Among the things I tend to pick up on my back-issue dives are comics that came out in my “golden age” -- approx. 1976 to 1985 -- but that I either had no interest in or just didn’t have the money to buy at the time. DC was my favorite publisher as a kid, so it’s the shaggy edges of their line -- the war books, the westerns, the sword-and-sorcery, the mystery titles -- that get a lot of my interest in the dollar bins. So here’s a look at some issues of Warlord I’ve picked up, out of chronological order, likely with huge gaps between issues. 

But for my first entries, I actually have three issues in a row -- Warlord #s 2, 3, and 4.  

A LOT happens. We open on Travis Morgan, the Warlord, tied to a tree-branch, crucifixion style. On page 2 (and 3), he’s attacked by a sabre-toothed tiger, but has broken the branch down and, in a double-page spread DRIVES THE TIGER BACK USING THE TREE HE’S BEEN CRUCIFIED TO. This is the Warlord aesthetic. It’s important that you love this if we’re going to get through this together.

Having defeated the tiger, Travis meets a sailor with a fancy name, travels with him to the sea, where he’s cold-cocked and press-ganged into being a galley slave. It’s here where he meets Machiste, who’ll be his longtime friend, sitting next to him at the oar. (Machiste has two hands here...this won’t always be the case.) Travis and Machiste, with a moment’s notice, try to revolt against their captors, but are defeated. They’re sentenced to death, but the PIRATES ATTACK! Travis tries to get the pirates to free them, but they won’t, so he helps the crew fight them off. Seeing them fight the captain decides to spare them from death and sell them as gladiators. That is the extent of his appreciation for Travis and Machiste basically saving his ship from plunder.

So: Now on land, Travis and Machiste are trained as gladiators. For a month (and a splash page) they fight, over the constant words of KILL KILL KILL. 

And then, of course, Travis and Machiste are told to fight one another to the death. But mid-battle, when Travis has Machiste on the ropes and is given the thumbs-down to end his life -- Travis notices a wristwatch on the prince’s wrist. In Skataris, that can only mean one thing: He knows where Tara is! Travis had given the watch to Tara, a girl Travis met and was separated from, presumably last issue. So Travis flips out, organizes a gladiator revolt, which succeeds (maybe there’s a fundamental problem with arming & training your slaves to be fierce combatants), and then Travis promises the freed gladiators a bunch of gold if they follow him to free Tara from Deimos, and more importantly THE CHANCE TO DIE AS FREE MEN.

And that is the second issue of Warlord. YAAR!

At which point the book went on a 7-month hiatus.

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Hmmm.. I've been pronouncing it Ma-CHEEST!

Jeff, I'll be in those first 30 issue for a while longer. I noticed the next couple in my collection are issue 9 and 11. So we're jumping forward, but in very short jumps!

That would have been fine if "When in Rome..." had been her idea. There was a Savage Sword of Conan story that ran two or three issues where a princess loses her clothes and follows Conan around topless, upset at first then getting used to it. At the end he returns her to her throne and one of her subjects tells her it's unroyalty-like to run around that way and he'll fetch her something decent right away. She's honestly surprised because it had long since stopped registering that she should be wearing more than a ragged skirt.

I'd assumed the e in Maciste was silent, but then it's not an English word. Of course this was the English dub, never been able to find one of those films in Italian to make a comparison. They may no longer exist.
Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

Maybe, but I like the "When in Rome..." explanation well enough (except without the ugly caveat that if you don't dress in the local style, you're liable to get targeted for rape).

Ronald Morgan said:

It would have come out sounding better if her old clothes had gotten badly torn in battle and the new outfit was the best she could find to replace them.

Yeah, whichever way you slice it, it's an excuse to put an attractive woman in something skimpy. Any explanation is going to be little more than a hand-wave.

BTW, I noticed someone in issue 9's lettercol complaining about Mariah's eye decoration, but the editor never indicates whether it's mask or makeup.

"If we ignore it, maybe it will go away."

On the Simpsons, Lucy Lawless said whenever a fan asked her about continuity errors in Xena, she always said "A wizard did it." The DC equivalent would be Superboy-Prime did it.

My experience with Warlord is very tangential at best. I haven't read any of the Jurgens run, but I have a vague memory of checking out an issue of a more recent series (short lived) in the past fifteen years, drawn--appropriately--by Bart Sears. Didn't Bruce Jones write a series as well? It may have been the same one. I'm also remembering art by Phil Winslade on the character at some point.

Wasn't Skartaris also mentioned in the John Ney Reiber Books of Magic book at some point? What a masterful book that was.

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