John Ostrander: Obit the Living

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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7 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    it should also be noted that Denny gives the best eulogies ever. I want him to do mine.

  2. John Tebbel says:

    Brother Ostrander might just have invented a new form here. I'm an early adopter, so here goes.Denny is a real American Hero. When others are phoning it in Denny is working late trying to get to the heart of the matter. Through his work in comics he has time and again been able to speak truth to power in a way that is most effectively subversive, and most effectively a contribution to the liberation of his fellow strugglers on this planet. Shows what you can do when you combine real talent and real courage. Reader, writer, human of any sort, when you reach your next crossroad in a script or life, just ask yourself, "What would Denny do?"

  3. Alan Coil says:

    I don't remember Denny O'Neil from the Green Lantern and Green Arrow series because I wasn't buying comics then, but I do remember him from the later Batman stories, both as a creator and an editor. Making a book good for several month is a common occurrence, but doing so for year after year is rare, and I thank Denny for doing so. The comics industry should hire more people of Denny's abilities. Alan Coil

  4. Gustavo says:

    And with that column, you almost killed me. For some reason, all I see first was the words "obituary" and "Denny O'Neil". After that, ten seconds of blurred vision and irregular heartbeat, while images of Batman, The Question, Green Arrow, The Shadow and that wonderful Wonder Woman flashed through my mind. I'm better now, but even better is to know that Denny is still fine, thank God. One question though– where's his webcomic here on ComicMix?Now excuse me, I had a sudden and irresistible craving of reread some old Ra's Al Ghul stories…

  5. J. Kevin Carrier says:

    Very nice tribute, and much deserved. Some of the first Batman comics I ever read were his Ra's Al Ghul stories — talk about a great introduction to the character!One small correction: David Michelinie & Bob Layton were the ones who introduced the alcoholism plot into Iron Man, in the classic "Demon in a Bottle" (IM #128). O'Neil certainly took that ball and ran with it, though.

  6. Matthew Phansel says:

    Denny's writing has had a HUGE influence on my life. He was the first comic book professional I ever spoke to (I interviewed him while I was in High School and was doing a paper on the changing heroics of our times, using Batman as an example). He was very gratious to me at the Chicago Comicon the following year (and even remembered me interviewing him).I've enjoyed my all too brief interactions with Denny online and via email. I'm usually afraid to approach him, as I do not want to be a bother. I consider him the single greatest influence on my comic book writing, and meeting ones influences can be a terrifying experience, even if only online.HOMECOMING, the Question short that Denny did with Rick Burchett is probably one of my favorite comic book stories of all time. I wish I could write half as well as that!There is also a fondness for "The Man Who Walks" which is, let there be no doubt, the definitive origin of the Batman.AND–the first LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT ANNUAL is another fav, as it is an all too later-career paring of Jim Aparo and Denny O'Neil. Two masters spinning a yarn. All comics should be as good.His wife Marifran is one of the nicest people I know. And words escape me in attempting to describe her warmth and kindness.I'm rambling so I'll stop. But I want to say that Denny O'Neil is VERY important to me. Anything I do in comics will undoubtedly have some small part of what I've learned from O'Neil in it. I can't think of any better way to honor a man whose works have influenced my life more than he'll ever know.MPH

  7. DOuG pRATt says:

    The audio interview with Denny O'Neil that Alan Light put out as a flexidisc in '72 is available here:…Sound quality of the source isn't the best, but it's fun to hear Denny talk about writing Batman and Green Lantern/GreenArrow in the present tense.