Framing The Question, 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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2 Responses

  1. Marc Alan Fishman says:

    As I commented on that story when it posted here at Comicmix before… What Kirkman's question spawned in my mind (as a want-to-be-in-the-industry-I'm-still-waiting-for-my-call-… Gold-from-July-but-I'll-be-patient…) was how creators in the big two may not want to do creator owned materials. I truly believe some creators play well in the Marvel and DC sandbox better than they do in their own private one. Don't get me wrong… I loved Torso, Jinx, and Goldfish, but to me, Bendis doesn't get any better than Ultimate Spiderman (just my opinion). Whereas some creators may be better suited to original IPs, like Warren Ellis. Not to say I've not enjoyed new universal or a handful of other work by him… but truly, Transmetropolitan and new work work on the net, Freak Angels, are truly amazing. As would-be-creators, my studio mates and I discussed this till we could no longer speak. What we eventually settled on John, is exactly what you did. Marvel and DC have a list of talent out the door and around the block, chomping at the bit to ushered in, and ushered out. But good fans will always follow the creators they enjoy. Even when they make less than stellar work (Alex Ross, I'm looking in your direction). With Hollywood the eventual top rung money maker for comic book creators, the future of the comics as weekly publications does seem like "farm league" to a point, but I would not say that the actual quality of the stories themselves are less than their celluloid counterparts. Marvel and DC, at the end of the day, are just businesses. They hold fantastic IPs that generate them money (in some cases simply by just stamping a logo on underoos), and in the grand scheme of things, we're (meaning the creators) are just drops in the bucket to them.But, if given the chance, we'd be that drop in that bucket until they stop calling. You'll never take the fan out of this boy, I still have faith that the comic book industry will be around for many years to come… Be it in print, on the web, in the movies, or beamed directly into our heads through neck implants… Excelsior.

  2. Elayne Riggs says:

    The future of comics will be wherever the money is. Right now it's extremely difficult to make a living outside of the Big Two, although midsized companies like Dark Horse and IDW are certainly helping in terms of steady, reliable income. But the vast majority of artists and writers don't have the luxury of going outside of Marvel and DC and still being able to pay the bills. And I'm sure not a few of them resent it when Kirkman or Miller (I remember this was one of Miller's keynote speech subjects in, hmm, must have been San Diego back in the '90s) start with the "do as I say, not as I did" stuff once they're in a position to no longer need the money.