Don McGregor : biography
Donald Francis McGregor (born June 15, 1945) is an American comic book writer best known for his work for Marvel Comics, and the author of one of the first graphic novels.
Early life and career
Don McGregor was born Providence, Rhode Island, where as a young adult he worked a myriad of jobs including as a security guard, at a bank, at a movie theater, and "for my grandfather’s company, [which] printed, among other things, the patches the astronauts wore on their flights to the moon." He additionally served as military police with the National Guard. His first appearances in print were in the letters-to-the-editor columns of various Marvel Comics titles, including Fantastic Four #33 (cover-dated Dec. 1964), Fantastic Four #48 (March 1966), The Amazing Spider-Man #77 (Oct. 1969), at the Grand Comics Database and for The Providence Journal, where his work included reviews of books by authors including Evan Hunter, "who influenced me greatly as a writer."
McGregor broke into comics with stories in Warren Publishing’s black-and-white horror-comics anthology magazines. His first purchased script, "When Wakes The Dreamer", did not see print until Eerie #45 (Feb. 1973), long after his first published script: the 12-page cover story "The Fade-Away Walk" in Creepy #40 (July 1971), credited as Donald F. McGregor, with art by Tom Sutton. at the Grand Comics Database Through 1975, he would write a over a dozen more stories for those magazines and its sister title Vampirella, drawn by artists including Richard Corben and Reed Crandall. Of "When Wakes the Dreamer", he explained decades later, "[W]hat held it up was that [artist and Warren art director] Billy Graham was going to draw it and he’d done a spectacular opening page for it, but for one reason or another, it just didn’t happen. … I don’t think we ever found the finished art for Billy’s version of another early story of mine, ‘The Vampiress Stalks The Castle This Night.’". That story eventually appeared in Vampirella #21 (Dec. 1972), with art by Felix Mas. After a stint with Marvel, McGregor would return to write another 18 stories for those Warren titles as well as The Rook between 1979 and 1983, with artists including Paul Gulacy, Alfredo Alcala, and Val Mayerik.
McGregor became a proofreader for Marvel Comics in late 1972,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. earning $125 a week, before establishing himself as a Marvel editor and writer. His first stories for the company were co-writing, with Gardner Fox, the six-page supernatural story "The Man with Two Faces" in Journey into Mystery vol. 2, #4 (April 1973; credited as "Donald F. McGregor"); and, solo, the six-page "A Tomb By Any Other Name", with art by Syd Shores, in Chamber of Chills #5 (July 1973).
He recalled in 2010,
With those two features, which became among comics’ most acclaimed,In addition to contemporaneous reviews in the 1970s, latter-day reviews include:
- Gage, Chris: "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". —
- Sangiacomo, Michael: "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". —
- Vance, Michael: "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". — McGregor soon established himself as one of a 1970s wave of Marvel writers, including Steve Englehart, Steve Gerber and Doug Moench, who took often minor characters and helped create a writerly Renaissance. Former Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas said in 2007,