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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TALES TO ASTONISH #95-98:

I’m not going to spend too much time on this story as Ka-Zar doesn’t appear (except in flashback), but so far the Plunderer has been as much a part of the story as his savage brother, so it gets a mention. Oceanographer Walter Newell has built an underwater domed city near Atlantis. The Plunderer (who has escaped from prison) attacks and destroys the city. The Sub-Mariner follows him to the Savage Land, where they fight each other as well as the Swamp Men. Leaving Subby for dead, Plundy leave to attack Atlantis. Subby recovers and follows.

The Plunderer attacks Atlantis, but a passing Naval vessel mistakes the explosion for an Atlantean attack on them. They retaliate, doing as much damage to the Plunderer’s submarine as to Atlantis. The Plunderer deserts his sinking ship and flees in an escape craft. Just then the Sub-Mariner arrives and they engage in battle. Then the Navy ship drops a second depth charge on Atlantis, and the Plunderer flees out of the story.

I know this is probably heresy, but as a lad I wondered why The Plunderer wore a costume. It's not necessary, it's not particularly terrifying, it doesn't reflect his "theme" and I wondered if his crew wouldn't think him something of a ponce.

I guess my dislike of dumb, unnecessary or ugly costumes (looking at you, Taskmaster) extended back that far.

"I wondered if his crew wouldn't think him something of a ponce."

When he switched from his "piratical" duds to his "super-villain suit." he made the rest of his crew change as well.


The costume change I didn't like was this one:

Oh, I hated that one, too. I understood that they were trying to goose sales on a character who kept failing repeatedly in his original form. But I didn't think it was a particularly good change that would achieve their goal -- and, frankly, original Dr. Strange is such a classic that if he can't sell like that, I'd rather they not damage the concept with tinkering.

But then, I'm not charged with making the company money. I guess I'd try something, too. But it wouldn't be this!

They have, in recent years, changed Dr. Strange's costume modestly without much fanfare. One thing they have done is ditched the tunic (which looks like a skirt) in favor of more traditional men's wear. (Or superhero men's wear.) Speaking as someone who has cosplayed as Dr. Strange, that's a welcome change!

You know I seem to have a strange affliction where I loved the costumes no-one else did!

I liked masked Dr. Strange.

I also liked Original green Wonder Man AND even George Perez's costume that followed it.

(See current Spider-Man thread) I liked Sandman's jazzy-costume over his striped jumper.

I liked Captain Britain's Original lion-chest look.

....there are so many more.....

Other than perhaps Sandman's, I like those too.

I never quite accepted the change in Captain Britain's costume.

Richard Mantle said:

You know I seem to have a strange affliction where I loved the costumes no-one else did!

I liked masked Dr. Strange.

I also liked Original green Wonder Man AND even George Perez's costume that followed it.

(See current Spider-Man thread) I liked Sandman's jazzy-costume over his striped jumper.

I liked Captain Britain's Original lion-chest look.

....there are so many more.....

Jeff, you're just messing with us.  How many different titles has this discussion had now?  Are you going to change it every time you start talking about a new issue?

I could never get over the big curly-cues on Wonder Man's original costume. It made him look like a giant Christmas tree ornament.

And the Perez replacement was ... bizarre.

I LOVE the ever-changing title.



Peter Wrexham said:

Jeff, you're just messing with us.  How many different titles has this discussion had now?  Are you going to change it every time you start talking about a new issue?


Maybe... 

SPIDER-MAN #57:

Lord Kevin Plunder arrives at JFK international in order to meet with his lawyer to discuss a legal matter. J. Jonah Jameson barges into his hotel room and offers him $10K to defeat Spider-Man. Ka-zar agrees, not for the money but because JJJ convinced him that spider-Man is a menace. Ka-Zar tracks Spider-Man from Grand Central Terminal (where he was last seen) to police headquarters to the Daily Bugle. By that time Jameson has returned. Spider-Man is suffering from amnesia and has been swinging around town trying to find someone who can help him regain his memory. He's kept his mask on, figuring there must be some reason for it, but Jameson convinces him to take it off.

It is at this moment that Ka-Zar comes crashing through the window! Spider-Man takes the battle outside and across the rooftops into Central Park. Back at Ka-zar's hotel, Zabu has become restless. He escapes into the city and tracks his master to the park. It is there that Zabu ambushes Spider-Man and knocks Spider-Man into the lake. Ka-Zar emerges with im several minutes later, apparently drowned.

Issue #58 (reprinted in Marvel Tales #30, acquired as a backissue), was my very first Ka-Zar. Ka-zar's "jungle senses" reveal that Spider-Man is not dead, so he takes him to a rooftop to revive. When he does, he realizes that the shock of hitting the water has restored his memory. Zabu is causing a ruckus below, so Ka-Zar must take his leave. Later that night, Ka-Zar, dressed in a trench coat and taking Zabu for a walk on a leash) encounter Peter Parker: "Do not be alarmed, young man! While taking an evening stroll, I thought I sensed a familiar figure... but it seems I was mistaken! Though it is most passing strange... for the aura of spider-Man is not easily forgot!"

Jeff, I absolutely adored these Spider-Man issues and the whole Doc Ock/amnesia arc. I think they may have been my first introduction to Ka-Zar and his power, nobility and grace had a deep effect on my young self - not to mention I wanted a Zabu of my own!

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