The first Ka-Zar, David Rand, was first published by Manvis in a pulp fiction magazine, Ka-Zar #1 (10/1936), making him the chronologically first Marvel Comics character. The Golden Age Ka-Zar was created by Bob Byrd who wrote the Ka-Zar pulp fiction novels. The first comic book appearance of Ka-Zar was in Marvel Comics #1 (10/1939) adapted from Bob Byrd's story in Ka-Zar #1 (10/1936).
This Ka-Zar was the son of John and Constance Rand. His father was an American businessman active in Johannesburg, South Africa. Constance's father lived in Cairo, Egypt. The affluent family hired a light airplane to transport them there for a visit. Said plane crashlanded over the Belgian Congo. All three Rands survived the landing. But Constance was injured and her wounds went untreated. She died of a fever. The loss undermined John's sanity.
He decided to cease all efforts to rejoin the rest of mankind. Proclaiming himself ruler of the jungle and raising three-year-old David as his heir. David's best friend wheile growing up was the lion Zar. Ten years later, John Rand was killed while trying to defend "his" jungle from treasure seekers. David Rand succeeded him as lord of the Jungle. Renaming himself Ka-Zar, "brother of Zar" in a local dialect.
Originally David Rand was a normal human being who enganged in intensive regualar exercise. Later a witch-doctor's potion granted him enhanced strength and endurance. His main power though was the ability to communicate with animals and give them commands.