John Ostrander: My Friend, MEMcG

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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9 Responses

  1. Kathryn Pierce says:

    Speaking as the mother of one of those school kids, I can only tell you that Ms. Mary Ellen, as they called her, was a tour de force with them too. She helped our kids find their voices and taught them to be loud and strong and proud of those voices. Hearing second graders proudly perform parts of Macbeth was truly inspirational to all of us. I am so sad that they didn’t have more years with her and personally, I miss her already. She was one of a kind.

    • John Ostrander says:

      Thank you SO much. This is a side of Mary Ellen that I didn’t know much about. Would you mind if I shared it with others?

  2. Eileen Smith San filippo says:

    I am so sorry to hear about Mary Ellen and thank you for sharing your tribute. I didn’t know Mary Ellen very well except for spending a short afternoon with her preparing for Dean Matthews memorial. She was an absolute hoot…and yes…what an amazing laugh and spirit!

  3. Barbara Pool says:

    Dear John,

    I’m in tears today too, missing our good friend Mary Ellen. Oh the stories we’ll be telling! “We’re tritzing to Tibet to see what we can get…” Thank you so much for this. With love.

  4. Barbara DiGuido says:

    John – I didn’t know Mary Ellen personally, only by reputation (and hearing that booming voice at the reunion). What a beautiful tribute you wrote – and what a sad day. I’m so sorry for her family, friends and students. Stay healthy!

  5. Deborah Peifer says:

    I’m remembering the time Mary Ellen was doing an acting scene from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. She was playing Big Mama and she forgot to put her shoes on before she entered, so she played the scene in her bare feet. This is important: she forgot. First comment: what a brilliant choice to show Big Momma’s earthiness by not wearing shoes. Mary Ellen’s response: Yes, I thought that was the truest way to play her. And no one laughed harder than she did when she told that story on herself. Thanks for your lovely memories, John.

  6. Marcelle McVay says:

    Oh John, what a wonderful remembrance. Larry McCauley taught Mary Ellen when she was a girl and told me a story of little Mary Ellen performing Lady MacBeth’s sleepwalking scene complete with groans and cries from offstage and an entrance from the bathroom (washing her hands, of course). It brought a smile and some comfort to think of Mary Ellen as a girl doing Shakespeare as she has taught so many of her students.

  7. gerald james says:

    thanks for the words for Mary Ellen. although I had not seen her in years I will never forget her in the Loyola Thtr Dept. and how at home she me feel as a Freshman. And yes I can still hear her booming voice sailing above every one else’s and then bursting into a loud laugh. Mary Ellen you will be thought of in my prayers.

  8. David Post says:

    “Will we get there? You bet! (Da-dum-da-da-dum-dum) Join in the drama; see the High Llama–best guy I ever met!” and I did not know that Mary Ellen was the inspiration for this unplayed play…you, John, used to bounce those songs, as they came to you, on me as well at the time…she was indeed an inspiration to us all with her great sense of humour, optimism and desire for life…and to hear that she carried this fire of life to so many, young and old–that is a great legacy…and what a very special and truly unique human being…