RUN: 36 issues 1981-84
KEY CREATORS: Bruce Jones, Mike Carlin (writers), Brent Anderson, Ron Frenz, Marie Severin (artists)
OVERVIEW: Ka-Zar and Shanna use banter both to break down and create barriers to their relationship, while having the usual jungle adventures
STAND-OUT ISSUE: Can't think of any issue that stands out (I enjoyed the wedding issue the first time, but less so the second). Two moments stand out, both involving Zabu: When he reaches the top of a tall steep rock structure after an Aerian mentions how impossible it would be for Zabu to simply climb up there, and later when he escapes a cage that people have just entered and slams the door behind him, thus locking the people in.
DUD ISSUE: The last issue had its share of lame moments, include the dead title story
OVERALL: Under Jones, this series had two strengths, a wonderful insight into the mind of Zabu. Despite not giving Zabu any thought balloons (mercifully), even when there was no captions you could often guess what Zabu was thinking. Also the relationship between Ka-Zar was well played, with various pitfalls in their way that felt real. Particularly it felt real because they engaged in childish games that people sometimes do in relationships and as a result their relationship had a rockier time than if they were completely honest with one another from the beginning. Jones was wonderful at creating hidden subtext with the jokes. Their behaviour towards one another didn't make them perfect role models, but it made them seem more real. Under Carlin, the humour remained but the subtext of the humour was largely abandoned, getting downright goofy in some bits drawn by Severin, weakening the series
RECOMMENDED OR NOT? Definitely during Jones run. Though not terrible, I'd be inclined to skip Carlin's run, with the wedding issue being the best of that run
CONTINUITY NOTES: Ka-Zar spoke differently here than his previous jungle speech, but Jones did explain that, and all in all the series would probably have been a lot shorter if the reader kept having to wade through "Me friend, he enemy. You go now" all the time.