Astonishing Tales #8 (Ka-Zar)
Issue(s): Astonishing Tales #8 (Ka-Zar story only)
Another note: this issue of Astonishing Tales was published during the month when Marvel had increased their cover price, from 15 cents to 25, and page count to ~30 before dropping down to 20 cents and returning to ~22 page next month. So in addition to the Ka-Zar and Dr. Doom stories, there is also an unusual story about the Brothers Link that is seemingly unrelated to the Marvel universe but which will later turn out to have some minor significance. And the revelations about the Link story require it to take place further back in publication time than the Ka-Zar and Doom stories. I've already covered the Dr. Doom story in a separate entry since i had it reprinted in Essential Super-Villain Team-Up, and since i still have to break this issue up due to the Brothers Link, there's no point in merging the Doom story with the Ka-Zar entry.
Further complicating matters, the Ka-Zar story here ends on a cliffhanger, but the story is not picked up again until issue #10, with issue #9 being an unrelated fill-in. So i've placed this entry directly before the entry for #10.
Ka-Zar is hanging out in the Savage Land when he notice a plane that has crashed into a pteranodon. The plane's occupants were Paul Allen and Barbara Morse, who we saw getting ready to travel to the Savage Land last issue. Barbara has parachuted out (and Ka-Zar rules her out as potentially being "beyond all hope"), but Paul goes down with the plane. Ka-Zar shows up in time to rescue him from the awesome Lizards Who Walk Like Men.
The Lizards come from the Haunted Swamp which "made them more manlike than other lizard". Ka-Zar prevents Zabu from chasing them back into the swamp since it's their natural habitat and they are most dangerous there. Instead they talk to Paul.
Pretty big revelation in this issue. There has been some confusion about whether or not the Savage Land is underground like some other hidden worlds in various pulp stories. It turns out that is not the case, but it is below sea level which explains why sometimes people arrive there via tunnels.
Paul explains the above and then recruits Ka-Zar to help find Barbara, who has landed in the Lost Lake, and is attacked by Germans on pleisosaurs.
She's rescued by British soldiers on the hugest archaeopteryxes ever.
All sorts of awesome craziness going on...
...not the least of which is the fact that these Germans and British are still fighting World War II.
The British have no interest in hearing that the war is long over, especially since their insane plot - to heat up lost lake with lava transported via bamboo, with the idea that it will prevent the Germans from riding their pleisosaurs - is nearly complete.
Ka-Zar and company meanwhile fight their way through Man-Apes to get to Lost Lake. Gronk!
And we'll have to leave it there, since this story is continued in issue #10.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This continues directly in Astonishing Tales #10; issue #9 is a fill-in. See above for other notes relating to the other stories in this issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Looks like Herb Trimpe gave Gil Kane a run for his money drawing Zabu as one nasty tabby!
Posted by: Brian Coffey | September 7, 2017 9:12 PM
Given the geographic location of the Savage Land, as well as the long history of Japanese holdouts still fighting well after WW2's end (a couple of cases of this found as late as 1990!), this story could easily have been done using Australian and Japanese antagonists. Of course, there were certainly plenty of naval skirmishes in the South Atlantic, particularly in 1942-43, but the fictionalized accounts of World War 2, in multiple mediums (Film, TV, literature and yes, comics), tend to favor tales of the European Theatre over the Pacific. Still, the concept of holdouts is an interesting on to be mined, plus it's cool to see the Savage Land used as an ongoing battleground for these "old sailors".
Posted by: Brian Coffey | October 3, 2017 1:54 AM
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