Tagged: John Ostrander

A Matter of Opinion, by John Ostrander

A Matter of Opinion, by John Ostrander

So. I’m watching – and enjoying – the finale of this season’s Doctor Who. I’m a big fan of the time traveling Doctor and have been for years and his present incarnation, embodied by David Tennant, is one of his best. The Doctor is in a dire fix, as usual. This time, he’s trapped in the headquarters of his arch-foes, the Daleks, and at the mercy of their creator, Davros. A whole squadron of the Doctor’s companions and friends are trying to help him by a) threatening to blow up the Dalek HQ or b) blowing up the Earth itself, ruining the Dalek master plan. Like I said, the situation is dire.

Davros sneers at the Doctor that, while the Doctor himself doesn’t carry weapons and won’t kill, he creates friends and companions who will. He tells the Doctor that those companions are the Doctor’s weapons. The Doctor looks guilty and distressed as he considers, and seemingly accepts, Davros’ accusation.

Mind you, this is the Davros who has just enunciated his master plan of destroying not just the Earth, not just the galaxy, not just the universe, but all of reality except for the Dalek HQ. This Davros describes as winning and will prove the Daleks – and thus Davros – are supreme.

Which leads me to my thought of the week. Some people’s opinions really don’t matter. They just don’t. I’m not saying that people don’t have a right to their opinions or that they don’t have a right to express those opinions. However, there’s no rule saying that I have to listen to them. As I heard Steven Grant once say on a panel, “Opinions are like assholes; everyone has one.”

And, omigawd, are there assholes out there with opinions – especially now in an election year and especially here on the Internet! You don’t need to actually know about something to blog about it. Hell, I’ve proven that from time to time myself. What you need is a computer, a modem (preferably high speed), and a website. It doesn’t have to be your own website; if it has a message board, you can blaze away with your opinions at will. You don’t even have to use your own name so you don’t have to stand by your opinion. Wheee. What fun.

(more…)

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending August 10, 2008

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending August 10, 2008

Don’t bother me, I’m watching the ‘lympics.  As if I followed any of these sports at any other time.  We’ve had some good sports here in ComicMix too; here’s a bit of what they’ve done for you this past week:

Now will someone please put some proper shorts on those female volleyball players?

Semi-Controlled Chaos, by John Ostrander

Semi-Controlled Chaos, by John Ostrander

People are sometimes invited to my house. They’re never invited to my office. Ever. A cluster of clutter bombs go off in there with alarming regularity. My shutting the office off from public view is my tacit admission that the place is a hole.

I have a defense. I’m “creative.” I’m an “artist.” My office space reflects my jumbled creative mind. Actually, as I look around me, it’s maybe reflecting a mind that’s on drugs or needs to be. We don’t have dust bunnies; we have free-range dust buffalo. Herds of them move about in a sort of majestic splendor. They intimidate the cats. Wait, I can hear them rumbling by now. No, hold on – that’s a dump truck rolling down the road.

There are piles of things all over the place. There are boxes piled on boxes in front of bookcases that also have boxes in them. Sections of the floor have not seen daylight in the better part of a decade. Not that I’m sure how much daylight gets in through the windows anyway since they acquired a grayish patina. I’d wash them but I think the tint is baked on.

I have a relative idea of where everything is with two exceptions: stuff relating to my taxes and the take-out menu to my local Chinese restaurant. I know they’re both in here but it’s often a problem to lay my hands on them at the exact moment I need either of them. I don’t know what the linkage is between my taxes and the take-out menu. I’m assuming there is one; why else would these be the only two things that go missing? Currently I’m working on two hypotheses – either the office has eaten them or the cats have stolen them. That’s the most logical explanation I can devise.

There’s a fairly clear path from the door to the corner of the room where my desk is located. The mess sometimes encroaches on the path but I haul out the old machete and hack my way back through and things are fine again – for the time being.

Why is my office in such a state? My defense – in part – is that I’m a freelance writer; I don’t get paid for cleaning up my office and I don’t make enough to hire someone to do it for me. I have enough problems with my deadlines as it is and vacuuming the rug doesn’t help me meet them. Plus – I’m a guy. Like many guys, I have a fairly high DTL – Dirt Tolerance Level. Plus I’ve named some of the dust buffalo. There goes Bob. Howdy-doody, Bob.

(more…)

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending August 3, 2008

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending August 3, 2008

August?  August?  Where did July go?  As if anyone’s recovered from San Diego yet.  As the dog days approach, ComicMix is still barking up all the right trees with our regular columns and features; here’s what we’ve broughnt you this past week:

So cry havoc, and let loose the dogs of peace!

Our Own Private Gotham, by John Ostrander

Our Own Private Gotham, by John Ostrander

The newest Batman movie, The Dark Knight, is doing a nice bit of smackdown with all kinds of records, as well it should. It’s taking in money hand over fist. There are even whispers that it could wind up outgrossing Titanic, although I don’t think that will happen myself. The film will probably be up for several Oscars next year including, among others, Best Picture and possibly Best Actor for the late Heath Ledger’s incendiary portrayal of the Joker.

I’ve seen it, I loved it, I was stunned by it like everyone else. Best Batman movie ever. Possibly the best superhero movie ever. What really interests me, however, are the reports on the demographics of just who is going to see this film. It’s not just we comic geeks. It’s not just young males looking for adrenaline and excitement and explosions (although the film also has plenty of those). It’s everybody. Young and old, male and female, all colors, all races. That makes me ask a different question.

What is our reaction to this movie telling us about ourselves?

There’s a zeitgeist going on. You see this every once in a while – a film or a book or some music taps into the national psyche and expresses something that we, as a people, are feeling. I think the response to The Dark Knight shows it’s happening again.

Yes, the pre-opening buzz for the film was really positive. Heath Ledger’s death added a morbid curiosity. It had a terrific PR push. Anticipation was high. The response, however, is phenomenal. It’s doing better than the studio even hoped. So, again, I ask what is going on here?

Exploring this is going to involve talking freely about the film. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it first. Experience it for yourself. This column will still be here when you’re done. In other words, Spoilers Ahead!

(more…)

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending July 27, 2008

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending July 27, 2008

With so much news coming out of San Diego from ComicMix HQ (at booth #3208) and elsewhere, it’s my job back here in New York to make sure all our regular columns and features don’t get lost in the hype! Here’s your weekly one-stop shopping source for all our exclusive goodies:

So, I hear there’s a convention going on this weekend…

Spam Diego, by John Ostrander

Spam Diego, by John Ostrander

So – today is the first official day of the 2008 San Diego Comic Con International Clam Bake and Fish Fry Harvest Moon Festival. Or, as I like to call it, Spam Diego. Where different unspecified cuts of meat are jammed together into one can until it becomes a single mass wrapped in a gelatinous type goo.

I suppose I should get right down to my first Con report.

I woke up this morning, got my newspaper, fed the cats, fed myself while I read the comics, came in here and turned on my computer. That’s right; I’m here at home, not there amidst the teeming multitudes lined up to gain entry. Wished I could say I wished I was there, but I really don’t. The last time I was there, my hotel was about a twenty minute trolley car ride north of the Convention Center. If it had been as far south, my hotel would have been in Tijuana. This year, I think I heard that people are having to commute in from Chicago.

When I go to a Con, I have certain criteria. I want to meet the fans and, if they want, sign their books. Fans are the ones who have enabled me to make my living at what I love doing for about twenty-five years. I want to say thank you, give back some of the love. I want to get new fans, if I can. I want those who have read and are reading my books to have a good experience of me.

At Spam Diego, unless you have a table of your own – too expensive for a writer type like me – or you’re being sponsored by one of the publishing houses, it’s hard for the fans to know where you are and when. Plus there’s a lot of competition. Lots of stuff going on. I mean. Brian Michael Bendis could get lost in this shuffle.

I want to meet some friends in the business that I haven’t seen for awhile; maybe make one or two new ones as well. Get to meet some who I’ve only known via e-mail. There are people I have worked with whom I have never met face to face. It used to be I’d run into people I hadn’t met in a while at SDCC and that’s always been a big draw for me. Now? I don’t know if I’d accidentally run into anyone unless I was driving the Batmobile.

(more…)

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending July 20, 2008

ComicMix Columns & Features for the Week Ending July 20, 2008

With Dark Knight blowing all other movie premieres out of the water, comics continue to be front and center in the public consciousness. What better way to celebrate that than being a part of the hottest ticket around? ComicMix contributors will be at San Diego (headquartered at Insight Studios’ booth #3208) along with many of you; stop by and say hi to many of the luminaries listed below! Here’s what we’ve had for you this past week:

Have a great time out west, everyone who’s going!

Munden’s Bar: It’s Ladeeez Night!

Munden’s Bar: It’s Ladeeez Night!

Thank God it’s Munden‘s! John Ostrander and Hillary Barta celebrate the weekend with a new brand-episode of the adventures at everyone’s favorite watering hole.  Actually, as we find out, there are some people, of the vulvic persuasion, who have not been present in large numbers. The bar patrons try to do something about it.  Clean up their act? Treat women as people? That would be too easy …

Credits: John Ostrander (Writer), Hilary Barta (Artist), Jason Millet (Colorist), Bob Pinaha (Letterer), Mike Gold (Editor)

More: Munden’s Bar

Experiencing Grief, by John Ostrander

Experiencing Grief, by John Ostrander

Muriel Kubert, Joe Kubert’s wife, died last week. You may have seen the story here at ComicMix . I went to the services. When I saw Joe, I asked him how he was doing (the same lame question most of us ask of those who have lost someone vital to them). He shrugged and said, “You know.” Then he looked me in the eye and repeated, “You know.”

I do. Kimberly Ann Yale, my own wife, died over eleven years ago, something that I’ve talked about more than once in this column. It strikes me that we don’t really talk about the grieving process much. It’s been studied and Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross charted its stages, noting them as shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression, testing and acceptance. That’s certainly useful in an intellectual way but I don’t know as it really prepares you for the emotional impact.

We don’t like to talk about grief. I didn’t, before Kim died. It’s death. It’s scary. If Death hears us talking about it, maybe it’ll come over to hear what we’re saying. That doesn’t make sense but that is sometimes how it feels. Emotion has its own logic. If we don’t talk about it, maybe Death will go away. Knock on some other door.

Grief is something that should be talked about. The only person with whom to really discuss it is someone who has been through it. Not someone who is going through it at the time; they’re trying to make sense of everything and it won’t make sense. It has to be someone who has come out the other side.

So let’s talk.

(more…)