The Warlord #67. Cover art by Mike Grell
|First appearance||1st Issue Special #8 (Nov. 1975)|
|Created by||Mike Grell|
|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, Science fantasy|
January–February 1976 – Winter 1988
January – June 1992
April 2006 – January 2007
June 2009 – September 2010
|Number of issues||
(vol. 1): 133 and 6 Annuals|
(vol. 2): 6
(vol. 3): 10
(vol. 4): 16
|Warlord: The Savage Empire||ISBN 1-56389-024-0|
|Showcase Presents: Warlord||ISBN 1-4012-2473-3|
The Warlord is a sword and sorcery character appearing in comic books published by the American company DC Comics. Created by writer-artist Mike Grell, he debuted in 1st Issue Special #8 (Nov. 1975). The comic's protagonist, Travis Morgan, obtains the name "Warlord" as he fights for the freedom of the people of Skartaris.
The character the Warlord debuted in 1st Issue Special #8 (cover-dated Nov. 1975). The decision to give the Warlord his own series had already been made by the time his 1st Issue Special debut went into production. He starred in The Warlord #1 (Feb. 1976), followed by an eight-month hiatus after issue #2, picking up again with #3 (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 series through issue #71 (July 1983).
A continuation of Jack Kirby's OMAC series, by Jim Starlin, was featured as a backup for several issues (#37–39 and #42–47). Arak, Son of Thunder, created by Roy Thomas and Ernie Colón, first appeared in a special insert in The Warlord #48 (Aug. 1981). Claw the Unconquered appeared in a two–part backup feature in issues #48–49 by Jack C. Harris and Thomas Yeates. "Dragonsword" was a backup feature by Paul Levitz and Yeates which appeared in #51–54 (Nov. 1981–Feb. 1982). Arion, a sword and sorcery title by writer Paul Kupperberg and artist Jan Duursema, began as a six–page backup feature in The Warlord #55 (March 1982). Another backup feature was "The Barren Earth" by writer Gary Cohn and artist Ron Randall, which was concluded in a four–issue limited series. A Bonus Book in issue #131 (Sept. 1988) featured artist Rob Liefeld's first work for DC.
DC attempted to update The Warlord in 2006 with Bruce Jones writing and Bart Sears providing the art. This series restarted the concept, beginning with Travis Morgan arriving in Skartaris. The series left a number of story points unanswered as issue #9 finished on a cliffhanger, while the tenth and final issue had a standalone story set sometime in the future.
DC announced in July 2008 that The Warlord would return in 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. It ran for 16 issues.
Fictional character biography
Vietnam War 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 The Warlord's first appearance, 1st Issue Special #8 and is clearly sporting The Warlord's signature shaggy goatee. Grell and editor Jack C. Harris made a metafictional appearance in the story "Gambit" in The Warlord #35 (July 1980).
Volume 4 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 Morgan. 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 storyline, The Warlord is the pirate of a fleet when he was attacked by pirate Deathstroke in battle stealing their loot. During the battle, The Warlord's crew was killed while he escaped using the hovercraft. Later, The Warlord plans to attack Deathstroke and retrieve Jenny Blitz who has been in stasis since she was stolen from him. The Warlord ambushed Deathstroke and his fleet and demanded that they surrender. But in answer Deathstroke shot The Warlord's right eye using a scoped sniper rifle. He had been aiming for his mouth. Deathstroke fired at The Warlord's ship again, and it unexpectedly blew up. Each ship in Warlord's fleet subsequently exploded. The ships were 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
The Warlord 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. The Warlord dueled with Deimos, ending 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 became 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, The Warlord became an action figure (based on the modern update) in Series 4 of DC Direct's "First Appearance" figures.
- In 2010, The Warlord became an action figure based on the animated version in the Justice League Unlimited toyline.
- DC Comics reprinted several early stories from The Warlord in DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #10 (June 1981). This digest size collection included a new wraparound painted cover by Mike Grell and an introduction.
- The Warlord: The Savage Empire (1991) - collects 1st Issue Special #8 and The Warlord #1–10 and 12, November 1991, 240 pages, ISBN 978-1563890246
- Showcase Presents: The Warlord (2009) - collects 1st Issue Special #8 and The Warlord #1–28, September 2009, 528 pages, ISBN 978-1401224738
- Warlord: The Saga - collects The Warlord vol. 4 #1–6, March 2010, 144 pages, ISBN 978-1401226510
- Countdown Special: OMAC #1 (2008) - collects OMAC backup stories from The 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. London, United Kingdom: 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.
- Abramowitz, Jack (April 2014). "1st Issue Special: It Was No Showcase (But It Was Never Meant To Be)". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (71): 44.
- Cronin, Brian (June 8, 2006). "Comic Book Urban Legends Revealed #54!". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on August 21, 2014.
- Markstein, Don (2008). "The Warlord". Don Markstein's Toonopedia. Archived from the original on September 15, 2015.
The Warlord lasted a surprisingly long time. But it finally wound down after 133 issues, the last dated Winter 1988–89.
- The Warlord at the Grand Comics Database "The last two years of Mike Grell's scripts were ghost-written by Sharon (Wright) Grell, as revealed in the letter column of a later issue."
- Wells, John (October 24, 1997), "'Lost' DC: The DC Implosion", Comics Buyer's Guide, Iola, Wisconsin (1249), pp. 132–133,
The OMAC story from Kamandi #60 ended up in Warlord #37 (Sep 80). The next two installments of the story, which presumably had been prepared in 1978 by Jim Starlin, appeared in Warlord #38–39.
- Catron, Michael (June 1981). "Thomas's Indian/Viking to Roam Medieval Europe". Amazing Heroes. Stamford, Connecticut: Fantagraphics Books (1): 29–30.
Arak, Son of Thunder, described as an 'Indian/Viking,' makes his debut in a preview insert in Warlord #48, on sale in May.
- Catron, Michael (July 1981). "Dragon Sword". Amazing Heroes. Fantagraphics Books (2): 18.
Dragon Sword, a new sword-and sorcery series created and scripted by Paul Levitz and pencilled and inked by Tom Yeates will debut as the back feature in Warlord #51, on sale in August .
- Greenberger, Robert (April 2014). "New Talent and Bonus Babies". Back Issue!. Raleigh, North Carolina: TwoMorrows Publishing (71): 71–73.
- "The Warlord #131". Grand Comics Database.
- Arrant, Chris (July 27, 2008). "SDCC '08 - Mike Grell: The Return of Warlord". Newsarama. Archived from the original on May 9, 2013. Retrieved August 16, 2008.
- 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."
- Grell, Mike (w), Hardin, Chad; Grell, Mike (p), Hardin, Chad; Grell, Mike (i). "Next..." The Warlord v4, 10 (March 2010)
- Fleisher, Michael (w), Randall, Ron (p), Randall, Ron (i). "The Citadel of Fear" The Warlord 115 (March 1987)
- Burkett, Cary (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Adkins, Dan (i). "Hail To the Chief" The Warlord 84 (August 1984)
- Grell, Mike (w), Jurgens, Dan (p), Giordano, Dick; McLaughlin, Frank (i). "Siege" Green Arrow v2, 28 (January 1990)
- Greenberger, Robert (1983). "From Skartaris to Sable: A Chat with Storyteller Mike Grell". Comics Scene. Comics World Corp (9). Archived from the original on December 3, 2013.
- Grell, Mike (w), Grell, Mike (p), Colletta, Vince (i). "Gambit" The Warlord 35 (July 1980)
- Daudt, Ron E. (2010). "Jack C. Harris Interview (Pt. 2)". TheSilverLantern.com. Archived from the original on March 21, 2012. Retrieved March 20, 2011.
the Warlord goes into a sort of parallel world where it's like a Dungeons and Dragons game and at the end of the story we pull back and the two guys playing Dungeons and Dragons are me and Grell. Which I thought was great and as we're playing the game this other guy comes in to scold us for not doing our work and it's Joe Orlando.
- Grell, Mike (w), Prado, Joe (p), Wong, Walden (i). The Warlord v4, 1 (June 2009)
- Grell, Mike (w), Grell, Mike (p), Grell, Mike (i). "Sunset" The Warlord v4, 12 (May 2010)
- Grell, Mike (w), Hardin, Chad (p), Hardin, Chad (i). "Son Rise" The Warlord v4, 13 (June 2010)
- Palmiotti, Jimmy (w), Bennett, Joe (p), Dell, John (i). "Separation Anxiety" Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager 1 (August 2011)
- Palmiotti, Jimmy (w), Bennett, Joe (p), Shasteen, Tony (i). "Red Tide" Flashpoint: Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager 2 (September 2011)
- "Warlord action figure". ToyArk.com. n.d. Archived from the original on March 4, 2014. Retrieved February 16, 2012.
- Screen capture, The Goonies DVD.
- "DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest #10". Grand Comics Database.