JOHN OSTRANDER: Fighting The Good Fight Scene

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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6 Responses

  1. Mindy Newell says:

    Boy, John, for someone who claims not to know how to write a fight scene, you sure did a hell of a job in describing how to write one!!!!!! In fact, it’s a mini-course for me!


    P.S.: God bless you (and Mary!), too, my much loved friends!


  2. mike weber says:

    Leslie Charteris once complained that he would take a day or so to write a fight between the Saint and one or more opponents, and then when the story was adapted for TV, the writer doing the adaptation would say “Fight sequence: thirty seconds” and leave it to the stunt co-ordinator…

    Another rule is to make sure that (unless it’s intended to do so) the fight doesn’t dominate the story to the exclusion of plot and character…

    • Yep. Really, really bugs me when a book is 18 pages of a single fight with a one page “This is why we fight now!” prologue and a “well, glad that’s okay” epilogue of a page or two. Especially if it’s a book I normally enjoy.

      You can tell a writer was rushed for time or simply had no good idea for the issue.

  3. Enero says:

    Great article and interesting to read about from a writer’s perspective as I assumed the lion’s share of fight choreography was handled by the artist.

    I await the sequel to this article, why there aren’t more chase sequences in comics possibly titled, “In Pursuit of the Great Escape.”

    Speaking of which, I’ve been giving your and Stephane Roux’s SW:Agent of the Empire a try and really enjoying it. I wanted to personally thank you for the speeder bike chase scene in issue #2. If you’re ever blocked again, remember this: “you can never go wrong with speeder bike chases.”

  1. February 25, 2012

    […] Here’s one “just for fun” on how to write a fight scene – in a comic book or story.  It kind of highlights the considerations you need to take into account in terms of characters and their fighting styles.  Not strictly a “martial arts” story, but a quick read and kind of interesting when you’re coming at it from a different angle…  Of course, if you’re not interested…  just don’t click the link to the article. […]