The Warlord Discussion Thread

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I am a fan of Conan The barbarian and fantasy comics like Amethyst: Princess of Gemworld to always be fascinated by characters like Travis Morgan Warlord.

I first read about him in Young justice #12 when Superboy travels to Skartaris meeting Warlord where Travis Morgan explains his impressive origin story.

  • Crash landing in Skartaris

  • Fighting Skartaris dangerous creatures like dinosaurs to save a woman.

  • Getting captured and forced to fight as a gladiator until he led their revolt.

  • Becoming Warlord


I admit reading just three issues on the infinite app yet I’m interested to know more about this character in the Warlord series.

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I just dropped in to say I read the title and thought, “I know who created that thread.”

I was wrong. Good going Chimp, keep me in my toes.

I haven’t read much with Warlord but I like what I have read.

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Thank you for creating this thread @TheRealDetectiveChimp! I posted the comment below in my review thread, but I think this is a good place to post it also.

Has anyone else noticed that as a writer/artist Mike Grell doesn’t add the typical Bronze Age descriptions of what’s happening in each panel? He’s an artist so I guess he doesn’t have to justify his existence by describing what he already drew.

He also makes minimal use of thought balloons. Very modern compared to today’s comics.

If you want to borrow any of my thoughts from my thread feel free.

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Hey, @TravisMorgan I have a question in regard to issue #3 of Warlord.

I love this panel on page 7 which shows a recap of the series so far of Warlord. Travis white hair apparently inspired this coloring as certain characters’ clothing, highlights, and even their skin were shaded with white. It looks funny in regard to his buddy Machiste but everything else is gorgeous.

I understand from you’re Warlord topic you read and or own a TPB of Warlord which is black and white. I was wondering how this page looks there. Are there any unique differences, especially because it is a black-and-white version?

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Hey @Samsonkillingtime here are the two pages from the Showcase TPB, Digital, and Original Comic. I think the B&W version is the best. The flashback coloring for both the Digital and Original doesn’t do a great service to either.

Digital
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Showcase

Original

Fun fact: Why was this two page recap included in Issue #3?

Well, the last panel in issue #2 included the caption box The End.

The End? You can blame Carmine Infantino who canceled the book. :cry: Luckily, Jenette Khan canceled Carmine and resurrected The Warlord as explained below from Mike Grell Life Is Drawing Without An Eraser by Dewey Cassell with Jeff Messer. :smiley:

But still, why a recap in issue #3? Isn’t that a bit early? Well, it would be if The Warlord had kept with its bimonthly schedule, but because of the “cancellation” issue #3 came out 7-20-1976 seven months after issue #2’s release date of 12-11-1975 which was just a little too much time between issues. Thanks to Mike's Amazing World of Comics your source for release dates, creators, synopses, and all things comics.

cc @RG02

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Over a decade ago, I purchased a bunch of random Warlord back issues specifically because they contained Omac back-up stories (there was a lot of Omac/Kamandi/Great Disaster speculation going on during Final Crisis). Those issues provided my first looks at Skartaris, and I liked it well enough. Admittedly, though, I’m not much of a sword & sorcery guy unless we’re talking about:

Sailor on the Seas of Fate

Still, I’m thinking I’ll give Warlord a look now that it’s being digitized. If nothing else, Grell’s art should make it worth it.

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One of the things I liked about The Warlord was the fact that he is a modern man in a prehistoric world. It wasn’t so much fantasy, but a mix of Sci-Fi, Dinosaurs, and Fantasy Creatures. The magic was off to the side.

I followed Mike Grell from the Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes to The Warlord and he did not disappoint me. After that I followed him to GL/GA, Starslayer, Jon Sable Freelance, and The Longbow Hunters. It just got better and better.

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More reactions coming, but I liked that I could listen to “A Sun That Never Sets” to it.

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Thank God for Jenette Khan or we might have been deprived of one of the truly great Sci-Fi/Action/Adventure comics in the history of the medium.

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My favorite panel in Warlord is something that is utterly fascinating to me as I see it as a recurring theme in pulp heroes.

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Warlord #5 is available!

Original

Digital

I keep noticing how the coloring is so much better on the original comics. The wolves seem to have more highlights in the original versus the digital. I also like the darker green ground and the paler yellow cave opening. Also notice the additional detail in the motion lines of Morgan’s sword and on his bracelets. Finally, the poor dead wolf with its tongue out is missing its front paws in the digital edition.

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Alright! I read through 1st Issue Special #8 and Warlord #1-5. I’m not going to blur any spoilers, so, fair warning, but I’m not going to spoil too, too much. I just want to talk about the central theme of Warlord. I mentioned that I’m not much of a sword & sorcery guy and that’s because much of the genre isn’t much deeper than macho for the sake of macho. And… well… yeah, there’s some of that here:

Warlord Macho

So, for me to get behind a sword & sorcery story, or any story, I need just a little bit more to sink my teeth into. Just give me something more than the struggle of a real buff dude against a dangerous, chaotic world. And, thankfully, Warlord gave that to me. It became clear really early on when Travis Morgan was flying a mission to take pictures of a secret, Russian installation. He has this great moment where he becomes frustrated at the task:

And I said to myself, “Okay, there it is- the key to Warlord.” Travis is so frustrated because the threats to his existence are existential in the world of the Cold War. Basically, it’s not an active, imminent threat that he can fight against or do much about. If the USSR and/or the US decide to launch nuclear weapons then that’s it- end of world- and Travis is powerless to stop it despite his role in the military.

It’s this sense of being powerless and the frustration it brings that is the crux here because he feels the exact opposite once he reaches Skartaris. In Skartaris, the threats Morgan faces are more immediate and are things he can combat directly. The world is more chaotic, dangerous, and violent, but it’s one that he can have a direct effect on unlike the world of the Cold War. In essence, Travis regains his agency in the savage land.

That said, Morgan is still a modern man of the Cold War. He’s still a product of his environment. Thus, everything he does in that world brings it a step closer to becoming more like the one he just left that made him feel so powerless. That’s the tension of the piece and it’s mirrored throughout the first five issues in a couple different ways. It’s asking us: What’s better? A modern, civilized world we are powerless to determine our fate or a violent, savage one where we can at least make decisions that have some effect? Its definitely enough to keep me interested in the series, and, yeah, Mike Grell sure can draw!

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Great observations @TheCosmicMoth. I would also add that Morgan provides a point of view we as readers can relate.

I don’t know what it’s like to be a barbarian like Conan or Elric with his sword Stormbringer. But, I can relate to a man from the modern world being thrust into the primeval jungle with dinosaurs, mythical beasts, and advanced science / magic. Morgan brings that sense of wonder when his face lights up on sighting a unicorn.

I don’t think you get that wonder with a main character like Conan. And yes, Mike Grell is a hell of an artist!

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Thank you!

Agreed!

But, I know exactly what it’s like to be Elric…Conan, no. But… totally Elric.

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Mike Grell:

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I just read Warlord #6 and enjoyed the digital version very much. I haven’t consulted the original or TPB but the coloring looks great and the line work is really sharp.

Love how the title changes from Enter the Lost World of…

The “I don’t feel 51 years old” joke was great. I’m going to have to check out Green Arrow when Morgan returns to the surface world in the 1980s and what he has to say then.

Fun fact: Air America was a real airline owned by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) which provided transportation for covert missions like finding Travis Morgan.

They really had a logo.

Also CIA related is the creation of the Lockheed A-12 which was the predecessor of the USAF SR-71 Blackbird. The CIA wanted a replacement for the U2 spy plane that had been shot down by the Soviets.

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Love that Warlord is on here. I’d love to see Claw, Starfire (Sword & Sorcery version), and ISIS (not sure if DC can republish this one).

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I became a fan of Warlord with issue #46 “Hunters Moon”. I had already been a fan of Mike Grell from his work on Green Lantern /Green Arrow and Superboy and the legion of superheroes. This was just a natural progression.

I liked his fights with Deimos, very epic!

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Have you read the newly digitized comics on DCUI?

1st Issue Special #8
Warlord #1-6

Warlord has won two rounds of the Backlist Breakout voting so the first 24 issues will be added to DCUI over the coming months. Make sure to vote in round three to keep the issues coming.

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