Solitary Pleasures, 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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8 Responses

  1. Elayne Riggs says:

    What I've read that gives me pleasure was sort of the gist of my last two columns at ComicMix. :)The only real co-writing I've done was with the late Leah Adezio. Ari of Lemuria was mostly her baby but, when it came to actually writing it, it was a true collaboration. I didn't have a personal vision of how the story should come out, so it really became us telling it to each other.

  2. MARK WHEATLEY says:

    Collaboration is like kids playing in a sandbox. And when it works it is like the BEST playtime ever. Ultimately you get to the point where someone has to sit down and WRITE and at that point it becomes one writer/one vision. And then maybe if the schedule allows time the other writer can play "editor" and give the MS a good look.I'm currently reading THE KING OF ELFLAND'S DAUGHTER by Lord Dunsany. I'm enjoying the quaint style of writing and the fresh, personal take on the fantasy. It is revealing to see how modern fantasy has gone through a kind of Marvel Comics precess of getting the "back story" consistent. When Dunsany was writing he had local lore to pull from but he was very good at just making it up on the fly. I also think it is charming how he manages to slide Elfland into natural places just a few fields away from "the fields we know". Makes the fantasy seem like it is just outside the house and tucked away in a corner of the yard. Actually this book reminds me of a Tad Williams book that I read about a year ago – WAR OF THE FLOWERS. I'm sure Tad was deliberately working from traditional source material to create his world of faeries. But he managed to gracefully turn it all sideways and make it cutting edge and modern at the same time. For my money it is a standout book by an author who usually does very well.And I selected the Dunsany book from my library as an antidote to the last book I read; JUDAS UNCHAINED which is the second half of a single story that started with PANDORA'S STAR written by Peter F. Hamilton. Hamilton writes the style of book that takes a grip and will not let go. His books are usually over a thousand pages long and I just zip through them. He writes current, up to date SCIENCE fiction that convincingly imagines a future world, universe etc. But he pulls it all off in the context of traditional pulp style invention and pacing. I started reading Hamilton's books with his Night’s Dawn Trilogy (the Reality Dysfunction, Neutronium Alchemist and the Naked God) – about 6000 pages of the very best Space Opera I have ever read. And I have read a LOT of Space Opera starting with Edmond Hamilton's works in the early pulps. And this upstart new Hamilton carries on a grand sense of wonder that would do Edmond proud.As an antidote to THE KING OF ELFLAND'S DAUGHTER I have my eye on a Hard Case Crime book or maybe a Shell Scott book by Richard Prather.

    • Marilee J. Layman says:

      I think Hamilton too often ends up with a deus ex machina. In one set of books, literally.

  3. John Ostrander says:

    I've also recently re-read THE KING OF ELFLAND'S DAUGHTER and enjoyed it a great deal this time around as well although the hunting of the unicorn bothered me more than it did the first time I read it. Still, a very good High Fantasy read. Thanks for reminding me of it!

  4. Martha Thomases says:

    I just finished CHEAP DIAMONDS by Norris Church Mailer, which was tons of fun. Being a tall, blonde super-model in New York in the 1970s is exactly like a fantasy novel to me.

  5. Marilee J. Layman says:

    I've always been a solitary person. This works out well now that I'm disabled and spend most of my time at home with the cats. The doctors don't consider all this "talking" online to be "social stimulation," but I think it is.I mostly read science fiction and am at this time rereading The End of the Game by Sherri Tepper. We read the first trilogy in this series (reread for me) in bookgroup and I'm rereading the two other trilogies. This is one of her early sets — not too much preaching.Some of my favorite books are the Barrayar series by Lois McMaster Bujold. Space opera mixed with several social environments.

  6. mike weber says:

    If you can find it, having recently read/reread "King of Elfland's Daughter", you might want to listen to Johnson & Knight's pop/rock/blues version from the 70s, featuring Mary Hopkin as Lirazel, Alexis Korner as The Troll, and Christopher Lee as narrator/The King of ELfland.I think it's out of print, but i think i might know where someone could borrow a listening copy…