One of the first heroes to come out of Marvel Comics alongside Captain America and Namor was Ka-Zar. Created during the time Marvel Comics was known as Timely in the Golden age, Ka-zar was David Rand. Created by Bob Byrd, the Golden age Ka-zar first appeared October 1936 in his own pulp magazine Ka-zar #1. Stranded in the Congo Jungle due to a plane crash, young Rand looses his mother due to a jungle malady. His father (mentally injured due to a accident believes the jungle is their home) raises Rand. They are befriended by Zar the Lion, who helps protect the father and son from any harm. This version of Kazar would continue in two additional issues published in January and June 1937 and later in a few other issues between 1939-1940.
The Ka-Zar most comics fans are familiar with is the Kevin Plunder version of the character. This version of the hero debuted in 1965 and easily became one of Marvel’s most recognized heroes. Kevin Plunder was the second person to bear the name Ka-Zar. Unlike his predecessor, Kevin Plunder lives in the Savage Land – A prehistoric environment that was hidden beneath Antarctica by extraterrestrials.
Kevin’s father (Lord Plunder) discovered the Savage land during his hunt for a rare anti-metal that he theorized existed. It was in this dinosaur infested prehistoric world that he discovered the anti-metal that would later be determined to be an isotope of Vibranium.
When he returned home with the samples collected, agents attempted to steal the isotope. Fleeing with his son Kevin to the Savage Land, it was Lord Plunder’s belief that he would be safe from his pursuers. Little did he know that he would be killed by the native Maa-Gor and his tribe of barbaric Man-Apes.
Kevin would have died too, if not for the intervention of Zabu. The last of a species of Saber-toothed tiger the Man-Apes hunted to near extinction. Zabu led Kevin to a place known as the Land of the Mists, where the boy grew up safe from the Man-Apes. The incident soon passed into the Man-Apes’ legend and Kevin was referred to as “Ka-zar” which means – son of the tiger. Upon maturity, Ka-zar defeated the tribe of Man-Apes and became the Protector of the Savage Land.