, or this timeline is not intended for close scrutiny. There is another reference to Ka-Zar "pushing thirty," so I'm going to proceed under the assumption that they are both in their late 20s at this point. Actually, if one were to ignore the bit about Ka-Zar being in the Savage Land for ten years, the timeline works fine. Maybe he meant ten years prior to X-Men #10. Ka-Zar and Shanna are very flirty in this first issue, but are not strictly a monogamous couple as we shall see.
Plot-wise, Zabu has gone missing. Ka-Zar tracks him and discovers the vast land of Pangea beyond the Savage Land. He soon meets Leanne, Queen of Zarhan, who has a female sabre toothed cat , named Felina, as a pet. Felina is in heat, which explains Zabu's absence from the Savage Land, but she's also been captured by the savage cat-people for ritual sacrifice. Ka-Zar and Zabu rescue Felina, then accompany Leanne back to Zarhan. On the way, Ka-Zar puts the moves on her and she responds, BUT... when they get to her kingdom, she turns him away because he is too savage and would not fit in her civilization.
I liked this story when I first read it, but I appreciate it's story structure more now than I did then. The issue is much more philosophical than I remembered, built around the themes of civilization and sacrifice. As the story opens, Ka-Zar is pro-civilization, and Shanna is pro-wilderness. they debate the pros and cons of each as he helps her free a small dinosaur from a tar pit. (Later, they kill a very similar dinosaur for food.) Later, after Ka-Zar meets Leanne, the theme of sacrifice comes into play as he is unwilling to risk his life to save her cat. His philosophy is soon put to the test, though, as Zabu attacks the cat-people. Later, his "pro-civilization" philosophy is put to the test as well when Leanne ultimately (and ironically) rejects him for her kingdom.
There are some characters which have existed for years waiting for the right creator or team to come up with the "definitive" version, Frank Miller on Daredevil, for example. I think Bruce Jones and Brent Anderson on Ka-Zar is another.
Fun Fact: the Golden Age Ka-Zar did not have a tiger, despite his name but a lion named Zar! Maybe this was like Edgar Rice Burroughs' "Sabor the Tiger" mistake in Tarzan of the Apes which he changed to "Sabor the Lioness".
Also the GA Ka-Zar was based in Africa as was Shanna originally so he should have been better known.