Tuesday, December 20, 2016
After a strong run of stories providing artwork for Green Lantern and the Legion of Super-Heroes, he created, wrote and drew an original character for DC - Warlord, about a modern man who finds himself in a savage prehistoric world.
When Pacific Comics invited Grell to create an original, creator-owned series, he jumped at the chance and unveiled Starslayer.
The series turned the Warlord concept on its head. Here we had a Celtic barbarian - Torin Mac Quillon - who is happy to hunt in the woods and provide for his wife and son. The time: 43 A.D.
But he's not meant for a quiet life, and an invading Roman army threatens his tribe. Torin finds himself in his final fight against the enemy - but death isn't the end of his story.
The final panel shows him somehow transported to a futuristic world, where a beautiful woman waits and his skills will help him survive in the strange new world.
The series that followed was a terrific space opera, loaded with action and lots of heart - and, of course, Grell's art is terrific. Powerful, with amazing environments and stunning character deigns.
Starslayer never matched the popularity of Warlord (or Grell's upcoming books, Jon Sable: Freelance and Green Arrow), but it enjoyed a solid three-year run, and backup features in the series introduced the Rocketeer and Grimjack.
Grell has always had the ability to combine his strong artistic vision to solid storytelling skills, and the results were always entertaining. This is yet another high point in his body of work.