SAVAGE TALES #10-12 (1975): The Secret Origin of Ka-Zar, series cancelled

The origin of Ka-Zar.  It’s billed as “revealed at last,” but we saw at least one other version before this, in Daredevil #13.

But this one is much more involved, so I suppose it is truth in advertising.  Plus Ka-Zar pretends he’s in Apocalypse Now.


The story shows Ka-Zar rescuing two (British?) explorers from a big, fat snake, which causes him to tell his own story in flashback.  Starting when he was a boy of privilege whose father, Lord Plunder, discovered a rare element and gave a piece of it to young Kevin and another to his brother, Parnival.

Daddy takes Kevin to the Savage Land.  Daddy is killed by the Man-Ape tribe.  Kevin nearly is as well, but Zabu rescues him.

We learn that the same tribe and tribal leader, Maa-Gor, killed Zabu’s family.

He grows up to be Kevin, and he doesn’t speak in stilted, broken English.

That’s a bit important for two reasons.  First, it makes more sense than other renditions of Ka-Zar because he was a fully verbal kid when his dad was killed.  Second, it starts to re-tool the character for the modern age as more than just a clone of Tarzan.  Ka-Zar, rather, is a smart and articulate clone of Ka-Zar.  He does still talk about himself in the third person though.

Eventually, he tracks down Maa-Gorr, and gets his vengeance.

But he doesn’t kill Maa-Gorr. Rather, he kills Maa-Gor’s entire tribe, just as Maa-Gor did to Zabu and Ka-Zar, and then leaves the man-ape live.

Ka-Zar then leaves with the British explorers to return home.

That’s the final panel of the series.

Besides the really well-done story in the final issue, this post is sweeping past issues #10 and 11, which feature a bunch of meh stories about Ka-Zar.  More meh stories about Shanna.  A few additional meh stories that simply take place in the Savage Land.

Leave a Comment