Warlord (DC Thomson)

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Warlord
The first issue of Warlord was published in 1974, included a free gift and cost 5p.
Publication information
Publisher D. C. Thomson & Co. Ltd
Schedule Weekly
Format Ongoing series
Genre
Publication date September 1974 – September 1986
Number of issues 627
Main character(s) Codename: Warlord
Union Jack Jackson
Spider Wells
Bomber Braddock
Iron Annie

Warlord was a comics anthology published weekly in the United Kingdom between 28 September 1974 and 27 September 1986.

Publication history[edit]

It was first published in 1974 by D.C. Thomson. The comic was dedicated to wartime adventures and was a popular success, leading IPC Magazines to create a competitor, Battle Picture Weekly, in 1975. Warlord included several stories per issue, initially centred on a character called Lord Peter Flint (Codename: Warlord), a World War II version of the popular spy James Bond.

At the end of 1978 Warlord absorbed D. C. Thomson's action comic Bullet. In total, Warlord ran for twelve years (627 issues), from 1974 until 1986, at which point it was incorporated into the long-running Victor. For the next four years after the comic's demise the publishers produced summer specials, ending in 1991.

Characters and stories included the popular Union Jack Jackson, Spider Wells, Bomber Braddock and Wingless Wonder. Features included True Life War Story and articles on weaponry called Weapons In Action. After Bullet was added to the comic, it featured that publication's main story Fireball — a secret agent who was Lord Peter Flint's nephew. Often the comic would include free gifts and toys and offered membership to an 'exclusive' club for a small fee.

Before the addition of the more generally action-orientated Bullet, Warlord had been specifically geared towards stories and articles about World War II. Much of the language used in the stories was modern, and terms given used to describe the enemy reflected commonly used descriptions. The Allied forces always won in the end, and both Germans and Japanese were frequently negatively stereotyped.

Sometimes the Germans were shown in a heroic light, usually with honourable Wehrmacht or Luftwaffe officers as the heroes and committed Nazis, or SS officers as the bad guys. These tales were usually set on the Eastern Front to ensure the Germans were not shown killing their British or US enemies, the Russians being useful bogeymen. Comic Strips that followed this model included Iron Annie, about a heroic Junkers Ju-52 'Iron Annie' crew, and Kampfgruppe Falken which followed the exploits of a German Penal Battalion on the Eastern Front.

List of major characters[edit]

Warlord included many stories and characters set mainly in World War II and later conflicts like Korea. Though most of them featured heroes from Allied nations such as the UK and the US, there were some series which took the German point of view.

They included:

  • Union Jack Jackson: a British Royal Marine serving with the US Marine Corps in the Pacific campaign during World War II. To distinguish himself from his American comrades Sgt. Lonnegan and G.I O'Bannion (when using American equipment) he painted a Union Jack on his helmet, hence the character name. He was often referred to as U.J.J. by his American comrades, and served in the Pacific, Chinese, and European theatres of war. He actually originated in the pages of Hotspur in 1957, debuting as a text feature before becoming a comic strip star in the 'New' Hotspur in 1962.
Not to be confused with Union Jack, a Marvel comics character created by Roy Thomas and Frank Robbins.
  • Codename: Warlord: He was a British secret agent and can be considered a World War II James Bond. His real name/cover was Lord Peter Flint, a despised conscientious objector who refused to participate in the war. His usual opponents were the Gestapo, Abwehr and Japanese intelligence, who (despite his cover) seemed to know his true identity and referred to him as "Flint".
His boss in London was the Churchillian (in character and physique) and probably purposefully so, secret service head 'Kingpin' who was to Warlord as 'M' is to James Bond. Warlord's mannerisms and idiom were Edwardian England upper class with such phrases as 'old chap', 'then I'm a Dutchman' and the casual (having just thwarted the Germans single-handedly again) 'toodle pip' (meaning 'goodbye') as he made his usual breathtaking escape to retake the mantle of his alter ego, the stay at home English gentleman, Lord Peter Flint.
Recurring enemies were Karl Schaft, an honourable German Abwehr agent. He was the mirror image of Flint in that both were patriotic and top agents. Adolf Gruber was very much the stereotyped evil Gestapo agent and had met Flint before the war when he had been a servant for one of Flint's German friends. A stable accident left Gruber with a limp and he blamed Flint for the accident.
The storyline borrowed from The Scarlet Pimpernel the idea of a seemingly upper-class fop actually being a daring wartime agent. Flint's ability to live in the real world as a flawed human being but hold secret his knowledge of his other 'superhuman' traits (the British 'stiff upper lip') is analogous to the modern era's 'Superman'.
The character 'Fireball' in Warlord's sister comic Bullet (who ended up being incorporated into Warlord after Bullet was cancelled) was later revealed to be the nephew of Lord Peter Flint, and an older Flint made occasional guest appearances in the Fireball strip.
An aged Flint later reappeared in the digital Dandy's Retro Active story, as the commander of a superhero team.
  • Kampfgruppe Falken: Major Heinz Falken leads a Dirty Dozen-like group of German soldiers from military penal battalions. Heinz Falken was the commanding officer of the battalion. He was an ex-panzer commander that had been sent to the penal battalion for not carrying out war crimes during the Blitzkrieg campaign of 1940. His crime had been that he would not carry out atrocities to please his Nazi commander at the time.
  • Iron Annie: the adventures of Kurt Stahlmann of the Luftwaffe and his JU52 transport plane during World War II.
  • Kelly's Choppers: Lieutenant Jack Kelly, a USAF helicopter pilot in Korea.
  • The Best of Enemies: During the Korean War, British Sergeant Tom Wilson forms a tense alliance with Muller, a German with whom he has old scores to settle.
  • Harrier Squadron: The adventures of an international squadron of pilots flying the Harrier fighter-bomber during a future World War Three style conflict between the democratic Wesfed (Western Federation) and tyrannical Asbloc (Asian Block), thinly disguised versions of NATO and the Warsaw Pact.
  • Bligh of the Fasture: Set in the same world as Harrier Squadron it centres on Royal Navy Captain Bligh, in charge of a flotilla of advanced hydrofoils fighting a guerilla war from the Orkney and Shetland Islands against Asbloc forces occupying Great Britain.
  • Cassidy: US Navy fighter squadron leader Cassidy fights the Japanese in the Pacific.
  • Ryker: Afro-American infantry Sergeant Ryker fights against both the Germans and racial discrimination in early 1945 Europe.
  • Sgt Heavy: ex-SAS Sergeant undertakes secret missions for clients in trouble after setting himself up as a private detective.


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