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
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.
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.