JOHN OSTRANDER: You say it’s my birthday

John Ostrander

John Ostrander started his career as a professional writer as a playwright. His best known effort, Bloody Bess, was directed by Stuart Gordon, and starred Dennis Franz, Joe Mantegna, William J. Norris, Meshach Taylor and Joe Mantegna. He has written some of the most important influential comic books of the past 25 years, including Batman, The Spectre, Manhunter, Firestorm, Hawkman, Suicide Squad, Wasteland, X-Men, and The Punisher, as well as Star Wars comics for Dark Horse. New episodes of his creator-owned series, GrimJack, which was first published by First Comics in the 1980s, appear every week on ComicMix.

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10 Responses

  1. Elayne Riggs says:

    Hang on, I thought today was Denny's birthday? I'm so ComicMix'ed up!

  2. John McCarthy says:

    First off, John, let me wish you a happy birthday. Happy Birthday! And thank you for some phenomenal story-telling! Second, I'd like to –sadly– agree with you on much of what you've written today. Big Biz has operated this way for a long, long time. But it has gotten worse. The U.S. manufactures so little and buys so much –and much of it on credit. My day job is the AD for a Financial Publisher and I see it all day long. Wall Street makes its money not by creating something, but through buying and selling other people's products, services and creations. Much of it based on speculation and rumor. And all of it motivated by greed. It doesn't matter how well a company does its job, what matters is projected earnings. Newspapers are, in many ways, decently run, profitable institutions. With profit margins higher than many. But that doesn't matter. What matters is how much MORE did we make this year over last year. Meaning it's not enough to stay even or perhaps a little ahead, we've got to show big profits, cover our projections. And the only way to bump up the profit margin is to cut out existing expenses. Like salaries for columnists, reporters and cartoonists. After all, it's just as easy to get canned articles syndicated nationally as it is to have the local guy write up something fresh and tasty. Who cares that our editorial cartoon (if we even have one), is on a nice, soft, national issue, rather than a hard-hitting local problem. All of this to justify a board of directors to a bunch of stockholders who don't care about readers getting fair and informative reporting. Ah, this just goes on and on. It will come as a shock to most Americans when they find out the good 'ol U.S of A. isn't on top anymore. You're right when you say no country stays on top forever. Rome, Mongolia, Britain, Soviet Russia. Every empire topples and it seems to be happening at a faster rate. Rome lasted centuries, Britain — well, the sun has set. The U.S.S.R., less than a hundred years. If the 20th century was the American Century, than the 21st may well go to China or perhaps India. None of this is a national secret, it's all there for anyone to see. But Big Biz and Big Gov don't seem to want to deal with it and are quite happy to have everyone else go along for as long as the ride lasts. I worry for my daughter, she's four-and-a-half. What kind of world will she have to live in? Slide on over theah, Mr. Brennan, mah ol' bones need to set a spell.

  3. Rick Taylor says:

    So Johnny-O, are you telling us your brother is your evil twin?

  4. Glenn Hauman says:

    No, John's the evil twin. Haven't you been paying attention?

  5. Russ Rogers says:

    Hell hath no fury…So I wonder what Octavius means when he said, "you were always my good fortune." Does Hilda have "super luck powers"? So far, this isn't much of a "super powers" kind of story, but there's a lot of chat about bad luck and past good fortune in this episode. It's significant. Maybe Hilda's code name was "Lady Luck" or something.This is another episode that emphasizes Octavius' appeal with women, despite his seriously awkward ways of treating them. Somebody needs to tell Octavius that the only thing ruder than showing up uninvited and bloody at your friend's is leaving bloody and beat up without saying good-bye. Man, if I were Hilda, next time I saw Octavius I'd wanna make sure he was all right, just before I kneed him hard in the groin.And Hilda said, "gentleman caller," not "boyfriend" or "date." Was this a euphemism? Is she also a prostitute?BTW, Hilda is beautiful. Reminds me of Jean Harlow.Hilda's saying, "Look what the cat DRUG in" versus "DRAGGED in" makes her sound a little less refined/cultured/literate to my ear. I wonder if that choice was intentional. It makes her seem like a dame in swanky digs who really isn't used to that kind of life. Maybe I'm over-reading one little word. I generally do read too much into things.And Hilda has the Penthouse of the Graystoke, connecting this with the last episode. Cool.

  6. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    Short but sweet Mark. I personally think just a pinch more contrast in Hilda's big close up would have dimentionalized her face a bit more, but I love the jump here. I'm reminded of Chuck Pahalniuk a bit with Octavious having to hit rock bottom before he can really find himself. Kudos once again… but where… where is that dastardly Scion?

    • MARK WHEATLEY says:

      I kept that close up of Hilda shadowed because the emotion of the scene is stormy. Color in comics is like a soundtrack in movies – it is all about the emotion.

      • Marc Alan Fishman says:

        Don't get me wrong, I loved the closeup… I was looking for just a pinch more contrast. But really… it was a fantastic panel. Who needs to nit-pick?

  7. Kyle Gnepper says:

    Ive been reading Lone justice since it started and I just want to say how much I've been enjoying it. I'm glad I started and definitely going to keep reading.