Persons of story, by John Ostrander

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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13 Responses

  1. Martha Thomases says:

    Kim stories? Where to start? I remember going shopping with her, through SoHo before it was turned into a chain-store mall. Her taste was almost the complete opposite of mine, which meant I saw things in an entirely new way. She showed me how color and texture worked years before I picked up the knitting needles. Also, she laughed like no one else.

    • John Ostrander says:

      Kim DID love to shop wheras I buy. It was almost an early argument between us. I needed a white shirt and a tie so we went together to a store in a mall. I found the shirt, found a tie, and was done. "Wait!" Kim said, looking all perturbed, "Don't you want to look at the others?" I couldn't understand why. I had a short, I had a tie — I was done. She was upset — she had this whole scenario planned where we would look and compare ties, maybe check two or three stores, compare for better prices. That sounded ghastly to me — hunter had found meat. Hunter had secured meat. Hunter was going home.She also tried, before we were married, to get me to look at dish patterns. "Don't see it just now," she would say, "but also imagine seeing it ten years from now." I had trouble seeing anything; after my tenth pattern my eyes were more deeply glazed than any of the plates. We decided that Kim would winnow the choice down to a few and then we would decide together.That why I was so grateful that she had friends like you — people who, among other things, she could really go SHOPPING with. Thanks, Martha.

  2. Rick Taylor says:

    Johnny, the thing about Kim that I loved the most was her almost childlike enthusiasm. It was absolutely contagious. When she was excited about something, well then you were, too. I remember her always having that beautiful smile. Knowing my love for toys, especially that of the 'little pink cult' (TM Tanmmy Brown) she once told me of a trip you two had made to, I believe the Altantic City Antique show, where she bought a handmade Barbie dressed as Camen Mirada. Yup, I was jealous. After her passing I'd been at a press check in Montreal and when I returned to find a mystery shoe box in the chair of my office containing the doll. Just so you know, she sits proudly on a mini grand piano music box in my middle bed room. I think of Kim often when I see that doll. Not only was I happy to be one of Kim's friends and co-workers but I was happy for you, John. The love you had for each other was so obvious and I was glad you had found someone wonderful who I could count as a friend, too. I am truly thankful for her place in my life and her love and friendship. Happy Thanksgiving, Johnny.

    • John Ostrander says:

      Same back to you, Rick. Thing is — even when Kim bought that Carmen Miranda doll, she KNEW it was really yours. She was just "holding" it for awhile.

      • Rick Taylor says:

        It's hard to believe Kim's been gone a decade. Her passing was difficult blow to my heart on the heels of losing about 20 friends to AIDS, then my best friend Kevin and then my Mother. The doll's a physical example of her love but Kim and all those who have passed live in our hearts as long as we cherish and homor their memories.Big hugz,.

  3. Rick Taylor says:

    Uhh..that's Carmen Miranda. Sorry, a little chocked up, here.Peace.

  4. Elayne Riggs says:

    I don't know that I have any specific stories of Kim, other than a selfish one about me being glad I was able to articulate to her that she was my hero, but I just have all these wonderful memories of her at the early Lulu meetings held in the loft of the building in which I worked at the time. I would buy local refreshments and set them up before attendees arrived, and the store around the corner from the building was a 7-11 type place, which had blue-colored soda. I don't even remember the flavor, might have been cream, but I remember how much of a kick Kim got out of the blue soda, so it became a must for every meeting. She was that inspiring, she made people want to make her happy, because she made them so happy.

  5. Mary Mitchell says:

    Kimmie stories, oh man, there are the stories she lived and the ones she told! I guess what I remember about Kim the most is her big heart and how courageous she was with it, even when she was afraid. She was my best friend, she was the best friend with so many because her friendship was never half way. Her friendship was so BIG it had to be spread around to the four corners of the earth, I think this was to keep spontaneous combustions at bay. It was a joy watching how friends and family and strangers would light up around her, and how her smile and heart would light a room.Kim was flamboyant which is actually too mild a word, but I can’t capture that lightening in a bottle ….Kim could, she was like that, she could define a moment with the right words but was herself a free born spirit that couldn’t be defined. It didn’t matter, she was Kim and she made the world a better place….even when she was driving us crazy doing so. How we laughed and loved with her.Our friendship was very special but it also was a whimsical experiment with so many opposites. Kim was flamboyant and I’m painfully shy. To look at our friendship from the outside, it didn’t make sense. But at the same time it made perfect sense, because Kim was like a sister. She shared her bright colored world and I shared my quieter hayseed ways. She would go hiking with me, in the wilds of the Delaware Water Gape. There is a small mountain stream there, that runs over rock bed down through the holler of two great hills…..after Kim shaved her hair off instead of letting chemo do it for her, we went to the stream because Kim wanted to dip her head in it. She wanted to know what it felt like to have clean mountain water on her scalp. It still makes me smile, that was Kim. Thank the Goddess there is a Kim! I still think of her in present tense, because how much she touched everyone she met, we still carry part of her big heart with us.

  6. Steve Atkins says:

    It is very strange. I was just reading an issue of Gunfighters yesterday. As I was enjoying the reprints of Kid Colt, The Rawhide Kid, The Two-Gun Kid, and a more recent Caleb Hammer tale, I noticed a full page ad for an "upcoming" western from Marvel (I use quotation marks due to the fact that the comic I was perusing was published in 2000) called "Blaze Of Glory." I have yet to read the book, but I have put a note into my mind to do so because of the western heroes starring in it (pretty much all of them, including ones I had never heard of) and the writer involoved. I am deeply sorry for your loss, but I am very happy that you have had such a wonderful person in your life. I wish you and your family and friends a Happy Thanksgiving and I hope the memories and the smiles they bring to you last for as long as can be.I wish I had the words to more accurately express myself, but I am afraid that I just cannot find them at the moment.Steve

  7. Marilee J. Layman says:

    Wonderful memories, John. Thank you.

  8. mike baron says:

    Kim was the only woman I ever met who was honestly thrilled at the gift of a balisong.

  9. Kevin VanHook says:

    It's hard to believe it's been more than ten years, John. I knew Kim from her work and from coming into the office. She was always delightful to be around. I can't help but think of myself in your shoes and how devastated I would be if I lost Carol. I wish you all the best and would love to catch up with you sometime. PS: Loved your prose Kolchak story. Really nicely written.

  10. Cheryl Harris says:

    I'm seeing this a few weeks later, but I hope it is still okay to chime in with some Kim memories (and thoughts).Such as how much I still miss her (and specially remember her every November 22). Especially the lengthy phone conversations which would veer in so many directions, but so often would come back to women and comics.There are actually way too many cherished memories but the ones that stand out as images in my head are her showing off "Grimbear", and (if I have this right – everything occurred at the one San Diego when we shared a very small room at the Horton Grand) being resplendent in her skull and crossbones bustier as she met Jack Kirby during a birthday celebration for him.She was a wonderful lady and I am just thankful I was able to know her for the time I did.