Monday, July 17, 2017

The Uncollected - Ka-Zar The Savage?

If I had to identify one character who deserves one of those giant honking collections, I'd have to nominate Ka-Zar (with his sidekick Zabu too by the way). They've folded the series now, but when Marvel was producing its highly useful Essentials line (its the beautiful color Epic line now) I always wanted to see the long and winding epic of Lord Kevin Plunder revealed. After the Hulk got his own gig again in Tales to Astonish, Ka-Zar of the Savage Land seemed to take up the mantle of the MU itinerant hero. He debuted in the pages of X-Men then quickly showed up in Daredevil. Later still we get Savage Land stories in Tales to Astonish when Sub-Mariner engages Ka-Zar's brother The Plunderer. Then Spidey gets involved and then the X-Men return to the Savage Land. It's a story which unfolds installment by installment with little clues and hints about the hero uncovered at each stop. Eventually Ka-Zar gets his own gig as part of Astonishing Tales following a tryout one-shot in Marvel Super-Heroes. That lasts a good long time.

To be fair, those earliest Astonishing Tales stories have been collected in a Marvel Masterworks, but sadly that ignores all those delightful Ka-Zar stories which came before and after. We need these between two covers. We really do.

Here are the covers involved with a few more notes from moi.

No Ka-Zar, but the Savage Land shows up in several Subby misadventures when the Sea-King battles The Plunderer.

Marvel Super-Heroes was functioning briefly as a Showcase like book and Ka-Zar got a shot. With George Tuska interiors it's fine but the Barry Smith cover is very memorable.

Before getting his own gig Ka-Zar was treated to a trilogy of reprints which gathered together his previous appearances. So I have to give Marvel credit for trying to promote him. This was really effective for new fans like I was then in informing me about the character.

Ka-Zar gets the nod at last with great Jack Kirby artwork for a few issues and he eventually takes over the entire comic as Doc Doom's feature fades away.

A really violent but lovely Ka-Zar story appears in Savage Tales. It gets censored and reprinted in the regular run later.

It was in the pages of Ka-Zar's adventures that the Man-Thing, Ka-Zar's cohort from the old Savage Tales made his first mainstream foray into the Marvel Universe.

I've long been impressed by Gil Kane's awesome pencils in this epic tale of Ka-Zar in New York City.

After the Astonishing Tales run came to an end when Ka-Zar got his own comic which went on to run just under twenty issues itself.

At about the same time  some dandy tales appeared in the revived Savage Tales.

Some few of these stories did get collected in this Masterworks volume, but it's woefully inadequate. I say again, we need a Ka-Zar collection worth its weight.

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  1. Great post! Couldn’t agree more. I love the whole, quirky Ka-Zar/Zabu inner-Earth Savage Land canon. Too often Ka-Zar is treated like the blond-haired step child of Marvel though.

    1. And he's a revival like the Human Torch and the Vision, a different version of a Golden Age character. I think the writers liked the Savage Land more than Ka-Zar, though Ka-Zar in NYC is a common enough story.

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  2. I like the Savage Land, but never cared much for Ka-Zar. It's an iconic Marvel local like the Blue Area of the Moon or Wakanda.

    1. I can understand that position, but for the record give me Ka-Zar. Some of the more recent takes on him have been weird looking, at least from a distance.

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