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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KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #19: After hopping across South America, on the last leg of their flight (from Miami to New York), Ka-Zar regains consciousness but he is not himself. He cannot speak or reason because he still has a bullet lodged in his brain. When the plane lands, security tranquilizes Zabu, the only one capable of tracking Ka-Zar, who has ridden off atop a subway train. Once in the city, Ka-Zar foils a mugging and later rescues a little girl from a tenement fire. Meanwhile, Ramona (whose last name is now spelled "Courtland" instead of "Cortland") uses her feminine wiles to sneak into a prison facility masquerading as a reporter. She  is wearing a needle-ring which apparently has an unlimited supply of knockout drops. Switching into a guard's uniform, she makes her way to her final objective: the cell of Kraven the Hunter. 


Jeff of Earth-J said:

KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #19: After hopping across South America, on the last leg of their flight (from Miami to New York),  

Hopping Across South America:

Tierra del Fuego to Santiago

Santiago to La Paz

La Paz to Bogota

After Hopping Across South America:

Bogota to Miami

Miami to New York (last leg of their flight)

OK, I misunderstood.  I thought they went from Miami to New York by way of South America.

Jeff of Earth-J said:

Hopping Across South America:

Tierra del Fuego to Santiago

Santiago to La Paz

La Paz to Bogota

After Hopping Across South America:

Bogota to Miami

Miami to New York (last leg of their flight)

#18 cover (front only):

#19 cover (front only): KA-ZAR THE SAVAGE #20:

With issue #20, Brent Anderson is gone for good; I don't know why. (Too bad most of the omnibuses don't have introductions the way Masterworks do.) It is also the first of three issues penciled by Ron Frenz and inked by Armando Gil. Actually, #21 is inked by Mel Candido (who?), but it is really Armondo Gil who gives the title its visual consistency throughout this run of issues with rotating pencilers. 

Ramona's last name is back to being spelled "Cortland" in this issue. She taunts Kraven and pushes his buttons until he agrees to hunt Ka-Zar down for her. There is tight continuity with Kraven's last appearance in Peter Parker. Remember Calypso? If you don't, don't worry about it. Out on the streets, Ka-Zar slowly comes to his senses but something about where the bullet is lodged is preventing him from speaking. Meanwhile, Zabu escapes quarantine and Shanna searches on her own. Eventually, Kraven catches up to Ka-Zar and their battle carries them across the city. On the final page splash, Shanna, Kraven and Zabu converge from three different directions while Ramona has the scene in the sites of her rifle scope.

This issue also has a lot of situational humor: Zabu in a movie theater, Ka-Zar cutting through an apartment and interrupting a nearsighted woman's bath, crashing through the skylight at a New York comic show. At the show Ron Frenz and Bruce Jones, who have never met face to face, literally bump into but don't recognize each other. My favorite line is when Ka-Zar crashes into a table and the dealer yealls, "Are you nuts? Those are  mint condition silver surfers!" to which Ka-Zar thinks in reply, "Not anymore, pal!" 

On the very last page, Shanna, Kraven and Zabu as (respectively), "For Kevin!," "For Calypso!" and "Rowff!" while Ka-Zar thinks, "For the luvva Pete!" The humor continues into the fumetto, which crosses over with the comic show scene.


"(Too bad most of the omnibuses don't have introductions the way Masterworks do.)"

A long-promised editorial (demanded by Jim Shooter) from Louise Jones explained that Brent Anderson was doing the "God Loves, Man Kills" X-Men graphic novel. That makes sense. I hadn't considered that timing.

The first 13 pages of this issue are given over to the four-way battle of Ka-Zar, Shanna, Kraven and Ramona (whose last name is now spelled "Courtland" once again), with Spider-Man joining the fray on page seven. Ka-Zar finally succumbs to his injuries, and the last ten pages are of Ka-Zar's treatment in the hospital. Peter Parker introduces himself to Shanna as a friend of Spider-Man's. In a conversation with Peter, Shanna finally (finally!) fills in the gaps of how she came to the Savage Land prior to issue #1, and also accounts for why Ka-Zar no longer speaks in his "Me Tarzan, you Jane" dialect. Then the Doctor arrives and announces that Ka-Zar died six minutes ago.

Now, I didn't for a minute think that Ka-Zar was actually dead, but I was intrigued how they were going to get themselves out of it. Highlight of the issue: Spider-Man explains the difference between an "insect" and an "arachnid" to Kraven. (Also: "'Kraven'? Doesn't that mean 'coward'?") Armando Gil provides a b&w pin-up of Shanna inside the back cover. 


Danny Fingeroth joins Louise Simonson as co-editor for #22-24 before taking over as full editor in #25.

They're still playing up the "Ka-Zar is dead" angle, even to the point of changing the masthead to "Shanna the Savage" on the cover. The first half of this issue concerns Shanna dealing with her the stages of grief. Then she gets a phone call from the Bronx Zoo: Zabu is dead. She rushes there. What happened was, Dr. Courtland (they seemed to have settled on this spelling) was called in to administer a sedative but, when Zabu saw Ramona, he went wild and attacked. In her own defense, Ramona shot and killed Zabu. 

Shanna lets herself into the Courtlands' residence. when they return, they are having a very odd conversation. All along, Ramona seemed to be the one who held the power in the relationship, but now it seems as if her husband does. Shanna attacked the woman only to discover it's not Ramona as her long blonde wig falls off revealing short, black hair. The Dr. Courtland shoots Shanna at point blank range and they both depart, leaving her for dead.


This issue and the next are co-penciled by Bob Hall and Armando Gil, but because Gil handles all of the inking for both issues, I can't tell what was penciled by Hall and what by Gil. 

The story opens (surprisingly) in Casablanca, with Ka-Zar (surprisingly) tracking a man from a rooftop. also (surprisingly), Zabu is with him. He is being controlled by electric shocks and a voice in his head. It is all very cloak and dagger. Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, Spider-Man has found Shanna with her head creased by a bullet wound and is helping her to recuperate. 

After Ka-Zar completes the first phase of his mission, he is introduced to the leader of the group he is now working for against his will: Colonel Starr, a.k.a. Colonel Courtland. Actually, he works for A.I.M. and Dr. Courtland is not really her husband. they were in the savage Land to collect specimens of a particular plant which can be made into an explosive. Ka-Zar's involvement was a happy opportunity she exploited. the woman who shot Shanna was pretending to be her in case she and Courtland were being observed by their enemies.

She explains to Ka-Zar exactly how they were able to fake his death and Zabu's death. A.I.M. surgeons were able to remove the bullet but they also placed equipment in his brain which allows them to control him. Ka-Zar did, in fact, die on the operating table, but only for a few minutes. What she doesn't tell him is that, even with the bullet removed, he has only days to live. Then she forces him into a sexual liaison.

They next day, while riding across the desert, they are attacked by opposing forces led by Ramona's rival, Shreiber.


Colonel Ramona Starr's conflict with Jeremy Shreiber continues. she is captured and Ka-Zar rescues her, but turns the tables on both of them when he triggers the self-destruct mechanism in Shreiber's laboratory destroying all samples of the experimental explosive they were vying for. Meanwhile, back in Manhattan, Shanna sinks further and further into insanity. it is revealed (to readers, not Ka-Zar) that Courtland infected Shanna with a drug that's slowly causing her to lose her mind. Ka-Zar is dying, too, but he doesn't know it. 


With this issue, Danny Fingeroth becaomes sole editor and remains so for the remainder of the run. This issue and the next are drawn by Ron Frenz (breakdowns) and Armando Gil (finishes). I remember that it was with this issue I decided Ron Frenz should be given a shot at drawing Amazing Spider-Man, but Peter Parker doesn't appear too much as Spider-Man this issue, so I must have drawn my conclusion from previous issues. In any case, Ron Frenz would soon become Spidey's regular penciler. 

Now that Marvel editorial has finally resolved the Cortland/Courtland discrepancy, another is introduced. Last issue, Shreiber's first name was given as "Jeremy," but in this issue it's "Emil." Sloppy. No matter, though; Shreiber's dead and Ramona soon will be.

This issue's plot unspools over the course of several days. Ka-Zar rebels and Ramona reveals he's dying. Back in New York, Shanna becaome increasingly suspicious that "Ka-Zar's" body has not yet been released to her. Ramona does, in fact, have a sample of the plant-based explosive which she intends to return to A.I.M. headquarters, so it looks as if Ka-Zar will be returning to NYC after all. On the way, however, Ramona orders Ka-Zar and Zabu to be dumped in the Atlantic Ocean. A scuffle ensues and, although Ka-Zar and Zabu are dumped overboard, the sample explosive blows up the plane. 

Meanwhile, back in New York, Shanna insists on seeing "Ka-Zar's" body. Peter Parker complies by taking her to the morgue, but she collapses from the stress. Her doctor recommends that all thought s and memories of Ka-zar must be expunged lest she slip into madness, but this may be an A.I.M. doctor. Out on the high seas, Ka-Zar and Zabu are attacked by a shark. Zabu defeats the shark, but unfortunately the blood attracts a shiver of sharks. [ASIDE: One of my favorite collective nouns.] Fortunately, they are rescued by a fishing boat. 

A few days pass. Shanna's condition has not improved. Once back in NYC, Ka-Zar pays a visit to Peter Parker's apartment (having learned Spider-Man's secret identity in Marvel Fanfare #2). From there, Ka-Zar spots a note with Shanna's hospital rom number scrawled on it and heads there. Peter (as Spider-Man) beats him there and explains that Ka-Zar's presence may do more harm than good, vut Ka-zar isn't buying it. Ka-Zar refers to "problems" Shanna has had in the past, and a footnote refers to Rampaging Hulk #9. [Has that been discussed further up in this thread? I don't remember.] The issue ends with Ka-Zar and Spidey about to clash. 


THE STORY BEHIND THE COVER: This issue begins with an editorial by new(ish) editor Danny Fingeroth about what went into making the wraparound photo-cover. I'm not going to go into it here, but I wuill mention that the World Trade Center is shown on the back cover. Fingeroth also explains that, with #26, the title is relegated to bi-monthly status. (All three of the "direct market only" titles were at that time.) He goes on to spin it that the extra time is necessary for wraparound covers, fummeti, 32-pages with no ads, and "all sorts of exciting new things"... in other words, the same thing Louise Jones had been doing on a monthly basis for months. 

Spider-Man and Ka-Zar fight, giving each the opportunity to recap the last several issues from their own points of view. It turns out that Shanna is under the "care" of a doctor employed by A.I.M., and Ka-Zar and Spider-Man arrive at the hospital just in time to save Shanna from a round of electroshock therapy. Spider-Man may not have been in much of #25, but in #26 he's practically a co-star. He's actually been a supporting character since #21. 

Ka-Zar's attitude has changed 180 degrees since the early issues of the series. Whereas he had been pro-civilization, he is now disgusted by it and is convinced that the only chance both he and Shanna have to live is back in the Savage Land. The fishermen who rescued him (and have been hiding Zabu) take them all to the airport where Ka-Zar steals a plane and kidnaps a pilot. (There's no other way to put it.) A young man is being trained to flyy by his father and is going to solo for the first time. Ka-Zar enters the plane with Shanna and Zabu, throws the father from the plane, and has the son fly it. The son is not only willing but eager to do so, but it's still theft and kidnapping. 

By the time they reach the Savage Land, both Ka-Zar and Shanna's respective conditions have deteriorated. They parachute in, but no sooner do they land than Ka-Zar passes out. Luckily they are close enough to Pangea that Zabu fetches Buth for help, and that's where the issue ends. 

Received this today:


Zac Thompson and Germán García team up for KA-ZAR: LORD OF THE SAVAGE LAND this September!


New York, NY— June 14, 2021 — Marvel’s Lord of the Jungle is back! The iconic Ka-Zar will be starring in a brand-new limited series this September. Written by Zac Thompson (Yondu, Age of X-Man) and drawn by Germán Garcia (Immortal Hulk, X-Men), KA-ZAR: LORD OF THE SAVAGE LAND will pick up on the hero’s exciting journey since his death and resurrection during last year’s Empyre. Back from the dead with a whole new terrifying set of powers, the saga will serve as a bold evolution of the character while staying true to his jungle roots as the mighty hero goes up against a mysterious new villain with twisted plans for the Savage Land.

The alien Cotati murdered him. The Savage Land brought him back. Lord Plunder has returned — with a vastly new perspective! Now united with Shanna the She-Devil in a mystical merging of life energies, Ka-Zar has new abilities, new needs…and new enemies. An ancient evil has surfaced in the Savage Land — one that is rapidly reshaping the forgotten world and its inhabitants. Ka-Zar and Shanna must fight together to protect their home and family! But their son Matthew has plans of his own…


"Ka-Zar: Lord of the Savage Land is the book I’ve always wanted to write,” Thompson said. “It’s an absolute dream-come-true to take a character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby and propel them into the modern Marvel universe with a whole host of horrifying new powers! It’s been years since Ka-Zar had his own series and we wanted to mark the occasion with an evolution that channels something like Immortal Hulk but with a distinct throwback to the old adventure pulps that inspired the character’s creation 65 years ago. I’m in awe of our team. Germán Garcia is delivering mind-blowing work that channels the best of Jack Kirby. I’ve literally gasped at multiple pages in each issue. Then we have the gorgeous colors by Mat Lopes that feel organic and ethereal. We’re all under the leadership of our brilliant editor Sarah Brunstad who's expertly guided the vision of this ambitious book from day one. Together we’ve created a story that’s epic, personal, and terrifying. One that’s going to change Ka-Zar and the Savage Land forever!"

"There's nothing better than having the opportunity to explore a classic Marvel character under a new light, and this is what we're doing here,” Garcia said. “And it's not just Ka-zar, but the whole family, and as important as them, the Savage Land itself! It's unreal and fantastic and I'm having a great time trying to portray the way I imagine it."

Since his Silver Age debut in X-Men #10 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, Ka-Zar has delighted fans of every generation with unique jungle-jaunting adventures that no other hero can deliver! Don’t miss his latest spectacular quest through the lost lands when KA-ZAR: LORD OF THE SAVAGE LAND #1 hits stands on September 9th. For more information, visit




Colors by MAT LOPES


Variant Cover by JUANN CABAL

On Sale 9/8!

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