Real Name: John Rand

Identity/Class: Human (World War I era)

Occupation: Jungle dweller;
    former diamond mine owner, adventurer

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Winston

Enemies: Bouala, Paul De Kraft, Mubangi, N'jaga, Zar

Known Relatives: Constance "Connie" Dean Rand (wife, deceased), David Rand (Ka-Zar, son), Mr. Dean (father-in-law)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Belgian Congo;
   formerly Johannesburg, South Africa

First Appearance: (Text only) Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (October 1936);
    (visual depiction) Marvel Comics#1/7 (October 1939)

Powers/Abilities: Before his jungle life John Rand was already a capable adventurer in excellent physical condition with muscles of "whipcord and steel." He was an experienced pilot, knew first aid and wilderness survival techniques including being able to build his own shelter and make weapons such as arrows, bows and spears out of local material, capable with knives and expert shot with both rifle and pistol.

   While living in the jungle his survival skills only grew, and he became even stronger and fitter, able to travel through the jungle without making any noise and to swing from lianas between trees. He became an expert archer and skilled with a spear.

Height: Unrevealed
Weight: Unrevealed
Eyes: Unrevealed
Hair: Blond

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (fb)) - Possessed of an adventurous spirit, young American John Rand roamed the world in search of adventure and fortune. He learned many skills during his adventures, not least of which was how to pilot an airplane, and had a number of close calls where he had to rely on his ingenuity and resourcefulness to survive, imbuing him with a well-earned sense of self-confidence. His skin was bronzed from prolonged exposure to the African sun and he had muscles of "whipcord and steel." During a two-week interlude between fortune seeking expeditions he wooed and won Constance Dean, a gentle English girl attending a fashionable French finishing school, spiriting her away from under the nose of the school's stern headmistress to elope together. He gave her a wedding ring engraved on the inside with the inscription "From John Rand to Constance Dean." Shortly after their marriage...

(All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z#6) - in 1917...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (fb)) - John stumbled upon a rich diamond field in the Transvaal, South Africa. 

(Marvel Comics#17/7 (fb) - BTS) - John's attorney in England, Alec Wright, drafted the ownership paperwork for what proved to be a very rich diamond mine. John was also friends with a gentleman named Winston.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (fb)) - They split their time between London, Cairo (where Connie's father resided at least part of the time) and their main residence just outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. John used his newfound wealth to satisfy all his desires, including purchasing and maintaining his own private plane. Around a year after the couple became wealthy their son David was born...

(All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z#6) - in 1918.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (fb)) - When David was three,...

(All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z#6) - in 1921,...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (fb)) - Connie received a telegram informing her that her father was seriously ill in the Sheppard's Hotel in Cairo. John immediately suggested that he should fly Connie, David and himself to Mr. Dean's bedside, unconcerned that this would require them to traverse thousands of miles of wild and dangerous territory.

    Two days after receiving the telegram the Rand family set off for Cairo in John's plane. However, later that same day...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - over the heart of the Belgian Congo,...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (fb)) - some two degrees south of the Equator...

(Marvel Comics#1/7) - the plane developed motor trouble...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - and crash landed in the dense jungle, its arrival witnessed by the lion Zar, lord of the jungle.

(Marvel Comics#1/7) - Having suffered only minor injuries...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (fb)) - including a long, bleeding gash on his forearm, which he failed to even notice initially in his concern for his family...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - John staggered from the wreckage. Checking on his wife and son, John found David to have suffered only minor bumps and scrapes, but Connie had been less lucky. John carried her from the broken plane and confirmed that her leg was broken. After John patched her up as best he could with the plane's medical kit the family settled down to surviving until they were rescued or Connie became well enough to risk traveling.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - John reassured his wife that they would be fine while waiting for rescue as he had a rifle, two automatics and plenty of cartridges aboard the plane. Even when he heard Zar's roar and recognized it for what it was, John merely viewed the lion's presence as a challenge he willingly accepted. Had he been alone in this same predicament, he would have enjoyed the promise of danger and excitement. Lacking an axe, he used his stout knife to cut the thick lianas and tree branches and erected a make-shift but comfortable lean-to under the wrecked plane's protective wing, and started a fire for warmth and to deter the local wildlife from coming too close to their camp.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - David was innocently unafraid of the jungle's other denizens and tried to befriend the smaller ones, such as the monkeys. While Zar maintained a wary distance, the leopard N'jaga soon decided the opportunity for an easy meal had come when David wandered near the edge of the clearing the plane was in. However Connie's warning cries alerted John, and he shot the pouncing leopard with his rifle. Wounded, N'jaga fled into the jungle, prompting an upset David to chastise his father for scaring away what he saw as another potential friend. John marveled at his son's lack of instinctive fear (or common sense if you ask me), but David's protests didn't stop him from saving the boy a second time, this time shooting with his pistol a venomous snake that threatened the child.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - Zar instinctively hated John, but witnessing John using his guns also instilled a sense of wary respect in the lion, and he kept his distance, never directly interacting with the man. Despite his disdain for the humans, the lion also scared away other predators that came too near to the humans' habitation.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - John reassured his family that searching planes would soon find them, and spent the next few days building a safe and comfortable home for them out of parts of the wrecked plane. Water from a nearby lake and fuel in the form of wood were in ready supply,

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - as was food, as roots, berries, fruit and game were plentiful, and so...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - they thrived despite their predicament, with Connie rapidly recovering. Eventually Connie heard a plane overhead, and John rushed to catch its attention using a signal fire and a large tarpaulin, which he waved while wading in the nearby lake, away from the tree cover. Despite his best efforts, the rescue plane, which had been looking for the missing Rands, missed these signs and turned away to search further north. John tried to console a despairing Connie by insisting the spot they had crashed in was on a "busy highway" for aircraft, so another chance would soon present itself. However, while the search plane did return, it never came as close to their camp as it had that first day, and never spotted them.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - Connie consoled herself with the belief that as soon as her leg was sufficiently mended they could begin the long overland trek to get themselves out of the wilderness. However John realized that the rainy season had just begun, and that they would have to wait until that finished before they could risk traveling, though he kept this to himself so as not to deprive his wife of her meager consolation.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - Then disaster struck as Connie was stricken with a raging tropical fever, which soon claimed her life. Her dying wish to John was that he ensure David survived, and she gave him the wedding ring he had once gifted to her to remember her by. John's determination to keep his promise to her proved to be the only thing that prevented the heartbroken John from ending his own life, which he felt no longer contained any meaning. Brought back to his senses by recalling her wish, he buried his wife...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - then lost himself in grief once more, brooding by her grave for a week, coming out of his reveries only when he needed to provide food for David. He was finally forced out of his lethargy two weeks after Connie's death when David too came down with fever, reminding John that he was neglecting his responsibilities and the promise he had made. Thankfully, after being touch and go for three days, on the fourth day David's fever broke. John realized they would have to wait around three months until the rainy season ended, but became determined that as soon as that happened the pair of them must make the trek back to civilization, though he promised himself that as soon as David was safe he would return to retrieve Connie's remains.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - With this daunting journey in mind he studied the map from the plane...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - determined they were around 2 degrees south of the equator, and between the 25th and 28th meridians east, ...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - and plotted a course across 200 miles of jungle to the nearest European colonial outpost.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - After six months at their settlement, the rainy season neared its end, and John informed David they would set out the next day, but as they visited Connie's grave to say a temporary goodbye ...

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - an especially fierce storm struck suddenly, lashing the jungle, so strong it began to uproot some of the giant baobab trees near the cabin John had constructed. Grabbing David up, John raced through the driving rain towards the safer shelter of some nearby caves, but lightning struck a tree they were passing. As it fell towards them John threw David out of its path but was struck on the head by the falling baobab. The storm subsided as quickly as it had sprung up, and David led his concussed and semiconscious father back to their cabin. Reluctant to leave, the child asked John if they still had to start for home soon, and a confused John informed him that they were home, since they were where "mummy" was.

   Though John recovered his faculties in every other respect, the delusion that the jungle was his true home never cleared up.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - He liked to believe the tract of wilderness they dwelled in belonged to him, and this notion grew in time to become an absolute conviction.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - He and David thrived in their new lives, with John soon abandoning his civilized clothing for attire made from animal skins and growing a thick beard as if to visibly proclaim his new status as a jungle dweller.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw) - Exhausting his ammunition supply, he fashioned new weapons from available materials for both himself and his growing son.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - He taught David to read and write, but otherwise let the boy grow up alongside his animal friends, and both father and son became wise in the ways of the jungle, expert hunters with bows and arrows, and able to traverse through the trees by brachiating and swinging on lianas.

   Though Zar continued to hate John from a safe distance, the lion and David became friends after the boy rescued the beast from quicksand.

   When David was in his early teens human intruders ventured into the Rands' domain. Alerted by the smell of smoke, the pair investigated, soon spotting a quartet of men, three Africans (Bouala, Mubangi and one unidentified) and one white man (Paul De Kraft), who had made camp by a stream from which they were now scooping up shovels full of gravel (they had stumbled across emeralds in the stream bed). John openly approached the interlopers and angrily commanded them to leave, then turned to walk back into the jungle. Seeing De Kraft raise his gun to shoot John in the back, David fired an arrow which shot past his father's right ear and struck De Kraft on the upper arm, forcing him to drop his weapon. John and David faded into the jungle, vanishing from the invaders' sight. Once alone with his son, John reminded David that the jungle was sacred to his mother, telling him that no one could be allowed to profane it.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw - BTS/Marvel Comics#1/7 - BTS) - De Kraft sent Mubangi to find John's camp and confirm how many were in the jungle dweller's camp. Mubangi soon located the cabin John had built and reported back to his employer that they faced only the man they had seen and a young boy, and that neither had guns. Shortly before dawn David slipped away from the cabin to spy on De Kraft's camp, unaware that De Kraft and his men were at the same time making their way to the cabin. In David's absence they attacked the cabin, shooting John twice and setting fire to his home.

(Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw/Marvel Comics#1/7) - Fatally wounded, John managed to crawl from the burning building, and was found by David, who had raced home after hearing the shots ringing through the jungle. Carrying his father further away from the fire, David failed to hear John mumbling a warning, and was caught off guard by one of De Kraft's men, who threatened him with a spear. Emerging from the jungle, De Kraft made clear his intention to kill both of the Rands. As John weakly looked on, David spun to snatch up his father's knife, but De Kraft already had his gun drawn and would have shot the boy had the lion Zar not chosen that moment to intervene on his human friend's behalf. De Kraft fled while Zar was killing two of his men, but the help had come too late for John. Giving the boy Connie's wedding ring to remember his parents by, John died moments later in his son's arms. David buried John Rand next to Connie.

Comments: Created by Bob Byrd. Rand initially appeared in a pulp novel, Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw, thus having a single creator, the writer. However, he was first visually depicted by Ben Thompson, who illustrated an adaptation of Byrd's story for Marvel Comics#1. It was the sixth comic strip story in the issue, but seventh overall as there was also a text story in the issue. John Rand has the distinction of being the first human to appear in what would later become known as Earth-616, the mainstream Marvel universe; though his son Ka-Zar is named and depicted on the cover of King of Fang and Claw, John Rand is the first human to show up in the story itself. He's not quite the first character to appear in 616 - that honor goes to the lion Zar - but he can lay claim to being the first human character.

   There's a slight discrepancy over the order of events following the plane crash between the version in the pulp story and the version in the comic. In the comic N'jaga attacks David and is driven off, and then days later, when Connie is well enough to hobble along on a crutch, the rescue plane first passes overhead. In the pulp story the rescue plane makes its first pass within a day or two of the crash, and N'jaga attacks after the rescue plane has stopped coming, exactly a week after the crash.

   David renamed himself Ka-Zar, "brother of" Zar, after his father's demise, so while John was alive he was still only called David Rand.

   David's profile in All-New Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z#6 gave his year of birth as 1918; since the pulp novel King of Fang and Claw informs us that David was thirteen when his father died this means John died some time in 1931, give or take a year. We also know from the original pulp tale that John spent ten years in the jungle before being slain, which means that between 1921 to 1931 we have scope for untold adventures of the jungle lord version of John Rand. As well as potential adventures in the region, it's also worth remembering that just because he chose to make his home in the Congo doesn't mean he couldn't have ventured further afield on occasion during that decade - who was the Black Panther back then?

    This profile was completed 05/05/2021, but its publication was delayed as it was intended for the Appendix 20th anniversary 's celebratory event.

Profile by Loki.

John Rand has no known connections to:

Constance Dean Rand

Constance Dean met John Rand while she was attending finishing school in France and eloped with him after a whirlwind romance. After John discovered his diamond fields in South Africa the couple settled outside Johannesburg, where their son, David, was born a year later. When he was three Constance learned via telegram that he father was deathly ill in Cairo, prompting them to fly to his side, but the plane crashed in the Congo. Of the trio aboard Constance suffered the worst injuries, breaking one leg, but thanks to John's first aid she was well on the way to recovery when tragedy struck and she fell ill with fever and died. Her dying wish was that John protect their son, and she gave John the wedding ring he had gifted her as a memento. 

--Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw   (Marvel Comics#1

images: (without ads)
Marvel Comics#1 70th Anniversary Edition, p55 (p3 of Ka-Zar story), pan7 (main image)
Marvel Comics#1 70th Anniversary Edition, p55 (p3 of Ka-Zar story), pan2 (clean shaven headshot)
Marvel Comics#1 70th Anniversary Edition, p55 (p3 of Ka-Zar story), pan1 (stupid and ungrateful brat David complains that John has saved his life)
Marvel Comics#1 70th Anniversary Edition, p60 (p8 of Ka-Zar story), pan3 (jungle John swinging through the trees with David)
Marvel Comics#1 70th Anniversary Edition, p60 (p8 of Ka-Zar story), pan7 (jungle John getting his disco on - Staying alive, staying alive!)
Marvel Comics#1 70th Anniversary Edition, p56 (p4 of Ka-Zar story), pan3 (Constance Rand)

Ka-Zar: King of Fang and Claw (October 1936) - Bob Byrd (writer), Lorence F. Bjorkland (art)
Marvel Comics#1/7 (October 1939) - Bob Byrd (writer), Ben Thompson (art), Martin Goodman (editor)

First Posted: 09/01/2021
Last updated:

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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