Don McGregor on "Killraven,” Part Two: The Surreal Life of a Comics Writer

A column article, Classic Comics Cavalcade by: Jason Sacks, Daniel Elkin

Welcome back to part two of our four-part interview with Don McGregor! In this part you'll read about P. Craig Russell's rude introduction to the politics of the Marvel Bullpen, racism in the comics field in the 1970s, and much more.

Read part one of this interview here, part three here and part four here

CB: The series transitions from Gene's beautiful issue to the beginning of Craig Russell's book. Craig's work he started out pretty raw, but then he immediately becomes spectacular.

McGregor
: Absolutely. We talked about this earlier with the other books. Here's how Craig Russell ends up on "Killraven:”

Unlike Billy Graham and I, who were friends, though I repeat, I did not get to choose Billy to draw the Black Panther as I did with him later when I created Sabre. I did not know Craig.

I had heard Craig being talked about in the Bullpen, before he was assigned to draw "Killraven.” There was some real backlash to an interview Craig did with a fanzine. I don't recall all the details, but Craig had drawn an Ant-Man story and he didn't like what Marvel had done with some of his artwork. And he talked about it in print.

Craig Russell Ant Man Marvel

Now, I need to establish the difference in timelines between 2013 and 1974. There were quite a few fanzines around at that time. I think it was a time period when many comics fans were starting their own magazines on the medium. The Comics Journal was just beginning and a few others.

Before that time, there were few places where talent spoke with any kind of negativity about the major comic company's policies or treatment of their work. From this timeframe that statement probably seems odd, what with the Internet, and many diverse blogs dissecting comics and creators. You did not often have people like yourself and Daniel doing in-depth interviews with writers or artists, as you do with Comics Bulletin.

So there were folks in editorial who were displeased that Craig spoke his mind on what had happened to his artwork. I think Craig had only done one or two stories for Marvel at the time. The only reason I would have heard about it at the time was that I was still working on staff so while I was oblivious to much of the political shenanigans going on in the Hallowed Halls, there certainly were things you heard as you went about your business.

If Marvel had not been increasing the number of titles they were doing, Craig might have been ostracized from working at the company at that time. But they also needed artists. Editors did not realize Craig's potential. Writers on major titles who had much more input on who they could get on their books were not aware of just how unique and beautiful and powerful Craig's art would become so rapidly.

You'd have to ask Craig for his thoughts on this, but from all I remember we got along right from the start. We became friends. We worked hard together. We kept consul to ourselves. And this is what I meant by being lucky when it came to artists.

Death of Breeders Don McGregor Marvel

Billy was assigned to the Panther, not because he and I knew each other, but because Billy was black and the Black Panther was a black character. And the reasoning with a lot of these guys in editorial was, black talent sequestered to working on black orientated titles.

Marvel did the same thing with women when they decided to try a few, what they thought of as women themed comics. I can't recall a single woman writer in that time period on one of their regular books, or on any of the books once they discontinued that pursuit. For black talent, if you got in the door, you're the black guy and you are on Luke Cage or Jungle Action, with rare exceptions.

CB Jason: I told you how Trevor Von Eden got his got his job on Black Lightning, didn't I?

McGregor: I believe you did. That may need to be repeated.

CB: So Trevor was a kid living in the New York City area. As a lot of fans do, he sent submissions into the offices of Marvel and DC. One day a staffer at DC replied to Trevor's submission and said "Come on in next time you're in the area and we'll talk to you. Maybe we'll give you some work." So he comes into DC Comics one day and the staffers discover that Trevor is a black man. There was no way you could tell that from his name or anything. When they met him, the staffers at DC said, "We have a series that might be good for you to work on, it's called Black Lightning!"

McGregor: That's exactly what I'm talking about! Somehow, I am on the inside, but these books are being done almost guerrilla style. Billy draws one book. Craig draws one book.

I write the two. But no one knew where I was going to go with the books, sometimes including me.

I would hear this kind of thinking and see it in practice, but I never understood it. And though I was working in the Hallowed Halls, I wasn't part of the inner circle of confidences. Dean Mullaney told me in recent years that they must have thought I was some kind of alien. I had no political desires. I had no designs to want to be editor-in-chief. My prime thought was storytelling. And the readers were responding with such in-depth letters on the books that they added to my belief that what we do as writers is important, and to give everything I had to each issue.

Two years later, I suspect neither "Killraven" nor "Panther's Rage" could have existed. The series came about during a time at Marvel where the line was expanding so rapidly that there weren't enough eyes to go over every book before it existed, became a reality.

I had close working relationships with both Craig and Billy. We were on the phone all the time together. We'd often meet up at the offices or somewhere in the city. They both knew I was serious about writing and comics, and they were serious about their art and comics.

Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

In the beginning, my daily life was quite a bit different from many of the comics editors and writers, since I was married and had a young daughter. The first issues of Jungle Action and "Killraven" were written after I came home from the offices at night. If doing regular series was life changing, in many aspects so was the rest of my life. Before the end of those series I would go through a divorce. I would be in court over keeping my visitation rights with my daughter.

Some of that time became incredibly surreal. One of the biggest comic scandals at that point in time became a part of my separation. If I'd read that in a story, I wouldn't believe it. It would seem too contrived to possibly be true. The particular knowledge had me holding my hands to my temples as if my head would burst. When the identity of who was doing what was revealed to me, it was like one of those shock endings in a comic where the last person you believe would be the villain IS the villain!

They called me Dauntless Don. Let me tell you, straight out, there were a lot of times I was daunted!

Anyway, Craig did come onto Killraven and that's basically the history of how he came to be assigned to such an obscure series.

CB Jason: So I think you have one of the most beautiful last issues that I can remember, "The Morning After Mourning Prey." That was such a unique comic. Did you write to be the kind of elegy for the book or had you planned on continuing after that point?

McGregor: Oh no, I had no idea at the time I was writing "The Morning After Mourning Prey" that it would be the last issue! I was already in the structuring stages of the next issue, which I thought of as a Phantom of the Opera motif taking place at the Kennedy Space Center. That would be the next stop of the Freemen's trek.

I actually took that idea, changed it radically and set the story there for the graphic novel that Craig and I did in the early '80s. Of course if that story came out in the regular series, they would never have had their encounter with Killraven's brother there. I'm not sure I would have created a Jeanette, if the story had been written at that time.

Somewhere during that time frame there was continuous upheaval in Marvel editorial. I guess it was Jim Shooter who had the idea of implementing people who would go over plots before they were drawn and would approve or disapprove of the story before it ever reached the artist. I believe I referred to these weeding out creatures as the Junior Woodchucks, of Huey, Dewey and Louie fame.

Metamorphosis Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

I can assure you that if the Junior Woodchucks existed in the early, formative issues of Killraven, you never would have seen the light of dawn for Mourning Prey, there wouldn't have been any 24 Hour Man mating time limit, Death-Birth, not a chance in hell. I know the Junior Woodchucks did not exist during the writing and illustrating of "The Morning After Mourning Prey" because you never would have seen it if they did.

I recall Craig telling me when we learned of what was hurtling down the creative Hallowed Halls that we could get around it by having me write a plot for them and one I actually wanted to do for him to draw. And I'm like, "Craig, what makes you think I would have any idea how to write what they want? And even if I did, I'm having a hard enough time writing the script that we need! I believe you're over-estimating my capabilities here."

CB Jason: I don't know about you, Daniel, but I've always felt that that was an amazing issue just as a ... I don't know what the words are for it. It's just so unexpected, I guess.

CB Daniel: Well I love it, man.

McGregor: I love the issue and I love Craig's work on it. I've read and heard so many theories or declarations of what that the story meant to so many individuals. John Warner said the story worked best with a certain kind of music in the background that textured the theme. I think the individual reader brings their life experience to it and for some it speaks profoundly. For others, they wonder what the hell the furor is about. But anyone who denies that it was unique in comics for that time frame with its own voice is not looking at the medium in any kind of unbiased way.

Apparently some people still have such extreme reactions to these comics. Some state emphatically that they are brilliant and stories still resonate with them and have stayed important to them over all these years. Others shake their heads and mutter that they are God-awful. But this is all a separate thing from the act of sitting down and writing the stories because you can't, or shouldn't, be thinking about how people will interpret it. You have to shut everything out but the story and what it is about and who these people are inside the story and what made you decide to devote so much time and energy of your life to doing this.

Migration Don McGregor Killraven Marvel

How did you guys feel about the way "Killraven" advances along as individual issues and as a whole?

CB Jason: Daniel, this was your first time reading this series. So I'm curious to hear your reactions.

CB Daniel: Well, when I first started the essential collections, it was like, "what is this?" But when Don and Craig clicked, and I don't exactly remember what happens. It may have been issue 27 -- "The Death Breeders" -- when the comic just opened up so much. The art, the words, the layouts, and it became so much more than just this "Oh no, not a crazy little tale here." It just became so much more.

CB Jason: I loved the humanity of Adam and Eve in "The Death Breeders,” Where Eve actually has the temerity to have feelings for her child that she's carrying in her. And the love between the couple. They're essentially throwaway characters, but you still made them feel real.

McGregor
: Do you realize when we talk about the fact that "Death Breeders" even exists, how incredible it is that that book managed to exist in that time frame? I don't even know how we got away with it. I can tell you this: It's the first story that was actually inspired by H.G. Wells. I haven't read H.G. Wells' War of the Worlds since before I began writing the series. The section that references breeding is only a few paragraphs in the novel. The characters are going someplace, and they talk about the Martians having a place where humans were bred as culinary delicacies or something like that. So the basic idea for the story was the only one that comes from H.G. Wells.

Eve Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

And here's one of those things I'll never understand. I don't recall any problems with getting the story through. The pages came in and went and the only comment I can recall came from Johnny Romita seeing a page of the 9-month pregnant Eve, "Does she have to be THAT pregnant?"

CB: She was very pregnant.

McGregor: And I think they wanted some lines taken out, stretch lines on her clothes. But if it was done, it was very minor. There was much more reaction to the Panther and Monica Lynne in silhouette in "Panther's Rage" than there was to this.

I know Sue Storm had been pregnant in Fantastic Four, but I don't believe they showed her very much in the later months of the pregnancy. Or maybe they hid her behind furniture or had her turn invisible. With Eve you knew she was ready to give birth at any time.

Even the Comics Code Authority didn't say anything. When I look back on it, I think when it came to the Code, it was just a job to many of these people. As long as you didn't put something blatantly in one panel, most of the time they weren't paying too much attention and not tracking what was really going on in the story. Of course, you could argue that the Eve and Adam and Atalon sequences were blatant. Then I have no idea how we got it through. From panel to panel they've probably forgot what they've written the panel before. Oh, I'm just making a lot of sense here today, aren't I?

CB Daniel: Yup!

CB Jason: Yeah, like they're going to pay attention to a comics website.

McGregor: Um, Daniel believe me; there are people working at the big companies who pay attention to what's being said about them on comics websites. You may think they don't, but they really really do. Now whether they may know all of the sites devoted to comics, I guess it would depend on the individual.

CB Jason: Well they should know the best site! The site with the best writing darn it! Anyway, so Daniel did you have a character that really stood out from the rest to you?

CB Daniel: Um, yeah. It felt like nothing but a kinship, but I was really intrigued with the character from Old Skull for some reason. Just the simplicity of him and how you were able to have this simple character that says some of the most profound things. The fool-character almost. But like you said that you based him by Mose, in The Searchers. Now I can see that connection.

McGregor: I think this is the first time that I've ever talked about that. So many of the followers of the series loved Old Skull. I think it was because there wasn't any duplicity about him; he said what he felt unfiltered and he had profound sense of loyalty that you knew he would never betray. Obviously, he was not a candidate to work on staff in comics.

Talking about Old Skull immediately makes me think of "A Death in the Family.” I told you both somewhere along the way, maybe before we started the interview that I really haven't read these books since I did the graphic novel, but the things that fucked up the book and needlessly weakened it and put head-splitting mistakes into the book come back immediately when someone comes up with that issue for me to autograph.

Freeman 24 Hour Man Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

I love Craig's intricate, dramatically effective work on that book. I remember working so hard on that book.

I had decided early on that I would approach the scripting of that story as all captions. One of my favorite comics of all time is Hal Foster's Prince Valiant, reprinted now by Fantagraphics. Very often when the all-caption approach was used, it was pulled back from subjective reference. I wanted the captions to be very subjective, integrated into the art rather than outside of it, reflective of what was happening inside the characters.

For issues, I'd been fretting over the fact that while I was writing about war, none of the major characters died. I didn't want to be sending out the message that only people you hate, or don't like, or don't care about, get killed or hurt. It's a lie pop culture tells way too often. So, the only way to resolve this inner creative battle, for me, was that one of the Freemen were going to have to die.

The problem was I liked them all and they all had great potential and brought something different to the series. So, who would it be? I had too much invested in M'Shulla and Carmilla Frost, and I was getting near where I was going to try to get Marvel to consent to an interracial relationship with them that there was no way that I would write them out of the series at that point.

I had to promise Craig I wouldn't kill Old Skull.

CB: It seems in retrospect that killing off Grok was easy. He was already injured and wouldn't recover. Which I want to get back to also, but why did you kill Hawk?

McGregor
: While I would have the overall arc building toward Killraven's brother and Yellowstone, the path there was very organic, and there were many incidents that I had no idea I would do just before I did them.

I chose Hawk reluctantly because I was committed to the idea that I should show loss in war. But at the same time I had been researching Navajo culture and I wanted to explore it further. But we had a limited supporting cast, and Grok's death wasn't the same as it happening to one of the gang.

I played with the readers on "A Death in the Family.” The cover promises a death, the title tells you straight out one of them will die, and within five pages it looks as if Old Skull is the victim.

Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

Oh it looks like it's going to be this person, oh, no, wrong; it looks like it's going to be that person! I wanted to see how the apparent demise of Old Skull would go over with Alex so I brought out the first five pages of script for him to read and went back into my office.

When I start doing an interview like this, it brings back a lot of personal anecdotes; the stuff that still makes me smile. I had just written the fifth page of "A Death in the Family.” My friend Alex Simmons, who many now know as the creator of the Blackjack comic and who played Denning in the Detectives Inc. movie, was over at my place at the time. I handed Alex the first five pages to read and went back into my office.

I'm sitting in there, probably trying to figure what I was going to do next. Alex comes charging into the office, leaps at me and takes me out of the chair onto the floor. He grabs my shirt, and the look on his face shows disbelief; he can't believe I've done this. "YOU KILLED OLD SKULL! YOU WENT AND KILLED OLD SKULL!"

I didn't tell him that I hadn't. This will sound crazy, but the storyteller in me was thrilled and thinking, "I got him!" Now, if it only works as well on the readers following the series. You know then that they care, that they are emotionally invested in these characters, even if they only see them once every two months.

But as I started out, while I've forgotten a lot of what is IN these issues, once I see the book, what's been screwed over in the book comes flooding back immediately. I have never once in all my years of writing comics, creating stories, had somebody come up to me and ask, "Don, why did the editor do this?" when something blatantly wrong is in those pages. Here's what they ask: "Why did you do this? What could you have been thinking?" And that's what happened with the first page of "A Death in the Family.”

I had what I thought was an opening first line that set the tone immediately: "The nuclear family has exploded.”

Killraven A Death in the Family Don McGregor Marvel

CB Jason: Which I've always loved.

McGregor
: And I thought that was a great opening line. Bam, and you're into the story. But editorial changed it to read something like, "When the A-Bomb fell on Nagasaki," and I know I'm in the ballpark with this, "the Nuclear Family exploded." My name as the writer appears somewhere right near there.

Editorial decided that no one would buy a comic that was written with all captions. I don't believe that, but that was their reasoning. And if some people hated that approach, I think it would make them decide not to buy the next book because unless they'd read the damn book, how would they know it was all captions? Unless they went through it page by page.

Editorial decided to change captions into dialogue balloons. However, after about 5 pages, it was too much work and they gave it up. The rest of "A Death in the Family" remained with captions. But the pasted-in dialogue balloons didn't stay in place in one panel. It drops down into one where Carmilla's dialogue looks as if it is being spoken by the dragon stallion. I'm sure some readers were wondering, "What in the hell is Don doing?" You can still see the shape of the balloon in the panel it came unglued from.

But the change that really killed me came a bit later on in the book where Camilla is talking about her mother and father, and how they weren't married. Not that it would have kept them together, even if they had been. "Death-Birth" came without a problem, but it was abruptly decided that Carmilla could not say her parents were not married! Editorial surgically removed the copy. The editor had said I could re-write it, because after Carmilla goes on about her mother, it moves Killraven to pick up off of that and say, "I had a mother." Now the line appears apropos of nothing. Despite the assurance, "A Death in the Family" now remains with empty white space where all of Carmilla's dialogue originally was, with nothing it in its place. So, to this day, while I haven't reread that book in decades, whenever that issue is brought up to be autographed, oftentimes those stories get told, and I'm swept up into like it was yesterday. You never get a chance to fix it.

CB Jason: So it's weird because you were off in your own corner of the universe, but at the same time they were still paying attention to you.

McGregor
: Well yeah, they were, yeah. I was called into the editorial office I don't know how many times.

CB: Let's talk about the interracial kiss between Carmilla and M'Shulla.

McGregor
: Okay!

CB Daniel: How did you pull that off?

McGregor
: It wasn't easy; It wasn't easy. I had planned to get them together right from the beginning, but I had to figure out how I was going to be able to get them together so that it would see print.

Mshulla Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

In answering this, I know it's difficult for some people to know where this country was at in 1973 with some people.

Mike Gold, in his introduction to Trevor von Eeden's graphic novel The Original Johnson writes: "In 1973, President Richard Nixon stated the children of interracial couple should be aborted. 'There are times when an abortion is necessary,' our president stated for the record. 'I know that. When you have a black and a white.'"

There were certainly no interracial couples in comics. There were certainly no gay couples in comics. I had planned to do both, if I could figure a way that Marvel would let me do it, in Killraven and Jungle Action. If you read through both series, you'll note early on that there are scenes where M'Shulla and Carmilla have a scene together, just the two of them, in Jungle Action, it's Taku and Venomm.

I had to be even more careful with the homosexual couple. If I'd gone there, that would have probably been my last book long before the Ku Klux Klan issues.

Some of this goes back to your original question of the beginning of the series; when you begin a series, there are number of things you are thinking about. If one was the direction of the series, others were specified by more narrowly focused contemplations on the particular characters. I was also aware of the publishing time frame of the books. Both series were bi-monthly books.

Now, if you write Old Skull or any of the other Freemen out of one issue that means that's four months that the readers don't see them. If you write them out of the series for two issues, it's basically half a year they are missing. That's long time to ask an audience to have a continued emotional commitment to a character.

I was continuously aware of that fact, not just with M'Shulla and Carmilla, but all of them.

That was one of the challenges each issue, to introduce the characters to new readers, but not to repeat myself, finding some new aspect of the characters for the readers who were involved every issue. I would take the situation they were in and show how they would respond to it and maybe give a glimpse of some of their history we hadn't seen before.

When I was in the process of creating the graphic novel Killraven, years after the last issue of the series, Dean Mullaney said to me that no matter what Craig and I did, it couldn't do what the series had done because it wasn't just the single issue in itself. But it was also the waiting, waiting, waiting, for two months for the next issue to come out and learn what happens next. There is that anticipation factor. When a series is coming out on a regular basis there is that sense of the story building and building. In a graphic novel, you know everything from beginning to end in one book. It's a different kind of challenge.

I understood what Dean was saying because I'd experienced it myself with series I loved and couldn't wait to read the next book.

But let me just say this on the Killraven graphic novel, if every book came out looking as good as this one, you'd never hear Don McGregor bitch.

CB Jason: That's the only problem with your reading in the Essential, Daniel, is because it's just more gorgeous than the actual graphic novel.

McGregor: We had room to tell the story and wonderful printing that really showcased Craig's art. I believe Petra Goldberg colored that book. I kind of felt sorry for Petra. She had both Don McGregor and Craig Russell giving her very definite ideas of what they wanted. She would listen, and as long as she got to use the color purple (Petra seemed to love purple) it seemed fine with her.

I do want to say one more thing about Craig Russell. Craig really stayed loyal all the time. We stayed friends throughout all of it. The same thing with Billy. That's another thing, too. 'Cause you're facing so much when you're in the midst of creating and in the middle of the battle there's a testament there that none it pulled your friendship apart.

When the Killraven graphic novel came out, Archie gave me a call. As most people who love comics know, the artist gets a higher page rate than the writer. I don't recall all the ins and outs of this, but since Craig got paid more than I did, when the royalties on the book came in, I got more than Craig. Archie called to tell me Craig had called him about it. Archie told me I wasn't obligated to do anything about it. It was part of the contract. I told Archie to tell Craig whatever he thought was fair; I'd go along with it. I did not want something like that to put a strain on all we had done together over the years.

CB Jason: Let's get back to having the relationship built between M'Shulla and Carmilla.

CB Daniel: That's the story I want to hear!

McGregor: Before Craig came on as an artist, I was already writing sequences with the two of them in each issue, which is how I got off on that tangent about the series being a bi-monthly book. I had written maybe two or three issues, no more than that, when I got called into the editor's office. An artist had gone to the editor and complained that if I'm doing a salt and pepper relationship in this book, he wants off it. He won't draw it. And the editor wants to know if that is what I'm doing.

I know it is way too early to talk about this. I had been around long enough now to realize how things worked. It wasn't enough that I wanted to do it. I had to find a way to get it to paper reality, into the reader's hands.

Now, if I said yes, and then I was told that “No,” under no circumstances could I do it. I would be trapped. If I tried it, it would be open defiance, and it would never see print so what the hell would be the use of going that route.

But how do you get from here to there?

I answered at the time that those sequences were a kind of Modesty Blaise/Willy Garvin relationship. By using a reference to Peter O'Donnell's Modesty Blaise newspaper strip, it would be a reference point well known and understood by comic book people.

This bought me some time. And my hope was that the readers would start asking me in letters, "Don, when are you going to let them get together?" as the series progressed.

One of the few things I knew about Stan Lee was that he really did want Marvel to be the first to do things in comics; he liked the avant-garde reputation Marvel had built up over the years. I knew the only way I could do something like an interracial kiss there was if it was okayed by Stan.

Mshulla Carmilla Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

But I couldn't just go to Stan with this, bypassing editorial. If there are unspoken rules about what gets done and what doesn't get done in comics, there is also protocol. If you break that protocol, especially if you're working on staff, you are still going to have to work with these people on a daily basis. And they are going to be royally pissed off! It's almost like an all-out declaration of war, and if that happens, they'll be watching you a lot more closely and with animosity. I was already on the fringe of the Hallowed Halls so it was all kind of dicey as to how it would play out.

I waited until I thought I had enough letters, and then I went through editorial, asking to set up a meeting with Stan so the issue could be discussed. I felt I knew the way to approach Stan on this, appeal to that desire for Marvel to be the first. Rumor had it that DC might do an interracial kiss in one of their non-series romance comics. Although I have no idea if that actually ever occurred, but when the big meeting came I certainly made sure that Stan knew DC was contemplating doing it and told him, "Wouldn't it be a shame if DC has an interracial couple before Marvel?" Well, Stan clearly didn't want that. And we circled this aspect of it, my coming back to, whenever possible, what a shame it would be if DC did it first when Marvel's fans loved the idea of Marvel being first.

Stan asked, "But does she have to white, Don? Can't she be green?"

I shrugged. A whattayagonnado shrug. "But Carmilla isn't green, Stan. She can't suddenly become green."

And Stan was concerned that some Southern states would hold the comic up at a PTA meeting, protesting what their kids were seeing.

Finally, it was decided that I could do it, but that the panel where M'Shulla and Carmilla kiss would be done in knockout colors. Essentially, that term means both characters would be done in one color, both of them purple, or something like that. This way, I guess, the thought was no one could hold the page up in high dudgeon and rant about race purity or whatever the hell it is they do.

Now, just before the comics come out, coverless copies come a little earlier, I don't think more than a day or two before. That's when editorial would really see the insides of the book as they looked through them. When the make-ready came in on Amazing Adventures #31, "The Day the Monuments Shattered,” I was called into the editor's office almost immediately. The door was closed. That was always a bad sign. I really didn't know what it was this time, but I think there had just been another all-black cast discussion in "Panther's Rage,” so it probably wasn't that. And it wasn't. It was about the kiss.

The editor held up "Killraven,” and there were M'Shulla and Carmilla, locked in embrace with beautiful coloring by Petra Goldberg, who had both Don McGregor and Craig Russell with definite ideas. And the panel was not in knockout colors!

"It isn't?" I asked, wide-eyed, standing up from my chair to look at the comic. Why it sure wasn't. "How the hell did that happen?

"Well, let me see that again. I guess no one noticed. But you know, the coloring's pretty beautiful, don't you think?"

But here's the thing: The sky did not fall on anyone's head. That kiss did not have hate mail flooding the offices. It apparently didn't hurt sales, and it didn't apparently help them, either. But now, interracial couples had been introduced to Marvel comics, and it would be easier to have people of different diversity be represented in the medium. The battle to do it would not be so hard the second time around.

Killraven Don McGregor Marvel

But all these things can cost you personally: taking that stand, trying to stay true as a storyteller. The battles bounced back and forth between both series, Jungle Action and Amazing Adventures.

CB: That's pretty similar to the story as the Black Panther and the kiss in "Panther's Rage" as well. Very similar story.

McGregor: What do you mean, in the background?

CB: Yeah. The way they wanted to black it out and everything.

McGregor: Yeah. Well it's always sex that's going to get you into trouble with comics. Look at how violent those "Killraven" scenes were.

Please join us tomorrow for part three of the interview, including the smoldering Volcana Ash, the amazing 24-Hour Man, Orson Welles and auteurism!

Read part one of this interview here, part three here and part four here

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