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Ka-Zar (comics)

This article is about the comic versions by Marvel. For the pulp series, see Ka-Zar (magazine).
Kevin Plunder, the second Ka-Zar, battles dinosaurs in the Savage Land alongside his sabretooth tiger, Zabu.
Art by Greg Land.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance The X-Men #10 (March 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
Jack Kirby
In-story information
Alter ego Kevin Plunder
Notable aliases Lord of the Hidden Jungle
Abilities Great hunter, trapper, fisherman, forager, and survivalist
Enhanced physical attributes
Carries various weapons
Ability to communicate with some animals

Ka-Zar (pronunciation: KAY-sar[1]) is the name of two jungle-dwelling fictional comic book characters published in the United States. The first Ka-Zar was named David Rand, and debuted in 1936, first appearing in pulp magazines of the 1930s. In 1939 he was adapted for his second iteration, a comic book character for Timely Comics, the 1930s and 1940s predecessor of Marvel Comics. The second and more prominent Ka-Zar was named Kevin Plunder, and first appeared in 1965. He is a heroic character in the Marvel Comics Universe.

Publication history

File:Ka-Zar by Jack Kirby.jpg
Cover to the X-Men # 10 the first appearance of Ka-Zar and his sabretooth tiger, Zabu.
Art by Jack Kirby.

The second Ka-Zar started as a similar character, but reminiscent of both Tarzan and of writer-artist Joe Kubert's 1950s caveman character, Tor. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in The X-Men #10 (March 1965), he lives in the dinosaur-populated Savage Land, which was hidden beneath Antarctica by extraterrestrials.

Originally written as a primitive and belligerent savage who spoke in broken English, Ka-Zar later became more articulate and civilized, although he retained a certain degree of distrust toward civilization and was generally wary of outside visitors to the Savage Land. Kevin Plunder refers to himself as the "Lord of the Savage Land", a phrase others have adopted, but this is not a formal title.

He has had four self-titled series, the first published in 1970–1971 (three issues, mostly reprints), the second in 1974-1977 (20 issues) by Mike Friedrich, the third in 1981-1984 (Ka-Zar the Savage, 34 issues) by Bruce Jones and Mike Carlin, and the fourth in 1997-1998 (20 issues) written by Mark Waid.[2] Ka-Zar's first solo story was published in Marvel Super-Heroes #19 (1969), and the character had features in the black-and-white magazine Savage Tales and the color title Astonishing Tales.

Fictional character biography

Ka-Zar is Kevin Reginald, Lord Plunder, born in Castle Plunder, Kentish Town, London, England. He is the eldest son of Lord Robert Plunder, the English nobleman who discovered the Savage Land. After his mother had died and his father was killed by the barbaric Man-Ape natives of the Savage Land, Plunder was found and raised by the sabertooth tiger Zabu, who possesses near-human intelligence thanks to a mutation caused by radioactive mists. "Ka-Zar" means "Son of the Tiger" in the language of the Man-Apes. Ka-Zar and Zabu are constant partners. Ka-Zar became an expert hunter, trapper, and fisherman, living off the wild land.

In the Savage Land, some territories are populated by several human or humanoid tribes, and while most of them are on friendly terms with Ka-Zar, some of them consider him an outlander and an enemy. He acts more like an unofficial general protector, preventing outside commercial exploitation, such as poaching and mining, as well as enforcing peace between tribes and serving as goodwill ambassador to friendly visitors.

The original X-Men discovered the Savage Land, and Ka-Zar encountered them, battling Maa-Gor for the first time.[3] He then encountered Daredevil for the first time, and battled his brother Parnival, who had become the supervillain called the Plunderer.[4] He then encountered the Hulk for the first time, and battled Umbu the Unliving.[5] He was once 'tricked' into confronting Spider-Man after J. Jonah Jameson convinced him that Spider-Man was a menace when the wall-crawler's memory was erased and he was tricked into working with Doctor Octopus. Spider-Man's memory was restored during the fight, with Ka-Zar subsequently apologizing for the mistake and proclaiming Spider-Man as the most valiant opponent he had ever fought.[6] Ka-Zar then battled Kraven the Hunter for the first time.[7]

After the Savage Land became known to outsiders after the visit by the X-Men, many people began traveling to the territory. Ka-Zar has also become romantically involved with female visitors, the first being S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Barbara Morse (who later became the Avenger named Mockingbird).[8] He first battled AIM, and met the Man-Thing.[9] He then met Spider-Man once again, and battled the extraterrestrial Gog.[10] He next met the adventurer Shanna O'Hara,[11] and began a romance with her. He has battled Klaw, and visited other dimensions.[12] Later, he first battled Magneto's Savage Land Mutates.[13] and then teamed with the X-Men to battle Zaladane and Garokk.[14]

Ka-Zar later discovered that the Savage Land is a part of Pangaea.[15] He then battles Belasco for the first time.[16] He later marries Shanna, who has taken the name Shanna the She-Devil.[17] His brother Parnival was apparently killed during one of his schemes (though much later turned up alive).[18]

Ka-Zar has teamed up with several of Marvel's heroes. The X-Men are recurrent visitors to the Savage Land and Ka-Zar has been a frequent ally, helping the mutant team defeat both inside and outside menaces such as Sauron and Magneto. He has met Spider-Man on several occasions, one of which involved stopping Stegron the Dinosaur Man from invading New York City with Savage Land dinosaurs. Ka-Zar has also assisted the Avengers in their attempt to repel the space conqueror Terminus, but while they rescued many natives, they were unable to prevent the destruction of the Savage Land. Ka-Zar was rescued by the Avengers, but left the Savage Land for the civilized world.[19] Together, he and Shanna had a son named Matthew. The territory was later reconstructed by the High Evolutionary using Garokk, and Ka-Zar and Shanna returned with their newborn and resumed their previous roles.[20]

Ka-Zar and Shanna separated for a time,[21] but got back together before long. Ka-Zar fought and defeated Thanos in one of his many attempts to end life, and later sought the help of investigator Jessica Jones for assistance locating Zabu.[22]

Shanna and Ka-Zar find Skrulls mining the rare metal vibranium in the Savage Land. Soon afterward as part of the "Secret Invasion" storyline, a Skrull ship crashes in the Savage Land releasing earlier versions of modern superheroes (who claim to be the originals replaced by Skrulls for some time), and who have escaped. Shanna and Ka-Zar soon learn, however, that these are simply more Skrulls in disguise. Spider-Man soon encounters Ka-Zar, Shanna, Zabu, and some of the natives accusing them of being Skrulls. Just then, the Captain America from the ship attacked thinking the same for Spider-Man. Ka-Zar, Shanna, and Zabu help Spider-Man fight the Captain America from the ship until it is hit by a dart that causes it to regress to a Skrull named Pit'o Nilli.[23] He then later goes with the rest of the Avengers to New York City to help them fight off the Skrull invasion while Shanna stays behind with Zabu to fight off anymore Skrulls left in the Savage Land.[24]

Ka-Zar later meets Reptil when he and Tigra have rescued Moon-Boy. After reuniting Moon-Boy with Devil Dinosaur, Ka-Zar tells Reptil that he will help him find his parents.[25]

Ka-Zar and Shanna later encounter the return of the Ethereals and end up fighting them when it comes to the Ethereals wanting the tribes of the Savage Land to be united with them.[26]

Powers and abilities

Kevin Plunder is an athletic man with no superhuman powers. He utilizes a unique style of hand-to-hand combat shaped by years of surviving in the Savage Land. He has developed great skills in hunting, trapping, fishing, foraging, and general survival in the wild. He carries a Script error: No such module "convert". Bowie knife, and occasionally uses a slingshot, bow and arrow, and other primitive weapons. He can also communicate with some animals.

It was revealed in Astonishing Tales #11, scripted by Roy Thomas, that Ka-Zar's and Zabu's physical abilities had been enhanced by passing through some mysterious mist.[27] The mists later endowed other characters (Maa-Gor and El Tigre) with superhuman abilities.[28]

Other versions

Age of Ultron

In the Age of Ultron story, Ka-Zar was present in the Savage Land when the hero resistance against Ultron was relocated to the Savage Land. Ka-Zar leads them to a refuge area where they can formulate their next plan.[29]


A version of Kevin Plunder, named Kavin Plundarr, is Gotowar Konanegg[30] a Captain Britain Corps member who featured in Mighty World Of Marvel vol. 2 #13 (1984).

Earth X

In the Earth X series, Ka-Zar (as well as Shanna) have been mutated by Plague X into humanoid saber-toothed tigers. They play an integral part in Universe X- leading Captain America and the reborn Mar-Vell to the gateway to Limbo, and helping the X-Men and Wakandan refugees escape the cannibalistic hordes of Wendigo.[volume & issue needed]

What If?

He appears in a What If story, where the Savage Land terraforming has taken over New York. He has a son, Matthew, but it is obvious that Zabu has been killed as his skull is seen on Ka-Zar's head and his pelt, a cape. Both he and Parnival sacrifice themselves to return New York to normal, with Shanna the only survivor of his "family."[31]

House of M

In the House of M reality, Kevin Plunder appears in a short article in The Pulse: House of M Special Edition. The article explains that he has been granted asylum in the US and feature a picture of him alongside his faithful companion Zabu.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies

It is briefly noted in Marvel Zombies that a zombified Quicksilver managed to spread the virus to the Savage Land, infecting Ka-Zar and Zabu.[volume & issue needed]

Ultimate Marvel

Ka-Zar appears in his Ultimate form on the final page of issue #3 of Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates, along with Ultimate Shanna.[32] After the Ultimatum wave, they join the New Ultimates where they help to fight Loki.[33]

In other media


  • Ka-Zar appears in the 1981 Spider-Man cartoon "The Hunter and the Hunted". He arrives in New York to rescue Zabu from Kraven the Hunter.
  • Ka-Zar first appeared in the two-part X-Men episodes "Reunion", voiced by Robert Bockstael. He encounters Wolverine after he was separated from the X-Men following their ambush by the Savage Land Mutates. Ka-Zar helps Wolverine to rescue them, Magneto, Shanna, and the other tribesmen. In the two-part episode "Savage Land, Savage Heart", Ka-Zar and Shanna help the X-Men combat the threat of Zaladane and Garokk.
  • Ka-Zar appears in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Stranger From a Savage Land!", voiced by Kevin Sorbo. After Zabu was held captive in the Super Hero City Zoo for live study after being captured by a scientist from the Savage Land, Ka-Zar arrives in Super Hero City to rescue Zabu from Doctor Doom and the Lethal Legion with help from the Super Hero Squad.[34]
  • Ka-Zar appears in the Ultimate Spider-Man episode "The Savage Spider-Man", voiced by Steven Blum. This version is shown to wear an outfit that is a combination of pants and a loincloth. Ka-Zar uses various hand-made weapons including a spear, bowie knives, and wrist mounted weapons with retractable blades. Ka-Zar first appears where he attacks Spider-Man and Wolverine where he suspects that they were the ones who abducted Zabu. Ka-Zar teams up with Spider-Man and Wolverine to save Zabu from Kraven the Hunter and Taskmaster when Spider-Man comes looking to recruit him to the New Warriors. Spider-Man assists him in rescuing Zabu. Ka-Zar helps Wolverine when Spider-Man is hit with a dart that has a special poison that transforms Spider-Man into the Man-Spider. Using the medicine from a skunk-like creature, Ka-Zar and Wolverine restore Man-Spider back to Spider-Man as they follow Taskmaster and Kraven the Hunter back to Manhattan. Upon arriving in Manhattan, Ka-Zar has difficulty surviving in the city much like how Spider-Man isn't used to the Savage Land. After Kraven the Hunter's defeat and Taskmaster escapes, Ka-Zar and Zabu join the New Warriors. In the episode "New Warriors", Ka-Zar gains an upgraded version of his wrist weapons along with a bo staff.


Marvel Studios announced in 2009 that properties including Doctor Strange, Ka-Zar, Luke Cage, Dazzler, and Power Pack were among those being considered for development.[35]

Video games


IGN listed Ka-Zar as the 84th greatest comic book hero of all time describing the character as Marvel's equivalent of Tarzan; IGN also compared Ka-Zar as the protector of his land with Namor being protector of the underwater king, with the only difference being is that Ka-Zar isn't a total jerk and having a better loin cloth.[37]


  1. ^ X-Men #10 (March 1965)
  2. ^ Ka-Zar, 1997, Pipeline, Comic Book Resources, April 7, 2009
  3. ^ X-Men #10
  4. ^ Daredevil #12-14
  5. ^ Incredible Hulk #109-111
  6. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #58-#59
  7. ^ Astonishing Tales #1-2
  8. ^ Astonishing Tales #8
  9. ^ Astonishing Tales #12-13
  10. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #103-104
  11. ^ Ka-Zar #1
  12. ^ Ka-Zar #14-20
  13. ^ X-Men #61-63
  14. ^ Uncanny X-Men #115-116
  15. ^ Ka-Zar the Savage #1
  16. ^ Ka-Zar the Savage #12
  17. ^ Ka-Zar the Savage #29
  18. ^ Ka-Zar the Savage #33
  19. ^ Avengers #256-258
  20. ^ Uncanny X-Men Annual #12
  21. ^ Ka-Zar Graphic Novel
  22. ^ Alias #24 (September 2003)
  23. ^ New Avengers #42
  24. ^ Secret Invasion #7
  25. ^ Avengers: The Initiative Featuring Reptil
  26. ^ Ka-Zar Vol. 5 #1-5
  27. ^ Astonishing Tales #11
  28. ^ Ka-Zar (1974 series) #3-5
  29. ^ Age of Ultron #4
  30. ^ Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z vol. #2 (May 2008)
  31. ^ What If? v2 #112 (September 1998)
  32. ^ Ultimates 3 #1-5
  33. ^ Ultimate Comics: New Ultimates #1-5
  34. ^ Comics Continuum
  35. ^ Farci, Devin (2010-04-22). "Exclusive: Marvel's Exciting Small Movie Plans". Retrieved 2009-12-30. 
  36. ^ "Marvel Heroes MMO Looks An Awful Lot Like Diablo". siliconera. 2012-05-22. Retrieved 2012-07-19. 
  37. ^ "Ka-Zar is number 84". IGN. Retrieved May 9, 2011. 

External links