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Personal History of Don McGregor is unknown.
McGregor's first appearances in print were in the letters-to-the-editor columns of various Marvel Comics titles. After breaking in as a professional at Warren Publishingin 1971 with anthological science-fiction/horror stories for that company's black-and-white comics magazines, McGregor became a writer-editor at Marvel, beginning as a proofreader in late 1972. He soon became one of the 1970s wave of creators such as Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber and Doug Moench who took often minor characters and helped flesh them out. Former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas said in 2007,
- [T]here was a lot of invention and experimentation going on during that period.... Steve [Gerber] and Don turned out be [writers] who advanced the field. ... I don't think Don's work sold terribly well, but I always thought he was doing some interesting things, and I thought, 'Well, the kind of stuff we put him on was the kind of stuff that we didn't expect to become great sellers anyway.... So let him experiment with it and see what happens'. And he certainly did a lot of interesting things with it.
McGregor established himself with two series that remain among comics' most acclaimed: "Killraven, Warrior of the Worlds", in Amazing Adventures vol. 2, #21-39 (Nov. 1973 - Nov. 1976, except for fill-in issues #33 and 38); and "Black Panther", in Jungle Action #6-24 (Sept. 1973 - Nov. 1976, except for #23, a reprint).
Unusually for mainstream comics, the Panther stories were set mostly in Africa, in the Panther's fictional homeland Wakanda rather than in Marvel's usual American settings. As with the futuristic stories of Killraven, McGregor's settings were enough outside the Marvel mainstream that he was able to explore mature themes and adult relationships in a way rare for comics at the time. Like Jim Steranko, a direct influence who had pushed similar boundaries in the late 1960s, McGregor often found himself at the limits of acceptability with both Marvel and the Comics Code Authority. He and artist P. Craig Russell engineered color comic books' first known interracial kiss, between the "Killraven" characters M'Shulla and Carmilla Frost, in Amazing Adventures #31 (July 1975). Three years earlier, McGregor and artist Luis Garcia had already presented the first known interracial kiss in mainstream comics (as opposed to underground comix) in Warren Publishing's black-and-white horror-comics magazine, Creepy #43 (Jan. 1972), in the story "The Men Who Called Him Monster".
More than two decades after the "Killraven" feature ended, comics historian Peter Sanderson wrote that,
- "It was writer Don McGregor who transformed the Killraven saga ... into a classic. Of all of Marvel's writers, McGregor has the most romantic view of heroism. Killraven and his warrior band were also a community of friends and lovers motivated by a poetic vision of freedom and of humanity's potential greatness. McGregor's finest artistic collaborator on the series was P. Craig Russell, whose sensitive, elaborate artwork, evocative of Art Nouveau illustration, gave the landscape of Killraven's America a nostalgic, pastoral feel, and the Martian architecture the look of futuristic castles.
McGregor also wrote stories for the Marvel characters Luke Cage, Morbius the Living Vampire, and Spider-Man, and created the detective feature "Hodiah Twist", seen in the black-and-white magazines Marvel Preview #16: Masters of Terror (1973) and Vampire Tales #2 (1975).
With artist Paul Gulacy, McGregor created one the first modern graphic novels, Eclipse Books' Sabre: Slow Fade of an Endangered Species. Published in August 1978 — two months before Will Eisner's more famous, graphic short-story collection A Contract with God — it led to a 14-issue spin-off series for Eclipse Comics.
McGregor went on to write two additional early graphic novels for Eclipse, each set in contemporary New York City and starring interracial-buddy private eyes Ted Denning and Bob Rainier: Detectives Inc.: A Rememembrance of Threatening Green (1979), with artist Marshall Rogers, and Detectives, Inc.: A Terror Of Dying Dreams, with artist Gene Colan, who would become a frequent collaborator.
He has also written two prose books: Dragonflame and Other Bedtime Nightmares (Fictioneer Books, 1978) and The Variable Syndrome (Fictioneer, 1981).
Other notable work includes the DC Comics' miniseries Nathaniel Dusk (1984) and Nathaniel Dusk II (1985–1986), both with Colan; and, for New Media Publishing's Fantasy Illustrated (1982), "The Hounds of Hell Theory", starring the husband-and-wife detective team Alexander and Penelope Risk, with artist Tom Sutton.
McGregor revisited the Black Panther with Colan in "Panther's Quest", published as 25 eight-page installments within the bi-weekly omnibus series Marvel Comics Presents (issues #13-37, Feb.-Dec. 1989); and, later, with artist Dwayne Turner in the squarebound miniseries Panther's Prey (Sept. 1990 - March 1991). Later in the decade, McGregor became one of the primary writers of the Zorro canon, with Topps Comics' Zorro and Lady Rawhide comic books; Image Comics' adaptation of the movie The Mask of Zorro; two years of the Zorro newspaper comic strip (with artists Tod Smith and Thomas Yeates, premiering April 12, 1999); and Papercutz's 2005 "American manga"-style Zorro series, which was collected as a graphic novel the same year.
- No special notes.
- No trivia.
Links and References
- ↑ Bullpen Bulletins: "Four or Five Phenomenal Flashes, Fitfully Fashioned to Fight Lethargy (Or: Those Wedding Bells are Waking Up that Old Gang of Mine)", in Marvel Comics cover-dated March 1973, including Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos #108.
- ↑ Alter Ego #70 (July 2007), p. 54
- ↑ In addition to contemporaneous reviews in the 1970s, latter-day reviews include:
- "Don McGregor took over the 'Killraven' writing chores, and was joined soon after by P. Craig Russell. With their combined talents, and the freedom that comes with working on a low-selling book that could be cancelled at any moment, the two of them produced a groundbreaking series that explored philosophy, madness, love, violence, and the nature of freedom". (Christos N. Gage, FeoAmante.com);
- "Though quite a few folks had their hand in the original run back in Amazing Adventures, it was the words-and-pictures team of Don McGregor and P. Craig Russell that made my tentacles twitch. ...a classic". (Michael Sangiacomo, Newsarama.com, January 25, 2003);
- "As for Don McGregor, what can be said? At his worst, he could be overwritten and almost incoherent in his pretensions. At his best, he brought to comics like Amazing Adventures and Jungle Action a literary style and philosophical ambition, and a maturity even in Comics Code-approved stuff, that's rarely been matched. He makes Neil Gaiman and Alan Moore look like...well, like comic book writers". (Critic "The Masked Bookwyrm");
- "As his work progressed, readers saw P. Craig Russell take artistic ownership of 'Killraven'. ... Much like Jim Steranko's work on Marvel's Nick Fury, Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D, events flowed through some pages in a style that was as reminiscent of fine art as it was of comic art. Also impressive was his sense of design. Russell arguably produced some of the most imaginative, and visually horrific, monsters and villains in Marvel's history. Don McGregor handled the writing for this issue-run, and credit must be given to his involved plots, as well as his ability to pack a lot of story into a 32-page pamphlet". (Michael Vance, SciFiDimensions.com, Aug. 17, 2001)
- ↑ Sanderson, Peter. Marvel Universe (Harry N. Abrams, 1998) ISBN 0810981718, ISBN 978-0810981713, p. 175
- ↑ Hodiah Twist by Jess Nevins
- ↑ Thrilling Detective: Alexander and Penelope Risk
- ↑ Zorro authors at Papercutz.com
- ↑ Zorro Returns to Comics in May, Newsarama, February 25, 2005