Monday, March 16, 2015

The Savage Land

First Appearance: X-MEN #10 

Origin: The Savage Land is a hidden fictional prehistoric land within the Marvel Comics Universe. It is a tropical preserve hidden in Antarctica. It was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in X-Men #10 (March 1965). Throughout time it has served as a basis for many story arcs in Uncanny X-Men as well as in related books.
History: Savage Land is an artificially created tropical forest region nestled amidst a ring of volcanic mountains on the icy continent of Antarctica. Ages ago, the enigmatic other dimensional entities known as the Beyonders contacted an alien race called the Nuwali, offering to pay the Nuwali to create a game preserve on Earth stocked with the fauna and flora of various geological periods. Hence, the Nuwali created the Savage Land as a wildlife preserve where Earth's life forms could be studied under relatively controlled conditions. The Nuwali constructed advanced technological devices within caverns beneath the Savage Land that helped to give it a tropical climate. But the main means of heating the Savage Land was the ring of active volcanoes surrounding it. Presumably the Nuwali chose the site of the Savage Land knowing that the volcanic heat would enable them to create a tropical environment best suited to the life of the Mesozoic Era (the "age of dinosaurs") once the climate of that era changed over the rest of the planet. Into the Savage Land the Nuwali also brought the Man-Apes, an evolutionary forebear of Homo Sapiens, as well as early examples of Homo Sapiens itself. Finally, however, the Beyonders apparently lost interest in the Savage Land and the similar habitats on other worlds, and the Nuwali abandoned them. Apparently all of the habitats collapsed except the Savage Land.

In the centuries before the worldwide disaster known as the Great Cataclysm, in which the continent of Atlantis sank, the people of Atlantis built a great worldwide empire and achieved scientific and technological heights still unsurpassed in many areas of research today. Several small tribes of nomadic Atlanteans sailed to Antarctica and settled within the great caverns lying beneath the frozen wastelands bordering the Savage Land. Eventually, these Atlanteans discovered an immense cavern containing the machinery that helped to regulate climate conditions in the Savage Land. Atlantean scientists made considerable improvements in the machinery and extended its range to cover certain areas of the surface beyond the Savage Land. The scientists used other technological devices left behind by the Nuwali to create incredible means of amusement for their people. The Atlanteans soon named their Antarctic colony "Pangea" after their word for "paradise." The Savage Land served as stock lands for various forms of wildlife, many examples of which wore imported into Pangea. The Atlantean scientists in Pangea turned there attention to genetic engineering, experimenting upon Man-Apes they had brought from the Savage Land and using equipment left behind by the Nuwali. Thus, the Atlantean scientists genetically altered the bodies of the beast-men into bird-people (the Aerians), monkey-people (the Tree People), fish-people (theTubanti), and other animal-like races, all of which had human-like intelligence. The Atlanteans initially used these animal-people as laborers in the Pangean amusement center. The animal-people grew increasingly restive at being treated as slaves, and eventually the Atlanteans of Pangea built fully automated, self-repairing maintenance machinery, eliminating the need for the animal-people to work as laborers. The Atlanteans then confined the animal-people to a section of Pangea far removed from their own. The animal-people finally rose in rebellion and, after weeks of warfare, defeated the Pangean Atlanteans. The animal-people demanded equal rights as sentient beings, and so the Atlanteans further extended the range of the climate control machinery so that it turned all of the frozen wasteland above the underground Pangea colony into a tropical environment. The animal-people then settled in unpopulated areas of the surface of Pangea. When the Great Cataclysm struck, the continent of Atlantis sank and the Atlantean Empire came to an end. The Cataclysm caused the Savage Land and Pangea to sink below sea level, but thanks to the surrounding mountains, neither area was submerged beneath the sea. The climate-control mechanisms were so well built that they survived the sinking, of the landmass and continued to be operational. However, three forths of the population of the Savage Land and Pangea were killed in the upheaval, The rest sank swiftly into barbarism, and soon, as a result of widespread violence, only a tenth of the human population that existed before the Cataclysm was still alive. Peace eventually returned, and the human beings of Pangea and the Savage Land struggled back upward toward civilization, forming tribes such as the Fall People.

Recently, the alien marauder Terminus (or, possibly a pawn of his acting on his behalf) wreaked extraordinary destruction within the Savage Land and Pangea, destroying the climate-control machinery and snuffing the volcanoes surrounding the Savage Land. Terminus slaughtered great numbers of the sentient beings living in Pangea through the vast destructive energies he wielded, and, with the volcanoes extinct and the climate-control machinery wrecked, virtually all the other inhabitants of these two regions were slain by the Antarctic cold, which swiftly spread over both the Savage Land and Pangea. A considerable number of the sentient inhabitants of the Savage Land and Pangea, including Zaladane and the other Savage Land Mutates, escaped the disaster by seeing through a dimensional warp into an other dimensional world. The sentient beings who thus escaped returned to the Savage Land at the time that the god-like High Evolutionary set about his preparations to restore it to its previous state. The anonymous human being who was transformed into the living image of Garokk voluntarily sacrificed his life energies to power the devices that the High Evolutionary used to return the Savage Land to its tropical state. (Whether or not Garokk is indeed dead is as yet unrevealed.) Apparently, the High Evolutionary has returned the Savage Land's climate control machinery to working order and has reactivated the surrounding volcanoes; he has also repopulated the Savage Land with its animal and plant life from different ages, possibly through cloning previously obtained cell samples. As far as if yet known, however, the High Evolutionary restored only the Savage Land. Pangea's fate remains unrevealed.

The United Nations of the Marvel Universe considers the Savage Land an international wildlife preserve, and forbids any commercial exploitation of its resources.

Fun Fact: In the Transformers Marvel comics continuity, shortly after the Ark's crash on earth, the computer aboard the spaceship detected Shockwave landing on the prehistory Savage Land. The Ark used the last of its capabilities to revive the five Autobot warriors by scanning the Savage Land's dominant lifeform: dinosaurs, and rebuild them into the Dinobots. The Dinobots fought Shockwave, a battle that ended in permanent stalemate when Snarl brought down the mountain that Shockwave stood upon, knocking all of them into a tar pit. They remain deactivated until the year 1984.

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