Remake & Reboot: Marvel’s KA-ZAR Comic Series

One of Marvel’s oldest heroes is also one of the least understood: debuting back in 1939’s Marvel Comics #1, Ka-Zar the Savage is a blond-haired Tarzan type that lords over the mutate jungle piece of earth known as the Savage Land. More than just a mere man of the jungles, Ka-Zar calls back to his British aristocratic roots and is known to visit modern civilization and blend in with the surroundings when need be, but he always return to his adoptive Savage Land.

At Marvel, Ka-Zar strikes a startlingly different pose than most of the spandex-wearing superhero crowd, but because of that he’s had trouble trying to make it at the same time they do. He’s often a guest star when the likes of the Avengers or X-men make a jaunt to Savage Land, but on his own his only significant solo run has been when Mark Waid and Andy Kubert took Ka-Zar to the jungles of New York in their under-appreciated classic run in in 1997.

With that in mind and the odds stacked against it, I still think a modern Ka-Zar series could work. Here’s how

The Concept:

Super-hero comics seem to work when it shows people with uncommon gifts and powers forced into larger-than-life situations but that still retain some human component we believe in. Characters need to be relatable, but they also need to be foreign and exotic enough that we are drawn by their uniqueness. With Savage Land and his supporting cast, Ka-Zar seems to have all the tools –he just needs a story that puts those into play while also connecting him into the broader story going on at Marvel today.

With Marvel post Avengers Vs. X-Men going for a more global reach, imagine if Savage Land enters the global discussion when something happens inside its borders and outside countries, thinking it an unclaimed territory, go in to investigate. Ka-Zar, seeing this as an affront to Savage Land’s sovereignty and sensitive natural balance, could push back a little bit with the civilian nations — bringing in the likes of the Avengers to help broach the subject. In the classic Marvel manner, perhaps wires are crossed and Ka-Zar is on the receiving end of a superhuman invasion and he puts his secluded nation’s natural resources — the tribes, dinosaurs, and animals — to full use. Imagine Ka-Zar being able to take down Tony Stark’s hi-tech barrage with some leftover High Evolutionary tech, give Red Hulk an even match in a pair of mutated T-Rexes, and Zabu and Ka-Zar himself giving Cap a battle he can’t easily win. It isn’t about Ka-Zar being a bad guy, its instead about him stepping up and making a name for himself and Savage land in the world.

The Creators:

The Writer – Jeff Parker: Like a sort of fifth Beatle to “Architects”, Jeff Parker has relentlessly delivered great comics at Marvel with Agents of Atlas, Hulk, Thunderbolts and now Dark Avengers and I’d love for him to tackle Ka-Zar as a guerrilla revolutionary trying to keep his homeland free and pristine. I’m not expecting the Weather Underground here  — just a kind of man of the people uniting his fellow Savage Landers and maybe becoming a popular hero in Marvel’s citizens world along the way when they believe in his cause.

The Interior Artist – Jesus Siaz: Jesus Siaz has quietly built himself up as a star over at DC; he’s just wanting for the project that’ll let readers take notice. He was excellent on Brave & the Bold, launched and left too soon on Birds of Prey and is now relegated to doing the B story in Sword of Sorcery. His story there is great, but he’s got the style to do great storytelling and turn some heads, and Marvel has a good habit of nabbing some under-appreciated artists at DC and giving them a platform to shine.

The Cover Artist – David Aja: Some people might be begging for a more painted, Greg Hildebrandt kind of cover here, but I think we need to play up Ka-Zar’s role as a countryman — but of the Savage Land. In his work at Marvel (and recently Valiant), Aja shows he can do a good illustration that can also tell a story through its style, presentation and focus. This Ka-Zar series needs to break away from the misconceptions the characters lugged around for decades, and Aja on covers could do just the thing.



  1. Ka-Zar was very accessible and enjoyable in the Bruce Jones/Brent Andreson run, but I agree this character could use some brushing off and a fresh take.

  2. Dale Eaglesham would be my pick for artist. Dude knows how to draw half naked men and women. And he has experience thanks to Incredible Hulks

  3. Nice, TWO spanish pencilers. But it’s Jesús SAIZ, not Siaz. It’s a common surname in Spain.
    (for spanish readers)
    I like the concept, though: Bada** Ka-Zar.

  4. Unless it’s already been retconned, with the Black Panther having to render all Wakandan vibranium inert to keep it out of Doom’s hands, the Savage Land has the last large supply of Vibranium. That’s a pretty big reason for the nations of the world to leap at a chance to exploit this…country? Is the Savage Land even recognized as a nation by the UN?

    So there you go…there’s your McGuffin. Seeing as Wakanda has the most experience keeping vibranium secure, I’d love to see Black Panther hired as a consultant to help Ka-Zar out. Maybe the “savage wolverine” recently announced will address this stuff.