Monday, January 15, 2018

Of Cat Women and Love ...

When I set out to create the dream comic book collection of my "wonder years," at first I had only DC and Marvel superhero titles in mind. For the most part this is exactly what I have. However, there was one title that grabbed my imagination as a youth and that was Mike Grell's: The Warlord!

The Warlord is a title in the sword and sorcery genre. There was a niche for this kind of comic, and Marvel comics were doing very well with Conan the Barbarian, and DC had The Warlord. Ultimately, I added issues from both titles to my dream collection although I never really got into Conan as a boy. Warlord on the other hand. I loved Warlord!

Oddly enough I think you might be able to blame my passion for Warlord on Star Trek. Before there was comics in my life, there was Star Trek. The original series was broadcast in syndication every day in the early to mid 70's and I watched in every chance that I got. It fired my imagination and got me excited about science and space and racial/gender equality and justice. It even effected my manner of speaking so that my mom was known to call me, "Little Spock."

A favorite episode for me as a boy was the final episode of season 2 of the original series entitled: Assignment Earth. I think this episode was meant to test the possibility of a spin-off series. It featured actors Robert Lansing as Gary Seven and Teri Garr as Roberta Lincoln. It also featured a cat that could turn into a humanoid (or a humanoid that becomes a cat.)

Robert Lansing as Gary Seven (with Isis the cat)

Teri Garr as Roberta Lincoln

Victoria Vetri as Isis (the human)

Roberta: "Would you mind telling me who 'that' is?"

Gary: "That, Miss Lincoln, is simply my cat."

Roberta: "Your cat?!!"

As a boy, I was in Luhuv! with Teri Gar. She was my boyhood celebrity crush. Oh, and a transforming cat-woman was pretty awesome too. And Lansing as a James Bond-like super agent from another world elevated the awesome pudding all the way to eleven! While I recognize that there are many much better episodes of the original series of Star Trek, Assignment Earth will forever be my favorite.

Fast forward several years to 1980 and my very first issue of The Warlord, issue #32. I was 14 years old. I had started noticing that there existed women folk other than my mom and Teri Garr. The cover of Warlord 32 grabbed hold of my boyish hyper-labido and didn't let go. Mike Grell and Vince Colletta were the masters of sensual illustration of the comics from the Bronze age and Warlord was their showpiece.

It wasn't Warlord #32's cover that made this title memorable or made it a permanent part of my dream collection, however. It was the character introduced in this issue, the transforming cat-woman: Shakira.

Shakira was sexy-cool and a super capable warrior woman. Part Red Sonja and part ninja, Shakira had me anxious to grab the subsequent issues of the title and kept the Warlord on my reading list back in 1980 and today.

Plus, she was just like "Isis" from that episode of Star Trek! Warlord is one of the titles in my dream collection that I have "completed." I have all issues from 1-50 and annual #1. Together they tell a good story if you are a fan of this sort of sword and sorcery fair. It strikes me as curious now that I write this that I never considered setting a Dungeons and Dragons campaign in the world setting of The Warlord. I might have to change that at some point.



1 comment:

  1. Another of my all time favorites! I also intend to re-collect the series...and soon!