Cover of Warlord (vol. 1) #67, Art by Mike Grell
|First appearance||1st Issue Special #8,
|Created by||Mike Grell (writer & artist)|
|Alter ego||Travis Morgan|
|Place of origin||Skartaris|
|Team affiliations||United States Air Force|
|Abilities||fencer and expert marksman.|
|Series publication information|
|Genre||Sword and sorcery|
|Publication date||(vol. 1)
Jan./Feb. 1976 – Winter 1988
Apr. 2006 – Jan. 2007
June. 2009 – Sept. 2010
|Number of issues||(vol. 1): 133
(vol. 2): 10
(vol. 3): 16
Mike Grell, Cary Burkett, Michael Fleisher
Joe Prado and Chad Hardin
|Warlord: The Savage Empire||ISBN 1-56389-024-0|
|Showcase Presents: Warlord||ISBN 1-4012-2473-3|
The Warlord is a sword and sorcery comic book published by DC Comics. The series and titular character debuted in 1st Issue Special #8 (November 1975), and was created by Mike Grell. The comic's main character, Travis Morgan, obtains the name of "The Warlord" as he fights for the freedom of the people of Skartaris.
DC debuted The Warlord title with the Jan./Feb. 1976 issue, but it went on an eight-month hiatus following issue #2, picking up again in Oct./Nov. 1976. The title lasted 133 issues until Winter 1988. Creator Mike Grell wrote and drew the comic for six years, handing over the art chores after issue #59 (July 1982); he continued writing the comic through issue #71 (July 1983).
Arion, another DC Comics sword & sorcery title, began as a six-page backup feature in Warlord. Another backup feature was The Barren Earth which was concluded in a four-issue limited series after a lengthy run in The Warlord. A continuation of Jack Kirby's OMAC series, by Jim Starlin, was featured as a backup for several issues (#37-39 and 42-47) as well. Arak, Son of Thunder, created by Roy Thomas and Ernie Colón, first appeared in a special insert in Warlord #48 (August 1981). A Bonus Book in issue #131 (September 1988) featured artist Rob Liefeld's first work for DC.
DC attempted an unsuccessful update of Warlord in 2006 with Bruce Jones writing and Bart Sears providing the art. This series restarted the concept, and started with Travis Morgan arriving in Skartaris. The series left a number of story points unanswered as issue #9 finished on a cliffhanger, while issue #10 had a standalone story set sometime in the future. This series was canceled after ten issues due to low sales, and has been largely ignored throughout DC continuity.
DC announced in July 2008 that Warlord would be returning as an ongoing series written by Mike Grell in time for the original series' 35th anniversary. The series started in April 2009, featuring art by Joe Prado and Chad Hardin. The series ran for 16 issues.
Fictional character biography
Vietnam veteran SR-71 pilot Travis Morgan passed through a hole in the Earth's crust while flying over the north pole in 1969 and landed in the underground world of Skartaris, a place strongly reminiscent of Edgar Rice Burroughs's Pellucidar. There Travis, wielding his .44 AutoMag pistol and joined by Shamballah's Princess (later Queen) Tara, a scantily dressed savage, became the Warlord and fought villains such as the evil sorcerer Deimos as well as various kings. He gained various sidekicks such as Machiste, Shakira, a Russian scientist named Mariah and his magic-wielding daughter Jennifer Morgan. In one story arc Morgan even becomes the U.S. President in the far future.
Although The Warlord has a superficial resemblance to Oliver Queen, he is in reality based more upon his creator Mike Grell who was a former member of the Air Force. Grell is caricatured in Warlord's first appearance, 1st Issue Special #8 and is clearly sporting Warlord's signature shaggy goatee.
Volume 3 of the series begins with an explorer finding perfectly preserved dinosaur remains in the Himalayas. She takes the head of one to a doctor and an expedition is set up to retrieve more samples. The team is spotted by the Chinese government and flee into the caves after losing several members. They discover a portal and after walking through find themselves in Skartaris where they encounter Travis Morga. Travis Morgan is attacked by a giant bird and kills it with the help of Shakira. Refugees enter Shamballah and Morgan discovers that a new god has taken over the Shadow Kingdom and has overrun the Kingdom of Kiro, Machiste's homeland. One of the refugees is injured and he surprisingly carries a gunshot wound.
The machinations of Deimos' return pit Travis Morgan against Tinder. Just as Morgan realizes that Tinder is in fact his son Joshua, he becomes distracted and Tinder mortally wounds him. Travis Morgan's final words were "I thought I'd have more time." Morgan is cremated and Tinder becomes the new Warlord.
Joshua Morgan becomes the new Warlord. His costume is reminiscent of Travis Morgan's black outfit when he first arrived in Skartaris. Instead of carrying a sword and a gun as Travis did, Tinder carries a sword, a dagger, a quiver of arrows and a bow.
In the alternate timeline of the Flashpoint event, Warlord is the pirate of a fleet when Warlord was attacked by pirate Deathstroke in battle stealing their loot. During the battle, Warlord's crew was killed while Warlord escaped using the hovercraft. Later, Warlord plans to attack Deathstroke and retrieve Jenny Blitz who has been in stasis since she was stolen from him. Warlord ambushed Deathstroke and his fleet and demanded that they surrender. But in answer Deathstroke shot Warlord's right eye using a scoped sniper rifle. He had been aiming for Warlord's mouth. Deathstroke fired once more at Warlord's ship only to have it unexpectedly blow up. Each ship in Warlord's fleet subsequently exploded. The ships had been destroyed by Jenny Blitz, now released from her stasis tube due to an earlier skirmish between Ocean Master and Icicle, one of Deathstroke's crewmen. Jenny appears to be able to project explosive force from her hands.
In other media
- Warlord has appeared in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Chaos at the Earth's Core" voiced by Paul Guilfoyle. Green Lantern, Supergirl, Stargirl, and S.T.R.I.P.E. stumbled onto Skartaris and teamed up with him to stop Deimos and his unlikely allies Metallo and Silver Banshee of the Secret Society from stealing a huge piece of kryptonite rock. Warlord ended up dueling with Deimos which ended with Deimos plummeting down a ledge. Tara, Machiste, Mariah, Shakira, and Jennifer Morgan also appeared in this episode.
- In 1982 several of the characters from the "Warlord" series received action figures in a line called "Lost World of the Warlord" from Remco. Travis Morgan was one of the figures along with Deimos, Machiste, Mikola Rostov, Arak, and Hercules.
- In April 2007, Warlord received an action figure (based on the modern update) in Series 4 of DC Direct's "First Appearance" figures.
- In 2010 Warlord received an action figure (based on the animated version) in the Justice League Unlimited toyline.
- Warlord issue #89 appears on a magazine rack in a convenience store in a deleted scene from the Goonies DVD.
In 1981, DC Comics published a colored trade paperback reprinting early Warlord stories, which included a new wraparound painted cover by Mike Grell (who also wrote an introduction for the book). This was DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #10.
- Warlord: The Savage Empire (1991) - collects First Issue Special #8 and Warlord (1st Series) #1-10 and 12. (240 pages) (ISBN 1-56389-024-0)
- Showcase Presents: Warlord (2009) - collects First Issue Special #8 and Warlord (1st Series) #1-28. (528 pages) (ISBN 1-4012-2473-3)
- Warlord: The Saga - Collects Warlord (vol.3) #1-6
- Countdown Special: OMAC #1 (2008) - collects OMAC backup stories from Warlord #37-39, as well as OMAC #1; and DC Comics Presents #61.
- McAvennie, Michael; Dolan, Hannah, ed. (2010). "1970s". DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 165. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. "Writer/artist Mike Grell elevated the sword-and-sorcery genre to new heights with the Warlord."
- However, the last two years of Grell's scripts were ghost-written by his then-wife, Sharon (Wright) Grell, as revealed in the letter column of a later issue.
- "Arak, Son of Thunder, described as an 'Indian/Viking,' makes his debut in a preview insert in Warlord #48, on sale in May." as noted in "Thomas's Indian/Viking to Roam Medieval Europe" Catron, Michael Amazing Heroes #1 June 1981 pp. 29-30
- Warlord #131 at the Grand Comics Database
- Arrant, Chris (2008-07-27). "SDCC '08 - Mike Grell: The Return of Warlord". Newsarama. Retrieved 2008-08-16.
- Cowsill, Alan "2000s" in Dolan, p. 338 "Mike Grell was back at the helm for the return of DC's greatest sword-and-sorcery hero - Travis Morgan, the Warlord."
- Warlord (vol. 4) #10 (March 2010).
- Fleisher, Michael (w). "The Citadel of Fear" Warlord 115: 5/2 (March, 1987), DC Comics
- Burket, Cary, writer. "Hail to the Chief," The Warlord #84 (Aug. 1984).
- Green Arrow (vol. 1) #28
- Warlord (vol. 1) #35 (July 1980).
- Warlord (vol. 4) #1 (June 2009)
- Warlord (vol. 4) #12
- Warlord (vol. 4) #13
- Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager#1 (June 2011)
- Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager #2 (July 2011)
- Warlord action figure, ToyArk.com. Accessed Feb. 16, 2012.
- Screen capture, The Goonies DVD.
- Don Markstein's Toonopedia: Warlord
- Fanzing #0: Welcome to the Lost World, a summary of the series.
- Fanzing #0: Warlord Reading Guide
- Comic Book Urban Legends #54: "Was Warlord cancelled after issue #2?"
- DCU Guide: Warlord
- DCU Guide: Tara
- DCU Guide: Jennifer Morgan
- DCU Guide: Joshua Morgan (Tinder)
- TheWarlord.ca, synopses, articles, action figures