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Review: 1st Issue Special #8

1st Issue Special #8 cover
Cover by Mike Grell

1st Issue Special #8
Published and © by DC, November 1975

Title: “Land of Fear!”
Synopsis: Air Force pilot Travis Morgan ejects from a crashing SR-71 – to discover the hidden, savage world of Skartaris!

Writer: Mike Grell
Penciler: Grell
Inker: Grell

Review: As the story goes, Warlord began life as a proposed newspaper strip called Savage Empire, which creator Mike Grell tweaked on the fly when pitching it to DC as a comic book. Whatever its origins, Grell was on to something here. Though not shockingly original – think swords, sandals and sorcery, all set in an Edgar-Rice-Burroughs-esque hollow Earth – Grell’s Warlord manages to surpass the sum of it’s parts. The writer/artist’s passion for this material is contagious; there’s little question he’s having a blast with this origin issue, and readers almost certainly will, too.

Grade: B+

Cool factor: The debut of Mike Grell as auteur, a development that would lead to many good comic books over the years.
Not-so-cool factor: Why is Skartaris called “Tartarus” on first reference?

Notable: First appearance of Travis “The Warlord” Morgan, as well as Tara, Deimos and Skartaris. … Includes a one-page text feature titled “The Story Behind the Story,” which introduces creator Mike Grell. … This story is reprinted in Warlord #11.

Character quotable: “Maggie’s drawers, comrade! You missed me!” – Lt. Col. Travis Morgan, back when American comics still had the Soviets to kick around

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on Feb. 8, 2010.

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