To once again quote the sign over the old spinner racks; Hey Kids, Comics! and a brand spanking new RETRO REVIEW for your reading pleasure, to boot. This week it’s time to dig around in the Marvel side of my vast collection and in doing so, I’ve pulled out my copy of X-Men # 10, cover dated March 1965. It’s got a great cover pencilled by Jack “King” Kirby with the ink work provided by Chic Stone. But more importantly, this comic re-introduces a character not seen in a Marvel Comics book since the 30s and 40s. And who is that character you ask … It’s Ka-Zar, Lord of the Savage Land! Well it’s actually a new Ka-Zar, as the one that originally was introduced in the pulps, way back in 1936, was a man by the name of David Rand. Marvel Comics revived character is a man named Kevin Plunder. But who’s quibbling.
Actually, Marvel Comics, then known as Timely Comics, adapted the pulp character, Ka-Zar, for their own comic books beginning in 1939, so they also had published the adventures of the David Rand Ka-Zar. But as I said, this Ka-Zar was something completely different, yet totally the same (but different!).
Here is the cover to that historic comic book:
As you can see by the cover, Ka-Zar was being billed as, Lord of the Jungle, a Tarzan riff if I’m not mistaken. Actually, Ka-Zar was Lord of the Savage Land, which was located underneath Antarctica. And I also think I recall that the Savage Land was created and hidden beneath Antarctica by a race of aliens. Correct me if I’m wrong by all means. There Ka-Zar lorded it over the animals and dinosaurs living there, as well as the savage tribes of humans also living there.
Oh yeah, Ka-Zar was assisted by his pet sabre-toothed tiger, Zabu! Ka-Zar has never really made it into the big time at Marvel, but he has had a couple of series that ran twenty issues. But this was his first appearance in the Marvel Silver Age. His first solo story came four years later in Marvel Super-Heroes # 19, which had a cover date of March 1969. And because I’m is a good mood today, here’s that cover, as well:
This cover is pencilled by Barry Smith, before he became known as Barry Windsor Smith and the inks were done by Herb Trimpe, of the Incredible Hulk fame.
But back to X-Men # 10. The story is written by Stan “The Man” Lee and the interior pencils and inks were done by the cover artists, Kirby and Stone. It ran twenty (20) pages and in a nut shell consisted of the X-Men discovering the existence of the Savage Land and Ka-Zar and then convincing Professor X to let them investigate. After some persuasion, Professor X allows them to go, unsupervised of course and the young X-Men travel south and find the hidden entrance to the Savage Land. Unfortunately they immediately run into trouble and Jean (Marvel Girl) and Warren (Angel) are captured by a tribe of savage swamp men. They are almost sacrificed by the swamp men before they are rescued by the rest of the X-Men and Ka-Zar. Big surprise, eh?
Lee never really makes it clear why the X-Men travel to the Savage Land, as they already know Ka-Zar is not a mutant, so I guess they just felt like getting out from under Professor X’s thumb, I guess. But it did give Lee a chance to bring Ka-Zar back into the silver age Marvel universe, so that’s cool. Ka-Zar knocks around the Marvel U appearing in various books when Lee remembered to use him and eventually he was featured in the seventies split book, Astonishing Tales. Then in 1973, he hit the big time, with his own title that ran twenty issues before it folded for lack of sales, but he’d be back! Again and again!
That’s it for this quick RETRO REVIEW. Please come back next week for another new Fantastic Find, till then … be seeing you