What I hoped to accomplish with this mashup is a sense of pure, unadulterated fun. This is what the characters of Calvin and Hobbes have been for me. This is also pretty much what the characters of Ka-Zar and Zabu have been for me. C’mon, he’s pretty much Tarzan with a pet Sabre-Tooth who fights dinosaurs with an uber-hot, furkini-clad girlfriend! I won’t belabor the history of Ka-zar–you have Wikipedia for that. Suffice it to say you’ll find such artists as John Buscema, Brent Anderson, and Andy Kubert associated with the book. A couple of my favorite writers have also worked on these romping jungle adventures as well–Mark Waid and Roy Thomas.
Which brings us to the point of this rambling article… the latest incarnation of the Ka-Zar in the Savage Land. Paul Jenkins is a capable writer, and puts together a well-crafted story, with great sensitivity and nicely observed characters. I’ve never seen Pascal Alixe’s pencils before, but he’s a fantastic artist, capable of rendering jungle goodness along with real human emotion.
Sigh, but how was Marvel able to suck every ounce of fun out of this character? Roxxon Oil, along with a variety of multi-national corporate entities, is poised on the brink of bringing total ecological apocalypse to the Savage Land. Are you yawning yet? Not to mention, with an artist so well-versed with human anatomy, there isn’t a single bit of gratuitous pinup imagery of Shanna, the She-Devil. She’s a dutiful mother and dedicated partner in this fight agains the evils of corporate America.
I won’t go much further into it, as I prefer to let folks enjoy their own emotional and intellectual reactions to the comics they read each week. Plus, I think it’s easy to be negative in the online world, and I’m striving for some kind of balance in these reviews…
So, in my humble opinion, this series is well-written, sensitive, well-drawn (sometimes beautifully drawn), and dare I say “important” in today’s world of dwindling resources and rampant greed and consumerism. However, I don’t personally like to read about how crappy the world has gotten. Comics are about escapism to me–I prefer to be whisked away to a wonderland of super-heroes and jungle gods, where women are beautiful and powerful, and men beat the crap out of the bad guys by the end of the book. If you gentle readers have given this series a chance, let me know what you thought.