Tuesday, December 6, 2011

From Conan to Ka-Zar

In the early days that I was collecting superhero action figures there wasn't a lot of figures to work with. In the late 1970's and early 1980's there were DC Pocket Superheroes from Mego that stood about 4" tall and the slightly larger Mattel Marvel Comics Secret Wars figures and then of course the about 5" tall DC Superpowers Collection line. There weren't that many figures and only one female figure - Wonder Woman. So when I started to get restless and wanted to add more figures to my collection I started working with some of the metal figures I had access to. A few days ago I featured Conan and showed the Superior Models Barbarian figure. When I wanted to do the jungle lord Ka-Zar I decided the Barbarian was a good place to start. Ka-Zar started as one of those Tarzan-like characters - mother dead, scientist father harboring a secret and killed, abandoning the young Kevin Plunder in the mysterious Savage Land. This is a place within Antarctica where there exists a primeval land of jungles. Dwelling there are denizens of many epochs of history and prehistory, including dinosaurs and cave men and one sabre tooth tiger - the last of his kind, who "adopts" the orphaned Kevin and who he names Zabu. The boy and the cat forge a bond that remains powerful into Kevin's adulthood, when he takes on the name Ka-Zar. He eventually comes to understand his heritage and sort of commutes between the Savage Land and the outside world, always with the faithful Zabu at his side. I like the Savage Land because it mixes dinosaurs, aliens and everything else into one setting and there's always some superpowered bad guys showing up to keep things interesting. Ka-Zar was made from a Barbarian figure, but I replaced the sword with a knife and filled in the sandals to make boots. I also took the large belt around his waist off. The sabre-toothed tiger I found among some prehistoric animal figures.

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