Mack Bolan's War Wagon
Created by Don Pendleton

The basic vehicle is a 26-foot GMC motor home with a slightly modified 455 cubic inch Toronado power plant; front traction, automatic transmission; tandem rear wheels with airbag suspension; complete with galley, bunk space, toilet and shower; self-contained electric generator for supplying the usual power requirements for the combat systems.

As modified by friendly aerospace engineers, working to Bolan’s concept, the vehicle is a $100,000-plus marvel of space-age technology–providing the warrior with a battle cruiser which is also a mobile base camp, command post, field headquarters, armory, spy ship, home. The spacemen dubbed it a “terran module.”

Wraparound glass windows have been replaced by a system of replaceable panels with strategically positioned one-way-vision portholes. The war room features a foldaway light-table for combat plots, a central command console whose computerized functions may be remoted to the control deck forward (driver’s seat). The aft section contains a weapons lab and armory with concealed storage for munitions and weapons.

Heart of the electronic intelligence-gathering gear involves computerized selection and switching circuits to control radio pickups, sensitive audio and optic scanners functioning within the telemetry systems which feed into the console for synchronizing, time-phasing, sorting, editing, re-recording and micro-storage of collected intelligence data.

Navigation systems utilize a “shared-time” concept with other electronics, allowing complete instrument control in zero-visibility situations. The heavy-punch capability is embodied within a swivel-platform retractable rocket pad concealed below the roof. This system is operated from the command deck, features highly sophisticated fire control gear with night-bright optics as well as laser-supplemented infra-red illuminators, with automatic target acquisitions via video or audio sensors.Upon command, the launch platform rises through roof panels to lock into firing positions. Control may be remoted for “Extra Vehicular Activity” (EVA). Also, targets may be pre-selected for auto-fire via time or video controls. This system delivers massive destruction at impressive range and with pinpoint accuracy, whether the target be stationary or moving.

War Wagon

In 1993, Don Pendleton was interviewed by Advance Comics, James Eisele, and the interview was published in their July 1993 issue.

Pendleton had this to say about The Punisher: “Let’s just say The Punisher has taken a lot of liberties with my work. Anyone who knows the history of The Executioner has known that all along. I elected many years ago to just let it pass, feeling that there is room for both of us in this industry. Of course, new Executioner readers may get the impression that I have “borrowed” from The Punisher, but let me set the record straight: War Against the Mafia debuted in 1968, and has been a flagship of action/adventure in all mediums throughout these years. Sad to say, my own publisher at Pinnacle began the trend, firing off invitations to various writers with copies of my books and stating that he would be interested in considering similar stories for his publication. The way this business works, practically every other major publisher jumped on the bandwagon. Of course, I have no bitterness or sense of loss from any of that; it is the highest form of complement for a writer to become a standard-bearer, and certainly The Executioner has remained in that special place all these years, and worldwide.”

James Eisele had asked, “They weren’t taking stories that you had written?”

Pendleton continued, “No, not exactly chapter and verse, but The Punisher took alot of what I consider “signature pieces” including Bolan’s War Journal, the War Wagon, and various situations which The Punisher incorporated. I created the high tech War Wagon in 1973, after using a much simpler version in previous books. The new War Wagon was built around a gutted GMC motor home put together by Bolan with the help of engineers who were sympathetic to his cause. It was a fantastic vehicle with high tech weapons on board.”

For those you have not read all of Don’s early Executioner’s, Mack Bolan’s War Journal came into play in the opening of the book of the series in 1968 and was used throughout the books. Don Pendleton introduced the high tech version of the Warwagon in Executioner # 20, New Orleans Knockout (written in 1973, published 1974) and writes about it in detail in The Executioner’s War Book, published in 1977.

Don Pendleton was often asked about Mack Bolan’s Warwagon by his readers or interviewers, and I have received questions about it, also. Often those questions have been from those who know of The Punisher Comics and the somewhat similar story line that The Punisher took in the late seventies and beyond.

Of course, Don created his Mack Bolan character and his “signature pieces” in his Executioner novels long before The Punisher found his way into Comics in 1974 with the debut of the character in a Spiderman Marvel Comic. In the Marvel Preview # 2, 1975, introducing The Punisher, was also a long and exclusive interview with Don Pendleton by David Anthony Kraft, titled, “The Executioner Speaks Out!” This interview was about Don’s writing career and life as a writer. It had nothing to do with The Punisher and there was no mention of the new comic character in the interview.

The Executioner’s War Book, pages 112-115. Copyright © 1977 by Don Pendleton. All Rights Reserved. Published by Pinnacle Books, New York.  Cover art by Gil Cohen. 

Don Pendleton introduced the later version of his Warwagon, Mack Bolan’s high tech version, in The Executioner # 20, New Orleans Knockout, published 1974.

Read Excerpt from the Chapter of the book here.