Don McGregor has become one of the foremost writers in comic books today. With almost thirty years of experience in the field, Don incorporates a deep understanding of human nature into his stories, blending humanity with humility and pain with glory.
He creates without compromise, making his characters’ heroics poignantly real. Don has an intense desire to know, to dare and to care about what he writes and these attributes come through in his passionate style.
McGregor began his comic writing career in 1969, creating his own series DETECTIVES INC. as a fanzine that he took to the annual New York Comic Convention. It was after meeting publisher Jim Warren in hot debate at that convention that his comic writing career began, writing horror stories for Warren’s illustrated horror line of CREEPY, EERIE and VAMPIRELLA.
After working as a proofreader, and eventually editor on several of MARVEL COMICS B&W line of comic/magazines, he was assigned to write the BLACK PANTHER in Marvel’s JUNGLE ACTION comics. The “Panther’s Rage” series was the first mainstream comic to have an essentially all-black cast of comics, in 1973. Before that, the few comics that did have black leads were normally surrounded by a white supporting cast.
In AMAZING ADVENTURES, WAR OF THE WORLDS, KILLRAVEN series, Don went from the horror genre and superheroes to writing one of the longest running science fiction comic titles, working with the incredible artistry of P. Craig Russell. The series broke many of the barriers at Marvel during that time: a pregnant woman and a birth sequence had never been done, and the first inter-racial kiss in Marvel Comics history occurred in the pages of KILLRAVEN, among other provocative material.
Don also wrote LUKE CAGE, POWERMAN and MORBIUS, THE LIVING VAMPIRE in that time period, stories that explored drug dealing, political chicanery, loss of time and place. He also created HODIAH TWIST in the story, ‘The Preying Mantis Principle.”
His later work for Marvel, during the 70s, included adaptations into comic formats of Mark Twain’s “The Prince and the Pauper,” H.G. Welles’ “First Men In The Moon,” Wilkie Collins’ “The Moonstone,” and Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Pit And The Pendulum,” “The Tell-tale Heart,” and “The Cask of Amontillado.”
In the middle of the 1970s he started work on creating the historically important independent graphic novel, SABRE, that was aimed directly for the comic book store market. Many people at the time thought he and Dean Mullaney, who started the publishing company ECLIPSE COMICS, with the printing of SABRE, were nuts to undertake such a project. The skeptics were positive the fans could not support a series. Today, the 20TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION of SABRE has just seen print!
In SABRE, all the taboos that were firmly entrenched at the major comics companies for heroic fantasy were obliterated.
Among the series milestones, it was one of the first American comics to show a child being born, and to have two gay characters, Deuces Wild and Summer Ice, as regular members of the main cast. These SABRE issues drawn by Billy Graham are in the process of being worked on for a graphic novel collection in 2001. Audiences who never had a chance to experience them in their initial run, or never had the complete novel, can see what all the furor was about during the mid-1980s, where SABRE slashed through many of the stereotypes in comics!
During the 1980s, Don returned to his 1969 creation, DETECTIVES INC. and updated the series, leaving behind horror, superhero and heroic fantasy for the mystery genre and the diverse streets and boroughs of New York. A review in Whizzard Magazine, at the time, read, “This book has it all: nudity, homosexuality, bisexuality, abortion, poverty, race wars…and murder. Yet it lacks the one thing that typical overground comics revel in…and that’s sensationalism.”
Ted Denning and Bob Rainier returned in the Gene Colan drawn DETECTIVES INC.: A TERROR OF DYING DREAMS, first published as a mini-series, and recently collected in a completely reshot and art restored graphic album, of which, Paul Bishop of the West Los Angeles Police Department, wrote: “Don McGregor is the crowned king of the graphic noir novel. Rainier and Denning are characters who resonate with hard-boiled legacy—Raymond Chandler twisted by Jim Thompson.”
This DETECTIVES INC. comic script was based on Don’s screenplay. He also directed the 2 Hr. 10 min. feature, of which clips were shown at the annual James Bond Weekends to tremendous applause!
During the early 1980s, Don worked with the extraordinary artist, Gene Colan, to produce two incredibly different kinds of titles.
The first was RAGAMUFFINS, created and written by Don, about little kids growing up in the 1950s. It is publisher Dean Mullaney’s favorite book of all the titles Eclipse published during its reign. The RAGAMUFFINS series holds the distinction, also, of being the first comic printed in COLOR over an artist’s PENCILS!
Shortly after, Don and Gene did NATHANIEL DUSK for D.C. comics, a two mini-series dealing with a hard-boiled private eye in the 1930s, thoroughly researched so that on whatever date the story was taking place, the weather, the radio shows playing, the incidents in the city were accurate. Stuart Kaminsky, author of the Toby Peters mysteries, wrote, “…as far as I am concerned Nathaniel now shares a space in my esteem with the Spirit.”
At the same time, Don created ALEXANDER and PENELOPE RISK, a series that he says is one of the few he can actually capture some of its essence with the one-line Hollywood pitch: “On the surface level, it’s Sherlock Holmes meets the Thin Man, set in the 1940s New York environs.”
Don returned to the BLACK PANTHER with PANTHER’S QUEST, which thrust the African King into Apartheid South Africa! Gene Colan penciled the series, the longest in MARVEL COMIC PRESENTS.
Later he and Dwayne Turner came to the Panther with PANTHER’S PREY, taking a long, hard look at drug use in Wakanda and America!
In addition to his comic book writing, McGregor wrote the short story anthology collection for Fictioneer Books, “Dragonflame and Other Bed-time Nightmares,” and the short science fiction novella, “The Variable Syndrome,” which was printed along with his dissection and dissertation on the comics industry called, “Investigating Detectives Inc.” It is as inside the industry piece in that time-frame as you are likely to read.
Don wrote JAMES BOND for DARK HORSE in the mini-series, “The Quasimodo Gambit,” which was steeped in Ian Fleming’s James Bond’s memories. The vivid leech sequence invokes homage to Fleming and squeamishness in many readers.
Don was a Guest of Honor at London’s Annual Comic Con, as well as a guest lecturer at the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum.
He has contributed, along with other comic writers, in readings to help raise money for children’s charity.
Don has taught a writing course at the prestigious SCHOOL OF VISUAL ARTS on WRITING FOR THE COMICS.
Don did personal interviews for magazines like STARLOG and other media with celebrities like Robert Culp, and Robert Vaughn, as well as working on many different James Bond projects.
He wrote a wide-range of movie reviews as part of a series for MEDIA SHOWCASE. He wrote and co-edited THE BUSTER KEATON MAGAZINE that traveled with screenings of Buster Keaton’s movies at museums and theaters.
During the 1990s, Don authored the ZORRO comic series for TOPPS COMICS, creating a memorable supporting cast: Machete, Moonstalker…and Lady Rawhide! Don finally had a chance to turn his attention to a genre he loved dearly: the Western.
LADY RAWHIDE was so popular, she was spun off into her own series, and became a TOP 10 HOTTEST CHARACTER in Wizard magazine, FAN magazine and even Combo magazine for over half a year! One of the best comics of the 90s, Lady Rawhide’s popularity spawned several specialty publications including: a WIZARD ACE EDITION, and a special LADY RAWHIDE ½ book!
Don scripted the sequential adaptation of THE MASK OF ZORRO movie, based on the Amblin Entertainment film which grossed 250 million dollars. Additionally, Don scripted the sequential adaptation of the first Pierce Brosnan JAMES BOND film, “GoldenEye, “ again another 350 million dollar movie. Both franchises trust Don’s impeccable storytelling and vivid characterizations with their money-makers.
Don intensely researched, sourced and wrote the JAMES BOND: TOMORROW NEVER DIES trading card set of 90 specialized cards for Inkworks, an industry leader in trading cards.
Don was approached to write the syndicated newspaper adventures of ZORRO, which appeared in the N.Y. DAILY NEWS, HOUSTON CHRONICLE and numerous other newspapers.
In the late 1990s he interviewed GRACE BRADLEY (MRS. HOPALONG CASSIDY) BOYD for WESTERN ATTITUDE magazine, a day he still cherishes. Later Grace invited Don to sit beside her at the inaugural screen of the documentary on Hopalong Cassidy for the WESTERN CHANNEL. The kid from Rhode Island never would have believed it.
Don and one of his all-time heroes, Robert Culp, appeared on stage at the James Bond Spy-Fest held aboard the Queen Mary. For a memorable hour Don and Bob discussed Culp’s career as actor/writer and director. Bob sent Don his script for TERRY AND THE PIRATES for comments not long before he died, and honor that Don treasures.
In 2001, he updated the 1930s pulp character, THE SPIDER, thrusting him into the new millennium! Don reunited with his creative partner, Gene Colan for this project!
Few know that Don wrote an episode of BEN 10 for DWAYNE MCDUFFIE, not long before the world lost the talented writer/producer. Dwayne was one of the most honorable and memorable people Don feels he has ever met. The episode of Ben 10 was NIGHT OF THE LIVING NIGHTMARE.
When Marvel did the BLACK PANTHER MASTERWORKS Don was moved to tears by Dwayne McDuffie’s AFTERWARD, and made it the major reason Don is glad it exists.
IDWs printing in hardcover of DETECTIVES INC, provided a way to include many of the pieces written on the series since it first saw print.
Last year, SABRE: THE EARLY FUTURE YEARS was presented as a Kickstarter, with the powerfully talented TREVOR VON EEDEN illustrating.
He has written the first 80 pages of the new DETECTIVES INC.: A FEAR OF PERVERSE PHOTOS/A REPERCUSSION OF VIOLENT REPRISAL which has had some of the script printed in soft cover from Gromagnon Books.
He still does pieces in his RIDING SHOTGUN columns that range from personal stories set against the backdrop of comics.
He has done more reviews of DVD and BLU-RAYs from SHOUT! FACTORY, WARNER ARCHIVE COLLECTIONS, AND ACORN MEDIA.