|First appearance||Ka-Zar #1 (October 1936)|
|Created by||Bob Byrd|
|Alter ego||David Rand|
|Abilities||Peak physical strength, speed, agility and reflexes,
Ability to communicate with some animals
Ka-Zar was a short-lived pulp magazine series of three issues featuring the first iteration of Ka-Zar, a boy raised by lions to become a Tarzan-like jungle lord. Written by Bob Byrd and published by Martin Goodman's Manvis Publication Inc., the cover and lead story of each issue featured the eponymous hero.
The origin from Ka-Zar v1#1
American John Rand’s plane crashes in the Congo jungle with his wife Constance and very young son David on board. After some time lost in the jungle, Constance dies of a jungle malady. Zar, the lion who witnessed everything, keeps an eye on them. Two weeks later, when his son becomes sick, John decides to march out of the jungle, but a storm causes a large tree to fall on him. He recovers physically but mentally lives in a delusional world, believing that the jungle is his home. The boy recovers and grows up and at eight is a husky lad.
David Rand continues to grow and meets the jungle animals, keeping his distance from the natives he met. The natives work for a greedy and vicious fat man named Paul de Kraft, who is after emeralds. David, now a strong young man, has been away from camp and returns to see his father dying, their hut in flames and de Kraft present there for everything. Zar the lion saves David from de Kraft. His father dies and David now thinks of himself as Ka-Zar, brother of Zar. The rest of the story is about how he tracks down de Kraft and, with Zar’s help, finally kills him. Like in the Tarzan stories, the creatures of the jungle all have names. Ka-Zar has a rudimentary education and talks accordingly.
This story was serialised in comic form in Marvel Comics #1 (October 1939) and Marvel Mystery Comics # 2-5 (December 1939 to March 1940). The Ka-Zar character continued with new stories until MMC # 27 (January 1942). Ray Gill and Bob Oskner did stories and artwork. Ka-Zar also appeared in Human Torch # 5 (Fall 1941)
The first Ka-Zar, David Rand, was a typical "jungle lord" in the Tarzan vein, also known as Ka-Zar the Great, who first appeared in the pulp magazine Ka-Zar #1 (October 1936) from Manvis Publishing, one of many magazine companies owned by Martin Goodman. Writer-artist Ben Thompson adapted the pulp story "King of Fang and Claw" by Bob Byrd for Goodman's first comic book, Marvel Comics #1 (October 1939). In the 2000s (decade), the David Rand Ka-Zar was featured in the All New Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe A-Z.
Fictional character biography
Born in South Africa in 1918, three-year-old David Rand accompanied his British parents John and Constance on a flight to Cairo to visit his grandfather. Unfortunately, their plane crashed in the jungles of Congo. Constance died in the crash and John was driven mad. Living in the jungle with his father, isolated from the local tribes, David grew under the jungle’s hardships into an unusually powerful youth and developed strong empathy with wildlife, notably rescuing Zar the Lion from quicksand. When a criminal named Paul de Kraft discovered emeralds in Congo, John died opposing him only for Zar to scare Paul de Kraft off. With the support of Zar, David became the jungle's leading warrior within a few years challenging different animals like Bardak the Ape and N'Jaga the Leopard. Considered to be "god-like" by the natives, David Rand ended up named Ka-Zar (native for "Brother of Zar"). When Paul de Kraft returned to seize the emerald deposits, Ka-Zar killed him thus avenging his father.
With the help of the local animals, Ka-Zar established himself as the guardian of the jungle which involved meting out harsh retribution to any intruder seeking to exploit his resources-but he frequently aided more benign explorers, such as when he protected Prof. Rice and his daughter Mara from the criminal pilot "Red" Skelton, rescued Rita Grey from the Wabi tribe, and helped two Scotland Yard detectives capture murderer London Jack. When Zar the Lion was captured by the vicious Rajah Sarput and a big game hunter named Bradley, Ka-Zar stowed away on a ship when Zar was shipped to the United States. Though he managed to free Zar, Ka-Zar ended up arrested when he tried to free the zoo animals. Fortunately, Ruth Wilson (another woman whom Ka-Zar had rescued during an African expedition), vouched for him. Ka-Zar and Zar were granted passage back to Africa on a British ship. Surviving attacks by entrenched Nazi forces, Ka-Zar and Zar confronted Sarput who was ultimately slain by their ally Trajah the Elephant. Soon after, Ka-Zar learned he had inherited his father’s Transval diamond mines. After preventing his inheritance’s theft by John Rand’s law partner Alec Wright, donated the wealth to war relief in England.
While on an expedition to the mysterious Black River Region, Ka-Zar encountered giants and subterranean lizard people. Ka-Zar managed to befriend a giant named Bogat. Ka-Zar later waged a series of campaigns against the Axis forces in Ethiopia, Somaliland, and anywhere else in Africa where the Axis forces were camped killing them with their own weapons with help from the French and British forces. Following one such encounter, Ka-Zar was restored to health by an aged witch doctor, who gave him a brew used centuries before to grant his tribe superhuman strength, Ka-Zar’s exploits earned him such fame that he was invited to attend a meeting of superhuman champions in mid-194. Last time anyone heard from Ka-Zar, he protected his region’s wildlife when Africa was threatened by monstrous tidal waves from Atlantean warfare. The rest of Ka-Zar's life after that was left unchronicled.
Contents of Ka-Zar pulps
Ka-Zar v1#1 October 1936
- King of Fang and Claw by Bob Byrd………6 (Start of story page)
- Jungle War by Anatole Feldman……………82
- Fatal Treasure by Beech Allen………………94
- Pearl Magic by James Hall………………….105
- Snake Wisdom by T K Hawley………………114
Ka-Zar v1#2 January 1937
- Roar of the Jungle by Bob Byrd………………8
- Rifled Gold by Anatole Feldman…………….88
- Law of the Legion by Beech Allen……….98
- Traitor Blood by Rex Evans………………….107
Ka-Zar v1#3 June 1937
- The Lost Empire by Bob Byrd……………….8
- Assassin’s Blood by W M F Bayliss………….79
- Hades’ Reef by Norman A Daniels……………88
- White Devils by R A Emberg..........................96
Altus Press did a single volume reprint of all the Ka-Zar pulp stores as King of Fang and Claw.
- Ka-Zar (David Rand) at Don Markstein's Toonopedia
- Ka-Zar (David Rand) at the International Catalogue of Superheroes
- Ka-Zar (David Rand) at the Comic Book DB