Friday, March 23, 2007

THE WARLORD #113 DC Comics, 1986

DC's comic book The Warlord would make an excellent Las Vegas topless dance spectacular. Skartaris! A Sexotic Fantasmagoria!!! Now at the Sands!

The long-running fantasy adventure series was either an homage or rip-off of Burroughs' John Carter of Mars books, depending on one's point of view. Both series chronicled the adventures of a bad-ass white guy from Earth who has been marooned on a savage world full of terrible monsters, exotic locations, and people who wear very very little clothing. As you might imagine, Young Dave loved both John Carter and Travis Morgan, aka The Shiznit, aka The Warlord.

It must be pretty warm in the bizarre medieval land of Skartaris deep inside the center of the hollow Earth, because seriously, nobody wears any clothes to speak of. Travis Morgan himself wears a white leopard loincloth and a seagull helmet and... yeah, that's about it. Loincloth and helmet. Well, he does have some cool chain accesories and a Gwar shoulder pad. Aside from that, Travis Morgan wears no armor - that's just not how they roll in Skartaris.

One side note: In many Warlord comics Morgan rides a horse wearing his customary loincloth. After a while that saddle would get pretty nasty, don't you think? Would you want to sit on loin cloth guy's saddle? Jesus, let me hit that thing with some anti-bacterial spray or something first.

The Warlord's nubile female travelling companions wear outfits that would make a Brazilian blush. The hot red head Mariah wears a black stripper outfit and make-up from Boris Vallejo Cosmetics, while the cat-woman Shakira (yes, Mariah and Shakira) wears a black fur bikini and a collar. At least I hope that's a bikini - if not Shakira has some nasty-ass body hair.

This comic is like, part seventeen of The Warlord's quest to save his equally scantily clad daughter Jennifer, who has been on death's door for several years. The Warlord can't be rushed, man. In this issue Morgan's been hypnotized by Mariah into loving her - he just didn't feel the same about her after Glitter - and now he's sort of her love slave. This annoys Shakira (whose hips don't lie) to no end because all the tongue kissing between the two is really slowing up the already glacial pace of their quest.

The immodestly attired trio get attacked by half-naked cylopses (cyclopsi?), and Shakira is grudgingly forced to come to Mariah's aide by turning into her lethal kitty cat form!

CYCLOPS vs HOUSE CAT - who ya got?

After scratching and stabbing all the half-naked cyclopsi, the trio are assaulted by a flight of totally naked gargoyle men who shoot lasers from their eyes. No shit. The totally naked gargoyles are doubly dangerous, for they possess beaks and teeth, which is rare.

Beaks or teeth or both, it matters not! Travis Morgan will stab you! No blood, of course, but still. Stabbed is stabbed.
Man, I have had this comic for twenty-one years. It's outlasted all of my pets.
Reading The Warlord #113 brings back fond memories and a wistful nostalgia for a time in my life when the totally adolescent and totally fabulous underground world of Skartaris was 100% cool, when I could look at something like The Warlord without layer after layer of cynicism and postmodern wankery.
Ah, youth.
You know what else I noticed, aside from the near-nudity?
Travis Morgan cannot get a fucking word in! My man is always getting interrupted - he cannot finish a sentence to save his life.


LurkerWithout said...

Actually I'd say the series was more a homage/rip-off of ERB's Pellucidor (sp?) Hollow-Earth stories...

Anonymous said...

Ive just gotta say, extra points for getting a swedish cover for the Edgar Rice Burroughs novel. Now thats the Shiznit.

Anonymous said...

You call THAT a GWAR shoulder pad? Punny human! You don't know the first thing about my wardrobe!

Anonymous said...

The setting is definitely Pellucidaresque (as are those gargoyle-men, really). But the costumes are classic Barsoomian activewear.

Doug M. said...

Mike Grell just liked drawing people without a lot of clothes on.

Waaaay back in the Nixon administration, Chris Cockrum was the artist on Legion of Superheroes. (No, wait, it was "Superboy and the Legion of Superheroes" then -- better make sure I put that in before some LoSH fan does a 1500 word post correcting me.) And Cockrum gave the Legion a makeover, introducing lots of new characters and new costumes, and a generally new "look" that was more like Marvel than DC. And the fans saw that it was good.

Then Cockrum left. He was replaced by a brash young fellow named Mike Grell.

Grell said, "New look? You ain't seen nothing yet!" And he started taking the Legionnaires clothes off.

Yes, Cosmic Boy's famous "corset" outfit, and Night Lass's Brazilian bathing suit -- basically a panty and two bungee cords -- date from this truly memorable period of Legion history.

Grey bearded ancient fans still whisper tales of the debate that ensued. Unsurprisingly, reactions were strong, and ranged from "Whoa... Cooool!" to "BLASPHEMY!!"

Anyway. Eventually, after a shortish but memorable run on LoSH, Grell was sent off to do other things. He kept on with Warlord, though -- IMS it ran for over ten years.

Also: while the T&A in Warlord is a bit much sometimes, it's mitigated by the fact that (1) Grell really was a good artist, and (2) the anatomy, while "heroic", wasn't grossly distorted. Pause for a moment to imagine this issue drawn by Frank Cho or (shudder) Rob Liefeld, and I think you'll see what I mean.

Doug M.

Edward Liu said...

Wouldn't it be funny if the real-world Mariah or Shakirah were interviewed and said that they took their names from "Warlord"? Kind of like how Nicholas Cage admitted that he took his stag name from Luke Cage in an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Except kind of more horrifying.

Siskoid said...

If anyone needs pictures of Shakira and Mariah, I posted about the pop sensations a while back (revealed: the next big hit!)

I sure hope they wind up collecting Warlord one day, though I'm afraid the black&white Showcase Presents format would have people confusing him with Oliver Queen. Ah well. Maybe it's for the best.

You doing Arak Son of Thunder next?!?

Caleb said...

--DC shoulda skipped the lame relaunch and went straight to big, fat Showcases of the original. If people will re-buy those old Conans, you can be they'll buy 500-page phonebooks of Warlord.

--If this ever gets the live action film treatment, they oughta cast Mariah Carey and Shakira as Mariah and Shakira. They wouldn't even have to memorize their characters' names! Not sure who would make a good super-buff guy with white heair and an Uncle Sam goatee though. Maye he's have to be all CGI.

Doug M. said...

I just realized that Mariah is running around the jungles of Skartaris wearing _high heels_.

Not a lot to say about that, really.

Doug M.

rob! said...

when i was a kid and would get Warlord (every so often), i always thought i had to hide any pages that had Shakira in it. i STILL wonder how the Code passed on that.

Tim Easy said...

Nice post, Dave! as a kid, I never made the connection between Travis Morgan and John Carter. I don't know why. maybe it was because I was too busy playing with my Star Wars action figures and pretending they were Legion Of Superheroes characters (Luke was Lightning Lad, Han was Cosmic Boy, et. al.)...which reminds me, how about a good old LSH post soon? :)

Yatz said...

Doug M, I was enjoying your short history lesson, and then you had to spoil it all by putting Frank Cho and Rob Leifeld in the same sentance... Not cool, man, not cool at all.

Anonymous said...

What are Mariah and Shakira doing on that cover?

I imagine Mariah saying something like,

"Good lord, Gargoyles! Quickly, get down on all fours and thrust! For god's sake thrust! Our very lives depend on it!"

I can't imagine why, unless they have breast missiles like some Japanese robot I saw once.

LurkerWithout said...

Kind of like how Nicholas Cage admitted that he took his stag name from Luke Cage in an interview with Terry Gross on Fresh Air. Except kind of more horrifying.

Nothing is more horrifying than the concept of Nick Cage doing porn...

Greg said...

Any blog post that gets in a Gwar reference automatically becomes the best ever. Well played, sir!

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Siskoid said...

Wow. That Car Amplifier post has just given me the postmodern jolt I needed to finish the day.

Thanks, Car Amplifier! Now I'm ready to face that collection of old Charlton Hot Rod comics that has been beckoning.

Anonymous said...

Much like bell bottoms, the loin cloth needs to make a comeback as a fashion item. Loin cloths and... fedoras! Together! Yeah, that's the ticket!

CSSO said...

Thank you, Car Amplifier!

spencer said...

damn funny post! I was never a warlord fan, but a big conan fan.

funny how when i was 15 i never questioned those scantilly-clad women :)

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Mister Sinister said...

I laugh heartily at the mocking of GWAR & Warlord's badassery

Crunchy Carpets said...

I actually have almost this entire series...I loved it..that and Ka Zar!

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